Monday, August 14, 2006

Mexico's Internal Drug War

I'm still working today so just a quick link to this Power and Interest News Report on the drug trade in Mexico. They don't generally cover drugs but their reports on international politics are well researched and generally viewpoint neutral. The report illustrates why the war on some drugs will never be won. Read in full for yourself, but here's a key point.
The necessary involvement of police officials at the local, state, and national levels, and the Mexican military, complicates the battle over turf. Corruption pollutes well intentioned policemen and soldiers. The law of "plata o plomo," a choice between accepting a job on a criminal payroll or accepting a bullet in the head, perennially compromises members of the Mexican security forces at all levels.

Due to constant demand for cocaine, heroine, methamphetamines, ecstasy, and other drugs, the Mexican criminal enterprise earns over US$50 billion a year. A considerable amount of this money makes its way back to Colombia to purchase pure cocaine and heroin. Millions of dollars a year land in the hands of policemen, intelligence agents, mayors, port masters, pilots, and many other officials who face the infamous "plata o plomo" decision.
There is no real choice between death and corruption, especially when corruption pays so well. The piece also outlines the current players and notes that the much touted bust of one the major cartels only made the turf wars between the remaining two power players worse. Meanwhile, people are dying for a "war" that can never be won and governments are being taken over from the inside by the cartels. I remind you once again, that legalization could change this dynamic.


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