TIJUANA, Mexico—Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto recently assured the nation he does not wake up in the morning thinking about “how to fuck over Mexico.” But he did not say that he wakes up every morning thinking about how to save the country either.
In this age of demagogues, from Vlad the Invader in Russia to Rodrigo the Vigilante in the Philippines, people are looking for bold, simple, even bloody solutions to the injustices they feel. Ambivalence seems hard to tolerate. It feels like a vacuum. And in Mexico, after many years plagued by rampant crime, violence, and the ravages of the drug war, people want heroes.
Have Mexican politicians emerged in that role? Not hardly. But here’s the consummate irony, at the local level, in any case, organized crime steps in to play savior.