Extremism viewed from Mexico

mexico flagIt seems that the 21st Century is the century of radicalism and extremism. Although all extremes are wrong, they all have a common cause. All latest news have been focusing on new extremists movements, but there are some, in Mexico, for example, that have existed for a long time. Mexico is well known for its drug traffic, a problem against which the government and the population have been fighting for a long time now. Nevertheless, this is not the only “extremism” that can be found in what once was the big Tenochtitlán. Indeed, two other groups, maybe not as big but equally important, are present in the country. These groups are the eco-extremists and the Zapatistas. It is important to say that Mexico is considered the third country most attacked by terrorism in Latin America, after Colombia and Paraguay, and number 44 at a worldwide scale. This shows that the country is far from being free of extremists.

The drug traffic started in the late 1930’s, when Mexico started exporting great quantities of alcohol and drugs to the United States, because of the Prohibition Law at the time. Ever since, the groups in charge of the traffic have been developing their strategies, and perfected the mechanisms to transport any kind of illicit merchandise. In the late 1980’s, former navy and army members started taking part in these groups, increasing the magnitude of the traffic. Nevertheless, there have always been problems and “wars” between these groups, which creates violence wherever they are installed. Eco-extremism is a movement that has been developing since 2007, when a group of people started attacking big industries acting against the environment, as well as scientific industries developing pesticides or any kind of products and machines used in mass production, therefore affecting the environment.

The Zapatist movement had been an ideology since late 1980’s, but only in 1994 did the movement really grew. Indeed, it is a group that reunites indigenous land workers, intending to create a political structure that would allow land workers to own their land and to decide over how it is used and how they organize their work. This movement emerged due to the extreme exploitation and terrible working conditions forced on farmers (the ideology of the group can be compared to the collectivism proposed by the Russians in the late 1920’s). 

As the drug traffic organizations, the Zapatist and eco-extremists groups also gain an extra source of income thanks to their activism. Most people belonging to drug traffic groups come from very poor neighborhoods, and they try theor best to get out of poverty. Even little kids want to belong to these groups when they grow older, because they see this as their only opportunity. It is a market that has been growing, and demand for drugs and alcohol is still high in countries like the United States, or European countries.

Concerning eco-extremism, its motives can be summed up to defense and respect of nature. Being against christianity and religious practices that use natural resources and nature in excess, they are against progressivism, among other things. They act through extreme violence. Nevertheless, they call themselves a “tendency”, a fashion, but not a theory nor a rule in any way (this, in order to attract more people to their cause and don’t discriminate any member).

The government has been trying to tackle down drug traffic, installing more border control, and raising the military budget. Nevertheless, this hasn’t proved to be enough to fight this internal war affecting the entire population. Indeed, the people in the affected cities, feeling unprotected by the government, run to Mexico City, the capital, for safety. The “endangered” zones, either by drug traffic fights or violent Zapatist movements, lose their tourism, and make people run away from it.

– by Wendy T.