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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 in August. 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.

Mexico's former president Vicente Fox supported Prop 19
Wednesday, October 27

In Nayarit, 15 people were shot and killed after being attacked by heavily armed gunmen at a carwash. All the dead were workers at the car wash. The exact motive for the killings is unclear, and Mexican officials are denying initial reports that the men are former drug addicts.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, interviewing with Mexico's W radio network, gave his full support to California's Proposition 19 initiative to legalize marijuana. Fox told the network, "How great it would be for California to set this example. May God let it pass. The other US states will have to follow step." Fox added that Mexico has taken "the least productive route, which is fighting violence with violence. Violence never resolves violence," also commenting that Mexico's legal exports would go up if marijuana were legalized and peasants could legally grow it.

Thursday, October 28

In Mexico City, six young men were gunned down outside a store. The victims were all in their 20’s, and several had criminal records. Mexican media sources have stated that the men were members of Los Perros, a Mexico City gang that is known to have ties to the Zetas Organization. The incident took place in Tepito, a neighborhood known for black market activity.

Near Ciudad Juarez, four people were killed and 15 were wounded after gunmen attacked three buses taking workers to a Maquiladora factory owned by US-based automobile interior company Eagle Ottawa.

Friday, October 29

The director of Puente Grande prison was arrested because of alleged ties to drug cartels during his tenure as a high-level official at the federal Attorney General’s Office. He had resigned from his post in 2008 after a corruption probe that led to the arrest of several officials for ties to the Beltran-Leyva Organization. He was named to be director of Puente Grande prison in early 2010. Puente Grande is notorious as the prison from which Sinaloa Cartel boss "El Chapo" Guzman escaped in 2001.

Sunday, October 31

In Ciudad Juarez, seven people were murdered in several incidents across the city. This brings the monthly total for October to 352 homicides, making it the most violent month in the history of the city. The number exceeds the yearly total of many previous years. The previous highest monthly death toll was August of this year, in which 339 people were murdered. The total so far for 2010 is nearly 2,700 murders. October was also the most deadly month for women in Ciudad Juarez, with 48 women murdered. Almost 300 women have been killed in the city this year.

Monday, November 1

In Ciudad Juarez, three people were killed in two separate incidents. This is the lowest daily death toll in the city the last three months.

In Chihuahua, Mexican authorities said that four American citizens were among the most recent victims of Mexico’s drug war. On Sunday, Arturo Sandoval, 35, of El Paso, was shot and killed in a triple homicide in Ciudad Juarez. On Saturday, a 26-year old American woman and her 15-year old son were gunned down with a Mexican national shortly after crossing the bridge from El Paso. On Friday, a 24-year old American woman was among two people killed by gunmen inside a taco store.

Total Body Count for the Week: 82

Total Body Count for the Year:  8,789

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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former Mx Pres. Vicente Fox economic savvy...

As former Pres. not only of Mexico but of the Coca-Cola Co. in Mexico, you might expect Vicente Fox to know a little bit more about BASIC ECONOMICS... or Econ. 101... His statement to the effect that if marihuana were legalized, Mexican legal exports would rise because then Mx peasants would be able to draw the weed legally smacks of a pretty low level understanding of basic economic realities, such as that the reason for this war on drugs is the attraction of black market mechanisms which allow for higher prices in view of the scarcity supposedly created by prohibition... The scarcity is primarily in the mind and justifies the higher prices... Once legal, the price of marihuana would drop by 80% or so... He does not mention that non-psychotropic marihuana raised for industrial purposes would indeed be a most welcome and ecologically sound possibility. This is a different matter altogether. But as to the kind of marihuana that give you a high, most of us or many at least will resort to our own home grown type, just as we are increasingly doing with our veggies and other medicinal plants.  Well, when men who are able to get to the presidency of their countries show themselves as IGNORANT as the ones "serving" us now, no wonder it looks increasingly like THE END OF THE WORLD!  

US Drug Addicts - Put down your drugs and walk away

If you use drugs in the U.S. and especially if you are addicted to any of them, please do everything in your power to end your addiction.

Suggestions:

Use the honest drug education the United States government stands behind.  Not the scare tactics and misinformation they generally use... weed through those parts (sorry, "weed" may have been inappropriate) SIFT through that information and try to pick out the parts that are true.  I know you may not be able to tell, so in lieu of that, go to pro legalization organizations, and search their libraries for truer information on the drug(s) of your choice.

 

Seek out treatment in the United States.  Someday, the US Government may see the value of offering financial free ($0), as well as stigma free (only shame in not going) Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment.  They might also offer job protections for those that do it voluntarily, so you can go for treatment and not have to worry about losing your job.   Until the day the government is willing to spend that money, I recommend one of those totally expensive celebrity treatment centers.  They must be good, because so many of the celebrities return to them, again and again.

 

In lieu of the 5%, or less, of government War on Drug spending that is represented above, you may consider turning yourself, your drug friends, and your drug dealers into the authorities.  This is where your government spends the most money, so you're guaranteed to get results.. although it may be as quick as being thrown in jail, or it might be a months long battle in court, after you realize, your government doesn't want to really help you, only incarcerate you.

While in the well funded portion of the system, you will get the best value for your tax dollars, as scores of police investigate your claims, and the overcrowded judicial system drags it's feet, but maybe, if you're lucky, forces you to enroll in a drug addiction treatment program, at your own expense.  

Then you might face jail time, or some more, jail time.   Hopefully that drug treatment worked out, because ironically, there is a higher rate of drugs and alcohol in prison, than sometimes is apparent in the surrounding community.  Being sober helps you enjoy the prison environment much more.

At some point you may be given probation.  While on probation, they'll test you for drugs and alcohol and make sure you're being good.  You probably won't have a driver's license or a job, so you'll have to prove you want to make yourself a good person and look for a job.  Always have a change of pants, because buses aren't always understanding of your need to show up at an interview while still looking your best.  Wear baggie pants to any interviews so your SCRAM anklet doesn't distract your future employer from your stellar resume... with the blank space for the time you were in jail. Answer resume questions honestly.  "Why did I leave my last job?  I was exploring opportunities in the fields of law and corrections.  You don't do criminal background checks, do you?

Resist the urge to use the well funded education you received while boarding at Crime University.  Remember, as smart as your cell mate seems to be about robbery, burglary and/or grand theft auto, he is in jail because he wasn't smart enough to not get caught.  Should you venture out to become an entrepreneur, remember that "Correctional Facilities" proudly tout their 77% recidivism rate, so there is a good chance you will be back in jail... soon.

Hopefully, you also thought about your family before you turned yourself in.  There are many government programs to help them while you're "cleaning up your act".  Child services will no doubt, be brought in early, and a foster family assigned to your children.  It may take a couple of tries, but hopefully your kids will find a home full of love before they are kicked out into homelessness at the age of 18.  Welfare is also an option.  Housing Assistance and Food Stamps are some of the more popular programs.

 

Now, the government wants you to be scared by all of the above, but what they fail to recognize, is that you have a disease, addiction, and honest education and effective treatment have been found to be the most successful resources, yet still remain the least funded.  That lack of recognition of the root cause, it what helps the United States of America be the highest consumer of illegal drugs... in the UNIVERSE.

If you had any other disease, you could go and get help, and maybe get financial assistance.  But your disease is recognized as a crime problem, and therefore you are treated like a criminal.  And besides, it would be wrong to throw cancer patients in jail... and costly, I mean how long to you help them before you let them die.  But let's get back to your criminal drug addiction.

Alas, your addiction, and not the governments failed handling of the War on Drugs, is causing people to be killed in other parts of the world, so PLEASE, just put down your drugs, and never look back.  Most of the other alternatives are terrible.

 

Good luck to you, on whatever you decide.

 

There is no doubt that

There is no doubt that problems south of the border will spill over to effect us, and as a bystander, as well as a member of the party which contributes the problem (Citizen of the United States, nothing more implied), I feel it my duty to contribute my two cents to this issue.  After all, the more we discuss the issue the greater the probability that we will stumble upon a valid solution. 
Though I see your assertions DidITweetThat, and I would agree with you to some extent that our government's methods of dealing with addicts may be somewhat a skew, I feel that this is off topic.  As a the wealthiest nation in the world, and with a population numbering nearly three times that of our neighbors to the south there is no question that their issues with respect to drugs are ours as well.  While the elimination of drug addicts in the country is critical, I see easier and faster ways available right now.  Among these, the improvement, and revision of the Merida Initiative.  If we (the US, Mexico, Guatemala, Canada) could protest to the rest of the world, and make it clear that this Mexican Drug War is a global issue perhaps we could broaden the horizons of positive possibility in this conflict. 
 

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