Mexico’s Drug War

Mexico’s Drug War

O’Neil: Mexico’s transformed over the last
three decades, mostly in good ways. It’s moved from a closed authoritarian system to a vibrant,
if at times messy democracy. It’s moved from a closed economy to one of the most open in
the world and one that’s increasingly competitive globally. It’s also seen the rise of a middle
class, and now we see a majority of Mexicans who have disposable income and that in turn
is fueling economic growth in the country through consumption. So many things are moving
in the right direction. But we’ve also seen during this period a rise in violence, a real
crisis on the security side. In the last five years we’ve seen fifty thousand people killed
in drug and organized crime related violence. Much of this is led by drug trafficking into
the United States but it’s become so much more. We see growing extortion, we see kidnapping,
we see contraband, we see human smuggling and these prey upon the general population
within Mexico. Hope: There are many drivers to this crisis.
One is government policy but not only government policy. The increase in inter-cartel violence
probably began 2004, 2005, but it was at a relatively low level. December 2006 is when
President Calderon decided to launch the first massive federal operation against drug trafficking
organizations. When the government offensive began in 2007
you had basically four-five criminal organizations. Over the past five years you have had an atomization
and a series of splits and schisms within the organizations. And what you have is no
longer cartels but gangs. O’Neil: Mexico is a country that has been
historically quite unequal. You see poverty in many areas. Mexico’s been improving but
there are still millions that are left on the margins, and those are the types of populations
that the drug cartels or gangs look to and often recruit from. There is a popular saying
in Mexico that its better to live five years as a king, a “rey”, than as 50 years as an
Ox – as a “buey”. And the idea here is that the opportunities for the long term for particularly
poorer youth is so limited that it’s better to go with the narcos now and be a narco king
than just be a laborer who would live a long time and so the challenge for the Mexican
government is to turn that equation around. Hope: This is also a crisis of Mexican security
and justice institutions that have shown themselves quite unable to deal with this level of violence.
You have very either weak, incompetent or corrupt police forces at the state and particularly
at the municipal level. You have a judicial system where prosecutors are basically driven
to obtain confessions and not to investigate, most of the prisons are disaster areas; there
is a significant weakness in every step of the way of the local justice and security
system. Vargas: In Ciudad Juarez people had undergone
a pretty extensive period of directly or indirectly being impacted by the violence, and so businesses
began to close because of the extortion. The city also lost a lot of jobs because of insecurity,
and a lot of people migrated from the city, education is really a problem and so gangs
become a very prominent phenomenon and especially in more marginalized neighborhoods. Hope: The sense of fear and the sense of helplessness
has extended beyond the areas that are mostly affected by the increasing violence. It has
changed the national conversation in Mexico, and it has changed the way Mexicans think
of their country. Obama: There’s one particular area that requires
our urgent and coordinated action, and that is the battle that’s taking place with — with
respect to the drug cartels that are fueling kidnappings and sowing chaos in our communities
and robbing so many of a future, both here in Mexico and in the United States. Patrick: While Mexico is unlikely to implode
and become a truly failed state, the Mexican drug war has already spilled across its borders.
In particular, it’s weakened the institutions of all Central American countries, which now
suffer from some of the world’s highest rates of homicide. Hope: The way forward is to continue dismantling
criminal organizations, strengthening the institutional framework and creating a social
and economic base for the rule of law. Vargas: I can’t not be optimistic about my
country but besides security and direct confrontations to criminal activity there are a lot of things
that a society in this situation of conflict needs to address. You need to have a hard
hand but you also need to have some soft policy solutions to the problem. Patrick: The international community has done
very little to try to address Mexico’s drug situation for two reasons. First, it really
doesn’t have the mandate or the capacity to do anything, particularly without the explicit
invitation of the Mexican government. And the Mexicans are very attached to the principle
of sovereignty. The second reason has to do with the United States, which has preferred
to keep its relationship with Mexico on a bilateral framework rather than going for
a more regional approach. O’Neil: The United States can play a big role
in helping Mexico with the problem of violence. They could deal with the guns that are going
south and police the border much more strongly. They can help slow the money that feeds the
violence that keeps these organizations going by stopping the money laundering that goes
south to Mexico. We can also have a real discussion about demand in the United States. Hope: The drug war is not winnable in the
sense that drug flow will not stop but it is winnable in the sense that the country
can regain normalcy. My greatest fear is that the current levels of violence will become
entrenched — that we’ll get used to having 30,000 homicides a year, that the sense of urgency that there is now will be lost.


64 thoughts on “Mexico’s Drug War”

  • Legalize drugs to end the drug war.

    But, what would the CIA and Wells Fargo do for fun money?

    GOOGLE: Cocaine smugglers laundered billions through Wachovia bank

  • For someone with a gun thumbnail you are awfully scared of these criminals. The bottom line is we're losing the war on drugs because we're weaker than the cartels because of our fear of them. Oh please lets legalize drugs so the big bad people won't come after us (if you can't beat em join em). Those who are too scared to fight for freedom can do as they will but it will be a cold day in hell before I give in to these monsters.

  • Fast and Furious was to create terrorism and violence in Mexico.
    Cartels and violence in mex are made in ISA
    ask Obama fast but don't get furious after knowing the truth.

    Mexico's enemy is communism.
    Nuke Cuba and Venezuela.

  • If you think the drug war is a fight for freedom then you walk this earth blindly. Visit any Mexican city and you will quickly realize that Mexico actually has more freedom than the United States.

  • luckyshot367 says:

    Good idea, lets also legalize murder and rape, then we can end war on crime and USA will also have lowest crime statistics in the world.

  • luckyshot367 says:

    So you are saying that if drugs are legal, drug addicts don't buy them anymore… btw there is supply and demand for murder.

  • luckyshot367 says:

    If cocaine is legal, cartels are still the biggest players, they sell drugs legally and become stronger, and continue fighting with each others. They don't just vanish magically. How can there be supply and demand for murder? Have you heard of contract killing?

  • luckyshot367 says:

    I don't see how allowing drug cartels to sell drugs would stop them, that just makes their job easier when nobody is trying to stop them.

  • luckyshot367 says:

    Organized crime usually have legal businesses too. They would become legal but they keep controlling the drug trade by violence.

  • luckyshot367 says:

    End of prohibition was not the end of mafia, families who found new business ventures didn´t disappear, the rise of power that the Mafia acquired during Prohibition would continue long after alcohol was made legal again. Back to the cartels, some experts on organized crime in Latin America, like Edgardo Buscaglia, say that cartels earn just half their income from drugs so legalizing drugs would not significantly weaken them. Just like prohibition era, mafia their rise of power would continue.

  • luckyshot367 says:

    No, like i said, the mafia became stronger after the prohibition. It is totally optional whether or not you want to add the word drug before the word cartel. For example, the Gulf Cartel is heavily involved in prostitution, arms trafficking and human trafficking just to name few and taking out one of their income source does not change much. Except that you cannot naturally add the word drug before the word cartel.

  • luckyshot367 says:

    Mafia is present in USA, it has become weaker because eastern European and Russian criminal organizations have challenged them. Russian mobs are becoming more and more powerful inside USA and they have taken over Italians illegal business ventures.

  • luckyshot367 says:

    I forgot to mention the RICO act, that also has made crime organizations inside USA weaker. But yes, legalizing drugs could be worth trying, it is not my business and that's why i haven't really weighted the options.

  • It would be better option to seal US/Mexico borders than to legalize every single drug. It is government's job to keep people safe and many people are so dumb that they take hard drugs and so on they are dangerous to themselves and surroundings. By sealing the border US would be safer country.

  • the drug war is a neccessary evil. if they legalize drug the cops, court, and prisons would lose big. not to mention cia dea and weapons manufactorers. its just business.

  • Most Mexicans simply don't trust the state and local authorities to solve these issues either because of corruption or simple incompetence. The rural poor often have few options to pull themselves out of poverty. Many try to migrate (often temporarily) to urban areas domestically or in the US, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have these options. Working for the cartel or forming a gang can be lucrative and more attractive to a young man than being a simple farm laborer or factory worker

  • Unfortunate that this white wash video didn't mention the security corruption and how the security forces are as abusive as the cartels. Too bad they didn't mention prohibition of drugs is the single biggest gift to cartels. Too bad they didn't mention that the US is rubber stamping billions of dollars to support this "war on poor people, not drugs"  keep it going. Too bad they didn't mention the biggest market for these prohibited drugs is the US. Too bad they don't question why the demand for mood altering drugs is so high in the US. Hmm, maybe it has to with the economic and social policies within the US that creates so much misery for the citizenry.

  • @Immortalkalashnikov your telling me this problem would be solvedby allowing me to get commercial ammounts of herion or crack or ice
    yea maybe it would slow the cartels down but there in lies what is gonna be a much bigger problem 

  • I don't know what to do about this.  But I wish the drugs would end.  It causes too much corruption and killings!! It's aweful, The Mexican Cartel is just as bad as the ISIS with beheading people, I mean how disgusting!! God help us…….  

  • Why are you so violent and corrupt Mexico. I think Mexican drug cartels just took over Mexico,there is no hope for the people in Mexico

  • Eddie Mis huevos says:

    Come on folks let’s not stick our heads in the sand, we have a HUGE drug problem, the biggest in the world. Even if we build a 50 ft wall at the border drugs will still come in through the north east or west, as long as there’s demand there will be supply, you can’t possibly be that stupid

  • Foucault Ghost says:

    The drug problem is an Americas problem. Only countries in the Western hemisphere have this problem. The most violent countries in the world are mostly in the Americas because of the drug problem. All because of substance abuse. The drug problem didn't exist 60 years ago. All the major drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth, weed, and crack cocaine became popular within the last 40 years. Somebody created this demand for drugs
    Somehow this problem came into existence.

  • Beatriz Arguelles says:

    Mexico is how it is and will always be thanks to having the most drug addict country in the world as a neighbor. 🇺🇸

  • China sells some of the chemicals needed to make drugs to Mexico. Violence and drug wars keep labor prices low so businesses relocate there. Courts fail to make an impact on the use, distribution, and sale of the drugs. Mexican officials are either complicit or afraid for the lives. It will take military action with the implicit goal of annihilating the gangs/cartels and corruption. They are as dangerous or more dangerous than any terrorist group in the world and should be labelled as such. Some day the issue will have to be dealt with. It just depends on how strong you let them get and how much damage they inflict before action is taken.

  • I dont want to even hear about this so called war on drugs because its a joke. While the drug alcohol is legal and destroying lives around the world its just so hypocritical to be trying to stop other illegal drugs when alcohol is legal and available over the counter. The people of prohibition were right, if they could only see the mess the world is in because of alcohol.

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