History repeats itself; It’s déjà vu all over again, When you come to a fork in the road, take it. Mexicans didn’t cross the border, the border, it crossed them. Cliches that they are, we live by them.
A hundred years ago Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa raised entire armies, defeated Mexican federal soldiers throughout Northern Mexico. His troops were famous for frontal cavalry charges that worked time after time, at great cost. His most famous battle victory came at Mexico’s silver capitol, Zacatecas, where his men climbed almost vertical mountains to defeat the federales in a battle studied by the world’s military, including that of the United States.
Villa’s “Division del Norte” was responsible for the Revolution’s success. Dictator Profirio Diaz’ fled the country and Villa’s hero, Francisco Madero became President only to be assassinated shortly thereafter.
In 1915, betrayed by fellow revolutionaries, the corrupt Venustiano Carranza and Alvaro Obregon, Villa rode again with a new peasant army. Warfare, however, had changed in the intervening years from bloody lessons learned in the Great European war (1914).
Villa had not changed. He planned a frontal cavalry assault on the border town of Agua Prieta . He did not know that American President Woodrow Wilson had personally given Mexican soldiers permission to transit on an American railroad from El Paso, Texas, to Arizona under cover of darkness. They surreptitiously crossed back into Mexico and surprised Villa’s army.
Villa’s horsemen were cut down by a regiment of well-armed machine gun-equipped infantry when he had only expected a handful of soldiers. Villa lost that battle, then another at Celaya. He never regained his previous place in Mexican history that he dominated between 1910 and 1915. His army – “El Division del Norte” — swept the Mexican army out of his way when conquering every square inch of Mexico from the border to Mexico City.
Now, in 2011 Mexico has come upon a fork in the road of history and it has taken it. In actuality it is “déjà vu” all over again. This time the enemy is drug cartels armed with weapons stolen from the Mexican and Guatemalan armies or bought in the U.S. under the supervising eyes of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) federal agents.
Some 40,000 people have died in the drug wars initiated by President Felipe Calderon in 2006, mostly by criminals not the government.
The enemy: cartels propped up with millions of dollars spent on their drugs by weak-minded stupid Americans who need the South American cocaine and the tons of meth the cartels sell.
With their money, the cartels buy weapons, police, federal agents, Mexican government officials and American government employees. They don’t, however, buy enough Mexican government officials.
President Calderon developed a three-pronged campaign that is finally showing results.
The first prong is to find, kill or arrest cartel leaders, one by one. As the cartels infiltrated the Army, the Mexican Navy and its Marines have taken over the fight because they have proven to be incorruptible. Marines are kept on base until the last minute and flown uninformed hundreds, thousands of kilometers to the target attack cartel organizations with orders to arrest if possible, kill if not.
The second prong is to extradite over 400 drug cartel principals to the U.S. of A where the Mexican government knows they won’t walk out of prison in organized “escapes” for which Mexican prisons are famous. Extradition started with President Fox and accelerated under Calderon.
The new third prong is a variation of the first. It also repeats the history making transit of Mexican federal troops from El Paso to Agua Prieta almost a hundred years ago that defeated Pancho Villa.
Mexican Navy officers, Marines and some soldiers are infiltrated on foot or by car into the United States individually or in pairs in civilian clothes through borders cities like Tijuana, or by flights from Mexico City directly to Los Angeles and San Diego. They are met by civilian-clothed American military or CIA/DEA operatives and taken to the famous Marine Base outside San Diego, Camp Pendleton, where they are trained and equipped. When it is time for a mission, they are flown in assault helicopters to their target areas and helped by civilian-clothed Americans (based in Mexico) in carrying out their attacks and missions.
The George W. Bush White House conceived this program. Partisan (read Democrat under Obama) delays kept the program from implementation until thousands more Mexicans were slaughtered by cartel gunmen.
The program is hugely successful. Prisons in the U.S. hold cartel criminals. The cartels have peaked. Only a 2012 Presidential victory of the out-of-office PRI party that invented the drug cartels to begin with will cause Mexicans to lose the drug wars they are now winning. ###
Contreras’ book “A Hispanic View: Is Mexico Burning?” is available at amazon.com