Sep 2, 2011

Mexico Drug War: Mexico's Unwinnable War

A look into how Plan Columbia was not only not so successful as touted by the U.S. government, but also evidently fed corruption and the abuse of power. Thus,the author warns, it is not a model to be applied to Mexico.

The National Interest: "Some experts on the drug wars in Latin America have argued for years that Colombia is a great success story and U.S. leaders should try to apply the same model to neutralize the drug-related violence that continues to convulse Mexico. ...Although both the Cali and Medellin cartels were broken by the mid-1990s, the extent of drug trafficking in Colombia and the surrounding region did not diminish. Indeed, the amount of illegal drugs coming out of Colombia is not much different today than what it was two decades ago.

... Recent revelations have not only cast doubt on the extent of the success of the Colombia model, they have also underscored some unsavory aspects of that campaign. ... a widening investigation by the Colombian attorney general’s office has uncovered some disturbing information about Plan Colombia and the conduct of Uribe’s administration. ... six former high-level officials of Colombia’s Department of Administrative Security have already confessed to ... abuses of power, and more than a dozen others are currently on trial. The investigation keeps expanding, now bringing several top political aides of Uribe and even the former president himself under scrutiny.

The burgeoning scandal in Colombia should be a cautionary tale to those who advocate using the same approach to bring down the Mexican drug cartels. ... (This) is the real lesson of the Colombia model. The Cali and Medellin cartels are long gone, but the illegal drug trade still flourishes in that country, and the accompanying violence is rebounding after a temporary lull. Likewise, the distribution of power among the competing cartels in Mexico may be shifting,.... But the overall trade goes on, and the bloody gun battles among traffickers and between the traffickers and Mexican authorities go on as well."

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