- June 17, 2020
`Midnight in Mexico` by Alfredo Corchado
‘Midnightin Mexico’ by Alfredo Corchado
AlfredoCorchado is a leading Mexican-American reporter on issues ofimmigration, corruption, and matters affecting national security suchas drug violence, which threaten the security of communities livingalong Mexico’s border.
InChapter 1, Corchado uses the title ‘Midnight in Mexico as a literalreference to a journalist who explains about dangerous efforts inreporting about Mexico’s drug wars. The chapter pays attention toparticular person and his deep love for his homeland. In the end ofthe book, the author uses the title as a metaphor to represent thevolatile relationship between Mexico and United States by using thetitle to represent general Mexico. He uses the title not to show alife a particular character, but that of the Mexicans who live in acountry full of drug wars and violence.
Thebook focuses on three major events in Mexico. They include NAFTA,2000 election, cartelsrealizeand culture. Mexicans hoped that pushingof NAFTA would help the country keep from migrating to U.S. It wasaimed at keeping immigrants home and employing them in Mexico.However, NAFTA led to poor competition as it brought subsidized cornfrom Iowa, making it impossible for Mexico’s corn farmer tocompete. During the 2000 election, people were hoping that Mexicowill counter the decades of cartel control. It put an oppositionparty in power for the first time. People hoped to remove a PRIgovernment, which collaborated with drug cartels by sharing profitsand allowing them to conduct their drug trade peacefully. The cartelshad a great control in Mexico. They had killed many hundreds duringtheir wars. According to Corchado, President Fox fight on cartelscreated chaos. It led to the continuation of cultural violence inMexico, which had existed due to weakness and division of PRI party. the due to new PAN government. The cartels took the rule of law andstarted running wild as they fought amongst each other.
Ithink that the writer’s statement that Americans could not give ashit about anything to do with Mexico unless it affects their beachtime is not a valid criticism. First, Americans have to care aboutMexico since the two countries are neighbors. They have to beconcerned about violence in Mexico since the immigrants move toAmerica where they create competition to the Americans. In the book,it is an American soldier who warns Corchado about the threat he isin. This symbolically show that Americans care about Mexicans. Theconflict between the two countries dates back to around 1840s duringthe time of President James Polk. The war between the countries sawMexico loose about one-third of its territories to U.S. Bordermanagement and drug war has made the two countries to continue beingin conflict even today. Another reason for distrust is dishonesty,mainly by U.S soldiers sent to Mexico to help end drug trade. This isevident in the book where Corchado learns from American soldier thata gang is out to kill him (Corchado80).This made the author to realize that soldiers and cartels have arelationship, thus increasing the distrust between Mexico andAmerica, as the soldiers betray the trust put on them by Mexicans.
Accordingto the author, Mexico saw an emergence of cartels during the time oflong-ruling party (PRI). The government shared profits with thecartels in exchange for safe and peaceful drug trade. The cartel`sability to control the government made them flourish. PRI had alsogrown older and divided. These divisions in government gave cartelsan avenue to conduct their drug trade. Further, there was a growingdemand for the drugs in U.S, which gave cartels a ready market. Thegovernment was also weak and decentralized, which allowed cartels totake the rule of law. According to the book, Zetas Cartel is thenumber two drug cartel. It utilizes intimidation tactics like theydid to Corchado to conceal government corruption activities, whichwould risk their ability to conduct work. According to the author,Sinaloa cartel is the largest drug cartel operating mainly in Mexicoand South America.
PresidentVincent Fox’s administration in Mexico saw many institutionseliminated. He encouraged freedom of speech and transparency. He wasuncooperative with drug cartels like the ruler before him, PresidentFelipe Calderon. Calderon’s administration was full of corruptionand tolerance for drug cartels. The government shared profits withthe cartels. Calderon’s administration was also full of violencewith around 80,000 people losing their lives. They both utilizedmilitaristic approach. This leadership style by the two saw violencein Mexico due wars between cartels and government. The currentpresident of Mexico, Pena Nieto has failed to remove drug violence,poverty, and corruption in Mexico. The country faces human rightsabuses with cartel massacres on the rise. He seems to lack theintelligence of fighting cartels. This has seen kidnappings andmurders of innocent civilians as cartel violence spill onto publicstreets. Poor governance by Nieto’s administration has seendisappearance of students, increased corruption and scandals aspolice officials continue to collude with drug trafficking gangs.Poverty continues to affect the Mexicans due to poor state welfare,as black market and difficulty in starting business has slowed downthe fight against poverty in the country.
Corchado,Alfredo. Midnightin Mexico: A reporter`s journey through a country`s descent intodarkness.Penguin, 2013.