What happens if Mexico collapses?

If you really want to stay awake at night and worry about stuff related to Mexico…here’s some bloggish food for your nightmares:

What if Mexico collapses?

Emergency management people do all sorts of pretend exercises to anticipate what to do in an emergency, what resources will be needed, and so forth.

The National Emergency exercises cover a gamut of potential events such as a nuclear weapon going off in a city to pandemics to category 5 hurricanes hitting Houston or New York Cityand so on. Of course the list of the scenarios for national disaster is a secret.

Obviously some of this emergency management planning isn’t done very well (oil well explodes in the Gulf, Category 3 hurricane hits New Orleans). But emergency management folks do anticipate all kinds of situations and make plans and hold drills just in case one of them happens. These emergency disaster drills are sometimes publicized events.

I participated in one of these exercises which was a mock terrorist attack at the Nogales border port of entry.

I will bet that various Southwestern border state and local governments and the feds have run some scenarios about “what if there’s a revolution in Mexico and millions of Mexican flee their country?”

The scenarios could pose several types of revolutions—

–a right wing revolution where people finally get sick and tired of the corruption. This leads to a military junta and a lot of impoverished left-wing Mexicans and Indians flee.

–a left wing revolution installing a Hugo Chavez type dictator in power. This leads to a lot of middle class and wealthy Mexicans fleeing their country. Ever wonder why so many wealthy Sonorans own second homes in Tucson?

–a narco state is created run by the drug cartels. This leads to everyone fleeing the country that can.

These scenarios all have roots in history. During the last Mexican revolution lots of people fled that country and ended up in the US. Ever wonder why Tucson has Yaqui Indian villages around town? During a period of student unrest in 1968 hundreds of college kids fled the country. Some of them ended up at the U of A. Right now many Mexican citizens are fleeing the drug violence across the line.

Currently, I’d have to guess the “Mexico turning into a narco-state” is the most likely game being played by emergency management planners. Others see this possibility as well.

If Mexico blows up, my guess is that the border will be overwhelmed with people trying to come north. And not just on the ground. Private planes could be landing all over the countryside…even on the freeways. We could see several hundred thousand people at our border in a matter of days if Mexico blows up.

Huge refugee camps would have to be set up all over the Southwest US. Transport would have to be arranged from the border to these refugee camps. Hundreds of thousand would have to be fed and clothed.

Solutions like SB 1070 barely scratch the surface of the really deep problems facing our border with Mexico.

The enormous drug demand from US drug users is making the Mexican drug cartels a formidable military force in Mexico. Between buying politicians and cops, and beheading the ones that don’t cooperate, there are reportedly already serious portions of Mexico that the central and state governments do not control.

The whole approach of US border policy presumes that maybe 90% of Mexico’s population actually doesn’t want to head north. Roughly ten percent of Mexico’s population has already left their country which has probably kept the dampers on a left-wing revolutionary movement like the Zapatistas from gaining much ground.

But if Mexico’s economy collapses, or the drug cartels really take over, all bets are off.

As they say in Mexico “So far from God and so close to the United States”.


About Hugh Holub

Attorney and writer.
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