by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the
government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be
enforced. - Albert Einstein
Mexican President Felipe Calderon, President Obama, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper - “The Three Amigos” - at the North American Leaders’ Summit on Monday.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon again called on Congress to renew a ban on assault weapons.
“The expiry of the assault-weapons ban in the year 2004 coincided almost exactly with the beginning of the harshest period of violence we’ve ever seen,” Mr. Calderon said. “We have seized over 140,000 weapons in four years — and the vast majority of these weapons were sold in gun shops in the United States. Along the border of the U.S. and Mexico, there are approximately 8,000 weapons shops.”
The Mexican president spoke at length during a Rose Garden news conference about what is an uncomfortable subject for Mr. Obama, whose administration is under investigation by Congress over the notorious “Fast and Furious” program.
Organized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and overseen by the Department of Justice, the program sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers, or people who legally purchase guns in the United States with the intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.
At least 300 people in Mexico have been killed with weapons provided by Fast and Furious, and at least one killing in the U.S., the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, has been blamed on the program.
Neither Mr. Obama nor Mr. Calderon mentioned Fast and Furious in public Monday. Mr. Obama said stopping the flow of illegal guns into Mexico is a “difficult task.”
“We’ve actually put into practice efforts to stop illegal gun trafficking north to south,” Mr. Obama said. “We will continue to coordinate closely with the Mexican government because we recognize the toll that it’s taken with respect to families and innocent individuals inside of Mexico.”
Mr. Calderon said he appreciated the “administrative effort” being undertaken by the Obama administration to stop gun trafficking.
August 2011—As the death toll continues to rise in Mexico’s drug war, now claiming more than 35,000 lives since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006, fewer than half (45%) of Mexicans say their government is making progress in its campaign against drug cartels; 29% say the government is losing ground and 25% say things are about the same as they have been in the past.
Still, an overwhelming majority (83%) continues to endorse the use of the Mexican army to fight drug traffickers, virtually unchanged in recent years. Moreover, many welcome U.S. help in training Mexican police and military personnel (74%) and providing money and weapons to Mexican police and military forces (64%).
And while Mexicans broadly oppose the deployment of U.S. troops to combat drug traffickers in Mexico (38% support and 57% oppose), more now support this strategy than did so in 2010, when only about a quarter (26%) favored the deployment of U.S. troops in their country and two-thirds opposed it.
The survey of Mexico conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project between March 22 and April 7 also finds that illegal drugs and cartel-related violence rank among the top national problems facing Mexico; 71% say illegal drugs are a very big problem in their country and even more (77%) see the violence associated with drug cartels as a major challenge. +
January 11, 2012—The Mexican government updated its drug war death toll on Wednesday, reporting that 47,515 people had been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderón began a military assault on criminal cartels in late 2006.
[…] The number of drug-related deaths is the subject of much dispute. Government officials last gave a figure — 34,612 — at the end of 2010, promising to update their tally regularly. They did not follow through. A group of Mexican and American academics, including [Eric Olson, a security expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington] began pleading with the Calderón administration for death figures, along with other data known to be collected, including violent episodes involving the military. But members of the group say they were ignored.
[…] “Since there are very few actual investigations, those are approximations at best,” Mr. Olson said. “They’re hunches. There is not really a way of knowing precisely if it was caused by organized crime or a drug trafficker or not.” Molly Molloy, a librarian at New Mexico State University who closely tracks deaths in Ciudad Juárez and other parts of the country, said that given the investigative failures, the most reliable figures come from the Mexican census agency, which identified 67,050 homicides from 2007 through 2010, nearly double the government’s count of drug-related deaths for that period. +
Via Juan Carlos Hidalgo at the blog for the Cato Institute, this graph illustrates how Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s militarized approach to the drug war not only didn’t quell the violence, but reversed the downward trend that had been going on for over a decade. +
What are the best and worst things about being one of the U.S.’s nearest neighbors?The benefits are obvious: economy and trade. The biggest problem is drugs. We live in a building in which my neighbor is the largest consumer of drugs in the world and everybody wants to sell him drugs through my window. At the same time, he is the largest exporter of weapons in the world. It’s very difficult to live with such a neighbor.
Is it true that you would like to see America legalize drugs? I can hit the criminals, I can put them in jails, I can take control of their structures, I can rebuild the social fabric. But if Americans don’t reduce the demand or don’t reduce at least the profits coming from the black market for drugs, it will be impossible to solve this problem.
So the answer is yes? I want to see a serious analysis of the alternatives, and one alternative is to explore the different legal regimes about drugs. Even in the U.S., you can see states in which marijuana is … if that is not legal, I don’t understand what legal means. No? Marijuana has some kind of “medical” use, for instance, no?
You’re putting air quotes around medical? It’s like the “medical” use of tequila. You have a cold, you can drink one or two tequilas. If you don’t fix the cold, at least you forget the cold, no?
Would you ever consider legalizing drugs in Mexico? For Mexico, it will be useless to do so, because the objective is to reduce the price and the price is determined by the American market. +
“Calderon has staked his reputation on an army-led crackdown against the drug cartels but the conflict has claimed 42,000 lives since he took office in late 2006 and the bloodshed is hitting support for his conservative National Action Party, or PAN, ahead of the next presidential election in July 2012. His campaign upset the balance of power, triggering a series of turf wars. A troubling truth is that the violence tends to ease when one cartel establishes control in an area. Calderon insists, though, that all organized crime groups will be hit with the same force and has vowed to continue the squeeze on gangs until he leaves office in late 2012.”
“Calderon has staked his reputation on an army-led crackdown against the drug cartels but the conflict has claimed 42,000 lives since he took office in late 2006 and the bloodshed is hitting support for his conservative National Action Party, or PAN, ahead of the next presidential election in July 2012.
His campaign upset the balance of power, triggering a series of turf wars. A troubling truth is that the violence tends to ease when one cartel establishes control in an area.
Calderon insists, though, that all organized crime groups will be hit with the same force and has vowed to continue the squeeze on gangs until he leaves office in late 2012.”
Drug policy reform continues to be a highly contentious debate on both sides of the Rio Grande. Several former Latin American presidents including Mexico’s Vicente Fox and Ernesto Zedillo support a change in policy, specifically legalization in Mexico. “We have to take all the production chain out of the hands of criminals and into the hands of producers,” Fox told TIME in a recent interview. “So there are farmers that produce marijuana and manufacturers that process it and distributors that distribute it and shops that sell it.” In this vision, marijuana could be a niche Mexican industry akin to tequila. However, President Calderón stands firmly against legalization, saying it would make more kids get high and commit crime. “If it is legalized… it would completely liberate the drug market and spark a reduction in price, which are factors that will drive millions of young people to consume drugs,” he said in the lead up to the California vote. +
Felipe Calderon, the Mexican president, has apologised to victims of the country’s war with drug cartels during an emotional meeting with bereaved families, but said that far from regretting his decision to use the army, he felt he should have ordered them to act sooner.
About 40,000 people have died since Calderon ordered the army to engage in a crackdown on drug cartels in 2006.
People march in front of the National Palace during a protest against violence in Mexico City, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. The continuing tide of drug-related killings in Mexico has drawn thousands of protesters into the streets of Mexico’s capital and several other cities, in marches against violence.