Tag Archives: drug war

In Case You Missed This – The Truth About The Drug War in Mexico

Written by Don Winslow, for the Huffington Post

Mexico’s drug problem isn’t.

Mexico’s drug problem, that is.

It’s America’s drug problem.

And our looking at it backwards is a huge part of the problem itself.

We sit and blame Mexico for smuggling drugs across our border as if we were innocent in all this. As if the evil (and they are) Mexican drug cartels are forcing Americans at gunpoint to consume illicit drugs.

(The proposition is not as far-fetched as its sounds. In 1842, Great Britain forced China to accept opium importation, and took the island of Hong Kong to use as a staging base.)

We condemn Mexico for exporting drugs while ignoring the inverse dynamic — we are importing the drugs. We are the ones bringing in 20 tons of heroin, 110 tons of methamphetamine, 330 tons of cocaine and literally countless tons of marijuana annually.

The cartels could stack up drugs on this side of the border until California tilted into the ocean, and if we weren’t using them, it wouldn’t matter. The drugs would be worthless, instead of the multi-billion dollar product that we have made them.

Mexico has every right to be furious.

We insist that the Mexican government ‘crack down’ on the drug cartels, while at the same time we maintain the world’s largest drug market just across its border. We condemn Mexico for its corruption while ignoring the societal rot in our own culture. We act appalled at the (appalling) level of violence in Mexico without ever acknowledging our own share of the responsibility for perpetuating it.

Just for the sake of getting a different perspective, turn the map upside down for a second. Just to get a fresh look, put Mexico to our north and consider the situation.

What if we had highly-armed, wealthy and immensely powerful criminal organizations thriving in the United States — ‘cartels’ whose combined power rivaled the national government. Let’s say that they had enough money to bribe politicians, judges, police, even the military. Let’s suppose that they felt so insulated from consequences that they assassinated police chiefs, mayors and journalists. That they were responsible for an average of ten thousand violent deaths or disappearances a year. That they conducted unspeakably grisly tortures by way of vengeance and intimidation. In the streets of New York, Chicago and L.A.

Now let’s say that Mexico funded them.

To the tune of $25 billion annually.

Go just a little further and say that Mexican entrepreneurs supplied them with the guns they use to kill.

How long would the U.S. tolerate that situation?

Months? Weeks? Days?

What if Mexican drug consumers were funding, let’s say, terrorist organizations inside the United States? How long would it be before the tanks started rolling?

But that’s exactly what we do to Mexico. Our drug money goes south (along with our guns), perpetuating the power of the violent cartels, creating untold misery and suffering for the Mexican people, destabilizing their society, government and economy.

(It is estimated that fully 10% of Mexico’s economy is built on drug proceeds.)

At the same time, we commit more billions ($10 billion in 2011, twice what we spent of treatment and prevention) to try to interdict the drug traffic, money that only drives up the price and gives more profit and power to the cartels that control the prime smuggling turf. We increase the violence in Mexico both by buying the drugs and then by trying to stop them from coming in.

And then we call it the ‘Mexican drug problem.’

We’re Mexico’s drug problem.

by Don Winslow, Huffington Post, 20 July 2012


A Fresh Take on the Drug War

I had a crazy, out-of-the-box idea today while having lunch with my better half. We were discussing the perception potential tourists have of Mexico given the increase in violence along the border.

Since the drug business is based on the premise of overwhelming and incessant demand by a large percentage of the citizenry of the Somewhat United States of America, who WANT to get high and continue to delude themselves that they live in a democracy, why fight the drug business at all? Isn’t the idea behind the term democracy – so often touted as motivation behind screwing with other people’s freely elected governments and invading nations – being ‘rule by the people, for the people’? Well wake up, leaders of the world’s most hypocritical democracy – THE PEOPLE WANT THEIR DRUGS!!

Why does this country have to play the part of the US’s Mexican housekeeper or nanny? This is a third world country that has to do the dirty work for it’s neighbor in exchange for what?

As Tony Garza Jr., former U.S. ambassador to Mexico put it:

Mexico would not be the center of cartel activity or experience this level of violence were the United States not the largest consumer of illicit drugs and the main supplier of weapons to the cartels. We have a responsibility to fight this war together, or we fail together. (link)

Is it really necessary for Mexicans to be shooting each other because the bloated drug addict up north can’t get his act together? I mean really, what is the incentive? Keep fighting the drug cartels with all the spillover violence just so Mexico can get a condescending pat on the head from the US?

The admittedly crazy idea, is to sit down with the leaders of the drug cartels and offer them the de-criminalization of the whole drug business in exchange for them stopping the violence in Mexico, stopping distribution of drugs in the country and paying off any outstanding debt to the U.S.

If the U.S.A. want to wage a war on drugs, let them wage it on their turf. With their soldiers and their collateral damage. Or, and here’s a novel idea, take a look at the real problem: the depressed, deluded society they have created that cannot stand to look itself in the mirror and demands the drugs in the first place.

OK. I told you it was kind of out-of-the box idea.