Buy an avocado, boost a Mexican drug lord? Soon enough, it seems.
Reports from south of the border say Mexican avocado farmers are taking up arms to protect their increasingly valuable crop from the country’s rapacious cartels, always on the lookout for a quick buck.
But considering the ease with which cartel gunmen dispatched the Mexican army in a pitched battle in Sinaloa state this month, one would guess that the odds don’t favor the avocado farmers.
Or Mexico itself, for that matter — and this has ominous implications for the United States, too.
Flush North Americans — think millennials, in particular — love avocados; they will pay top dollar for them, which sets the market into motion. Most often this means good things. But not always.
Think cocaine and other illicit drugs.
As with avocados, drug dollars follow demand: A recent RAND Corporation study reports that Americans spent just shy of $150 billion on illegal narcotics in 2016. The bulk of this money goes to Mexico, which also has become a major conduit into the United States for synthetic opioids like Chinese-manufactured fentanyl, upping the cartels’ take.
Americans, in other words, love their illegal chemicals, they have the ready cash to indulge themselves — and they are not particularly mindful of the consequences of this for others.
Hence the emergence of the Mexican drug cartels, not the sole supplier of the American drug market, but pretty much at the top of the list. Mexico’s fragile political institutions, and its long history of overtly corrupt local government made it fertile territory for the rise of extralegal quasi-governments.
The recently concluded US federal trial of Joaquin Guzman — “El Chapo” in the headlines — revealed the extent to which the Sinaloa Cartel he once headed has insinuated itself into Mexico’s power structure.
Guzman is in US federal prison now, presumably for life, but the cartel is chugging along. On the small end of the scale, it is Sinaloa gunmen who are cornering the avocado trade — while on the other, the organization is one of the globe’s major players in illegal drugs, other organized crime and money-laundering.
It is not to be trifled with, as the Mexican army discovered this month when it took two of Guzman’s sons into custody — igniting an eight-hour battle with Sinaloa gunmen in the city of Culiacan. The gunbattle ended with an ignoble surrender of government troops and the release of the prisoners.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador explained: “Many people were at risk, and it was decided to protect people’s lives. I agreed with that.” He seemed not to have had much choice.
It also seems that the matter of who controls the Mexican state of Sinaloa effectively was resolved in armed conflict — and it isn’t AMLO.
The implications of this are obvious. Mexico just failed a fundamental test of governmental legitimacy: It is either unable or unwilling, to protect its citizens from organized lawlessness. (The avocado farmers, of course, already knew that.)
And this, in turn, ratifies a warning from US Joint Forces Command that Mexico is slipping toward national collapse — and this was before government troops were losing all-out gun battles with criminals.
It doesn’t take much imagination to anticipate what such a collapse would mean for the United States. A legitimate refugee crisis would dwarf the manufactured border chaos that convulsed American politics this year. And it remains that Mexico is America’s third-largest trading partner, amounting to some $557 billion in business in 2017.
Potential solutions are elusive. Enhanced law enforcement stands only to drive up drug prices and cartel profits. And a more radical approach — attempting to remove profits through drug legalization — would encounter so many legal, cultural and moral barriers in the United States that it is an effective nonstarter.
So the crisis is likely to proceed.
But as it does, don’t lose sight of one core truth: America is, and has long been, the world’s largest importer of illegal drugs, and Americans aren’t being forced to use them.
As the philosopher, Walt Kelly once noted: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Mexico likely wouldn’t disagree.
TEXTING STUDY SHOWS AMERICANS LOVE HARD DRUGS
The United States population is on drugs…and lots of them. All one has to do is look to his left or right to witness this statement in action. Or better yet, just look in the mirror. You, me, us, and them – we’re all under the influence of the trillion-dollar black market dope trade. It’s almost as though altered states of consciousness through plant and chemical consumption is now more representative of the American Way than any ethos our forefathers built this country on back when democracy was still a seemingly pure concept. But now that the nation has erupted into a state of chaotic decline, and we now live in a world where reality television stars attempt to hash out important policy issues rather than those qualified for the job, getting turned up on dope can provide the easiest access to the Technicolor trapdoor out of the madness.
But don’t take our word for it. We’re on drugs, too — remember? Everyone is. So, to shed some light on the subject on the subject, we looked to a new study by Addictions.com. The rehab crew over there recently examined the novelty website called texts from last night to find out more about the kind of drugs people are using and abusing on a regular basis.
The concept behind this research is that people are more likely to send texts at night that are more raw and real on a variety of topics, including drugs. They may even be on one or more inebriating substances when sending those texts. And we all know that drunk and drugged texting is the most honest form of communication we have in the world today. It’s like that scene in the 1995 film ‘Four Rooms’ (The Man From Hollywood) where Norman says, “When you’re fucked up, you don’t lie. Man, you tell the fuckin’ truth!” No truer words have ever been spoken.
If there is a smidgen of truth to be found in the more than 70,000 texts analyzed from the texts from last night site, when America gets high it gets high on speed. The study found that more people mentioned methamphetamine (26 percent of the texts) than any other illicit substance.
Although meth hasn’t received as much media attention in recent years thanks to the popularity of opioids, make no mistake about it – this Nazi drug is still going strong in the Land of the Freaks. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly 8,000 people still die each year from a meth overdose. It is a number that continues to increase. An article published earlier this year by High Times suggests that methamphetamine is on the verge of becoming the next American drug crisis.
The second most mentioned drug was heroin (20 percent), according to the study. Coming in third was cocaine (17 percent). Out of the three, researchers found that cocaine and heroin were mostly associated with “good experiences.” Meth was further down on the list. Some of texts sent on bad nights, however, showed heroin in there, as well, followed by synthetic drugs, like Spice.
Marijuana, which is now legal in parts of the country, is mostly associated with good experiences. But there still seems to be some folks having “dreaded nights” with the herb.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the study is which U.S. jurisdictions love and hate drugs the most.
When it comes to pot, Oakland, Michigan leads the nation in its admiration for the leaf. Cocaine is Atlanta, Georgia’s favorite, while New Haven, Connecticut prefers heroin. Strangely, while marijuana is legal in Colorado, it is not always the substance of choice. The study finds that the folks in Denver really enjoy tripping out on LSD. On the flip side, the Mile High City absolutely despises cocaine and heroin. That’s better than Baltimore, Maryland. The study indicates that this jurisdiction hates marijuana the most.
Although the results of the study are hardly scientific, it does provide a glimpse into the pulse of the American drug culture – for better or worse. And while marijuana may now be the most consumed substance in the world, the main takeaway here is that Americans still love hard drugs. No prohibition or legalization effort is ever going to change that.
Source: nypost.com, kaboom-magazine.com
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