BBC—Mexico’s Calderon: US not doing enough in drugs war

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has told the BBC the US should do more to reduce the demand for drugs that is fuelling violence in Mexico.

He told the HARDtalk programme that more should also be done to stem the flow of illegal weapons from the US.

More than 28,000 people have died in drug violence in Mexico since 2006.

Meanwhile, President Calderon and other regional leaders have urged Californian voters to reject moves to legalise marijuana in their state.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Mexico

Posted October 27, 2010 at 9:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

Well gosh, here is an idea to “stem the flow of illegal weapons from the US.”  We could BUILD A WALL and seal in all those “bad” weapons flooding Mexico from the US.  What do you think?  Seal the border?  Good idea?  Maybe there will be some side benefits as well.  The massive smuggling of drugs into the US from Mexico might be slowed and maybe, just maybe, the flow of ILLEGAL MIGRANT CRIMINALS into the US from Mexico might be slowed, too.

October 27, 12:31 pm | [comment link]
2. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

“Paging Mr. Pot. Mr. Black Pot…Mr. Kettle on line 1, Sir!”

October 27, 12:36 pm | [comment link]
3. In Texas wrote:

He does have a point, the Mexican drug lords are supplying the market demands for drugs in the US.  No market, no drug lords.  Problem is, getting rid of the market seems impossible, so sealing the border to stop/reduce the drugs coming in may be the only way.

October 27, 12:37 pm | [comment link]
4. AnglicanFirst wrote:

“However, US gun rights groups question whether the US is the source for the vast majority of the illegal guns turning up in Mexico.

The majority of guns confiscated by Mexico and submitted to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for tracing do originate in the US.

However, a large number of seized weapons are not sent for tracing.”
Its amazing the games that people can play with numbers and unscientific statistics.

For example “... and submitted to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for tracing do originate in the US…”

Would the Mexican Government submit the identifying characteristics (e.g. serial numbers and manufacturers) for weapons that did not originate in the USA?  Such as the huge quantities of automatic weapons that have flooded Central America/South America over the past fifty years and which are freely available to weapons traffickers.

President Calderon should be much more concerned about sealing Mexico’s southern border and its coastlines against illegal arms traffickers than he is about the USA as such a source.

And by the way, when he seals those borders against smugglers, he can also seal the USA-Mexican border aginst drug smugglers, people smugglers and illegal weapons trafficking in both directions.

Me thinks that President Calderon’s rant is somewhat disingenuous.

October 27, 1:19 pm | [comment link]
5. Teatime2 wrote:

Oh, right. Mexico’s problems all stem from drug use in the United States. The fact that Mexico is turning into a narco state has absolutely nothing to do with Mexico’s entrenched classism, protectionism that hampers economic growth and expansion, lack of good education for all, and average Mexicans’ inability to find good-paying jobs, right, Calderon?

The only reason that the U.S. government even half-listens to this guy and doesn’t clamp down fiercely on the porous border is the politicians here are afraid of losing the Latino vote. But the American people are fed up with all of the problems Mexico is exporting to us. The Mexican government has used us as their release valve and their whipping boy long enough.

October 27, 2:19 pm | [comment link]
6. centexn wrote:

If you can’t stop the demand, at least take away the incentive for the cartels to continue to wreck havoc.  The tension lies between the interests of the drug cartels and the interests of government in the access, control, and distribution of the raw product and the profits accruing from sales and or taxation. Of the following scenarios which of your sensibilities is more offended?  (1) The wholesale slaughter of innocents, i.e., collateral damage in inter gang warfare on both sides of the border or, (2) the decriminalization of drugs.  Hard practical choices must be made in the face of human frailty.  And I consider myself conservative!

October 27, 6:06 pm | [comment link]
7. Septuagenarian wrote:

The problem is created by Americans buying those drugs from Mexico. If Americans stop buying illegal drugs, the Mexican drug cartels will collapse.

October 27, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
8. Clueless wrote:

I suggest that we simply bring back public flogging for drug possession and use.  This will seriously discourage drug use in society, and will reduce the demand for narcotics.  If we use public flogging instead of imprisonment, this will empty the jails, and eliminate the demand for the cartels.  Addicts may request detox and if need be less than 6 months of methadone maintenance if they request this BEFORE getting busted.

I do not favor decriminalization, because it will result in more addicts, particularly in the under 18 population.

I also favor wiping the record clean off ALL offenses (including drugs, murder, rape and sexual abuse) after 7 years of being straight.  Why should only white collar crime (theft by bancruptcy) be forgiven?  Bringing back the Jubilee, would give excons a reason to stay clean, and makes them employable in the non-underground economy. 

I’m serious.  Stop the political correctness.  It is bancrupting our society, and murdering Mexico’s.

October 27, 7:29 pm | [comment link]
9. Ad Orientem wrote:

Prohibition didn’t work in the 20’s and it’s still not working today.  All it has ever done is serve as a cash cow for organized crime.  Yes, Mexico has more issues than the National Geographic Magazine.  But even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  It is American money (if not guns) that is the problem here.  People are killing each other in droves because there is a massive underground market for drugs in the United States that is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

October 27, 8:36 pm | [comment link]
10. Br. Michael wrote:

So what do you suggest?  We should allow people to kill themselves with drugs?  And then what?  Are we our brothers keepers?  Do we prevent the damage or are we to pick up the pieces?

If I could isolate myself from Hell, I would say to the Liberals;  “Do what you want and bide the consequences.”  But I can’t.  What you do affects me.  If takers of drugs could ruin their lives in isolation then OK.  If I didn’t care what a human does to themselves then OK.

But we are not isolated.  And I do care.  And drugs and all that goes with them is a monstrous evil.

October 27, 10:21 pm | [comment link]
11. centexn wrote:


I am in agreement…but,

What do YOU suggest?  Seems to me Christ himself descended into hell…in fact, in humility he became like us and entered into our reality and offered reconciliation to God by virtue of his crucifixion. Our task is to lessen the impact of man’s inhumanity to other men and himself in practical terms and to minister to broken ones in spite of and due to the depth of their need.  In that one sees Christ in his brother and at the same time respecting his right to exercise his free will.  In the meantime we cannot personally unbind their fetters.  We can only commiserate and plead the mercy of the Lord which ultimately is healing par excellence.  This is the only way to prevent our work, that is, our ministry in Christ,  from becoming legalistic.  I am open to criticism.

October 28, 12:25 am | [comment link]
12. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re # 10
Br. Michael
There is no silver bullet here.  But I do respectfully suggest that the war on drugs has been a monumental, and monumentally expensive, failure.  God gave men free will.  What you are suggesting is that maybe God was wrong.

Of course, we can and should do all in our power to discourage people from engaging in willfully self destructive behavior.  But using the government to dictate people’s life decisions is what liberals do.  It is time for the government to stop passing laws that are functionally unenforceable and which are creating an open and bleeding wound on society.

In the case of minors; drug use and possession should remain illegal with the severest penalties attached to anyone who sells to kids.  But in the end we can’t go around legislating how other people live their lives.  If someone is determined to wreck their own life all we can do is try to persuade them not to.

That said I do not believe that taxpayers should not bear any responsibility for “picking up the pieces” as you put it of other people’s willful stupidity.  And without doubt there will be some wreckage.  But IMO the benefits of repeal outweigh the drawbacks.

If prohibition were repealed you would instantly put tens of thousands of high priced drug dealers out of business.  We could cut our prison population in half or better.  We would be able to impose some form of regulation on a highly dangerous underground market and collect billions in taxes.  And while there would certainly be socio-economic problems resulting from this, there would very likely be a very significant drop in the crime rate.  A huge percentage of crime is drug related in this country.  But who would need to rob some little old lady in the park for the money to buy a hit of crystal-meth if it was available over the counter for less than a dollar?  There would no longer be any incentive for 15 year old kids to “cap” each other over who has the commercial rights to which street corner.

Yes there is going to be wreckage resulting from legalization, just as there is from people abusing alcohol and tobacco.  But weighed against the wreckage created by our current policy, most of which can be found on display in any city morgue (and all over Mexico), I am ready to take the risk.

Someone once said that a good definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  By any reasonable definition our current drug policy is insane.

October 28, 12:59 am | [comment link]
13. Ad Orientem wrote:

That said I do not believe that taxpayers should not bear any responsibility for “picking up the pieces” as you put it of other people’s willful stupidity.

Remove the second “not.”

October 28, 1:01 am | [comment link]
14. Teatime2 wrote:

OK, let’s say that the U.S. legalizes, regulates, and, of course, taxes drugs. Does anyone really believe that this is going to put the cartels out of business? Of course it won’t. The cartels will just offer different and more potent products at cheaper prices (no taxes!) and they will be more in demand. And if the cartels are then also competing with the federal government in supplying drugs, the competition will become even more fierce. More violence.

You can’t “regulate” drug addicts. They’re always looking for their next, better, cheaper high and they’re not going to play nice and buy legally just because the federal government wants them to do so.

Furthermore, the cartels have diversified into human trafficking and the sex industry. They sell young girls into servitude and sexual slavery. Shall we legalize that, too?

October 28, 1:26 am | [comment link]
15. mari wrote:

The drug gangs increase addictions, they constantly seek new and younger customers, get them hooked. Mexico’s drug cartels sell to lots more than just the US, they smuggle their drugs to other countries. The more illegals allowed to remain in the US, the more the drug cartels have middle men and potential dealers. I live in the smallest state in the US, we have 6 major illegal alien gangs, and all of them are involved in the drug trade.

Mexico promised under NAFTA that if it had those jobs, it would raise taxes to help their poor, but they didn’t and refuse to do so now. We have to inform Mexico that the free ride is over. That the US is adding huge fees to remittances sent to Mexico and slapping a huge tariff for Mexico violating the laws of the US, by using us as a dumping ground for their poor, which presents a drain on the US taxpayer.  It needs to be high, to make it unbearable enough. Mexico will refuse to pay, so the money is subtracted from the millions of dollars given in aid to Mexico. The tariff will be imposed until Mexico raises it’s tax rates on it’s large, thriving middle class, it’s wealthy and industries, and help’s it’s own poor, enacts reform. Not only will this force Mexico to have to act responsibly, it will also be siding with Mexico’s poor. It will also have the benefit of Mexico not being able to artificially suppress it’s tax rates, so as to give itself another competitive advantage against the US.

We have to seal the border, make an announcement of 30 days notice to illegal aliens, that the US is starting massive raids across the US. And start the raids immediately. Illegals will be informed that if they wish to leave with any of their money and property, they have to self deport, and they should do so immediately. If they remain, any money and property will be seized as fines to compensate the US taxpayer for the expenses of rounding up and deportation. There won’t be any holding in deportation centers for extended periods of time. All illegals rounded up and their children, will be immediately deported, and not just over the border, but deep into Mexico, or the countries of their origins. There will be no hearings, no anchor baby excuses, nothing. Any parent who wants their US born children left in the US, will have parental rights terminated, and the child placed in state custody for fostering or adoption. The illegals won’t do that, so they’ll take their children with them. Not one suggestion I make is cold hearted. In fact, it’s far more humane than the rationales which purport to be heart broken by the “struggles” of illegals, yet which show nothing but contempt and disdain for the displaced US citizen families, who are increasingly homeless and destitute. You have to get tough with Mexico, it’s the only thing they understand. It’ll be a fight,

October 28, 3:31 am | [comment link]
16. John Wilkins wrote:

#14 - actually, the cartels would move out of drugs and into other parts of the economy.  Would this be horrible?  I suggest that we simply don’t know, and that the rhetoric of fear sheds little light on the stakes.  But it seems to me that we already regulate drugs through pharmacies.  Certainly if there was a sudden shift there would be plenty of initial chaos, but that is how change happens.

It is much better to treat addicts like people who need help rather than use fear.  The whole idea of addiction is that people can’t control it.  The suggestion they should be flogged is merely cruel, and would maintain the underground economy while creating a class of people who have to worry about being turned in.  It merely creates more violence. 

What is not working is what we’ve been doing for ... 70 years.  Along with ad Orientem, I suggest we do what most people do when something doesn’t work.  And that is try something else. 

Since NAFTA, Mexico has lost 4 jobs for every 1 job it replaced.  Mexicans coming to the US aren’t doing this because they particularly love the US.  They’re doing it simply because they want to survive, and the Mexican countryside isn’t providing the work.

And the combination is dangerous.  Desperate people make easy fodder and soldiers for the cartels.  Medicalizing, rather than politicizing, medicine reduces the violence in the system.  Cartels would then become distributors.

October 28, 5:08 pm | [comment link]
17. Septuagenarian wrote:

There is no doubt that the drug cartels encourage addiction. But one, but certainly not the only, of the enticements is that their introductory drugs are “forbidden fruit.”

There is no evidence that the vast majority of “illegals” in this country are working for the drug cartels. To be sure some involved in the drug traffic are here illegally, but most undocumented workers are exactly that—they are here to work on our farms, in construction, in hotels, restaurants, clean our houses and maintain our yards.

It is quite possible that the cartels would move out of drugs if that became unprofitable and into other activities. In fact, they are already “diversifying.” They are most likely involved in assisting foreign nationals to get to the U.S., to acquire forged documentation, and in prostitution. But it might not be as bad as the drug traffic. Apparently foreign national workers are essential to our economy—which is why nobody is really serious about deporting them and stopping them. It makes good political hay in some quarters; but it won’t happen—the cost would be prohibitive (the inadequate efforts are costing tens of billions), most likely would increase the involvement of organized crime, and simply would not work.

One of the consequences of prohibition was that the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic beverages became the primary activity of organized crime in the U.S., which was just as violent and disruptive of civil order as the drug cartels in Mexico. When prohibition ended, there was a sharp drop in American gangs and gang warfare. Al Capone and many others went to prison—interestingly for tax evasion.

Quite frankly, I think that legalizing “recreational drugs,” licensing their manufacture and sales, regulating the industry and taxing the industry and the drugs would be a far better solution. It has worked reasonably well with the legal “recreational drug”—alcohol—and probably promoted treatment of abusers instead of punishment.

Probably the same thing is true of all those “illegal immigrants.” The U.S. operated for approximately a century with open borders. Anyone who wanted to come to the U.S. and work was welcome to do so—and could become a naturalized citizen after a few years of “good behavior.” We didn’t begin restricting immigration until the 1880s. If you don’t want to do that, the other rational solution would be to raise the quotas equal to the demand and greatly simplify and expedite the process of obtaining work visas. But “sealing the borders,” particularly with Mexico, simply will not work.

October 28, 7:09 pm | [comment link]
18. Larry Morse wrote:

We’re doing the best we can. We are legalizing and spreading the use of marijuana so consumption will go up and, by growing our own, we will be closing a Mexican market. We will also be unable to close our borders because the government will lack the will, so the harder drugs should be easier to get in; the drug l;ords will get richer and they will finally own and run the government. Moreover, the increased use of marijuana will open the door for increased use of other drugs because Marijuana is the great gateway drug and we are now refusing to believe it or pay attention to the fact, so that the future will show that we should make our own and the state will profit by taxing them - which is what they plan to do now.  This will foreclose on the drug lords market and they will have to satisfy themselves with owning Mexico and running the government. They will them become respectable and will will go down the vice road and become a third world country. So everything is clear and ok.
  Now about giving contraceptives to little gilrs without parents consent…..  Larry

October 29, 10:09 am | [comment link]
19. Septuagenarian wrote:

It may be that “government lacks the will to close our borders.” But the reality is that closing our borders is simply impossible—or at least would be so expensive (we are talking about trillions of dollars) that we cannot afford to do so. We are already wasting tens of billions in what amounts to a public relations move to satisfy those who harp on the need to do so.

The U.S.-Mexico border is nearly two thousand miles long. Only a small fraction of that is fenced or will ever be fenced. Those wishing to cross are known to (a) climb over the fences, (b) dig under the fences and (c) fly over the fences. The latter two are favored by the drug cartels. Furthermore, if the entire land border were closed, the drug cartels are known to sail the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.

Whether or not legalizing marijuana will result in consumptions going up or in increased use of harder drugs is purely speculative. I suspect that most eschew marijuana, much less harder drugs, for other reasons than they are illegal and are not about to rush out and buy the moment they are legalized. Some may; others may actually be less inclined to do so once they are no longer “forbidden fruit.”

The link to contraceptives is silly. That issue has nothing whatever to do with the issues of recreational drugs. And, as far as I know, the drug cartels aren’t in the business of selling contraceptives to little girls.

October 29, 11:16 am | [comment link]
20. Larry Morse wrote:

Good work #19. You have read me carefully and literally. Nice work.  L Larry

October 29, 5:06 pm | [comment link]
21. mari wrote:

It’s already been reported that far from putting the cartels out of business, they will not only profit from the legal use of marijuana, they will continue to smuggle in and traffic in cocaine, meth, and other drugs as well as human trafficking, including for prostitution, including that of children What’s more, allowing them to legally import and sell marijuana will give them a legal means to launder the money they make through their other criminal activities. as well as a means to smuggle other drugs, adults and children in the trucks, and you know that not all trucks are searched entering the US. Also, given that their profit from selling illegal marijuana will be less when it’s legal, it will lead more of the cartels into smuggling other drugs. Marijuana is a gateway drug, it leads to other and stronger drugs. Next we’ll be told we need to legalize other, perhaps all drugs. Then it’ll be we’re inhumane if we don’t allow prostitution to be considered a viable career path, that we’re sexist and denying women control over their bodies.

I can’t believe the naivete of those who think this is acceptable. Children are able to buy cigarettes still, and the public use of marijuana when it’s legal, will lead to more children using it. The Netherlands, since legalization has seen dramatic increases in addition to pot, hard drug addiction among children 13 to 19, and they have also found kids as young as 8 to have developed addictions. Adult usage of pot and hard drugs has increased, and addictions have as well.

October 29, 6:08 pm | [comment link]
22. Larry Morse wrote:

#21. I hope you realize that I was being sarcastic.  All the received opinion iin the marijuana whitewash are false and dishonest.  Larry

October 30, 8:49 am | [comment link]
23. Septuagenarian wrote:

While we spend billions each year on a futile war against certain drugs, British doctors have been studying the dangers of 20 recreational drugs. Which dangerous drug tops their list of dangerous drugs? Alcohol.

Study: Alcohol ‘most harmful drug,’ followed by crack and heroin

What we learned in 1920-1933 is that prohibition bred organized crime with gang warfare (not entirely unlike what is going on in Mexico today) on our city streets. Prohibition didn’t work in the 20’s. It hasn’t worked in the 70s-10s either.

There are two ways to stop the drug traffic in this country: (1) for everyone to stop buying illegal drugs, which won’t happen and (2) to decriminalize those drugs—regulating and taxing their manufacture, distribution and use. But the current policy simply feeds the Mexican drug cartels. Take the profit out of it and they will at worst turn to something else such as prostitution.

November 1, 10:13 am | [comment link]
24. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

There is another possible way to combat drugs.  The Chinese Communists closed their borders (and the Chinese border is much larger than the US-Mexico border, so don’t tell me it can’t be done) and imposed a death penalty for illegal drug use and distribution.  Almost overnight, there was no more drug problem in China.  The ruling elite doesn’t really want to end illegal drugs in the US, despite what the people want.  The ruling elite does not want to control our borders, despite what the people want.  No, they are set on creating a North American Union (mimicking Europe), despite the distinct cultural differences between Indian Mexico with its Catholic background and Spanish language and the English speaking Protestant European predominant heritage of US culture.

November 1, 10:40 am | [comment link]
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