As you may know, the U.S. has put the Merida Initiative underway to help the Mexican government fight their drug war — $1.6 billion over three years, with $400 million going to Mexico this year for a combination of law enforcement training and equipment, and technical advice).
This sounds like a lot of money. So, it could have a major impact, right?
Not so much, according to Stratfor, the geopolitical intelligence site.
In terms of ready cash, Mexican organized crime can beat any offer the government can make. The Mexican cartels bring in somewhere between $40 billion and $100 billion per year. The Oct. 27 announcement that 35 employees of the anti-organized crime unit (SIEDO) in the Office of the Mexican Attorney General (PGR) had been arrested and charged with corruption illustrates the fact that not even the upper reaches of government are safe from infiltration by the cartels. In this example, top officials were paid up to $450,000 per month to pass information along to a cartel involved in cocaine trafficking. This kind of money is a huge temptation in a country where annual salaries for public servants run from $10,000 for local police officers to $48,000 for senators and $220,000 for the president. Organized crime can target key individuals in the Mexican government and convince them to provide information with a combination of lucrative offers and physical threats if they do not comply.
The attempts to “improve” prohibition come up against the indefatigable power of prohibition economics.