First of all, something really off the subject.
I just wanted to mention our walk this morning. We went on the hilly back road from the edge of our Colonia towards Agualegre and Coatepec. After a day of cold rain and then a chilly day which turned cloudy and again rainy, this morning was glorious. We crested the last uphill and saw that there were new cattle on the downhill side behind an old wooden fence, all female, brown ones and holstein-like ones, except for one enormous black and white bull who looked like he might be a brahma-holstein cross. He had a huge hump, long dagger shaped ears drooping along the sides of his head and a face that looked, with its slanting almond-shaped eyes outlined in black, like a Japanese mask. One of the females nestled against him and licked him affectionately.
Now some broad context for Dragon Mart.
Globalization has included not simply lowering tariffs among nations, but opening trade, legal and illegal to a somewhat unfettered international market. The distinctions between legal and illegal trade have blurred with a gray area spreading so that it doesn't simply exist between legal and illegal trade, but the illegal seeps into the legal. This means, for instance, that the narrow focus the US puts on narcotics coming from Mexico is really pretty dumb. Militarization of the "drug war" vs. Mexican narcotics is probably even dumber and more self-defeating. There is a fair amount of good literature on this literally vast subject, but it hasn't permeated the mainstream media in the US very far as far as I can tell. One of the writers I have looked at is Moíses Naím, a PhD from MIT who was for many years editor of the journal Foreign Policy. He is currently a Senior Associate in the International Economics program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Chief International Columnist for El País, Spain's largest newspaper. He has won many honors and has a world-wide reputation for excellence and insight. His book, Illicit, published in 2005 describes the growing international trade in drugs, arms, money laundering and human beings which now transcends national borders. It operates, he says, rather the way terrorist groups do, floating from place to place and in many places, and it is probably more of a threat to international stability than terrorism.
Many groups and individuals and companies and even countries that may be or seem to be legitimate drift into or walk into or embrace gray and illegal activities. The bank HSBC's money-laundering seems to have been the first kind of problem: HSBC cooperated with investigators and seems not to have been cognizant of how its bank was being used. I would suspect many businessmen, including the Koch brothers in the US more than drift into it though I don't know.
China seems to know all too well how to orchestrate it all as it slips its presence into Latin American countries. Its most obvious effort in Mexico is its Dragon Mart project which has drawn little attention in the US. So far I've found a rather bland and not completely correct article in The Miami Herald, a better article by McClatchy Newspapers which appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune and other papers and some mention in the Hispanic press.
More to follow.