Much of what is known about Mexico and what happens on that side of the border, in the stereotypical yellow tint, is learned through Hollywood. Heroic tales of American law enforcement agents going in and hunting sicarios and busting cartels are common plotlines for action movies or Netflix series. While the violence often portrayed is real and rampant in Mexico, the reasoning behind it is usually ignored, thus spawns this crude image of evil south of the border.
In a compelling podcast series for Reveal, journalist Anayansi Diaz-Cortes dives into an infamous case involving all these conventional elements of Mexican crime: drugs, corrupt police and horrific violence. She explains, however, in this episode of Scheer Intelligence with host Robert Scheer, that while this took place in Mexico, much of the blame falls on American policy enforcing the war on drugs, along with a host of other insidious factors.
The case of Ayotzinapa, where, in 2014, 43 college students were disappeared after commandeering a bus for a school field trip, is “a paradigmatic case that begins a movement around the now over 100,000 people disappeared in Mexico—officially to date—as a product of the war on drugs,” says Diaz-Cortes. “...more than 90% of these cases of forced disappearance happened after 2006. This is after the Merida Initiative between the U.S. and Mexico to effectively militarize Mexico, to counter the war on drugs and criminalize the war on drugs.”
Diaz-Cortes elaborates on the role of U.S. policy in creating incidents like Ayotzinapa and explains the lack of accountability and impunity that exists for those responsible. “Instead of a U.S. policy gearing toward supporting local judicial branches, it's gone through militarization, through more helicopters, more guns. And that has only increased death and forced disappearances.”
The policies, Diaz-Cortes says, “only failed, they've only led to bloodshed. And this case is the prime example of that, because this case got all the privilege of international attention. It has Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and the National Security Archive digging in. What happens to all the other cases? Absolutely nothing.”