I’ve been in contact with a couple of western private security contractors recently, and they say that folks out in Afghanistan and Iraq are increasingly looking at Mexico as a good future option. “The future of western private security companies in Iraq is bleak,” says one contractor. “If we can establish a toe hold in Mexico and South America it could evolve into a bright future for all concerned.”
This isn’t particularly surprising, but it does make one wonder what Mexico could turn into. What no one wants is a Blackwater-type situation there, where private security folks simply go in guns blazing and enjoy shooting up shit (not to mention, people). There’s the issue of sovereignty, of course, and no doubt some Mexicans would come out strongly against private security operatives on their turf (when Blackwater started building its training facility near the border outside of San Diego a few years back, the press in Mexico went crazy out of fear, and rightly so, in my opinion.) In addition, there are already enough vigilante-types operating in Mexico; the last thing anyone needs is a bunch of trigger-happy foreign mercenaries taking potshots at anyone who looks, talks or walks like a narco. Or just someone they don’t like the look of.
That said, if all is done by the book, then these companies could very well be welcome and should be: Pemex has had pipelines pilfered by Los Zetas and other rebel groups in the past, while most US firms insist their employees ride around with security these days. With fake military and federal police checkpoints apparently becoming increasingly common, having some serious security guys on the ground would do everyone wonders. While most foreign investment to Mexico has continued to flood in despite security concerns, a survey of 220 private U.S. companies (conducted by the State Department) showed that 15 percent of those companies have postponed investments or other plans, Reuters reported recently; nearly 80 percent of the companies saw the drug war as a long-term threat to Mexico’s political and economic stability.
“If we don’t take seriously the tension that is being created by the insecurity and work in a very deliberate and accelerated way to reduce it, then there is a very serious prospect that the spillover into the investment climate can become more significant,” U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual told the news agency.
Indeed. Perhaps it’s time to bring in the mercs. Readers, what do you think?