Thanks to the show's multiple story-lines, the audience knows that White is taking even more life-threatening risks than he knows about. Moreover, his brother-in-law DEA agent also has good reason to exhibit fear.
These drug cartels will stop at nothing to have their way.
In the stack of materials I've meant to blog, I found a December 2009 Atlantic article by Philip Caputo that provides real-life background for the power of the Mexican drug cartels:
Dr. Edgardo Buscaglia, a law professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute in Mexico City and a senior legal and economic adviser to the UN and the World Bank, concluded in a recent report that 17 of Mexico’s 31 states have become virtual narco-republics, where organized crime has infiltrated government, the courts, and the police so extensively that there is almost no way they can be cleaned up. The drug gangs have acquired a “military capacity” that enables them to confront the army on an almost equal footing.While narco-republics on the southern U.S. border pose a very big problem, Caputo cites experts who believe that Mexico could become a failed state and thus pose an Af-Pak-like security problem::
“This in itself does not prove that we are in a situation of a failed state today,” Buscaglia wrote. He seemed to be suggesting that the situation could change tomorrow—and not for the better.
In the past year, experts like General Barry McCaffrey (the drug czar in the Clinton administration) and political figures have warned that if the cartels are not contained, Mexico could become a failed state and the U.S. could find itself with an Afghanistan or a Pakistan on its southern border. Such forecasts are hyperbole, but the fact is that drug trafficking and its attendant corruption are a malignancy that has spread into Mexico’s lymph system.
** I'm only partway through season 3 -- AMC will run episodes 5 and 6 later this week, which my DVR will record -- as the network prepares to debut season 4 in July.
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