The Mexican government’s response to the deadly flooding that has displaced tens of thousands from their homes in the state of Tabasco would have been more effective if not for the U.S.-sponsored war on drugs in that country, argues Gregory Berger Some major media outlets have praised President Felipe Calderon’s response, but Berger counters that more federal troops could have been deployed to help if they weren’t dispersed throughout the country fighting the war on drugs. Berger writes:
Local authorities’ resources are stretched far beyond their capacity, and they are in desperate need of help. 15,000 extra pairs of hands would save many, many lives. Instead, the soldiers that could be there are busy ripping apart the contents of the pickup trucks of poor Indians at checkpoints in Chihuahua, as their superior officers cavort with the real drug traffickers.
In a follow-up post, Berger notes that the Partido Revolucionario Institucional’s “incompetent” response to the massive 1985 earthquake in Mexico City ultimately led to the party losing its decades-long grip on federal power. A similar voter backlash, Berger suggests, could be ignited by the fallout from the Tabasco floods.
For those interested in offering support to humanitarian relief efforts in Tabasco, the American Red Cross is collecting donations, and
, a Mexican blog that has been monitoring developments in Tabasco, links to a number of other nongovernmental organizations working there. —Jason Ericson