Mexico is a country in crisis. Capitalizing on weakened public institutions, widespread unemployment, a state of lawlessness, and the strengthening of links between Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, narcotrafficking in the country has flourished during the post-1982 neoliberal era. In fact, it has become Mexico's biggest source of revenue, as well as its most violent, with an astonishing 9,000 drug-related executions in 2009 alone.
In response, Mexican president Felipe Calderón, armed with millions of dollars in military aid supplied by the US government, has attempted to launch a "crackdown," ostensibly to combat the power of organized crime. Despite this, human rights violations have increased, as has the murder rate, making Ciudad Juárez on the northern border the most dangerous city on the planet. Meanwhile, the supply of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine has continued to increase. And yet, both the Mexican and US governments pour money into a drug war fought by an army with a track record of violating human rights and having close links to the drug cartels. In this insightful and controversial book, Watt and Zepeda throw new light on the situation, contending that the "drug war" in Mexico is in fact the pretext for a bi-national strategy to bolster unpopular neoliberal policies, a weak yet authoritarian government and a radically unfair status quo.