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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mexican Drug War

The Mexican Drug War: an issue that affects the entirety of Mexico and the southwestern states of the United States of America. Shortly  after Felipe Calderon(president of Mexico)  was sworn into office in 2006, the drug war became widely known.  Since then there has been nearly fifty thousand deaths involving citizens, government officials, and criminals alike. The purpose of these killingscrude in nature,is to serve as a symbol of the cartels' power instilling fear and ensuring further obedience. this article, I will provide factual insight and possible remedies for the war on drugs in Mexico.

The Mexican drug war has been a hot debate in the world since Felipe Calderon, declared war on drugs in Mexico when he sent six thousand five hundred troops to cull a rivalry between two opposing gangs.  This was the beginning of a war that would kill many innocent people and create mass violence in Mexico. The United States gave Mexico and other countries one billion four hundred thousand dollars to help combat drugs. It is not widely known why this was done but, the assumption is that it  may have been done to prevent the overflow of drugs into the United States. America of drugs does not greatly effect the American population. However, according to a recent interagency intelligence assessment nearly sixty five percent of all the cocaine in America comes across the southwestern border-- a staggering statistic if I do say so myself. This statistic also shows that neither Mexico nor the United States Border Patrol is very successful in abolishing the drug trade.

According to some who are analyzing the Mexican drug war,  the  drug cartels that power this movement were founded within the United States prison system. During the early stages of the drug war alliances were  formed by inmates in the prisons of the United States. These alliances were formed so that drugs could be smuggled in and out of prisons and amongst the prisoners. Once these inmates were released they were sent back to Mexico where the alliances that they formed in prison prospered into powerful organized crime circuits. Now they are the very drug lords that President Felipe Colderon is battling in his war on illegal substances.  At the time, the United States was unaware that it was pouring fuel on the fire that would become the Mexican drug war. It is important to understand who is fighting who on this matter and where the battle originated. There are two dominant cartels in the mix of the war-- The Sinaloa gang and the Gulf Cartel. The Sinaloa gang is the country’s largest cartel by volume of drugs trafficked.  The Sinaloa gang grew out of the coastal state of Sinaloa which was once known for the opium gum produced by Chinese immigrants. This is now produced by hundreds of thousands of Mexican campesinos. At the head of the Sinaloa gang is  “El Chapo” Guzmán. Forbes magazine estimates his wealth at nearly one billion dollars and the United States  government currently has a five million dollar bounty out for his capture.  The second largest group is the Gulf Cartel. The Gulf Cartel  was founded in the northeaster border state of Tamaulipas. The cartel grew dramatically in the chaos of the early 1990’s. The group not only does drug trafficking but it is known to do direct sales as well as various other illegal activities. The group has managed to produce a violent image for themselves.

          It is very evident that most of the Mexican population is very unhappy with the military led campaign that the president Felipe Calderon is condoning. In a recent luncheon that occurred early in 2012 where the president was presenting a creative industry development plan that he claimed would benefit the countries security’s interest a man that was identified by the press as Tonatiuh Moreno shouted “When will this war be over? Where will you live when your term is finished?” Calderon was quick to reply “maybe here in Guadalajara, mi estimado,” or “maybe here in Guadalajara, my esteemed.” The question posed by the citizen is a very good one. It not only put the president on the spot where he had no pre planned speech to help support himself but it also asked about after his term where he would live. This is a very important question in the respect that it concerns the presidents life and how after his term he will not be as safe as he is now, and that he when his term is over he will see the side of the problem from the point of view of the common man, rather than the statistics he may receive on his desk. The presidents reply can be taken as the fact that he is not afraid of the drug lords and he is not afraid of the war, also that he is willing to stick behind the problem. This is not the only outburst by a citizen during the president’s term, in fact,  his term is marked with memorable outbursts from disheartened citizens. In 2008 a teenage science whiz named Andres Gomez Emilsson  had an out burst at an awards ceremony at the National Palace. In his outburst he stood up with his hands straight up in the air and yelled “espurio” which means false. It is believed that the teen was eluding the presidents election victory. In 2010 the mother of two teenage victims who were gruesomely murdered stood up and berated the president and the first lady by shouting in tears “for me you are not welcome here, try and put yourself in my shoes and feel what I feel.” Calderon used Moreno’s retort to help fuel his campaign by saying "If you or others presume that the Mexican government -- my government -- would cross its arms and watch as they attack the young people of Mexico, as they kidnap them, as they extort them, you are very mistaken."

          Another great battle for the Mexican government is corruption. According to the council on foreign relations the average city police officer makes less than a teacher or even a burrito vendor and the the officer could easily double or triple his salary by simply agreeing to look away or turn his head to the violence and illegal activities. Also, the conditions that the police officers are working under are deplorable and very bad so it would not be hard for the drug rings to help the officers out for "looking away"  In order to combat the amount of military corruption the Calderon administration has increased the amount of military presence in the effort  the line of thinking is that the military will not be as corrupt as the police force. The judicial system is also highly susceptible to corruption. When the Congressional Research Service Report did its study it showed that whenever someone was arrested for working with a cartel they were rarely ever convicted. gthis may be due to the fact that the judges have been bought out by the drug lords.The military campaign of Felipe Colderon has resulted in some serious acccusations that involve the fact the the campaign may be violating the human rights. For example, when a study was done on five states it showed that there were one hundred and seventy cases of torture, thirty nine disappearances and tweny four killings of people who had no trial.

          The deaths in the drug war were nearly reaching an exponential increase until june of 2010 where the toll went down slightly. The reason for the recent decrease in deaths is not certain however most people would agree that it will not stay that way for long. Just two years ago in june of 2010 when the toll hit its peak there was about one thousand and four hundred people that were dieng per month due to the Mexican drug war. Throughout the drug war there have been multiple American casualties due to the drug war from 2006-2011 only reach about one hundred and eighty five. It is unsure if the deaths of the American casualties were directly related to the drug wars in Mexico however it is known that these deaths were violent in nature. The deaths by year seem to stay fairly constant and high in six states of mexico, these states are Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Sonora, Tamaulipas. The death tolls in these six states are substantially higher than the other states. The reason for this may be due to the fact that these states border the United States and the amount of drug trafficking into the United States may have an influence on the amount of violence. Deaths of citizens are not necessarily directly connected to the war, for example, in Nuevo Larado in Novemeber of 2011 there were at least four deaths that were recorded due to being a reporter on an issue or even posting on blogs. In fact, many of the mainstream media company's have stopped there coverage of the drug war due to being threatened or being bribed by the drug organizations. This means that the Mexican population may not be aware of the violence that is occurring all over their country due to the lack of coverage. There is a similar system in North Korea where the government only lets the people see what they want them to see, the Cartel’s only let the news cover what they want them to cover. In the Picture seen below it can be easily depicted that violent deaths are an everyday occurance based off of the fact that the people in the background are not even paying attention and going about their usual day.

image from Denver Post

In the article “Guns: The U.S. Threat to Mexican National Security” the issue of Americans smuggling guns into Mexico is examined. This is a critical argument that shows how the Mexican drug rings may get there weapons. In 2004 the United States Congress allowed the federal ban on assault rifles to expire and in 2005 the Mexican authorities’ confiscated and unprecedented ten thousand five hundred and seventy nine smuggled weapons and they say that nearly ninety percent of them came from the United States. That means that approximately nine thousand five hundred and twenty one guns came from the United States. With this amount of guns traveling into Mexico it is no wonder that the Cartel's have established connections with the borders of the United States. These connections may not only be used for the supply of weapons but to outsource the drugs into the United States

Some of the solutions that have been tried have clearly not worked, for instance, in March of 2009 the Mexican president Felipe Calderon administration asked the United States congress for seven hundred million dollars. The basis for this request was that the money would fight the violent trafficking of drugs into the United States and to reduce illegal flows of drugs. However, the drug trade does not seem to be slowing down any across the border. Also, the firm plans to clamp down on the amount of drugs that are smuggled into America by creating more drug treatment facilities and increasing the amount of funding that drug courts receive. The problems that are being forseen with this are that drug trafficking is a very lucrative business and it is a black market that attracts people purely do to the fact that it is a black market. Also, many believe that as long as these drugs are illegal the trade of them will be done by crime organizations. A new solution to this problem is to not make all of the drugs legal but to make some of the drugs of lesser lethality legal, such as marijuana. This legalization will give the drug traffikers less drugs to smuggle across the American border due to the fact that the drugs will be widely available. Also the american border patrol as well as the Mexican border patrol are cracking down on the amount of guns that have been smuggled into and out of the united sates. I believe that president Felipe Calderon should decrease the amount of brute force that is being used to try and combat the issue and focus more on the technology aspect of the situation. Brute force is proving to just make the drug Cartel's angry and to show violence.

Print Works Cited:

Kellner, Tomas, and Francesco Pipitone. "Inside Mexico's Drug War." World Policy Journal 27.1 (2010): 29-37. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 May 2012

Weinberg, Bill. "Guns: The U.S. Threat To Mexican National Security. (Cover Story)." NACLA Report On The Americas 41.2 (2008): 21-26. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 May 2012.