Mexican Drug War

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With 28,000 Killed Since 2006, Movement for Drug Legalization in Mexico Takes Hold (Video)

Location: 
Mexico
A growing movement in Mexico to legalize drugs, particularly marijuana, is taking shape. Four proposals that aim for varying degrees of decriminalization or legalization of drugs are on the docket in Mexico’s House of Deputies, and another is circulating in the Senate. Meanwhile, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who was a key U.S. ally in the war on drugs, has backed the legalization of drugs, saying prohibition has failed to reduce violence and corruption.
Publication/Source: 
Democracy Now! (NY)
URL: 
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/19/as_deaths_mount_to_28_000

Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed more than 28,000 people, the government reported this month. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest of dozens of high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war:

Santiago Papasquiaro, site of Saturday's firefight
Friday, August 13

In Ciudad Juarez, 17 people were murdered across the city. Among the dead were two members of CIPOL, the police intelligence service, as well as a young couple. Several people were shot outside a nightclub, and three men between the ages of 20 and 25 were killed after their car was ambushed by a group of gunmen.

Saturday, August 14

In Durango, at least 11 gunmen were killed after a two-hour firefight with the army near the town of Santiago Papasquiaro. Three troops were wounded during the gun battle. Many believe that Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is hiding in Durango.

In Monterrey, at least eight gunmen kidnapped a plastic surgeon while he was performing surgery. It was later reported that one of his patients was the target of the raid. Police and army personnel launched an operation to find the abducted surgeon, with no success.

Sunday, August 15

In Morelos, at least six people were killed. In one incident, three young men were gunned down after a botched kidnapping attempt by gunmen outside their home. In another incident, the body of an unidentified man was found bound with tape and plastic. A note threatening the lives of local police officers was left alongside the body.

Monday, August 16

In Ciudad Juarez, 20 people were killed in several incidents in the city. The incidents included two separate triple homicides. Several of the bodies discovered in the city were bound with tape and showed signs of torture. Over the weekend, 51 people were killed. Monday’s killings bring the 2010 death toll in Ciudad Juarez to approximately 1,884.

In Oaxaca, gunmen killed eight members of a hunting party near Mexico's Gulf Coast. The exact motive for the killings is unclear. In Monterrey and in Reynosa, armed men threw hand grenades at the local offices of Televisa.

Tuesday, August 17

In a video made public on Tuesday, an alleged member of the Juarez Cartel claimed that the cartel is hiring attractive young women to serve as assassins. The suspect, Rogelio Amaya, claims that around roughly 30 women between the ages of 18 and 30 have been recruited and trained to carry out hits, which many of them have. Rogelio Amaya is thought to be a member of La Linea, the enforcement arm of the Juarez Cartel.

In Culiacan, four prison inmates were murdered and were discovered in a dumpster. All four had their throats slit. Three of the four men had been arrested earlier this month following a firefight with police. Violence between rival drug trafficking gangs is common in Mexican prisons.

Wednesday, August 18

In Nuevo Leon, the body of a kidnapped mayor was discovered three days after his abduction. Edelmiro Cavazos of was the mayor of Santiago, Nuevo Leon. He was discovered near a waterfall near the town after having been kidnapped by a group of at least 15 armed men wearing uniforms of the federal police force, which was disbanded nine years ago.

Total Body Count for the Week: 112

Total Body Count for the Year: 7,030

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

Corrupt, Insecure Prisons Undermine Mexico Drug War

Location: 
Mexico
Experts say Mexico's President FelipeCalderon needs to get entrenched problems in the penal and judicial system under control if he is to have any chance of winning a war that has claimed more than 28,000 lives since late 2006 and sparked fears that drug trafficking organizations could turn Mexico into a lawless narco state.
Publication/Source: 
Reuters
URL: 
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE67H42G20100818

Kidnapped Mexican Mayor Found Dead

Location: 
Monterrey, NLE
Mexico
Yet another Mexican politican falls prey to drug prohibition violence. Security forces have found the handcuffed and blindfolded body of kidnapped mayor Edelmiro Cavazos of the northern Mexican city of Santiago. Cavazos was taken from his home by armed men on Sunday night.
Publication/Source: 
BBC News (UK)
URL: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11016902

Lawmakers in Mexico to Debate Drug Fight

President Felipe Calderón summoned legislators to participate later this week in his continuing discussions with all of Mexico’s political establishment about how to win the war against the drug trafficking organizations. Is legalization on the table?
Publication/Source: 
The New York Times (NY)
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/world/americas/18mexico.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Mexico Debates Drug Legalisation (Video)

Location: 
Mexico
After 28,000 have died in its latest push to fight drug trafficking organizations, and with other tragic consequences of drug prohibition now so evident, Mexico opens the debate on legalizing drugs.
Publication/Source: 
Brisbane Times (Australia)
URL: 
http://media.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/selections/mexico-debates-drug-legalisation-1782717.html

Drug Hitmen Kidnap Mexican Mayor Near U.S. Border

Location: 
Monterrey, NLE
Mexico
Perhaps targeted for his efforts to clean up Santiago's corrupt police force, Mayor Edelmiro Cavazo was abducted by suspected drug hitmen in the latest surge in drug prohibition violence threatening to undermine industry and scare off investors in Mexico. The abduction follows a spike in violence over the weekend in northern Mexico, where rival gangs are battling for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes into the United States.
Publication/Source: 
WHTC (MI)
URL: 
http://www.whtc.com/news/articles/2010/aug/16/drug-hitmen-kidnap-mexican-mayor-near-us-border/

Bulletin Warned of Drug Prohibition Violence in El Paso

Location: 
El Paso, TX
United States
Intelligence received from the Alliance for Combating Transnational Threats has led city police radio dispatchers to alert officers about potential violence in El Paso stemming from Mexican drug trafficking organization rivalries.
Publication/Source: 
El Paso Times (TX)
URL: 
http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_15789756?source=most_viewed

Swiss Pol Who Probed Secret CIA Prison System Says Legalize Drugs

In an interview Friday with the Austrian newspaper Kurier and reported in the Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger, prominent Swiss politician Dick Marty called drug prohibition a failure. Drugs should instead be legalized, taxed and regulated, he said.

Dick Marty
Marty was the state prosecutor in Ticino for 15 years and in 1987 won an award from the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association. He was elected to the Swiss Council of State in 1995 and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 1998. He has hold both positions ever since. Marty gained international prominence when he was appointed by the Council to investigate the collaboration of various European governments in the CIA's secret prison program and issued a damning report in 2006.

Drug prohibition has been "a total bust," Marty said Friday. "It only leads to high prices and corresponding profits for the drug mafia, without diminishing the access to drugs."

Recalling his years as a prosecutor, Marty added that it was only the small-time dealers who got paraded through the courts, while the drug lords were "little bothered" and stayed in luxury hotels. And despite the endless low-level prosecutions, it has never been so easy to get drugs, he added.

Money wasted on enforcing drug prohibition could instead be spent on prevention, and after legalization, governments could control the drug sector through regulation and taxation, as is the case with alcohol and tobacco, Marty said.

Although he conceded that "drug prices will fall" and consumption would rise -- perhaps only temporarily -- if prohibition is ended, Marty said societies must confront the problem of consumption, much as the US did after the end of Alcohol Prohibition. He pointed to a Swiss example, as well: the use of heroin maintenance programs to reintegrate hard-core addicts into the social fabric. "These people are supported medically and they can work again," he said.

Ending prohibition must be a global affair, he said, pointing to the emerging discussion of the theme in Mexico as it is buffeted by prohibition-related violence that has left 28,000 dead in the past 3 ½ years. Still, Marty isn't holding his breath. "Worldwide drug legalization isn't going to happen" in my lifetime, he predicted.

Dick Marty is only 65. Let's see if we can't prove him wrong.

Switzerland

Blast Hits Mexico's Televisa TV Station

Location: 
Monterrey, NLE
Mexico
Mexico's largest television broadcaster and the largest producer of Spanish language content in the world, Televisa, has come under attack by drug trafficking organizations in the northern city of Monterrey. Investigators say it was a warning for journalists to stay away from reporting on drug prohibition violence.
Publication/Source: 
Press TV (Iran)
URL: 
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=138859&sectionid=351020705

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