December 21, 2012
Wall Street Journal, 12/17/2012
Eric Olson, a Mexico analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank, said Mr. Peña Nieto’s emphasis on building Mexico’s institutions over battling drugs could cause concern among U.S. lawmakers who still see stopping the flow of drugs as a primary objective for Mexico. However, he said many policy makers are coming around to Mr. Peña Nieto’s diversified approach.
“It’s not bad idea and frankly more realistic,” he said.
A U.S. State Department spokesman said Monday that it was natural for Mr. Peña Nieto, as an incoming president, to revise security plans.
December 20, 2012
By Sergio Ferragut, November 2012
Organized crime permeates the life of every single country in the 21st century: its global revenues are well above a trillion dollars a year and illicit drugs are a major component of this. Drug prohibition, in effect for almost a century, has not been the deterrent to consumption it was intended to be, and the illicit drug trade has become the most profitable source of revenue for criminal organizations in many countries.
This paper reviews the US-Mexican illicit drug landscape and documents the importance of this criminal activity in both countries. The United States is the primary market for illicit drugs in the world and, because of their shared 2,000-mile border, Mexico has become the number one provider of illicit drugs. More than 40 years after a ‘war on drugs’ was declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971, the flow of drugs into the United States has not been eliminated or even reduced. The law of supply-and-demand has prevailed, as should have been expected.
December 17, 2012
If everyone had kept quiet, it could have been the most valuable parking spot on earth. Convenient only to the careworn clothing stores clustered in the southern end of downtown Nogales, Ariz., it offered little to shoppers, and mile-long Union Pacific (UNP) trains sometimes cut it off from much of the city for 20 minutes at a time. But the location was perfect: In the middle of the short stretch of East International Street, overshadowed by the blank walls of quiet commercial property, the space was less than 50 feet from the international border with Mexico. On Aug. 16, 2011, just before 3:30 p.m., three men sat in a white Chevrolet box truck parked near the Food City supermarket on Grand Court Plaza.
In the driver’s seat was Anthony Maytorena; at 19, Maytorena already had an impressive criminal record, and a metal brace on one arm as a result of being shot while fleeing from local police three years earlier. Locked in the cargo compartment behind him were two boys from Nogales, Sonora, the Arizona town’s twin city on the other side of the border—Jorge Vargas-Ruiz, 18, and another so young that his name has never been released. Together they drove over to International Street, where two cars were holding the parking spot for them.
December 12, 2012
U.S. Border Patrol agents have seized more than 30 cans filled with marijuana that were lunched by Mexican drug smugglers over the border fence into Arizona using a cannon. Authorities say 33 cans of pot were spotted Friday in a field near where the Colorado River crosses the U.S.-Mexico border. They believe the cans were propelled about 500 feet into the U.S. from a pneumatic-powered cannon similar to the ones used to launch T-shirts
December 5, 2012
Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party became Mexico’s 89th President on Saturday. How will the new leader affect Mexican-American relations? What can we gather from his recent meeting with Obama? And will we ever see an end to Mexico’s drug cartels?
To listen to the broadcast click here.
November 28, 2012
The New York Times, 11/28/2012
Mexico’s outgoing president, Felipe Calderón, was never much loved. His election in 2006 was overshadowed by claims of fraud by a leftist challenger. He then struggled with a deep recession brought on by the global financial crisis. And throughout his term he sponsored an army-led “war on drugs,” which has left a death toll variously estimated at between 65,000 and 100,000. Little wonder that most Mexicans are eager to see him leave office on Saturday.
The country’s economy is again growing, with the combination of falling unemployment at home and fewer jobs in the United States bringing a dramatic drop in illegal migration to the north. And thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement, instead of exporting people, Mexico is now a major exporter of cars, televisions, aircraft parts and other manufactured goods.
November 13, 2012
The New York Review of Books, 11/12/2012
Let us say that you are a Mexican reporter working for peanuts at a local television station somewhere in the provinces—the state of Durango, for example—and that one day you get a friendly invitation from a powerful drug-trafficking group. Imagine that it is the Zetas, and that thanks to their efforts in your city several dozen people have recently perished in various unspeakable ways, while justice turned a blind eye. Among the dead is one of your colleagues.
November 12, 2012
Wall Street Journal, 11/11/2012
With voters in Colorado and Washington state approving the legalization of marijuana use on Tuesday, there is hope that the U.S. may be at the beginning of the end of the long, tortuous and fruitless federal war on drugs.
Now evidence is surfacing that drug violence is affecting Mexican society more broadly than government officials want to admit. One example is that “working” for the mob in Mexico, in many cases, may not be voluntary. Some cartel employees, particularly individuals with technical and engineering skills that the mobsters need, seem to have been recruited at gunpoint.
November 9, 2012
The Washington Post, 11/8/2012
The decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has left Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and his team scrambling to reformulate their anti-drug strategies in light of what one senior aide said was a referendum that “changes the rules of the game.”
It is too early to know what Mexico’s response to the successful ballot measures will be, but a top aide said Peña Nieto and members of his incoming administration will discuss the issue with President Obama and congressional leaders in Washington this month. The legalization votes, however, are expected to spark a broad debate in Mexico about the direction and costs of the U.S.-backed drug war here.
November 8, 2012
In April 2011, former Mexican President Vicente Fox sat before an audience at the University of Colorado at Boulder and in his baritone voice and frank tone urged Americans to legalize marijuana. His thrust: it could help enervate Mexico’s violent drug cartels. “The drug consumer in the U.S. yields billions of dollars, money that goes back to Mexico to bribe police and money that buys guns,” Fox said. “So when you question yourselves about what is going on in Mexico, it depends very much on what happens in this nation.”
At the time, many pundits warned that legalization was a non-starter. But on Tuesday, voters in Colorado and Washington state did exactly what Fox called for: they approved landmark amendments to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.