Manufacturing Instability in Mexico with Trade Policies and Weapons

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Most Americans are unaware of the factors driving political and social instability in

Mexico. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allowed Mexico to be flooded with cheap American-farmed corn, which drove the price of corn down dramatically and eventually led Mexican corn farmers into a loss of livelihood. This further impacted related service industries and local communities leading overtime to poverty, migration, drug trafficking and multiple social ills.

And there is little knowledge of how U.S. agencies were complicit in the arming of Mexican drug cartels, further destabilizing Mexican society. According to official U.S. reports in 2010, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) sold at least 1,700 guns to Mexican Drug cartels – many to the Sinaloa Cartel supposedly for use against rival cartels – under a “divide and conquer” strategy called “Operation Fast and Furious.” This covert operation came to light after the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry who was killed with one of the ATF guns sold to the cartel.

The trade agreements supporting economic instability and the arming and growth of the drug cartels, and related government corruption have lead to thousands of deaths in the past five years. The Mexican people are pressing their civil authorities to solve these problems. Mexico’s Government is now turning to the U.S. for help to allow foreign security forces in to expand the police state – not the best of solutions. The real solution lies in social justice: rewriting these destructive trade policies, stopping the flow of US arms into Mexico and supporting Mexican sovereignty and lawful society.


Bob Price, “Mexico to allow some Foreign Agents to Carry-Firearms” Breit Bart, February 28, 2015,

Oeindrila Dube, Omar Garcia Ponce and Kevin Thom, “From Maize to Haze: Agricultural Shocks and the Growth of the Mexican Drug Sector,” Center for Global Development, Working Paper No. 355, February 24, 2014,

Rick Ungar , “Was Operation Fast and the Furious Really Part of a Secret Deal Between the DEA and Mexicos Sinaloa Drug Cartel?” Forbes, January 14, 2014,

Student Researcher: Antonio Arenas (San Francisco State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)