If Washington has been the driving force for the regime’s war, Wall Street banks have been the main instruments ensuring the profits of the drug cartels. Every major US bank has been deeply involved in laundering hundreds of billions of dollars in drug profits, for the better part of the past decade.
Mexico’s descent into this inferno has been engineered by the leading US financial and political institutions, each supporting ‘one side or the other’ in the bloody “total war” which spares no one, no place and no moment in time.
Everyday scores, if not hundreds, of corpses ~ appear in streets and or are found in unmarked graves; dozens are murdered in their homes, cars, public transport, offices and even hospitals; known and unknown victims in the hundreds are kidnapped and disappear; school children, parents, teachers, doctors and businesspeople are seized in broad daylight and held for ransom or murdered in retaliation.
In the late 1980’s, Mexico was in crisis, but the people chose a legal way out: they elected a President, Cuahtemoc Cardenas, on the basis of his national program to promote the economic revitalization of agriculture and industry.
In the new millennium, popular movements and a new electoral hope arose: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). By 2006 a vast peaceful electoral movement promised substantial social and economic reforms to ‘integrate millions of disaffected youth’.
In 2006, millions of Mexican voters were once again denied their electoral victory: The last best hope for a peaceful transformation was dashed. Backed by the US Administration, Felipe Calderon stole the election and proceeded to launch the “War on Drug Traffickers” strategy dictated by Washington.
The massive escalation of homicides and violence in Mexico began with the declaration of a war on the drug cartels by the fraudulently elected President Calderon, a policy pushed initially by the Bush Administration and subsequently strongly backed by the Obama / Clinton regime.
Drug profits, in the most basic sense, are secured through the ability of the cartels to launder and transfer billions of dollars through the US banking system. The scale and scope of the US banking-drug cartel alliance surpasses any other economic activity of the US private banking system.
While the White House pays the Mexican state and army to kill Mexicans suspected of drug trafficking, the US Justice Department belatedly slaps a relatively small fine on the major US financial accomplice to the murderous drug trade, Wachovia Bank, spares its bank officials from any jail time and allows major cases to lapse into dismissal.
The major agency of the US Treasury involved in investigating money laundering, the Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, deliberately ignored the blatant collaboration of US banks with drug terrorists, concentrating almost their entire staff and resources on enforcing sanctions against Iran.
Without US arms and financial services supporting both the illegitimate Mexican regimes and the drug cartels ~ there could be no “drug war”, no mass killings and no state terror.
The simple acts of stopping the flood of cheap subsidized US agriculture products into Mexico and de-criminalizing the use and purchase of cocaine in the US would dry up the pool of ‘cartel soldiers’ from the bankrupted Mexican peasantry and the cut back the profits and demand for illegal drugs in the US market.
If the major US banks are the financial engines which allow the billion dollar drug empires to operate, the White House, the US Congress and the law enforcement agencies are the basic protectors of these banks.
Laundering drug money is one of the most lucrative sources of profit for Wall Street; the banks charge hefty commissions on the transfer of drug profits, which they then lend to borrowing institutions at interest rates far above what ~ if any ~ they pay to drug trafficker depositors.
Awash in sanitized drug profits, these US titans of the finance world can easily buy their own elected officials to perpetuate the system.
According to the head of United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa,
“In many instances, drug money (was)… currently the only liquid investment capital…. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor…interbank loans were funded by money that originated from drug trade and other illegal activities… (there were) signs that some banks were rescued in that way.” (Reuters, January 25, 2009. US edition).
By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, it has become clear that capital accumulation, at least in North America, is intimately linked to generalized violence and drug trafficking. Because capital accumulation is dependent on financial capital, and the latter is dependent on the industry profits from the multi-hundred-billion dollar drug trade, the entire ensemble is embedded in the ‘total war’ over drug profits.
At the most superficial level the destruction of Mexican and Central American societies ~ encompassing over 100 million people ~ is a result of a conflict between drug cartels and the political regimes of the region. At a deeper level there is a multiplier or “ripple effect” related to their collaboration: the cartels draw on the support of the US banks to realize their profits; they spend hundreds of millions on the US arms industry and others to secure their supplies, transport and markets; they employ tens of thousands of recruits for their vast private armies and civilian networks and they purchase the compliance of political and military officials on both sides of the borders
For its part, the Mexican government acts as a conduit for US Pentagon/Federal police, Homeland Security, drug enforcement and political apparatuses prosecuting the ‘war’, which has put Mexican lives, property and security at risk.
On one side of the “war on drugs” are the major Wall Street banks; on the other side, the White House and its imperial military strategists and in the ‘middle’ are 90 million Mexicans and 40,000 murder victims and counting.
Relying on political fraud to impose economic deregulation in the 1990’s (neo-liberalism), the US policies led directly to the social disintegration, criminalization and militarization of the current decade. The sophisticated narco-finance economy has now become the most advanced stage of neo-liberalism.