Drug War a Failure in U.S., Mexico

Victims of the violence in Cd Juarez is more evidence of the failed US and Mexico drug policies. Mexico has decriminalized amounts for personal use while the US continues to turn a blind eye to the problem.(AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
Victims of the violence in Cd Juarez is more evidence of the failed US and Mexico drug policies. Mexico has decriminalized amounts for personal use while the US continues to turn a blind eye to the problem.(AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
EL PASO, Texas – Academics, journalists and officials said at a conference here that the war on drugs has been a failure in both the United States and Mexico, and that the wave of violence has forced many Mexicans to flee their country and silenced journalists.

“Organized crime has Mexican society on the border very quiet and on its knees,” Alfredo Corchado, a correspondent in Mexico for the Dallas Morning News, said Monday at the Global Public Policy Forum on the U.S. War on Drugs, being hosted by the University of Texas at El Paso.

Luis Astorga, a researcher with the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said criminal organizations in the states of Sinaloa and Tamaulipas control drug trafficking along the U.S.-Mexican border.

The drug cartels became more brutal when they started employing former soldiers, who introduced paramilitary tactics to lay down the law for rivals, Astorga said.

“This changed the rules of the game among them for violence, and did away with the old codes the drug groups used to follow,” Astorga said, noting that the cartels formerly ruled out killings of women and children.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s war on drug traffickers has claimed some 12,000 lives since his term began in December 2006, Astorga said.

El Paso County’s district attorney, Jose Rodriguez, said the war against the cartels has failed to a great extent because of the high level of impunity both in Mexico and the United States.

“In Mexico, they make an arrest and the suspect goes free a short time later, and nothing more is heard about the case, while in the United States there is corruption in the ranks of state and federal agencies,” the prosecutor said.

Since 2006, 80 U.S. law enforcement personnel have been convicted for drug-related corruption on the border, Rodriguez said.

The violence has disrupted life on the U.S. side of the border and claimed more than 2,000 lives in El Paso’s neighbor, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, since the start of 2008, the prosecutor said.

The drug-related violence has also been costly for U.S. hospitals, which regularly end up treating people wounded in Mexico, Rodriguez said.

“I’ve lost count of how many people with gunshot wounds have been found on the international (border) crossings and taken to the community hospital since 2008, but we know the cost has exceeded $1 million,” the prosecutor said.

Last month, two cross-border incidents occurred, Rodriguez said, adding that a man was kidnapped in El Paso and his mutilated body found a few days later in Mexico, while an informant was murdered.

Ramon Cantu, executive editor of El Manaña, a newspaper in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, said the 2006 murder of one of his editors and the kidnapping of his brother forced him to stop publishing names and some photos, as well as to scrap editorials written by murdered journalist Jesus Blancornelas, who was known for his criticism of drug traffickers.

“We regret it very much and it’s very sad, but this is not the time to be heroes. We prefer to continue living and reporting on other matters of interest to the community, than to end up dead while trying,” Cantu said. EFE
SOURCE: Latin American Herald
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