Much like Blackwater’s involvement during the Iraq war, there is another rush for American muscle and security details in a region racked by violence. The clients seek protection from kidnapping, assassination, and extortion. The area of conflict isn’t in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, or any other exotic local—its actually on the North American continent. Our next door neighbor, Mexico, has been plagued by unspeakable violence at the hands of vicious drug cartels. Now many of Mexico’s citizens are fighting back with American body guards.
On its surface, the real battle in Mexico’s “War on Drugs” is between the military and the drug cartels, but like so many war zones, citizens are continually caught in the crossfire. Those who can afford protection are paying big money to American contractors who can offer protection from threats and abductions. Many of the companies offering services have reported huge increases in requests for security services in Mexico, particularly amongst government officials not provided a security detail or businessmen traveling between the United States and Mexico on business.
R. Kent Morrison, a former Navy Commando and President of a Texas based security company called BlackStone Group, noted: “What we do is focus on providing security to usually high net-worth individuals who actually have a need for security and aren’t provided that by some government entity.”
However, Mexican law complicates business for many of the U.S. firms doing security related business in Mexico. Mexico prohibits foreign nationals from carrying weapons within its borders. Therefore, groups like Blackstone are forced to subcontract their “gun slinging” needs to Mexican freelancers and local firms. Such reliance on Mexican nationals creates a host of other issues, particularly; can the freelancers be bought out by the cartels? Despite the threat, many Mexican nationals are willing to take that risk in light of the greater dangers posed by the cartels.
The violence in Mexico has become increasingly gruesome and continues to creep closer to the U.S. border. Should the United States do more than sit idly by and wait for the fight to spill into U.S. border towns or is there more that can be done in conjunction with the Mexican government? Is it ethical for Americans to work as body guards for the privileged citizens of Mexico when, for all intents and purposes, they are subject to the Mexican nationals they employ as their firepower? What can be done to protect the poor of Mexico who have no choice but to live in fear of violence with no hope of protection?
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