Subsidies for drug traffickers

One of the longstanding, legitimate criticisms of NAFTA is that it put small farmers out of business by flooding Mexico with subsidized (and therefore cheap) U.S. corn. Apparently, Mexico had a mechanism in place to keep that from happening, in the form of its own subsidy program. As a cynical person such as myself might expect, things immediately went awry.

Reports the LA Times:

Today, the fund — far from helping the neediest — is providing large financial subsidies to the families of notorious drug traffickers and several senior government officials, including the agriculture minister.

The program allots cash to plots of land, not to individual farmers, so obviously the largest landholders end up getting the lion share of the pie, while the truly needy get a pittance. (In that sense, it sounds pretty similar to how U.S. farm subsidies work.)  Of the US$1.3 billion handed out last year, something like 80% went to 20% of the farmers.

(Image courtesy of Sam Fentress.)

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