The Mexican Drug War and Its Consequences
The Mexican Drug War and Its Consequences Despite President Felipe Calderon’s good intentions and determination to eliminate the drug cartels in Mexico, the Mexican government has not been able to stop the drug cartel’s operations (smuggling drugs, people and weapons to and from the USA) for many reasons. The drug cartels have proven to be powerful, well connected politically, well trained, well- armed, and manipulation of the masses. Therefore, it has been impossible for the Mexican government to stop cartels like La Familia from operating, and now the cartels have become a problem for the Unites States too.
The Mexican cartels have proven to be unstoppable for the Mexican government. President of Mexico Felipe Calderon’s decision to send fifty thousand soldiers and twenty thousand federal police has not been enough to stop the cartel’s indiscriminate killings. According to the University of San Diego Trans-Border Institute of Analysis and Data, since January of 2007, 28,228 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico (Sandiego. edu).
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Going muscle to muscle with the cartels has proven to be the wrong decision. Sending all those troops and federal police has only served to increases the death toll.
Cartels like La Familia are well armed and trained. According to intelligence, members of La Familia must complete three to six month training camp in Michoacan, conducted by ex-members of the Colombian or Mexican Special Forces. La Familia uses equipment, weapons, and uniforms similar to those of the Federal Investigations Agency, therefore operating without being detected in cities and on highways (La Familia Michoacana fact sheet, DEA). It is a fact that La Familia is well armed with weapons that come from the United States.
La Familia has the connections and the money to buy these weapons; Calderon continues to send more troops to combat the cartel, but this military effort will not work. La Familia cannot be stopped since they know how to manipulate the masses, by threats and targeting opposing citizens, and this makes the situation even worse for the Mexican government as they try to obtain help from citizens to capture the leaders. La familia has won the loyalty of many people through political and Christian beliefs, but mostly through intimidation.
In the article “Silver or Lead,” we can see how a regional official named Veronica Medina has selective hearing in favor of La Familia. Medina is clearly in favor of La Familia even though she works for the Mexican government. It could be quite possible that Medina is on La Familia’s payroll. La Familia is known to win favors by offering monetary rewards. La Familia also intimidates people with violence; they take over a town and tell the mayor, “We want to work here. There will be no trouble, no crime, no drunkenness, nothing. ” Then, they enforce their rules.
Mayors are usually paid for their hospitality. It is silver or Lead (Finnegan 48). How can regional officials decline? Since they are substantially underpaid and their lives are threatened, they are almost forced if they don’t they face almost certain death at the hands of the cartel. As long as the Mexican government continues with this plan of combatting cartel, it will never see the end of the cartel. Mexico is a traditional Catholic country; most of the Catholics practicing in North America live in Mexico. La Familia uses this religious fervor to gain the sympathy of the people’s town.
La Familia knows they will gain sympathy and new people who want to work for them if their organization somehow shows they are Christian believers. La Familia wants people to think that they only kill those who have committed a crime. According to William Finnegan “La Familia doesn’t kill for money, it doesn’t kill women, it doesn’t kill innocent people–only those who deserve to die. Everyone should know: this is divine justice” (Finnegan 40). These words were actually written on a sign left by La Familia at one of their assassination sites. Their propaganda implies the need for divine justice.
They are trying every way possible to make people believe they are doing God’s work. The Mexican church has not said anything about it, and there are people who are led to believe that perhaps some of the violent works of the La Familia are necessary and maybe even justified. La Familia’s smuggling business has a big negative effect on America society and economy. Since La Familia is willing to pay the exorbitant amounts of money for necessary costly weapons, it entices Americans into breaking the law by getting involved in the illegally sales of arms.
In February 2007, drug cartels gunmen attacked two offices of the Guerrero state attorney general’s office in the resort town of Acapulco, killing four officers and three secretaries. One of the rifles used in the attack was traced back to the United States (guns without borders). Federal agents say about 90 percent of the 12000 pistols and rifles that the Mexican authorities recovered from drug dealers in the United States are mostly from Texas and Arizona (McKinley 1). Every gun smuggler captured is sent to prison, and the government has to house him and fed him, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars a year.
Drug addiction costs the U. S. billions in health care. According to the 2008 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, approximately three million Americans 12 or older initiated the use of an illicit drug. That is nearly 8000 people per day (2008 national survey of drug and health). More than half of all people arrested in the United States test positive for illegal drugs. Drug use is closely connected to robbery and property crime. Substances abused led directly to the death of 38000 Americans (Executive Office of the President of the United States).
The drug cartels are clearly affecting America Society and their economy. The U. S. government needs to work harder to implement regulations on its side of the border. The Mexican government has tried almost everything, but it has not been successful. If the Mexican Government continues with the same approach to the drug cartel problems ultimately the drug cartels will overturn the government. Mexico is a civilized nation, and will not likely go to civil war over the drug cartels; still nobody has tried to take the drastic measures needed. La Familia is more brutal. La Familia is more motivated to keep their power than the government is to stop them; consequently they are impossible to stop.
Works Cited Executive Office of the President of the United States. Web. 7. Nov. 2010 “Guns Without Borders” The New York Times. Web. 6. Nov. 2010 James Mckinley, “U. S. Stymied as Guns Flow to Mexican Cartels”, The New York Times, April 15, 2009 “La Familia Michoacana Fact Sheet”, DEA. Web. 5. Nov. 2010 Sandiego. edu. Web. 6. Nov. 2010 William Finnegan, “Silver or Lead”, The New Yorker, May 31, 2010, 40, 48 2008 National Survey of Drug Use and Health. Web. 6. Nov. 2010