Violence escalates as the ongoing war on drugs south of the border continues with Mexico.
More than 7,000 killings and beheadings have been reported in the last 14 months, according to a March 13 report by CBS.
Yet, despite all claims to the contrary, U.S. policies effectively subsidize drug gangs and are making the situation worse.
The U.S. State Department warns that “Mexican drug cartels are engaged in an increasingly violent conflict — both among themselves and with Mexican security services — for control of narcotics trafficking routes along the U.S.-Mexico border,” in a Feb. 20 travel alert.
But, according to U.S. and Mexican officials, some 60 percent of profits that fuel the cartels come from marijuana that is smuggled over the border. An increasing amount of cartel funding is produced in the U.S. by foreign gangs who operate in this country.
Since the mid ‘70s, Dutch adults have been permitted to posses and purchase small amounts of marijuana from regulated businesses in the Netherlands.
According to a recent World Health Organization study in theNetherlands, the rate of marijuana use is less than half of that in the U.S. Also, the percentage of teens trying marijuana by age 15 in the Netherlands is one-third of the U.S. rate.
As the top revenue generator for Mexican cartels is marijuana, the drug war is largely U.S. driven.
According to Mexico’s law enforcement leaders’ testimony, 90 percent of traceable-seized weapons have come from the U.S. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms’ Special Agent William Newell reports the flow of more than 12,800 illegal guns to Mexico since 2004, in a Department of Justice report presented on March 17.
In 2007, of the 1,547 guns submitted for tracking, 1,112 originated in Texas, Arizona and California.
Some countries produce and traffic drugs, others open their doors and consume them internationally.
The drug war is raging in Mexican cities like Tijuana and Juarez, but is beginning to spill over into the U.S. along with corruption, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a March 24 press briefing.
“We’ve seen some increase in violence between — primarily between cartels, themselves — kidnappings, for example, in the Phoenix area and the Houston area,” she said.
Napolitano proposed a plan to increase spending and send troops to end the gang battles.
Some people say neither prohibition nor the spreading of more violence will work.
“Prohibitionist policies based on eradication, interdiction and criminalization have not yielded the expected results,” Colombia’s former president and co-chair of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy César Gaviria said in a Feb. 18 statement.
“We are today farther than ever from the goal of eradicating drugs,” he said.
The tactics used to dismantle mafia gangs have generated greater criminal organizations which are more sophisticated, influential and virulent.
Criminal gangs are not an emerging class, but a ruling class that seems to be feeding itself from the 90 percent of firearms seized in Mexico that, according to the ATF, were largely bought in U.S.
President Obama has a trip to Mexico scheduled for April 16, and also intends to be at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I foresee that man will resign every day to more atrocious undertakings; if not soon there will be but warriors and bandits,” Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges said in his short story “The Garden of Forking Paths.”
This dissolution will likely happen if prohibition is imposed nationally and internationally.
The atrocious drug-war violence of the southern border with Mexico will only continue to escalate unless an ideological shift from repression to a public health approach is not implemented.
Such a shift must include decriminalization of marijuana subsidized by the U.S., if a decrease in cartel revenue and casualties is to occur.