sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Changing Drug War in Mexico - 2012 Elections

Secretary Napolitano calls the drug
war in Mexico, "A success".
Have Mexicans been "Paying in Blood for America's War on Drugs"? It's a question that you don't hear very often in the US, but it's discussed a lot in Mexico these days. No matter who the next US President will be, he will have to deal with a different policy with Mexico than his predecessors did (yes, I'm hinting that it's time for Obama to go).

Incoming Mexican Presdient Enrique Peña Nieto has promised to reorganize how the drug war is fought by moving away from busting traffickers and instead focus on protecting citizens. 

The ambiguity of Peña Nieto's drug war plans has fed fears that he might look the other way if cartels smuggle drugs northward without creating violence in Mexico.

Molly Molloy, a researcher at New Mexico State University who maintains the Mexican news and discussion site Frontera List, has kept a detailed record of the bloodshed and estimates that the total homicides from December 2006 through June 2012 to stand at 99,667 (LINK)
  • "The slaughter in Mexico has several other characteristics. People hang corpses off bridges, dump bodies on busy streets, move with death squads through major cities, and no one ever sees them or sees anything. The U.S. press seems baffled by these feats. Mexicans are not. They know that the only entities able to move so freely and kill so publicly are the army and the police or criminals cooperating with them." (op cit Molloy)  
  • "The kidnapped are almost never reported because in many parts of Mexico, the police finance themselves through kidnapping. Those who are taken (levantados) almost never return and are not counted among the dead. The bodies that turn up in mass graves are seldom counted, either, because the government says it is too hard to assign the corpses to the proper year." (op cit Molloy)
Many in Mexico feel that the US should deal with its rabid consumption problem at home rather than funding a war in Mexico where they have 'vowed to fight drugs to the last Mexican'.
  • One kilogram of pure cocaine costs $2,000 in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil or Venezuela.
  • One kilogram of pure cocaine costs $14,000 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
  • One kilogram of pure cocaine costs $26,000 in Los Angeles, California.
  • One kilogram of pure cocaine costs $120,000 in Vienna, Austria.
While most Mexicans understand that they will have to 'play ball' with the Americans (pinche gringos), they also know that American drug policy has been horribly flawed. Most of it comes with a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of well-schooled Americans in the law enforcement, intelligence and diplomatic communities on the nature of the drug business and it's real character in Latin America.

What should the USA do?

That is a question for politicians and they will likely go on comparing Mexico to Colombia, hoping that the wasted billions that the US Government spent in Mexico on the Merida Initiative will somehow bring. However, the first thing that USGOV needs to do is to make a genuine effort to understand the nature and extent of both the drug business and the extent to which it has undermined various governments. I don't think that they've been doing that very well. But then again, what do I know? I'm just a simple blogger.