viernes, 18 de febrero de 2011

"Mexico, chief casualty of America's 'War on drugs'" (The Guardian, February 18, 2011)

Photo: AP Photo/Teodoro Blanco Vazquez (Guardian web site)
Tuesday's brutal attack on two US law enforcement agents in Mexico has led to the normal sabre-rattling. Representative Michael McCaul of Texas has called it a "game-changer" and a "wake-up call" to the "war on our nation's doorstep". Last week, James Westphal, undersecretary of the Army, had already spoken of an "armed insurgency" in Mexico, and the possibility of sending "armed and fighting" troops across the border to prevent a "takeover of government". Secretary Janet Napolitano continually speaks of the "war" south of the border. James Clapper, national intelligence director, recently announced that Mexico has been promoted to being a top national security threat.

Mexico has, indeed, reached a tipping point. But an escalation of the present military strategy will only make the situation worse. The best response to recent events is to end the war and proceed towards disarmament, instead of aggravating the conflict. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has declared the end of the metaphorical "war on drugs" within US borders. The time has come also to bring a stop to the very real war on the drug cartels south of the border.

The central problem with the military strategy is that it does not distinguish between violent and non-violent criminals, or serious and less harmful crimes. As Kerlikowske has pointed out, the Mexican cartels are not "insurgents" or "terrorists", but "multivalent criminal organisations", which have diversified into a wide variety of activities including kidnapping, extortion, piracy, human trafficking, money-laundering and government corruption, as well as the transportation and sale of illegal drugs....