Mexico is Bleeding

I can't avoid writing about Mexico again this week. Last week was one of the ugliest yet in President Felipe Calderon's newly energized war on drugs, with at least 46 people killed last week, including five civilians gunned down by soldiers at a roadblock in Sinaloa. So far this year, nearly a thousand have died as the cartels fight each other and the police and the army. It's all part of President Calderon's effort to break the power of the cartels, and it's all so absolutely predictable, with outcomes that are easily foreseeable. The Mexican army and police will undoubtedly effect some big-time captures or killings, the cartels will splinter into micro-cartels, and then begin the process of reformulating themselves into new cartels, killing off rivals and buying off (or killing off) police and soldiers. That's been the case every time a Mexican president has tried to stand tall against the power of the drug traffickers. In fact, the present round of violence is the legacy of former President Fox's 2004 war on drugs, and so far, there is every indication it will end the same way. I'll be talking to as many Mexican observers as I can this week, from academics to human rights watchers, along with Mexico experts here in the US. And Mexico continues to pay the price for America's war on the drugs it loves.
United States
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RE: Mexico is Bleeding

I hope Bush feels proud of himself for this one. Remember they wanted to ease up on drugs and legalize small amounts? They needed to relieve the strain which drug persecution has caused - but the USA in their awesome righteousness had to intervene. Now look what Mexico has to deal with.

Uh... not quite

The drug reforms that were proposed last May didn't "ease up" so much as close the loopholes. Mexico, like a lot of Latin American countries, allows "personal medical necessity" as the equivalent of what is a "affirmative defense" in drug cases... but never defines exactly what is personally necessary. This allows those that can pay a doctor to testify that xxx amount of some narcotic was "personally necessary" do so, while Jose Lopez goes to the Center for Social Readaption (the wonderfully Owellian name for Mexican prisons these days).

Mexico watchers, and Mexicans themselves, seem to agree the root of the problem is the demand for drugs in the United States, and the guns and money coming FROM the U.S.

Richard Grabman

borden's picture

a lot of Mexicans don't agree (exactly) with that

Many Mexicans believe, as we do here, that the root of the problem is prohibition -- there will always be a demand for drugs, therefore there will always be money, and people involved with it will use some of the money to buy guns. Mexicans who believe this might still point to US demand as the driving force. One Mexican anti-prohibitionist is (now former) congressman Gregorio Urias Germann, a keynote speaker at our 2003 conference.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

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