Indian Given: Racial Geographies across Mexico and the United States
María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University and the author of The Revolutionary Imagination in the Americas and the Age of Development, also published by Duke University Press.
Conclusion: The Afterlives of the Indio Bárbaro
The conclusion argues that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) facilitated the drug economy with its model of export-led manufacture and influx of cheap basic grains, which displaced millions of workers and peasants who turned to the drug economy as the only source of employment. Moreover, the tripling of trade and the quadrupling of foreign direct investment in both directions makes it much easier for cartels to move their product and launder money. But it is the escalation of the war on drugs that led to the increase in violence along the border. Once again the United States and Mexico are complicit in the construction of this racial geography as "savage," as subject to all forms of terrorism (including jihadist) and in need of militarization. The coda argues that the scalping and beheadings used by the narcos to intimidate their workforce, consumers, and the general citizenry is a form of statecraft—learned from the nineteenth-century state formation of Mexico and the United States—that creates a parallel sovereignty, which is an effect of the binational war on drugs and benefits free trade in a myriad of ways. The chapter reflects on the long life of the indio bárbaro for the purposes of colonialism, neocolonialism, neoliberalism, and the wars on drugs and terror.