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Mexico Drug War Took 20,000 Lives in 2011-When Will U.S. Leaders Admit Responsibility

By talltom, Jan 14, 2012 | Updated: Jan 14, 2012 | | |
  1. talltom
    Prohibition in the United States has reached another low, causing even more international damage. The Washington Post reports that in 2011, more than 12,000 people died in Mexico's escalating drug violence. Since President Felipe Calderon launched a U.S.-backed war against drug trafficking in 2006, more than 50,000 people have been killed.

    The daily newspaper Reforma, one of the nation’s most respected independent news outlets, reported 12,359 drug-related killings in 2011, a 6.3 percent increase compared with the previous year. There were 2,275 drug killings in 2007, Reforma said.

    Indexes of torture, beheading, and the killing of women also were on the rise, according to the Post. Perhaps more startling is that children, too, are victims of Mexico's drug war.

    The newspaper did not offer a count of juveniles or children killed, but children increasingly have been caught in the crossfire or intentionally targeted to send a chilling message that the drug gangs will stop at nothing.

    What might decrease traffickers incentive to sell drugs, however, are legalization efforts in the United States. Much of the drugs manufactured abroad are intended for American bodies, and international leaders are calling on the United States to recognize its role in drug-related violence abroad. Former Mexican President Vincente Fox has called for an end to drug prohibition as the only way to stop the bloodshed in Mexico, and current President Calderon, too, has acknowledged the United States\' position as the consumer creating demand. Latin American leaders are also pressuring the U.S. to reconsider its drug policy, as a way to bring peace to their nations.

    At a December regional summit in Mexico, attended by the leaders of 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries, officials declared that “the authorities in consumer countries should explore all possible alternatives to eliminate exorbitant profits of criminals, including regulatory or market options.”

    “Market options” is diplomatic code for decriminalization.

    The complaints are not exactly new but are remarkable for being nearly unanimous. The critique comes from sitting presidents left to right, from persistent U.S. antagonists such as President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and from close U.S. allies such as President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, which has received almost $9 billion in aid to fight the cartels.

    Because Americans are the consumers of drugs that wreak carnage abroad, re-evaluating our drug policy is not only a way to change the failures of prohibition at home, but to take responsibility for the blood shed abroad, much of which is on our hands.

    Kristen Gwynne,
    AlterNet (Washington Post)
    January 3, 2012

    http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/758423/

Comments

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Re: Mexico Drug War Took 20,000 Lives in 2011-When Will U.S. Leaders Admit Responsibi

    Like so many stories on alternet- this is cobbled together from a number of sources. Much of the text is lifted directly from the following two Washington Post articles:

    Latin American leaders assail U.S. drug ‘market’

    MEXICO CITY — Latin American leaders have joined together to condemn the U.S. government for soaring drug violence in their countries, blaming the United States for the transnational cartels that have grown rich and powerful smuggling dope north and guns south.

    Alongside official declarations, Latin American governments have expressed growing disgust for U.S. drug consumers — both the addict and the weekend recreational user heedless of the misery and destruction stemming from their pleasures.

    “Our region is seriously threatened by organized crime, but there is very little responsibility taken by the drug-consuming countries,” Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom said at a December meeting of Latin leaders in Caracas. Colom said the hemisphere was paying the price for drug consumption in the United States with “our blood, our fear and our human sacrifice.”

    With transit countries facing some of the highest homicide rates in the world, so great is the frustration that the leaders are demanding that the United States and Europe consider steps toward legalization if they do not curb their appetite for drugs.

    At a regional summit this month in Mexico, attended by the leaders of 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries, officials declared that “the authorities in consumer countries should explore all possible alternatives to eliminate exorbitant profits of criminals, including regulatory or market options.”

    “Market options” is diplomatic code for decriminalization.

    The complaints are not exactly new but are remarkable for being nearly unanimous. The critique comes from sitting presidents left to right, from persistent U.S. antagonists such as President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and from close U.S. allies such as President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, which has received almost $9 billion in aid to fight the cartels.

    ‘Rethinking’ the war on drugs

    The criticism has been bolstered by opinion leaders in the region, including the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, who called for the legalization of marijuana and an overhaul of U.S. thinking on the 40-year drug war, which has cost a trillion dollars by some estimates but has done little to reduce supply and demand.

    Senior Obama administration officials say the resentment is understandable, given that the production and transit countries are shouldering more of the violence, but they say the rhetorical attacks against the United States are misdirected.

    “I refuse to accept that there has not been progress” in the fight against drug trafficking and consumption, said William R. Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

    Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said there has been a sustained reduction in demand for cocaine in the United States. According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of Americans aged 12 and older who are current users of cocaine has dropped by 21 percent since 2007. The purity of seized cocaine is down; prices are up.

    “No one single issue drives this global drug problem,” Brownfield said. “Everybody plays his role, everybody shares responsibility.”

    Yet while cocaine use may have declined in the United States in the past few years, it is surging in Europe and Asia. In the United States, seizures of methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana are increasing, and the most recent health surveys found that American 10th-graders are more likely to smoke pot than tobacco.

    “The biggest challenge faced by many Latin American countries is the rising threat of organized crime funded by U.S. drug consumption. That is without a doubt,” said Andrew Selee, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute.

    Lack of political will

    “But the cruel irony is that drug violence is down in the United States, and so it is hard to build a political constituency that wants to do much more to help Latin America,” he said.

    Leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean say that the United States is not only responsible for the cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana that moves north, but also — far more dangerous to them — the bulk cash profits and military-style weapons that flow south.

    One of the most outspoken critics of U.S. drug consumption has been Mexico’s center-right President Felipe Calderon, a U.S. ally in a drug war that has left some 45,000 dead in Mexico.

    “We are next to the largest illegal drug market in the world,” Calderon said in September at a public dinner held in his honor by the Council of the Americas in Washington. “We are living in the same building, and our neighbor is the largest consumer of drugs in the world and everyone wants to sell him drugs through our door and our window.”

    The United States has provided Mexico with almost $700 million of $2 billion in promised aid, including Black Hawk helicopters, police trainers, sophisticated eavesdropping technologies and a mountain of classified drug intelligence, from snitches to drones.

    Presidents from Bolivia to Mexico say that the U.S. government is failing to control the nation’s hunger for narcotics, even as U.S. politicians lecture Latin American nations on how to confront their problems of criminal impunity, official corruption and failed institutions.

    “All the money, regardless how much it is multiplied, and all the blood, no matter how much is spilled” will not stop the drug trade “as long as the north continues consuming,” said Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega.

    Latin American leaders zeroed in on what they see as glaring contradictions in U.S. law, which allows for-profit dispensaries to legally sell “medical marijuana,” while at the same time marijuana growers south of the border are hunted down by the military.

    “If all you're doing is sending our citizens to prison while in other places the market is legalized, then we must ask: Is not it time to review the global strategy against drugs?” said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

    “I wonder if the world's eighth-largest economy, California, which so successfully promotes its modern technology, movies and fine wines, will allow the importation of marijuana into their own market,” Santos said.

    At the summit in Venezuela’s capital this month, Ortega suggested that the group “monitor and rate” anti-drug efforts by the United States, just as the U.S. State Department does for the region.

    In another forum, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla proposed that the United States reimburse the transit countries.

    “Our region is victim of the brutal onslaught of organized crime, which jeopardizes the safety of our population and attacks the foundations of our democracy," Chinchilla said. “I propose the creation of a fund that would oblige countries with drug users to pay a kind of fee for every kilo of cocaine intercepted in the Isthmus.

    “We speak of a drug-trafficking route that moves about a hundred billion dollars a year, culminating in the world's largest market and biggest consumer of these substances, the United States,” said El Salvador President Mauricio Funes, who added that the United States had a “moral responsibility” to do more.


    By William Booth,
    Published: December 19 2011

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world...-drug-market/2011/12/16/gIQAjyy63O_story.html


    story #2

    In Mexico, 12,000 killed in drug violence in 2011

    MEXICO CITY — About 12,000 people were slain last year in Mexico’s surging drug violence, according to grim tallies reported Monday by the country’s leading media outlets. Annual indexes of torture, beheadings and the killing of women all showed increases.

    More than 50,000 people have been killed during President Felipe Calderon’s U.S.-backed military confrontation with organized crime and drug trafficking, which began in 2006.

    The Calderon government, after promising to update figures regularly, has not reported its own death count, perhaps because the trend line does not look good. A government spokesman said new figures would be released later this month. The ruling party is facing national elections this summer, in which the main opposition party threatens to retake the presidency.

    The daily newspaper Reforma, one of the nation’s most respected independent news outlets, reported 12,359 drug-related killings in 2011, a 6.3 percent increase compared with the previous year. There were 2,275 drug killings in 2007, Reforma said.

    Other media reported similar numbers.

    Daily Milenio recorded 12,284 drug-related deaths last year.

    La Jornada counted 11,890 deaths in 2011, which it says is an 11 percent decrease from the previous year. Regardless, in its annual tally La Jornada featured a cartoon that showed Father Time 2011 lying in the desert with his head chopped off.

    In the Reforma count, the number of bodies that showed signs of torture grew to 1,079. Beheadings reached almost 600, up from 389 the year before. Reforma also found that women increasingly were victims of drug violence, with more than 900 slain last year.

    The newspaper did not offer a count of juveniles or children killed, but children increasingly have been caught in the crossfire or intentionally targeted to send a chilling message that the drug gangs will stop at nothing.

    One of the few bright spots is that the homicide rate appears to be down by about a third in the border manufacturing hub Ciudad Juarez, once dubbed Murder City. Baja California and Tijuana also saw decreases in homicides.

    Yet the violence has steadily spread across Mexico. The states that abut Texas — Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas — remain the most deadly. But new zones of conflict, such as the once-mellow gulf coast state of Veracruz, are now gripped by a wave of killing.


    By William Booth,
    Published: January 2 2012

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world...ence-in-2011/2012/01/02/gIQAcGUdWP_story.html
  2. talltom
    Re: Mexico Drug War Took 20,000 Lives in 2011-When Will U.S. Leaders Admit Responsibi

    Thanks. The Washington Post original source did give much more detailed information than did the abridged and "cribbed" Alternet account. Alternet often does identify good stories, but one should go to their sources to get the full picture,
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