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Napolitano Insists Mexico Drug War Not a Failure

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #723)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended hard-line US drug policies and Washington's approach to prohibition-related violence in Mexico Monday even as Central American leaders prepare to discuss decriminalizing or legalizing the drug trade. Napolitano spoke in Mexico City, on the eve of a trip to Guatemala, where President Otto Perez Molina has recently led the call for a new model.

Janet Napolitano
Napolitano signaled continued support for Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who called out the army to fight the cartels in December 2006. Since then, despite numerous arrests or killings of major cartel figures, the trade continues seemingly untouched, and the death toll has climbed to more than 50,000.

In recent years, under pressure in Mexico, the cartels have also pushed into Central America, causing upticks in violence and increased trafficking activity throughout the isthmus.

"I would not agree with the premise that the drug war is a failure," Napolitano said in remarks reported by Reuters, among others. "It is a continuing effort to keep our peoples from becoming addicted to dangerous drugs."

Napolitano compared the so far fruitless hunt for Sinaloa cartel head Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the search for Osama bin Laden. She said Mexico and the US would persevere until they got their man.

"It took us 10 years to find Osama bin Laden and we found him, and you know what happened there," Napolitano said. "This has to be handled in a somewhat different way. It's a different type of crime and it's a different type of plague, but that's also why it is so important that we act not only binationally, but in a regional way, to go after the supply of illegal narcotics," she noted.

Guatemala's Perez has a different idea. He wants a regional debate on drug policy, including discussion of legalization and decriminalization, and it looks like he will get his wish at a Central American summit in April.

"What we are putting on the table... although we know some are against it, is decriminalization," Perez said earlier this month. "We have to study the issue of production, the issue of transport and also consumption," he said at a separate event.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


William Aiken (not verified)

I don't suspect that the Mexican Media is as aggressive with challenging it's political leaders when they make ridiculous statements as Napolitano did here. In the land of the free, I can't recall when the last time a politician claimed the drug war was a winning strategy. So there's not much to counter Napolitano's delusional claim since she made the comment on foreign soil.


If I ever read a comment like that by an elected US official, I make a point to write the source of the media that failed to challenge such nonsense, including the reporter who wrote the story. So media outlet such as the LA Times are good about publishing this kind of criticism while they continue to have their reporters engage  

in writing stories favorable to the prohibition of cannabis. One of the upside of the LA Times is that one can easily the avalanche of arguments condemning the drug war while most of the zealots come off as misguided or uninformed.  

Tue, 02/28/2012 - 6:42pm Permalink
The Boston Pot… (not verified)

One of the problems with this kind of pig-headedness is that they can only go so long until the people rise up against them. These well-heeled bureaucrats reject science and sound public policy based on evidence. It gets to the point where total frustration sets in, and that’s bad for the status quo. Let’s hope that voters can put in place a reasonable policy towards, at least, cannabis. The question is how long can the profiteers and their government henchmen just clamp their hands over their ears and get away with it? Shades of King George and the colonists…
Tue, 02/28/2012 - 9:11pm Permalink
Anonymous9900 (not verified)

This woman is a dolt. I, for one, cannot wait until the next American Revolution...when the serfs finally band together and rise up to squash our moronic oppressors. This woman is just another in a long line of kool-aid drinkers who really believe they are doing the right doing exactly the wrong things.  

I guess that if the Hoover Dam springs a leak, she is going to try and fix it by stuffing $100.00 bills into the crack and hoping for the best (at least while she's in office). Who cares about the long term success of the "fix" just as long as she gets paid.

What the hell is wrong with us? Why do we keep putting retards in charge of big budgets and ceding over our constitutional rights to these idiots with a drooling grin on our faces? 

What is it going to take to wake the sleeping masses? 

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 2:44pm Permalink
MoparCzy (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous9900 (not verified)

I would be willing to bet that she drinks alcohol when she gets off work and feels smug about the good job she is doing.  If you define a good job as making sure you support the official party line no matter how wrong then I suppose she probably is.  But if she drinks alcohol then she is still a hypocrite since she uses drugs, I don't care if alcohol is legal, the Prohibition era showed that you can't win by telling people they can't have something and then trying to make sure they don't go find it.

Sat, 03/03/2012 - 12:53am Permalink
kickback (not verified)

D.C.  really has become the new  " Alice in Wonderland " .  40 years of keeping  " peoples "  un-addicted has been a huge advancement for the " sober "  peoples   .  Things will change in November .  What kind of Human wages a war against a Plant ? 

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 11:36pm Permalink

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