Op-ed: Illegal Drugs, The Great Experiment

marijuana leafThe Economist, 2/22/2013

Until recently it seemed that nothing would disturb the international consensus that the best way to deal with narcotic and psychotropic drugs is to ban them. Codified in a United Nations convention, this policy has proved impervious to decades of failure. Drug consumption has not, in most parts of the world, fallen. Prohibition inflicts appalling damage, through the spread of organized crime, the needless deaths of addicts exposed to adulterated drugs and the mass incarceration of young men.

Now a whiff of change is in the air. Officials in two American states, Colorado and Washington, are pondering how to implement their voters’ decisions in referendums last November to legalize marijuana (cannabis). A dozen countries in Europe and the Americas have deemed the possession of some drugs no longer to be a criminal offense. A few Latin American presidents want a rethink of the “war” on the supply and trafficking of drugs.

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Mexico unveils new strategy in war on drugs and for preventing crime

Enrique PeñaNieto 2The Guardian, 2/13/2013

Mexico’s new administration has offered the first details of its new strategy in the country’s war on drugs, saying the government will spend $9.2bn (£5.9bn) this year on social programmes to keep young people from joining criminal organisations in the 251 most violent towns and neighbourhoods across the country.

The government will flood those areas with spending on programmes ranging from road building to increasing school hours, President Enrique Peña Nieto and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, the interior secretary, told an audience in the central state of Aguascalientes.

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Mexico’s Future Shrouded by Ongoing Drug War: Will Nieto’s Strategy Prevail?

Enrique PeñaNieto 2The International, 2/11/2013

As drug wars continue to ravage Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto signed The General Victims Act on January 9, 2013 that will trace and compensate innocent victims of the “War on Drugs”. The bill was approved by Congress in April 2012 under the Calderón administration, though implementation was delayed due to objections by former president Felipe Calderón that the bill was too vague, presenting the possibility of it being unconstitutional and difficult to implement.

Calderón’s veto registered criticism from human rights activists who rallied for victim recognitions and reparations. The bill, which remains unchanged, was signed by Nieto with assurances that the contents would be specified to remove vagueness before implementation, but Nieto insisted that putting the law on the books was imperative.

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The comback of the Beltran-Leyva and Gulf Cartels (Spanish)


Animal Politico, 2/5/2013

Dos de los grandes cárteles de la droga que se creían al borde de la extinción, los Beltrán Leyva y el cártel del Golfo, han dado señales de vida en diversos territorios de México durante lo que va del presente año.

Analistas independientes y de la fuerza pública consultados por la agencia de seguridad InSight Crime destacaron que ambos cárteles – que se pensaba tambaleaban debido a luchas internas, la presión de las autoridades y ataques constantes de sus rivales – parecen estar resurgiendo.

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Vigilantes tackle Mexico’s drug gangs

BBC, m16 gun closeup1/21/2013

Authorities in Mexico have arrested 14 people accused of belonging to the Zetas drug cartel in the northern city of Monterrey.  The gang has become the largest in the country, making its money by trafficking drugs and carrying out kidnappings and assassinations.

But some Mexicans in rural areas have become frustrated by what they see as a lack of response by the authorities to the drugs violence and have formed their own vigilante groups.

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Pentagon Helps Train Mexican Military

m16 gun closeupAnimal Politio, 1/18/2013

El Pentágono aumentará la ayuda que presta a México en la sangrienta lucha contra el narcotráfico, mediante el establecimiento de un nuevo cuartel de operaciones especiales en Estados Unidos, en el cual podrán entrenarse los efectivos mexicanos para enfrentar a los cárteles de la droga de la misma forma en que las fuerzas estadounidenses combaten a Al-Qaeda, dijeron funcionarios en Washington.

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Mexico: Majority of Federal Inmates Imprisoned on Drug Charges

Fox News Latino, 1/16/2013

Guns by Flickr user barjackMexico’s first survey of its federal criminal justice system confirmed what many  have assumed for years: The country’s prisons are packed with inmates imprisoned  on drug charges and there is widespread corruption throughout the entire system.

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