Wars fought over resources are always a constant fact of human history. However, while many people think of “resources” such as farmland, mines, or wealth (gold), there is one commodity that is even more important than all of these- water -because without this simple thing that is so hard to acquire at times, entire civilizations can dry up and disappear. Nations will go to war over this asset, and fight very violent ones too, because it is so significant.
In a story that might surprise many, this has become a point of contention between the US and Mexico, for as the Herald Mail-Media reports by way of the Los Angeles Times, there is fighting between the USA and the Mexican state of Chihuahua over this to the point of National Guard soldiers firing on and killing at least one person.
Mexico’s water wars have turned deadly.
A long-simmering dispute about shared water rights between Mexico and the United States has erupted into open clashes pitting Mexican National Guard troops against farmers, ranchers and others who seized a dam in northern Chihuahua state.
A 35-year-old mother of three was shot dead and her husband seriously wounded in what the Chihuahua state government labeled unprovoked National Guard gunfire.
The demonstrators and state officials complain that the administration of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is diverting water to the United States at the expense of drought-stricken Mexican farmers and ranchers.
“We will defend our water until the end,” said Alejandro Aguilar, 57, a Chihuahua tomato and onion grower who was among the protesters. “We will not end our fight because this liquid is vital to our future.”
La Boquilla dam remained in protesters’ custody as of Friday amid rumors that the federal troops were readying to mount an assault to recapture the strategic facility.
The conflict has escalated into a national crisis in which both sides allege rampant corruption and the meddling of shadowy provocateurs and hidden political interests in a complex scenario reminiscent of “Chinatown,” the iconic film about early 20th-century water battles in Southern California.
Lopez Obrador denies any water shortage for farmers in Chihuahua, and charges that his opponents are fomenting a politically motivated “rebellion.” Mexico has been sending water north in advance of an October deadline to provide the United States with a vast amount of water owed under terms of a 76-year-old treaty.
“We have to comply with the agreement,” Lopez Obrador told reporters, insisting that doing so will not result in any scarcity now or in the future. “We will not allow that Chihuahua be left without water.”
Mexico is playing catch-up in its water debt to the United States after falling behind on last year’s installments. Meanwhile, Chihuahua growers say they are suffering the effects of an almost decadelong drought.
Lopez Obrador, a leftist populist, has carefully cultivated strong ties with the Trump administration. And in a U.S. presidential election year, he clearly does not want the binational water issue to provide fodder for President Donald Trump to engage in a new round of campaign-time Mexico-bashing.
Lopez Obrador has voiced fears that Trump, who launched his 2016 campaign with a message that Mexico was sending “rapists” and criminals to the United States, could retaliate should Mexico fail to pony up its water debt.
“We don’t want sanctions, we don’t want a major conflict,” Lopez Obrador told reporters. “Imagine if, for failing to comply, they close the border on us.”
In recent months, Mexico has endeavored to meet its obligation by opening dam sluices and releasing water into rivers that flow into the Rio Grande, which forms much of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The flows from Mexico provide crucial irrigation for vegetables, sugar cane and other crops in south Texas.
Mexican officials “need to increase their water releases to the United States immediately,” Jayne Harkins, U.S. commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission, the binational body overseeing border treaties between the United States and Mexico, warned in July.
“Continuing to delay increases the risk of Mexico failing to meet its delivery obligation,” said Harkins, a Trump administration appointee. (source)
This is a very interesting conflict, and it should be watched for the future. After all, Mexico is the US’ main neighbor after Canada for trade, and the two countries, despite their differences, are rather close. The US provides the opportunity for high-income jobs for Mexicans, while Mexico provides cheap and local international manufacturing, agricultural, and manpower resources for the US.
I have no proof of this, and I am not going to pretend I do, but I wonder if possibly tensions are being stoked among the people by the Russians.
Again, I want to be explictly clear that I have NO proof of this at all. The reason I say this, however, is that we know the USA and Russia are against trying to antagonize each other, and that both nations are funding proxy wars against each other, the USA seeming to be more effective than the Russians.
There is a surprising amount of reporting on ‘racism’ in the USA, and even allegations that while they need further research, suggest possibly Russian agitation into the current BLM protests. Indeed, there has been discussion of Russian support of local American secessionist movements, especially in Texas as well as California, and during the 1960s, support of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama trying to, like with today, divide the blacks and whites against each other.
It is a known fact that the Russians operate by what they call a “maximum-minimum” strategy, where they try to get “maximum” results with “minimum” effort, and because of the problems that Russia has internally, involve stirring up conflict in US-proxy areas and then walking away.
Could it be possible that such is the case here in Chihuahua, where this ‘water activism’ is actually just anti-US agitation in a poor attempt to divide the US internally and cause chaos in her sphere of influence?
There is not enough evidence to prove it- I cannot say this enough times -but it would be worth looking into, since while it may not be the case (hopefully), truth is stranger than fiction.