Posted on August 6, 2015


When I was in the Air Force we commonly used the expression SNAFU—situation normal, all fucked up—to describe everything from conflicting orders of the day to mess hall meals. The abnormal was normal; if shit could happen, it happened. No matter how much one strived to get things right, to get things done, gremlins interfered. Officers covering their asses for mistakes they’d made lied or blamed enlisted men. Enlisted men blamed officers or obsolete equipment or lack of supplies. Everybody made good as best they could but always with the premonition that things were about to come apart. Or had come apart and those responsible hadn’t yet noticed.

No better term than SNAFU could be devised to describe the political situation in Mexico today. In Hidden Dangers, Mexico on the Brink of Disaster (Sunbury, 2014) I described the perils that the country and its close associate, the United States, created with a misguided war on drugs that focused on symptoms and not causes. The war on drugs created a many-headed monster—the so-called cartels—that gradually were assuming control of huge sectors of the geography and of the country’s economy.

Rather than getting better this situation has worsened. In Michoacan and Guerrero Mexico’s federal government represses and arrests community defenders, opening more avenues for criminal organizations to function. Ten thousand Mexican soldiers armed with weapons provided by the United States to combat drug organizations enforce arbitrary takeovers of the state of Oaxaca’s schools. Corruption is rampant. The President and members of Congress no longer attempt to conceal it. Over the past five years poverty has increased dramatically and the gap between the poor and the rich has widened. Oil prices have plummeted, forcing governmental cutbacks of social programs that already were insufficient.

Hidden Dangers analyses in easy to read journalistic terms how the snafus in Mexico developed and how they affect both that country and the United States. One looks for a light at the end of the tunnel but if it exists it’s very dim.

Or totally snafu-ed.

Posted in: Hidden Dangers