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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The American Drug War in Mexico

The violence in Mexico is escalating rapidly, hundreds of people have lost their lives in the past week beginning with the execution of 19 people at a drug treatment facility; this is some of the worst violence seen since the U.S.-backed drug war began. This has prompted Mexican President Felipe Calderon to release a 5,000 word manifesto stating that the fight must continue "or we will always live in fear". Calderon makes some very valid points that are worth consideration, especially his placement of blame on the United States for the entire war. "The origin of our violence problem begins with the fact that Mexico is located next to the country that has the highest levels of drug consumption in the world," Calderón wrote. "It is as if our neighbor were the biggest drug addict in the world".

Sadly, the Mexican president is not that far off the mark, it is true that America has the highest demand for illegal drugs in the world. Impoverished Mexico happens to be right across the border from that demand so it makes sense that criminal enterprises would take advantage. According to the Washington Post, "experts estimate that $10 billion to $25 billion in drug profits flow to Mexico each year from the north. About 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States passes through Mexico, which also smuggles at least half of the marijuana and methamphetamine sold in U.S. cities". In order for the cartels to keep control of the drug trade they use violence perpetuated by the guns smuggled into Mexico from the United States. Mexico brings us their drugs and we send them our weapons, a vicious cycle that will only in addiction and bloodshed.

Last week in Mexico:
  • 19 executed at the Fey y Vida treatment facility
  • gunmen killed 15 federal police officers in separate attacks in two states known for heavy narcotics trafficking.
  • mafia assassins used burning buses to block a major highway and ambush a convoy of police returning to the capital, killing 12 officers and wounding at least eight others.
  • 29 prisoners from rival gangs attacked one another with pistols, an assault rifle and knives in the Mazatlan jail
  • seven or eight people are killed in drug-related violence every day in Juarez, barely making the paper.

We need to ask ourselves whether America is doing enough. If that death toll were in the United States, it is hard to believe we would just let this continue.

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