Broader Implications for Recent Developments in Drug War
Late last year a Mexican newspaper released an article in their latest edition responding to the recent assassinations of a staff photographer. This murder inspired the media source to ask for guidance in the hopes of not offending the dangerous drug cartels that have wreaked terror across Mexico.
Drug related violence isn’t a new concept in Mexico and has been an issue for decades. Marijuana is trafficked across the border at an alarming rate every day. This is n part due to high-demand from U.S. buyers, but also because of its quick return and high yield potential as the Mexican underbelly’s favorite cash crop.
This recent issue has led many to question whether or not the war on drugs is a viable one.
The article, released by El Diario de Juarez entitled “What Do You Want From Us?” has broader implications on the drug issue as a whole. This is an alarming step for a supposed democratic country and now implies that the government is no longer able to protect it’s own populace. This has prompted many political officials to view Mexico, and its failure to gain momentum against the drug cartels, as a failed state.
Regardless of the many “videos de narcotrafico” released by the government to combat this growing tide, the larger question remains as to exactly who is in charge of the country. If the “free press” is now looking to a, non-elected, non-governmental office for guidance, can Mexico still be called a Democratic country?
There have been many instances of self-censorship in the past and it’s usually been from a desire to remain neutral. Some are saying that the Mexican government needs to do more to combat the incredible strength of the cartels in the country and ensure the safety of their people. Others say that the issue wouldn’t exist without the lax gun control and drug enforcement in the United States.
Finger pointing on this issue has never been in short supply and, as usual, the truth lies somewhere in the gray area.
There is some hope though, with President Obama’s administration shifting gears and taking a whole different approach to the drug issue in America. The Washington Informer reported in July of last year that chief advisor on drug policy, Richard Kerlikowske, has decided to shift the country’s policy on the issue of drugs. He stated that far too much emphasis had been placed on enforcement rather than prevention. Saying, “Drugs are a public health problem as much as a public safety issue.”
This is a hopeful step towards treating the overall disease that is drug addiction rather than the symptom-like quality of drug crimes. Through these new initiatives, it’s the hope that both countries can make up for the failed policies of the past and ensure a safer future.
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