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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mexican Independence, Is Everybody Happy?

At 11:00pm tonight, millions of people will gather in state capitals and cities all across Mexico to reenact the famous "Grito de Independencia."

It was 200 years ago this year, in a little town then known simply as Dolores, Mexico that Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, called the nation to fight for independence from Spain with his famous Grito, or shout.

Here's a short video of former President Vicente Fox issuing the Grito from the exact place Hidalgo stood 200 years ago, that little town of Dolores.

But tonight, and tomorrow as the country celebrates, all is not well. Oh sure, people will take off work, go on picnics, visit friends and family, but underneath the surface there will be unease.

Worries about security, lack of jobs, governmental corruption, poverty, and thousands of people either missing or dead in a seemingly never ending drug war are always there. Just below the surface.

For many, they will celebrate, but there will be no joy as chronicled in this story from CNN.

Tonight, as President Felipe Calderone, still perceived by many to be an illegitimate president, issues the Grito, there will be another Grito in the hearts of many of my Mexican brothers, sisters, and friends.

And it will not be the pretty Grito you will see tonight on the evening news.

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Comments on "Mexican Independence, Is Everybody Happy?"


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (11:17 AM) : 

From US media reports it sounds as if Mexico is being over run by drug lords; a place dangerous both to visit and live in.
Given your familiarity with the country, what has led to this..and what is the cure?


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (12:13 PM) : 

BB, that question is huge.

Let's start at the top.

Mexico, like any other country has areas that are extremely dangerous. There are certainly areas I would avoid at all costs, just like I would avoid certain areas of Detroit at all costs.

But the majority of the country is peaceful and safe. I would not hesitate to live there full time.

But, and this is a huge but, the drug problem is huge.

Because the appetite for drugs in the US is huge.

Mexico is neither a big drug using, or producing country.

It is a transportation and distribution hub.

Much like the Caribbean was not so long ago.

What is the cure? We are going to have to cut the demand.

This is a simple case of supply side economics. Where there is demand, the smart businessman will always find a way to provide a product to satisfy that demand.

How we are going to do that I do not know.

But I do know that if we simply choke off the supply routes like we did in the Gulf years ago, those routes will just shift to another region of the world.


Blogger TAO said ... (3:35 PM) : 

Well, I came over here to ask you the same question BB did...

I really have no idea how big of a problem drugs are...but when every day you here about another local meth lab being busted and then the ever constant news from Mexico...

You sometimes wonder if you are the one and only individual not doing drugs...

What drugs are they bringing over from Mexico? If its marijuana and we legalize marijuana then wouldn't that help?


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (3:47 PM) : 

Yes Tao, marijuana is a pretty big part of the problem, and legalizing it would be pretty big.

But cocaine and meth, made in the jungles of columbia, are also big contributors.

Most of the violence is focused in a few states in northeast Mexico.

Specifically the areas around Juarez, Monterrey, and Tampico. Stuff on the Tijuana side has pretty much died down...


Blogger Just a conservative girl said ... (11:27 AM) : 

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Blogger tha malcontent said ... (1:08 PM) : 

"Mexican Independence, Is Everybody Happy?"

Funny, I thought that it was
Constitution Day, the day that commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787.
I guess I was wrong. That's what happens when I get brain-washed by these Right-Wing Nuts.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (2:07 PM) : 

Actually, Mal, Thursday was Mexico's Constitution Day also...

100 years...

I had a conversation with a group of students a few years back in Mexico. These were well educated upper class folks.

As we talked about the Constitution here and in Mexico, the students told me that their document was copied from ours, the only difference being that it was a poor copy...


Blogger tha malcontent said ... (7:36 AM) : 

This comment has been removed by the author.


Blogger tha malcontent said ... (7:40 AM) : 

Mexico has a Constitution? Dose it say anything about jumping the boarder?


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (11:59 AM) : 

Mal, as I've said many times on yours and others blogs, there are no simple answers to issues like immigration.

Unless and until both sides are honest about this, we will be able to resolve these issues.

Many conservatives are quick to respond that all we need to do is enforce our laws and block entrance, and to a certain degree, that will certainly limit people coming in.

It will not however solve the problem, or deal with the ways the US has, and currently, negatively impacting the Mexican economy.

If we were to deal with those issues here, many Mexicans would not feel the need to look elsewhere for work.

The simple facts, and these are facts, not opinion, are that our farm policies, supported by both the GOP and the Democrats are killing jobs in Mexico.

But since our election process starts in Iowa, a big farming state, don't expect to see the elimination of the farm subsidies that are causing widespread unemployment amongst the Mexican farming community.


Blogger Lista said ... (4:54 PM) : 

You Know, I have Never Heard this Side of the Issue Before. I've been Frustrated with the Liberal Bias of the US Media, yet haven't Considered Much what else we are not being Told about the Affects of our Policies on other Countries.

So you are Saying that what we Need to do is Eliminate Farm Subsidies and that will Help to Boost the Mexican Economy?

Unfortunately, Farm Subsidies is not my Area of Expertise. I Studied the Rational Behind it Once in an Economy Class, but have Forgotten now exactly what it was that I Learned.

All I Know is that when Farmers are Paid not to Grow Certain Things, this Helps to Keep the Price of Certain Crops from going so Low that the Crops are Worthless.

There is Probably a lot more to this Issue than that and I'm revealing my Ignorance, but Oh Well.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (8:47 AM) : 

Subsidies do exactly what you described Lista.

They keep prices artificially high so farmers are guaranteed a minimum amount of income.

Now these subsidies were set up years ago when a majority of our farmers were family guys, but of course those subsidies today help big firms like Con-Agra, Monsanto, and a host of other large scale corporate farming interests.

This is one reason I get so ticked off when conservatives rail about President Obama being a Socialist and the King of bailouts.

What are subsidies if they are bailouts for farmers and isn't a guaranteed bottom rate for your product, that is set by the state, regardless of demand, already socialistic?

Of course it is. Will we ever change it? I doubt it because our first big Presidential contest every four years is in Iowa, our largest corn growing state.

And yes, our farm subsidies, if they were eliminated, would be a huge help to the Mexican farmer, allowing him to compete on a level playing field.

Here's a better explanation on one of my earlier posts.


Personally, I work on this stuff in Mexico. I direct a ministry that has a small corn demonstration farm growing corn right now in Southern Mexico.

The stuff of which I speak, I have seen first hand.

These are the things that I mean when I say it is not all black and white or as easy as people want to believe it is to solve our problems.

Thanks for stopping by...


Blogger Lista said ... (9:08 AM) : 

A Know a Lot of Conservatives that are Opposed to Subsidies, so I'm not so Sure that that is a Partisan Issue any more.

I'll Read the Post that you have Referred me to, yet for now, I'm having Trouble Understanding why Keeping the Price Up on Certain Crops wouldn't Help all Farmers Regardless of what Country they are in.

"Thanks for Stopping By"

Sure Any Time.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (9:30 AM) : 

Here's why keeping the price up is a bad thing.

Because the price of US corn is kept artificially high by our government, outside corn cannot compete pricewise with US corn.

It costs a certain amount of money to grow corn, and with price supports, US agrabusiness does not have to be profitable with the actual corn business as the subsidies will cover losses.

Also, because the US farmer can sell his corn at below market prices internationally, he can actually sell below the price that a Mexican farmer must get for his corn, thus putting Juan out of business.

Now as I point out in the other posting, when Mexico tried to do the same thing as the US does, only with sugar, we took them to the world court and forced them to end that practice, thereby killing their sugar industry, because we sell really cheap high fructose corn syrup, or shall we say, sweetener made from subsidized corn.

All of this of course, then leads to people coming north to work in the very businesses here that are responsible for putting them out of work in their own country.


Blogger Lista said ... (1:26 PM) : 

I guess that "Keeping the Price Up" in the US does not "Keep the Price Up" in Other Countries. Somehow the Supply is Only Controlled in the US.

It's just that Retailers Should be Able to Buy Cheaper Crops from Other Countries when Crops in this Country are too High. So it must be a Limited Trade Thing, rather than Just a Subsidy Thing.

If the US is allowed to Subsidize, but Mexico is not, then that is Quite Hypocritical.

How Ironic that when we Actually Set up Missions to "Teach the Poor how to Fish", rather than just Giving them Fish, the Poor are Still not Able to get anywhere because of some Government Policy. That's just so typical. Isn't it?

Why can't Mexico Take the US to "the World Court"?


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (3:24 PM) : 

Ah... the world court and the US...

First off, we only recognize their decisions when they benefit our side.

As for corn, it was grandfathered in in a way that precludes other countries from taking us to court on that issue.

As i pointed out in my other referenced post, when Mexico took the US to the World Court on sugar, they lost, because clearly they were imposing tariffs.

As one scholar said, Mexico did not have a chance. The law was on the US, but fairness was on Mexico's side.

This is big business stuff here, and the US plays to win on the world stage.


Blogger Lista said ... (4:12 PM) : 

You Make America Sound Like a Control Freak.

I Wonder if we Treated Other Countries Better when we Used to Allow Prayer in this Country, like in Schools and such.

For the Most Part America has been a Very Giving Nation throughout History.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:27 PM) : 

We still are a very giving country Lista, just not the perfect partner many think...


Blogger Lista said ... (8:34 AM) : 

Well, No Body's Perfect.


Blogger Lista said ... (11:58 AM) : 

I've Continued Our Conversation on Farm Subsidies on your Other Post...

MaĆ­z, Corn, and Immigration

And BTW, not Only have I not been Able to Find your Email Address. I also have not been able to Find a Link to your Home Page from your Individual Posts.


Blogger Z said ... (8:52 PM) : 

I'm not up on subsidies at all, but I will say that I get tired of knowing there are silos full of food that's not released because of something to do with prices and I"d rather have that food be shipped to the poor (HERE) than let it rot in silos.
I have a hard time believing the demand for drugs is so high here and I sometimes wonder if that's really true...or something stranger is going on.


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