Wednesday, March 4, 2009

US Drug Craze to Blame for Mexico Unrest

Fourteen years ago, when I was a high school senior applying to college, I wrote an admissions essay to Harvard lamenting the popularity of American goods in my father's homeland, Mexico -- that, suffocated by American products, Mexicans had no chance to develop a national identity. Alas, it seems this is the least of Mexico's problems today.
The country is beset by drug cartels that terrorize government officials and the general public. Corruption prevents the government from combating the problem more effectively. The violence has unnerved the United States, whose military has discussed the possibility of the collapse of the Mexican state and whose government and universities warn students to stay away from Mexico on spring break.
Something tells me that yet another American import is creating the havoc in Mexico: The US yearning for illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana. The northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, site of much of the drug violence, "is the starting point for much of the drugs that pass through Mexico to the United States," the Washington Post reported last year.
The financial aspect of the drug trade seems to make the problem harder to solve. Sinaloa economist Guillermo Ibarra had some revealing words for The Post:
"If you took drug money out of Sinaloa, half the automobile dealerships would fail," Ibarra said. "Half the restaurants would fail, the real estate market would collapse. Even if you only reduced drug money by 9 percent, there would be an immediate recession, a crisis much like the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States."
I'm not sure how best the Mexican government could respond. Strengthening the economy might help, weakening the financial impact of the drug trade and making less people dependent on it. But these are dicey economic times across the globe, and it is hard to see either the Mexican economy, or the stability of the country, getting better any time soon.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Seriously Rich, have you been paying attention?

This is nothing more than the old American NIMBY attitude.

When we had Alcohol prohibition, we had Al Capones right here in the US. They ran liquor, they made money, they hurt people. They really hurt people.

Now, we have "drug" prohibition, but we have managed to outsource the worst of the dangerous criminal element... as long as it stays in mexico, or in the ghettos, we don't care. Its "Not in My Back Yard".

Why should we be AT ALL surprized that prohibition has AGAIN failed. Has AGAIN produced violent organized crime. Has AGAIN utterly failed at its goals, and increase harm across the board.

There is 1 take away from this...and only one: The creation of black markets is bad.

Thats it, end of story.

You have taken a single medical issue, and turned it into a hundred law enforcement issues. The police are not intended to solve medical issues. They are very very bad at it.

Mexico suffers because of this policy. Columbia suffers for it. Americans, every day, suffer for it.

We suffer for it by being a world leader in per capita incarceration rates. We suffer for it as we turn sad medical cases into hungry criminals who steal for their fix... when time and again its been shown that access to legal, safe, and affordable alternatives are ALL that is required to cut their OTHER illegal activities (thats theft etc) by 90% in the course of WEEKS.

There is little to think about here Rich. The answer is blatantly obvious.

-Steve