Thursday, July 31, 2008

Regarding the Surge of Violence in Mexico

On May 18, 2008 The Houston Chronicle published an article entitled "In reeling Mexico, a change in strategy" which discussed the measures being taken by Mexico and the US to combat drug-related violence. COHA Research Associate Chris Sweeney wrote the following letter to the editor in response.

Your article clearly details the recent surge in drug-related violence throughout Mexico. However it fails to adequately link this violence with the larger issue at hand – the failure of America’s brazen but largely ineffective war on drugs.

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon has mobilized his country’s law enforcement forces to directly combat drug cartels. The results are at best mixed. Local police have often become involved in the very drug trade they are supposed to prevent. Meanwhile the recent involvement of the Mexican military in the fight against drugs already is being linked to increased human rights violations. These failures make clear that direct intervention in the drug war does not guarantee success.

What is needed is an upgraded approach: US funding of the drug war should be redirected from prevention abroad to domestic programs designed to target users. Reducing the demand will in turn affect supply, and a decrease in violence could very well result.

Chris Sweeney; Research Associate
Council on Hemispheric Affairs

To read the full article, please go to:

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