Mexico's Drug War

Discussion in 'Legalization/Decriminalization' started by claygooding, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. claygooding

    claygooding DrugWarVeteran

    Mexico's drug war
    LATimes / 08,14,2010

    Even as President Calderon presses ahead against the cartels, former President Fox calls for the legalization of major drugs.

    More than 28,000 people have died in Mexican President Felipe Calderon's nearly four-year war against drug cartels. The government of Mexico says a majority of those killed were traffickers, dealers and their associates, including kingpins Arturo Beltran Leyva in 2009 and Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel Villarreal last month. According to the U.S. State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy report issued in March, removing such important cartel leaders has "narrowed the operating space of criminal gangs, who are now fighting among themselves for diminishing territory and profits."

    That's one interpretation. But Times correspondents Tracy Wilkinson and Ken Ellingwood presented another picture this week of cartels continuing to expand their reach with industry earnings estimated at as much as $39 billion, and a growing list of places the State Department says American citizens should avoid: no longer just the border cities of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez but also highways around Mexico's industrial city of Monterrey and down the Pacific Coast to the central state of Michoacan. In fact, Beltran Leyva was killed at a luxury apartment in downtown Cuernavaca, in the central state of Morelos, and Coronel in the suburbs of Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city.

    Even Calderon has acknowledged that the traffickers pose a threat to Mexico's national security. As Wilkinson and Ellingwood noted, he called the criminals "a challenge to the state, an attempt to replace the state." That's also true in countries such as Guatemala and Jamaica, where the state is smaller and weaker and traffickers no less aggressive. The drug violence is tearing apart these societies, as is the violence used to combat it in Mexico.

    Calderon is pressing the judicial system to step up prosecution and convictions of criminals, and is calling for a remaking of myriad state and local police forces that have been infiltrated by the drug mafia. The State Department says Mexico is on the right track with its law enforcement actions and longer-term institutional reforms. Although reforms obviously are necessary and removing drug lords is a good thing, we're not convinced that the U.S.-backed drug war can succeed. Neither is former Mexican President Vicente Fox, of Calderon's center-right National Action Party, who last week called for legalization of "production, sales and distribution" of all major drugs in Mexico. This went far beyond an earlier proposal by three former presidents of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico for decriminalization of marijuana consumption. Fox said prohibitionist policies were ineffective, while legalization would break the economic power of the cartels.

    Sadly, even legalization in Mexico would not solve the problem, because most of the market for illegal drugs is in the United States, and cartels have diversified into other illegal businesses. Where there's lots of illicit money to be made, the cartels will find a way.Legalization, either in the United States or Mexico, may raise new problems even as it solves old ones. Nevertheless, Fox deserves credit for exploring every solution to a crisis that is ravaging his country.

    They are recommending this to lower the court case loads and imprisonment of the producers(growers)because one of the biggest problems Mexico has is their judicial system. Many are arrested and never tried,whether it is because of corruption or lack of evidence is unclear but until they stabilize their entire infrastructure and strengthen their courts,many of the criminals are just released back into their society.
  2. Monterey Bud

    Monterey Bud Administrator Staff Member

    Mexico's Drug War Taints Calderon's Harvard Appointment
    For centuries, Harvard Yard has been a safe haven for aspiring minds, intellectuals and world leaders who come to teach, study and learn in peace.

    But former Mexican President Felipe Calderón may not find much serenity during his time on campus.

    The controversial former Mexican leader has yet to begin his one-year teaching appointment at the Kennedy School of Government and already he faces opposition from groups on both sides of the border.

    The online petition site Change.Org has collected nearly 33,000 signatures in opposition to Harvard’s appointment of Calderón. And Mexican political activist and poet Javier Sicilia sent a letter to the university, calling the former president’s appointment an affront to the victims of the bloodshed in Mexico.

    - Monica Rankin, an assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    "We believe ... that the appointment of President Calderón as a visiting fellow at the Kennedy school, is an insult to the victims of violence in Mexico," Sicilia and Mexican academic Sergio Aguayo wrote in a joint letter to the Kennedy School’s Dean David Ellwood.

    During Calderón’s six years in office, an estimated 70,000 people died in violence related to the country’s ongoing drug war. An escalation in murders and other violent crimes arose soon after Calderón took office in 2006, when he declared an all-out military blitz on Mexico’s drug cartels.

    Besides the death toll, Mexico’s cartels – and with them, violence – have spread from certain regions along the U.S.-Mexico border to other parts of the country once free of violence, including resort areas such as Acapulco and metropolitan hubs like Monterrey and Guadalajara.

    The Kennedy School defended its appointment of Calderón, arguing that as an educational institution it welcomes varying view points and theories.

    “The School has a long tradition of providing an opportunity for leaders from around the world to speak to and interact with the community on important public policy issues,” Ellwood said in a statement.

    “The unique opportunity to engage in direct discussion with a former head of state is one that many of our students value greatly, even if they may disagree with some of that leader’s policy positions,” Ellwood said.

    Some academics argue that appointments of former world leaders at U.S universities is always divisive -- such as Georgetown’s appointment of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe -- but Calderon’s hiring is even more poignant given the human rights crisis in Mexico.

    “This one is even more so given the number of deaths in Mexico,” said Monica Rankin, an assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    Rankin added that these types of movements against former world leaders will become more common in the future given the advent of social media and the ease at which information can spread.

    Despite Calderón’s controversial human rights record while in office, some academics defended the Kennedy School’s decision and called it a good learning opportunity for students at Harvard.

    An academic community should be open to all points of view,” George Grayson, a government professor at The College of William & Mary, told Fox News Latino vía e-mail.

    “[Calderon] managed the drug war poorly, but that is a subject he can discuss with students and faculty at Harvard,” Grayson added.

    Source - FXN

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