Sunday, March 16, 2008

The American side of the story on the Mexican Drug Cartels?

If you want to send the drug dealers to the gates of hell, don't forget they wouldn't deal if they didn't have consumers.

The following article tells the unfortunate (and tragic) true story of the drug cartels in Mexico and how narcotraficante violence is terrorizing the country. I can say, yes this is true. Many people who used to drive to Mexico now avoid Nuevo Laredo (where the violence has been the most intense).

However, there is another very important aspect to the story.

capital and the market

If the drug cartels are making lots of money and fighting over turf then business must be pretty good. Why would business be good? From what I understand, narcotraficantes are often too smart to use the drugs they sell. So who is buying them? Us - as in the U.S.

There wouldn't be many narcotraficantes if we as Americans didn't create such a great market for illegal drugs... Common stories: fashion models stay thin by using cocaine. cocaine use rampant in the "better" high schools. Movie star overdoses almost always related to cocaine.

This is saying nothing about the marijuana market - which is on the boundary between OK and immoral - (I guess it depends on who you are talking to). Regardless of any morals involved, it is a HUGE market - and guess where Americans get their product? Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Imagine how the drug wars in Columbia would have gone if Americans didn't provide such a good consumer base for cocaine and marijuana?

Therefore I just want readers to keep in mind that whenever they hear anything about narcotraficantes, that our own people (Americans) are also players in all this violence.

As usual, we are very good at pointing the finger at someone else - and ignore our own contribution to this disaster. Just as in immigration - so many people hate undocumented immigrants, but the story is so much more complicated - and Americans are (OF COURSE) very complicit. The "market" for undocumented people comes from the U.S.'s desire for lower priced goods and services -- their presence helps us maintain our "style of living." Yet, we blame them and forget that we had any part in it.

The WP article is very long, so I have only included the first page - for the entire article click the title of this post.


Drug Trade Tyranny on the Border
by Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 16, 2008; A01


The killers prowled through Loma Bonita in the pre-dawn chill.

In silence, they navigated a labyrinth of wood shacks at the crest of a dirt lane in the blighted Tijuana neighborhood, police say. They were looking for Margarito Saldaña, an easygoing 43-year-old district police commander. They found a house full of sleeping people.

Neighbors quivered at the crack of AK-47 assault rifles blasting inside Saldaña's tiny home. Rafael García, an unemployed laborer who lives nearby, recalled thinking it was "a fireworks show," then sliding under his bed in fear.

In murdering not only Saldaña, but also his wife, Sandra, and their 12-year-old daughter, Valeria, the Loma Bonita killers violated a rarely broken rule of Mexico's drug cartel underworld: Family should remain free from harm. The slayings capped five harrowing hours during which the assassins methodically hunted down and murdered two other police officers and mistakenly killed a 3-year-old boy and his mother.

The brutality of what unfolded here in the overnight hours of Jan. 14 and early Jan. 15 is a grim hallmark of a crisis that has cast a pall over the United States' southern neighbor. Events in three border cities over the past three months illustrate the military and financial power of Mexico's cartels and the extent of their reach into a society shaken by fear.

More than 20,000 Mexican troops and federal police are engaged in a multi-front war with the private armies of rival drug lords, a conflict that is being waged most fiercely along the 2,000-mile length of the U.S.-Mexico border. The proximity of the violence has drawn in the Bush administration, which has proposed a $500 million annual aid package to help President Felipe Calder¿n combat what a Government Accountability Office report estimates is Mexico's $23 billion a year drug trade.

A total of more than 4,800 Mexicans were slain in 2006 and 2007, making the murder rate in each of those years twice that of 2005. Law enforcement officials and journalists, politicians and peasants have been gunned down in the wave of violence, which includes mass executions, such as the killings of five people whose bodies were found on a ranch outside Tijuana this month.

Like the increasing number of Mexicans heading over the border in fear, the violence itself is spilling into the United States, where a Border Patrol agent was recently killed while trying to stop suspected traffickers.

Drawing on firepower, savage intimidation and cash, the cartels have come to control key parts of the border, securing smuggling routes for 90 percent of the cocaine flowing into the United States, according to the State Department. At the same time, Mexican soldiers roam streets in armored personnel carriers, attack helicopters patrol the skies, and boats ply the coastal waters.

"The situation is deteriorating," Victor Clark, a Tijuana human rights activist and drug expert, said in an interview. "Drug traffickers are waging a terror campaign. The security of the nation is at stake...."

for complete WP article click here


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