MEXICO CITY, Mexico— While standing in front of her house with her baby, Ms. Janet Galvan was ordered to put the baby back into her home and get into a truck. She did and has not been seen since.
Her family members watched the whole ordeal, yet could do nothing.
Ms. Janet’s boyfriend was a member of the Zetas, one of Mexico's major drug cartels, and he desperately wanted to get out of the gang. However, the Zetas would not allow it, taking Ms. Janet to prove this.
Ms. Janet is Huntington Beach, California resident, Ms. Sandra Martinez’s cousin and Ms. Martinez fears her cousin could be another dead victim of the Mexican drug war.
As a result of the war, over 40,000 people have reportedly died since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon sent the Mexican military to fight drug cartels.
Though, the numbers could be much higher as some people who go missing have yet to turn up, Ms. Sandra Martinez told the Viễn Đông.
Ms. Martinez continued, saying that occurrences like her cousin’s disappearance are nothing new in her old border town, Nuevo Laredo in the Northern Mexican state, Tamaulipas, and have been going on since before 2006.
Drugs have always been a part of the tourist scene with Americans crossing the border and the locals can make good money, especially as the Zetas have proliferated.
She continued, saying that original Zeta members were once part of the Mexican military. When they found out how much money could be made in the drug trade, they left the military and used their training to beat their competition and recruit younger members to work as spies and drug dealers.
“Nobody knows who to trust,” she told the Viễn Đông, adding that the Zetas wear military uniforms as a disguise. “I don’t know where all these people are coming from.”
Ms. Martinez moved to the United States in 2003, though has visited her family in Nuevo Laredo since. She told the Viễn Đông that it is obvious who is not from the town and an increasing number of U.S. deportees are probably joining the Zetas because they have no family in Mexico.
For example, newer members could be immigrants who went to the United States with their parents when they were children and got caught up in crime, Ms. Martinez said. They know and care nothing about Mexico because they did not grow up there.
She told the Viễn Đông that although her town has quieted down a bit because of increased Mexican military presence, her family has seen people shot and killed, and at times avoids leaving their home.
“You can feel the stress,” she added. “Hopefully things will change.”
Prior to Spanish colonization in 1521, Native American civilizations including the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya and Aztec inhabited the area of Mexico.
African slaves were also brought to Mexico for labor, contributing to the blend of culture within the country.
In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain, though civil wars and border disputes with the United States weakened the country. Texas, what is today California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma were lost to the United States in 1848.
French forces invaded Mexico in 1861, staying until mid-1867.
The beginning of 18th century contained revolutions within Mexico, where its citizens revolted against the powers ruling the country. There was a period of economic growth from the middle to late century and then in 1982, the economy plummeted.
Difficult times followed, as people rebelled and foreign interests stepped in to help rescue the country. Some of the countries, like the United States, are still present, represented by their interests.
Amexica: War Along the Borderline
Wachovia, the former fourth largest U.S. bank, profited from the Mexican drug war, according to British journalist Mr. Ed Vulliamy, who also authored the book, Amexica: War Along the Borderline.
“You can’t drive around Mexico with hundreds of billions of dollars in cash in a semi-artic truck,” Mr. Vulliamy told Democracy Now! on 27 October 2011. “What I found was that it is coming into the United States, into the banking system.”
Wachovia has been investigated, prosecuted in a Miami district court, reached a settlement, and had its case dropped, as well as been bought out by Wells Fargo.
Mr. Vulliamy said that hundreds of billions of dollars were being insufficiently monitored, coming into the United States from London, in the form of strangely signed, serially numbered traveler’s checks with numerous irregularities.
At least $110 million was directly connected to four drug deals in Mexico.
Mr. Vulliamy said that he had a conversation with Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, and found that all the money coming in from Mexico through laundering and drug deals, as well as the arms sold for violence, is “basically propping up the banking system.”
“Without it, it [banking system] would have collapsed long ago,” he added, also saying that the Mexican drug war is crossing over into the United States. “One way it sure is crossing the border is hundreds of billions of dollars of blood money.”