Opinion: Business extortion is a well-known secret in Baja California

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Farfán Méndez is head of security research programs at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego and lives in Point Loma. Martínez Trujillo is a professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey and researcher at México Evalúa. She lives in Monterrey, Mexico.

A well-known saying on the interdependence of U.S.-Mexico relations is that if the U.S. sneezes, Mexico catches the flu. In other words, the U.S and Mexican economies are so integrated that while COVID-19 has restricted the movement of people, it has not stopped supply chains for civilian or military purposes between both countries. This reality is even more stark at the border and arguably in the megaregion known as CaliBaja that includes San Diego and Imperial counties in California and all the municipalities of Baja California.

For its residents and economic actors, CaliBaja is a source of pride: It produces $250 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) annually and often shows what political…

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