Absolute poverty is one of the worst situations to be in, yet many people are experiencing it all over the world and the worst part about this is that the poverty is usually caused by the greed of others. Under poverty many families feel hopeless, they will nearly do about anything to make sure their families can receive basic human needs such as food, water, and shelter. Unfortunately, Mexico knows poverty too well, according to The Huffington Post there are 55.3 million in Mexico living in poverty (Buitre 2016). It’s not only the poverty that affects these children in Mexico, but also the violence. Mexico is now known as one of the main drug trafficking countries in the world, and with this title comes a lot of violence. This violence is happening due to drug cartels in Mexico and is only getting worse, according to the Los Angeles Times, last year alone nearly 20,792 homicides took place due to drug cartels, this is about a 22% increase from homicides that happened in 2015. (Linthicum 2017). Drug Cartels in Mexico take advantage of all the injustices that are happening in Mexico. Poverty in Mexico makes it extremely easy for the Cartels to manipulate people. Lack of government structure and corruption within the government makes it extremely easy for cartels to do crimes without any punishment. Then finally lack of education in the youth makes it extremely easy to recruit loyal Drug Cartel members from a young age. Many people believe harsh military action is the main way to stop drug cartels completely, but in fact, that solution only throws more fuel on the fire. If a full out military war on Drug Cartels were to take place many ordinary innocent citizens would be affected, war should only be use if all else fails. Yet, there is a simpler and much more peaceful way of stopping the Drug Cartels and that is getting rid of the core problems in Mexico that make Drug Cartels successful in the first place. Therefore, the best way to weaken the dominance of Mexican Drug Cartels would be to eliminate the injustices of government dishonesty, lack of opportunity for the youth, and poverty in Mexico.
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One factor that drives Mexican Drug Cartels to be successful is the amount of corruption in the government its self. Through many Mexican and American news media it may look like the government is against drug cartels, but this is not always the case. There have been links showing that some Mexican drug cartels supply the current President Enrique Peña Nieto with bribe money. According to Breitbrat, “Last year, Breitbart Texas reported on an investigation that revealed that a series of shell companies had been used by members of the Juarez cartel to funnel funds into Peña Nieto’s 2012 election. The investigation was carried out by Mexican award-winning journalist Carmen Aristegui and her team; the subsequent scandal became known as Monexgate for the cash cards that were given out during Peña Nieto’s campaign. Those journalists have been under criticism by the Mexican government after discovering the cartel finance link.” (Ortiz and Darby 2017). Drug cartels help politicians get into power and in return expect them to help them out with their business. Under President Nieto, this is exactly what is happening, though he ran his campaign on the promise to get rid of Drug Cartels his actions are not supporting this since drug cartels are only getting more powerful as time goes on. Another suspicious thing that has occurred during President Nieto’s presidency is the release of top drug cartel members from Mexican Prisons, according to Breitbrat, under his power many top drug cartel members have been released from prison well before their full sentence has been served (Ortiz and Darby 2017). Another government program that is severely corrupt in Mexico is the police themselves, A study done by Vice News showed that “63 percent of Mexicans have little or no trust in their municipal police force while 66 percent view them as corrupt” (Imison 2016). There have been many examples hinting that most the police in Mexico actually work for the drug cartels through bribes. Police in Mexico don’t get paid much at all for their work most of them struggling to provide for their families, this makes bribes from the drug cartels so much more appealing. A Mexican government official was interviewed by Vice News and said, “we have no idea who they can trust," she said. "Sometimes, we fear the local police more than we fear the cartels." (Imison 2016). This causes people in Mexico to have a lack of trust in the government, so when cartels threaten their way of life they feel as if they have no one to turn too, which gives the cartels much more power. For example, let’s say a small business owner of a café in Mexico has a Cartel come up to them asking for a percentage of their profits for being on their “turf”, what are they supposed to do? If they report the problem to the police they don’t know if the police have ties with that cartel, and if they are found for being telling on the cartels the consequences are horrible. Cartels are known for hanging these people and their family’s bodies off bridges and making an example out of them to the whole town. Therefore, many people don’t even think about challenging the cartels. The government of countries should be expected to protect their own people from threats like drug cartels, but in Mexico the drug cartels and the government discreetly work together which leave the people of Mexico feeling like they have no one in their corner when it comes to problems with the Cartels.
The economy in Mexico is quite poor, according to the Business Insider at the end of 2014 nearly the bottom 20% of Mexicans, nearly 25 million people, were worth an average of 80 dollars (Woody). These people are willing to do anything to make more money to have basic needs for their families. Drug Cartels in Mexico know that these people are desperate and totally take advantage of it. According too Wired News killers hired by the drug cartels can make up to $390-$468 every two weeks, while an average job in Mexico will pay about $298 a month (Beckhusen 2013). People in Mexico are willing to work for the drug cartels for not too much money just to support their families and end up doing the dirty work like murder. Many poor people in Mexico to are untraceable, according to Brogen Magazine, “Twelve million Mexicans work in the black market and do not have access to social security, which makes them vulnerable to exploitation.” (D’Amore 2016). Many of these people being untraceable are due to the lack of government structure. If a local officer was to find out about someone working in the black market without a social security, all it takes is a little bribe money to keep these officers silent. These people are also used by the drug cartels as well to carry out their crimes because they are very hard for officials too track.
Opportunity for the youth in Mexico are very limited, many lower-class children in Mexico grow up with a sense of hopelessness. They also grow up with a lack of education, many children in the poorest parts of Mexico don’t even access to a state school. The public schools in Mexico are poorly financed through the government and many of them barely have enough to afford basic utilities for a school to properly run, according to the Brogen Project “48 percent of state schools have no access to sewage, 31 percent have no drinking water, 12.8 percent have no bathrooms or toilets and 11.2 percent have no access to electricity.” (Rolz 2016). When public schools are so poorly funded by the government many students do not get the proper educational environment that is needed. Many teachers in the Mexican school system are also not paid enough to have the motivation to care about their jobs and are poorly watched over. A study done by Borgen Magazine showed that in Mexico 13% of the teachers in the state schooling system never even show up to work, and 60% of the school’s report that their teachers are habitually absent, so for children in Mexico having no instructor in class is quite common (Perez 2016). This is most likely the reason why in Mexico children score much lower on multiple academic tests than in other countries. Therefore, the lack of commitment of education performed by these state programs leaves many kids dropping out of school at an early age with a lack of basic skills like math, reading and writing. This leaves an abundance of children and teenagers looking for a job with low amounts of skill. Unfortunately for these children and teenagers many of these low-skilled labor jobs pay very poorly in Mexico, paying barely enough to afford basic needs. This is when Drug Cartels come into play, these children and teenagers are in an ideal situation for becoming a child soldier for the Drug Cartels. These children are desperate to get out of the current situation they are in, so they do not require that much pay. The poorly educated children are also extremely easy to manipulate, according to The Fix, “The kids are often manipulated into joining the cartels, then given basic weapons instruction at training camps in remote areas. They are then put into cells led by experienced cartel soldiers, who have some prior training with the military or police.” (Ackerman 2013). These children are not a scarce resource to these Cartels, many of them are used in suicide like missions to ambush authorities, barely even knowing how to use a gun properly (Ackerman 2013). To the Cartels these child soldiers are like the low bearing fruit on a tree, they are easy to pick and in Mexico there is an abundance of these potential child soldiers. The Cartels have no value for these child’s lives and treat them as if they are totally worthless which is absolutely sickening.
There are many ways of fixing these injustices that Drug Cartels take advantage of and if they are fixed correctly they could dramatically decrease the amount of authority Drug Cartels have in Mexico. If schools in Mexico could be regulated more and better equipped financially so they could afford electricity, sewage, running water and better pay towards their teacher’s, teenagers would be coming out of school more educated which would cause them to feel less hopeless about their futures. This would minimize the number of teenagers and children joining the cartels because they could get jobs that require an educational background that pay better than what the Cartels pay. Another fixable problem is the corruption in the Mexican government, if there were to be more investigations conducted looking at the link between Drug Cartels and the Government there would be much less corruption. Mexican officials that are corrupt would either be found or less willing to make deals with the Cartels in the fear of getting caught. The last fixable problem is the overwhelming amount of poverty in Mexico, if there could be more economic reforms made to help people climb above the poverty line, many more people would be more optimistic about their futures and would not feel the need to do business or work with the Drug Cartels. Wealth distribution is also very uneven in Mexico with economic reforms on this issue wealth distribution would become more centered throughout the country. If all these solutions were to be carried out in Mexico, the Drug Cartels would essentially be no longer able to function in Mexico.
Drug cartels are morally wrong and need to be stopped, they simply take advantage of the injustices that happen in Mexico. If these injustices that are taking place in Mexico are too be minimized much of the overbearing power of the Cartels would be saturated. In Mexico when child soldiers are being put on suicide missions to fight against local authorities there is a clear association of human rights being violated. To take advantage of innocent less fortunate children and to put their lives at extreme danger just for one’s own benefit is absolutely unacceptable. It is a clear violation of respect for human life and when human life is being abused like this it shouldn’t be just Mexico’s problem, but everybody’s concern to fix it. Though all these injustices leading to the Drug Cartels being so successful in Mexico are fixable, they are not an easy fix and will take time. Mexico is a beautiful country with many amazing people living in it, it should be every country concern to not let Drug Cartels ruin the country with violence and greed. Drug Cartels are becoming too large of a force in Mexico and are threatening the country including all the amazing people living in it, this problem simply needs to be stopped before it becomes too late.
Ackerman, Macaroon. "Drug Cartels Recruit Child Soldiers." The Fix. N.p., 28 Mar. 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.
Beckhusen, Robert. "How Mexico’s Drug Cartels Recruit Child Soldiers as Young as 11." Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 28 Mar. 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.
Buitre, Alberto. "Corruption And Poverty In Mexico." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 29 Aug. 2016. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
D'Amore, Joe. "Drugs And Poverty In Mexico Are Intertwined." Borgen. Borgen Magazine, 25 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.
Ildefonso Ortiz and Brandon Darby1 Feb 20170. "U.S. Media Ignore Mexican President's Ties to Drug Cartels." Breitbart. Breitbrat, 02 Feb. 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
Imison, Paul. "Mexico's Efforts to Tackle Police Corruption Keep Failing." VICE News. Vice News, 21 Mar. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.
Linthicum, Kate. "More and more people are being murdered in Mexico - and once more drug cartels are to blame." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
Perez, Emiliano. "The State of Education in Mexico." Borgen. Borgen Magazine, 06 Dec. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.
Rolz, Isabella. "Mexico's Poverty Rate Increases." The Borgen Project. The Borgen Project, 06 Dec. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.
Woody, Christopher. "Mexico's wage crisis is so bad 'that it violates what's stipulated in the Constitution'" Business Insider. Business Insider, 02 Aug. 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.
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