Jul 27, 2010

Whack-a-mole: Mexican drug cartels bring violence with them in move to Central America

Yesterday the drug war news was about the lack of a functioning justice system in Mexico. Today it is about near anarchy in Mexico's neighbors: Guatelmala, El Salvador and Honduras

Mexican drug cartels bring violence with them in move to Central America
: "Drug cartel violence in Mexico is quickly spilling south into Central America and is threatening to destabilize fragile countries already rife with crime and corruption, according to the United Nations, U.S. officials and regional law enforcement agents. ... The Mexican cartels "are spreading their horizons to states where they feel, quite frankly, more comfortable. These governments in Central America face a very real challenge in confronting these organizations," said David Gaddis, chief of operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration." July 27, 2010, Washington Post 
(AMB Editor's question to Mr. Gaddis: So what conclusions does the Drug Enforcement Administration draw from this observation?) 

How Mexico's Drug War Is Killing Guatemala "Overrun with Mexican drug gangs, troubled by a staggering murder rate, and plagued with endemic corruption, Guatemala is in serious trouble. And now the nation's 'Supercop' has called it quits. Can anyone stop the country from going down the tubes?" July 20, 2010, Foreign Policy Magazine. Article by Steven S. Dudley, former bureau chief of the Miami Herald in the Andes and a co-director of InSight, a new Colombia-based initiative to monitor organized crime in the Americas. He recently traveled to Guatemala to report and write a background report on the country for the International Crisis Group.

AMB editor: Here are all the sad details of the results in Central America of the U.S.-Mexican war on drugs. A 30 page analytic report of the Woodrow Wilson Center, also by Steven S. Dudley

While Mexico is having some limited success dealing with its spiraling conflict (AMB editor: ???) , vulnerable states in Central America are struggling to keep the organized criminal groups at bay, even while they face other challenges such as widespread gang activity. U.S. and Mexican efforts to combat the drug cartels in Mexico seem to have exacerbated the problems for Central America, evidenced by ever increasing homicide rates. “As Mexico and Colombia continue to apply pressure on drug traffickers, the countries of Central America are increasingly targeted for trafficking, which is creating serious challenges for the region,” the State Department says (Editor''s emphasis) in its recently released narcotics control strategy report. Problems are particularly acute in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, three States with vast coastlines, large ungoverned spaces and the greatest proximity to Mexico. May 2010, Woodrow Wilson Center: Mexico Institute report 

The following is a good  review of the failures of US policy in the war on drugs.

Billions Wasted in Mexico Pushing Failed U.S. Drug War Tactics "A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) makes painfully clear that the U.S. is wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on the drug war in Mexico, with little oversight, instead of investing in proven strategies to reduce drug demand and weaken Mexico's powerful drug cartels. The report is the latest indication of failure in the war on drugs, of which there is crystal clear evidence. ...the U.S. needs to acknowledge that the violence in Mexico is related to the prohibition of drugs, not drugs themselves - just like the violent gangsters of Alcohol Prohibition. The only way forward, then, is to pursue alternatives to prohibition - an exit strategy to the drug war." July 27, 2010, AlternNet essay by Daniel Robelo, a research associate at the Drug Policy Alliance legal office.

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