20 April 2012
Drug War: The Two Sides of The Border
The drug war, ever growing, and reaching across more and more borders, has raised many concerns on both sides of the borders that it crosses. It is not uncommon that phrases like the following are seen as the tittles in well-known newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times: “Death toll in mass graves in Mexico reaches 116.” “Ex- Tijuana mayor freed, faces new charge of murder.” “At least 20 people killed in a Mexico bar hit by a fight between the Zetas, and the Gulf cartel.” “25 bodies found in Acapulco, 15 decapitated”(Mexico Under Siege). People tend to think that the drug war is limited only to Latin American countries as well as Mexico when the truth is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many questions have been asked concerning the drug war, and what is to be done concerning the same. One proposed solution is the legalization of drugs, which has drawn a lot of attention from the media and the general public. Proponents of this initiative believe this to be the best solution, but the reality is that the legalization of illicit drugs will not decrease the levels of violence, and spreading of the cartels. This will just accelerate it by increasing the demand and sales of drugs and at the same time by increasing the rates of violence and crimes.
The legalization of drugs, has been proposed by different country leaders such as the former president Vicente Fox from Mexico, César Gaviria from Columbia, and Fernando Cardoso from Brazil. They believe that the legalization of illegal drugs by the U.S will be a viable solution to the current situation that affects these, among other, countries (Grillo; Martin and Baker 20). Despite the fact that this may seem like the perfect solution to many, as it could reduce the demand and cash flow of the illegal cartels, it is also seen as a horrible and ineffective solution by many. The legalization of drugs will likely just cause more damage, and have more negative effects in the long run than it will have immediate benefits in the short run.
William Martin, PhD. Harvard, professor emeritus of the public policy department at Rice University, and James A. Baker, honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University explained, that the strict policies of prohibiting illegal drug use, as well as the constant demand of illegal drugs throughout many parts of the United States results in the consequence of a billion dollar business (1).
News consistently spread throughout the United States regarding the crimes, and the wrongdoings of the cartels in Mexico when the reality is that the U.S is not far from getting there themselves. According to Randal C. Archibold, Bureau chief for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean for The New York Times, the “ United States law enforcement officials have identified 230 cities which include, but certainly aren’t limited to, Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston and Billings, Mont., where Mexican cartels and their affiliates “maintain drug distribution networks or supply drugs to distributors.” There are also many cities, such as Tucson, Arizona, near to the Mexican border that have shown drastic rises in homicides and other violent crimes that have either been proven to be, or appear to be drug related to or in direct consequence of these growing drug cartels. Another large city, Phoenix, for the last two years has shown more than 700 violent crimes as a result or consequence of the same (Archibold). To many people, and to most of the authorities, the most alarming thing is that the cartels are no longer dealing only with illegal drugs, but have expanded into prostitution, abductions, contraband of weapons, and smuggling of illegal immigrants into the U.S (Martin and Baker 9).
This expansion by the cartels results in yet more crimes being committed, and even more power and demand being given to the cartels