Mexico's Rising Fear of Social Unrest

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on September 1, 2009

Hurricane Jimena, now closing in on Baja California, is only the most dramatic of the threats confronting Mexico. Deepening unemployment and poverty, the brutal war between the government and drug cartels, and even looming water shortages all have ratcheted up the country's anxiety and social tension.

Today's edition of the respected El Universal newspaper includes a warning from Mexico City's Human Rights Commission that there are signs that the water shortage there will create "spirals of violence."

Meanwhile, columnist Ricardo Rocha writes that as President Felipe Calderon approaches the midway point in his six-year term, Mexico's "situation as a country could not be more disastrous." Rocha laments that Mexico's population of 107 million includes 60 million classified as poor, 25 million of whom live in extreme poverty.

Rocha concludes the column by noting growing talk of an explosion in the streets, warning that it "could be of disastrous proportions."

Last week U.S. analysts Jerome Corsi and Larry Birns expressed similar worries in an interview with the newspaper Milenio. Birns raised the possibility of an armed uprising, saying that while he doesn't think such violence is imminent, it could occur if conditions continue to deteriorate.

Dampening Mexican hopes for U.S. immigration reform that would legalize millions of Mexicans and provide new avenues for legal immigration, Corsi and Burns told Milenio that if President Obama supported such legislation, he would be committing political suicide.