Rise of the Mexican Drug Trade

Foreign EntanglementsI’ve posted on numerous occasions why I think the so-called War on Drugs actually promotes criminal activity and engenders huge amounts of violence. I’ve also talked about how my Libertarian philosophy suggests that the United States should not be involved in the internal affairs of foreign countries; even those that are our enemies.

Those two ideas came to a surprising conjunction when I happened to be watching a Hulu show called Bordertown: Laredo and did a little research. It’s a story that is so incredible it can only be true. No one can make this stuff up.

In the 1980’s the most profitable drug was cocaine and the production and distribution of this came primarily from a Columbian drug organization called the Medellin Cartel headed by a fellow named Pablo Escobar. At this time Mexico was not a significant drug supplier to the United States.

Meanwhile, in the country of Nicaragua a fellow named Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista government supported Cuba and their communist agenda. President Reagan decided that we would fund a guerilla organization called the Contras in an attempt to overthrow this government. The Sandinistas and Ortega came into power in 1979 and President Carter agreed to allow the government to pursue its agenda without sanctions. Reagan reversed this policy.

Following so far?

Impartial organizations claimed that the elections in Nicaragua were fair and free although the Reagan administration disputed this and provided financial aid and military training to the Contras. In 1983 the U.S. Congress forbid any more funding on the Contras. The Reagan administration refused to admit defeat and began to channel funds to the rebels through outside sources including selling Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to Iran which led the Iran-Contra scandal although this is outside the scope of today’s post.

Meanwhile, it turns out there was a fellow in Mexico who was helping fund the Contras. His name was Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. Gallardo was a high-level security official in the government of Mexico and, because of his generous donations to the Contras, immune to interdiction from the CIA. In addition to helping President Reagan fund the Contras he was also working directly with the Medellin Cartel to bring cocaine to the United States.

Gallardo essentially created the entire Mexican drug cartel organization that exists today. This is the organization that is behind the vast majority of drugs that are shipped into the U.S. and commits much of the horrific violence that pervades Mexico. The violence funded by the massive appetite for illegal drugs in the U.S. and carried out largely with guns manufactured in the U.S. and smuggled into Mexico. Gallardo’s activities were apparently known to the CIA and other U.S. agencies but allowed to continue because he was giving large amounts of money to the Contras.

Gallardo ordered the capture, torture, and murder of U.S. DEA agent Enrique Carmarena. For this he was arrested and eventually convicted. This led to the splintering of his organization and the Mexican drug wars we see today.

As an aside, a fellow named Oliver North in addition to helping funnel money from Iran weapon sales to the Contras was also in contact with Panamanian strong-man Manuel Noriega who was eventually brought to trial in the United States. There is some evidence to suggest that North was at least aware of the distribution of cocaine into the United States from Panama and allowed it to happen because some of this money was also given to the Contras.

Meanwhile the funding for the Contras to overthrow the apparently fairly elected government of Nicaragua was eventually stopped by the Iran-Contra scandal. However, we continued to support anti-Sandinista efforts and achieved election “victory” as Ortega was defeated in 1996. To this day the United States is trying to influence politics in Nicaragua against the Sandinista government which came back into power in 2006.

I don’t mean to suggest that President Reagan wanted to create the drug situation we now face but I strongly argue that his policies led directly to it. The best intentions often lead to horrible results. No one can say that the Mexican drug cartels would not have arisen even without U.S. policies towards Nicaragua but the results of that meddling are undeniable.

We should stay out of the internal affairs of other nations even if those nations are our enemies. Our meddling does us no good and often results in real harm. Oh, and we should make all drugs legal; manufacture, distribute, and tax them in the same way we do any of our legal drugs.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt

Home Team Blackouts

BlackoutIt was a happy day for me when my Uverse was finally installed after much bickering with AT&T. I gave up my television years ago and streaming sports on ESPN3 was choppy and Hulu television troublesome on my old DSL connection.

My beloved World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals are in Spring Training as I write this and I haven’t been able to watch most of their games for the last couple of years. I certainly got my high-speed connection for a number of reasons and watching the Birds on the Bat was one of those.

Major League Baseball offers an internet package where, for $124.99, you can watch every game of every team streaming on your computer, tablet, phone or other device. Imagine my joy. I get to watch my World Series Champion Cardinals play every game! Then I clicked on the little blackout link and read this:

All live games on MLB.TV and available through MLB.com At Bat are subject to local blackouts. Such live games will be blacked out in each applicable Club’s home television territory, regardless of whether that Club is playing at home or away.

It goes on to mention the blackout applies even if the game isn’t televised. Home or away? Televised or not? Sold-out or not? I can’t watch the Cardinals!?

I’ve got $124.99 burning a hole in pocket to watch the 11 time World Series Champion Cardinals. Take my money, please?

Ok, wait, catching breath, bulging eyes recessing, fist pounding abating, let’s look at this rational, from a critical perspective. Perhaps MLB is justified in this policy. Think, Tom, don’t scream and rant like a radio talk-show host who would sell his mother into slavery to get a ratings point.

First stop, MLB Blackout policy page of Wikipedia. Have I mentioned my love of Wikipedia? Calmly reading. Keep blood pressure under wraps. Learn rational reasons behind policy. Keep calm … calm … soft music … calming waves … soothing … EXCLUSIVE TERRITORIAL RIGHTS! What? What? What?

Do we live in Communist Russia? Wait, stop , be rational, Russia isn’t communist any more … Do we live in Communist China? Socialism? Media control? Freedom Revoked?

Ok, breath slowly, long breaths, I mean, technically, television broadcast in St. Louis city could somehow be seen to be owned by the local team … the ENTIRE STATE OF IOWA blacked out for Cardinals, Cubs, Twins, Royals, White Sox and Brewers. HEAD EXPLODING!

Freedom being taken away, grab rifle, oh wait unarmed, maybe good thing, calm, calm, soothing sounds, ocean, babbling brook.

I know, let’s look at the easy to understand map of blackouts … ARGHHH … BUNNIES MUST DIE … DIE … DIE!!

Wipe frothing away from mouth, think happy thoughts, don’t kick cat, it’s going to be all right. There has to be a rational explanation, doesn’t there?

What is the idea? Ok, here we go, a broadcaster pays for the right to exclusively show the games on their channel. That’s capitalism, NBC shows, CBS shows, FOX shows. But, wait, don’t they stream on Hulu? I mean, the idea is get as much revenue as possible, isn’t it? Isn’t my $124.99 lost revenue? There are plenty of World Series Champion Cardinals fans all over from the great states of Iowa, Arkansas, Tennesse, Kentucky, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Southern Illinois, isn’t that a lot of $124.99s? Wouldn’t it be easy for MLB to distribute a percentage of that money to the broadcasters? I mean, that’s a lot of lost revenue.

If you think I’m a diehard Cardinals fan you haven’t been to Germantown, Illinois! You haven’t been to Busch Stadium after a Cardinals win to see a family of four, kids decked out in Cardinal gear, taking pictures for their once a year trip to St. Louis from Lawton, Oklahoma to see the Birds on the Bat.

This policy is denying all those fans the opportunity to watch the Cardinals. It is denying the children of die-hard Cardinals fans from all over the midwest the chance to learn, like their parents, to love the best team in baseball (Shut yer yaps, yuse Yankee bums). It is killing marketing, it is throwing money away! Do you not want more fans?

Why are the Cardinals so beloved all over the midwest and beyond? Because KMOX radio was a clear channel signal that broadcast the games to all those areas, that’s why. Now, we live in the television era and you want to LIMIT BROADCASTING of games only to areas nowhere near the actual team? Where does that make any sense? MLB, broadcasters, work out a deal, there is money on the table. There are millions of fans waiting to be made. This is capitalism! This is marketing. This is America! Isn’t it?

Why does Fox Sports Midwest care where anyone watches the game? My tv, my computer, my phone, my tablet? It doesn’t make any sense! You want more audience, do you hear me, MORE AUDIENCE! Not less. More. Do you see? Hands shaking … must calm down.

Shower, must have cold shower, brain exploding, stupid, morons, idiots, more audience, spasm-spasm, more audience, more revenue, spasm-spasm, can’t understand, does not compute, spasm-twitch-spasm-twitch-twitch-spasm … more audience … more revenue … twitch-spasm-spasm.

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Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist