Mexican Gov’t Slams US-Backed Military Approach to Drug War

Although no one seems to be able to initiate a change, there is widespread acknowledgement that US-backed drug war policies in Mexico have worsened the security situation, enabled human rights abuses by the government, and has not put a dent in the drug market. Washington Post:

A top official in Mexico’s new government on Monday harshly criticized the country’s U.S.-backed attack on drug cartel leaders for causing violence to surge, even as the incoming team offered an alternate security strategy largely devoid of details.

Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong opened a meeting of the National Security Council saying that under the strategy of former President Felipe Calderon, who left office Dec. 1, “financial resources dedicated to security have more than doubled but unfortunately crime has increased.”

Calderon’s policy to deploy Mexican troops and federal police officers – forces that are trained by the United States – only increased the violence, which has left more than 50,000 dead since about 2006.  “George W. Bush backed Calderón’s militarization with a $1.8 billion package of helicopters, police training, and intelligence cooperation,” wrote The New Yorker’s Steve Coll recently. “Obama has continued the program” and “has reportedly sent drones to help Mexico track cartel leaders and traffickers.”

Human Rights Watch back in November of last year released a report providing evidence that Mexico’s security forces participated in “more than 170 cases of torture, 39 ‘disappearances,’ and 24 extrajudicial killings since Calderón took office in December 2006.” And these are just what they could confirm.

“Instead of reducing violence, Mexico’s ‘war on drugs’ has resulted in a dramatic increase in killings, torture, and other appalling abuses by security forces, which only make the climate of lawlessness and fear worse in many parts of the country,” said José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch.

Despite the open criticisms, it seems unlikely that the new Mexican government will succeed in significantly altering the status quo.

The United States has been pushing a militaristic approach to the drug war for a long time. Other countries –  ColombiaGuatemala, Honduras, etc. – are suffering from a similar dilemma thanks to US pressure and the refusal to budge on a failed policy.

31 thoughts on “Mexican Gov’t Slams US-Backed Military Approach to Drug War”

  1. We are not quite ready to legalize marijuana. A few thousand peasants need to be chased off their land near the international border and another 50-60 thousand Mexicans need to be murdered to get rid of some of the extremely poor. After we redistribute the land to our campaign contributors then we can seriously think about legalizing marijuana.

    1. Are you crazy legalize drugs , how would we finance illegal wars and keep puppets in power. do you think that the main export of Afghanistan will be roses after we leave? Do you think we will ever deal with the US drug cartels or the US banks that launder their money. Ha legalize drugs would cause all kinds of problems.

    1. Prohibition has diverted police resources away from other law enforcement activities, with the result that violent crimes and crimes against property have been higher than they would otherwise have been. To the extent that communities divert law enforcement resources from violent crimes to illegal drug offenses, the risk of punishment for engaging in violent crimes is reduced.

      Kindly follow the link to a scientific paper that determines empirically the homicide offense rate to changes in the percentage of arrests attributed to drug offenses. The empirical results obtained are consistent with a priori expectations that homicide offense rates are higher in communities that devote a greater percentage of their policing resources to the enforcement of drug laws.….

      The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada recently reviewed 15 studies that evaluated the association between violence and drug law enforcement. "Our ?ndings suggest that increasing drug law enforcement is unlikely to reduce drug market violence. Instead, the existing evidence base suggests that gun violence and high homicide rates may be an inevitable consequence of drug prohibition and that disrupting drug markets can paradoxically increase violence."

      Here is Julien Codman's testimony, who was a member of the Massachusetts bar, given before the Senate Hearings of 1926:.

      "we will produce additional evidence on this point, that it is not appropriate legislation to enforce the eighteenth amendment; that it has done incredible harm instead of good; that as a temperance measure it has been a pitiable failure; that it has failed to prevent drinking; that it has failed to decrease crime; that, as a matter of fact, it has increased both; that it has promoted bootlegging and smuggling to an extent never known before"

      "We believe that the time has come for definite action, but it is impossible to lay before Congress any one bill which, while clearly within the provisions of the Constitution, will be a panacea for the evils that the Volstead Act has caused. We must not be vain enough to believe, as the prohibitionists do, that the age-old question of the regulation of alcohol can be settled forever by the passage of a single law. With the experience of the Volstead law as a warning, it behooves us to proceed with caution, one step at a time, to climb out of the legislative well into which we have been pushed."

      1. Those studies perhaps apply to drug consumer markets. Mexico (and Colombia in the past) is a different issue. Zero drug law enforcement isn't going to do away with violence in drug producing/distribution countries.

    1. Who's to blame for Mexicans slaughtering each other and whoever gets in their way? Well America of course… ?

      1. How can anyone say that after the US government has been caught providing military-grade weapons to the Mexican drug cartels?

        1. Indeed. But surely, you can't account for all of that violence with those weapons. Unless they find that this administration was also shipping chainsaws and knives over there. The folks doing the shooting and torturing have some responsibility, no?

          1. Of course. But given that the US is providing weapons, it is probable that they are providing covert support (much worse than providing chainsaws or knives) for the same violent cartels. Who profits from the militarization of the Mexican drug war?

  2. That's all the "leaders" in the U.S. government know how to do is commit violence. They are incapable of anything else. Then they stand around looking stupid when it blows up in their stupid faces.

  3. The Prohibition model brings criminal violence wherever it's implemented. The U.S. demands the entire planet bow down to its idea of good vices and bad vices. Certain drugs and intoxicants have above board lobbies in DC, the others operate off the books. It's a win/win situation for GovCo to keep these substances banned. Drug laws are nothing more than Criminal Justice[sic] System Full Employment Bills that leave corpses it their wake. To anyone that thinks otherwise, you need to wake up and smell the Columbian coffee.

  4. RickR30,

    I think your missing the point. It’s a matter of simple economics. Reduce supply and drive up price. In the case of drugs however the supply isn’t reduced there is simply the illusion of a reduced supply because of the threat of going to jail. This has still driven up the price of drugs making violence associated with escalate. Sure the individuals who commit the crimes are responsible for their actions but it is US policy that is the root of the problem and therefore US policy is deserving of the blame that it gets.

  5. Latin America got the drugs and USA got the users/addicts…whose fault is it? the drugs should be legal and let the junkies fall where they may…end of problem

  6. o the extent that communities divert law enforcement resources from violent crimes to illegal drug offenses, the risk of punishment for engaging in violent crime

  7. hat communities divert law enforcement resources from violent crimes to illegal drug offenses, the risk of punishment for engaging i

  8. most important job is taking your call when you get drunk in Riyadh. You don't get a great job at an influence mill with that on your résumé. You do if Ambassador to Saudi Arabia means what doing the "important work" needed under current policies.

  9. your résumé. You do if Ambassador to Saudi Arabia means what doing the "important work" needed under current policies.

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  11. Perhaps the war against drug cartels is not well placed, wouldn't it be better if we would fight addiction instead? Helping the drug users get over their addiction would definitely put a dent in the dealer's trade. Building more places such as St. Louis rehab would be a better way to fight the drug cartels.

  12. your résumé. You do if Ambassador to Saudi Arabia means what doing the "important work" needed under current policies

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