Don't Stop Thinking About Mañana!
Week of:
June 15, 1997

F.R. Duplantier

by:

F.R. Duplantier

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Our first 50 years . . .
Our First Fifty Years
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Deteriorating conditions south of the border could spell trouble for the United States.

Combat and weapons expert Col. Rex Applegate warns that Mexico's ruling party, the PRI, "is losing political control of the country. Control in the national legislature and many state governments is also being seized by opposition parties. In recent elections, political control in eight out of ten of the major Mexican cities has been lost by the PRI. The government and economic stability upon which modern Mexico has been based are fast disintegrating."

Writing in a recent issue of a newsletter called Informed Source, Applegate argues that the key to Mexico's future is "the ability of the Mexican army to maintain internal security, while concurrently suppressing the present and potential threat of insurrection." That threat includes "three identified rebel movements taking place in Mexico, plus other incipient ones." Applegate warns that the Mexican Army has "devoted very little training to counterinsurgency operations [and] lacks actual combat experience."

Applegate emphasizes that "the Mexican Army for the past 60 years has had little influence on that country's foreign and domestic policies. This is now changing," he says. "Possibilities of a military coup are increasing due to frustration with the current, weakened PRI-controlled government, which is failing to permit the Army to forcefully put down the various rebellions taking place. The Mexican military remains the only stable part of a crumbling national infrastructure," says Applegate. "It now has to play 'catch-up' in a rapidly disintegrating situation."

Applegate warns that the Mexican Army does not have the training and experience necessary to assume the role now being thrust upon it. "Until recently, the Mexican Army has devoted very little training to counterinsurgency operations, including jungle and urban warfare," he observes. "Mexico's military officers have had little contact with foreign military operations other than that encountered through its military attaches, in its diplomatic service," Applegate continues. "Most officers have only been trained in housekeeping, administration, and garrison duties. Few if any of the high command personnel have had the opportunity to attend foreign military schools, or undergo counterinsurgency training such as that conducted by the U.S. Army in Panama for many of the other Latin American countries. Generally, the army lacks actual combat experience."

Why are deteriorating conditions in Mexico of concern to the United States? "In the event of civil war, millions of Mexicans would try to flee to safety across the U.S. borders," Applegate explains. "In addition, pressures to let Mexican refugees into the United States would be very great due to the political influence of the huge Mexican-American voting bloc," he continues. "Pressure on major states and cities which are located on the American border with Mexico would be almost overwhelming."

There are, of course, other concerns. "Tens of thousands of permanent American residents in Mexico would be in jeopardy," Col. Rex Applegate warns. "Billions of dollars of American loans, investments, and property would be at stake, causing internal political and financial repercussions in the United States." It is not a pretty prospect.

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