Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Evolving Views on Mexico’s War on Drugs

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on June 28, 2011

by Latingelligence, June 28th, 2011.

The U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Group convened in DC a couple of weeks ago, an annual meeting of senators and deputies from both sides of the border. Mexican political heavyweights, including Manlio Fabio Beltrones and Francisco Rojas of the PRI, José González Morfín and Josefina Vázquez Mota of the PAN, and Carlos Navarrete and Armando Ríos Piter of the PRD attended, matched on the U.S. side by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Representative Connie Mack (R-FL) among others. While topics ranged from immigration to border issues, the main concern for all was security.

Even as the politicians talked of mutual trust and cooperation, Mexico’s fight against drug traffickers is being increasingly questioned on both sides of the border. In Mexico, several politicians – mostly from the PRI– have denounced Calderón’s approach. They dispute the focus of the government’s war, criticize its constitutionality, and challenge the recent track record on impunity, corruption, and economic opportunity.

Independent columnists and analysts too are increasingly vocal.  For instance, Eduardo Guerrero of Lantia Consultores argues for a revised focus on crime rather than drugs. He calls for a new strategic framework that targets the most egregious violence and uses force largely to contain groups and erode their structures over time — an anti-crime strategy used in the United States.  Ordinary citizens in Mexico have begun to agitate against the government’s strategy – most vocally those following Javier Sicilia, a poet who took on the anti-violence cause after his son and friends were executed by cartel thugs last year. He first led thousands of Mexicans in a march of silence from Cuernavaca to Mexico City, then marched north to the border and violence-stricken Ciudad Juárez. Last week he and others from his group met with President Calderón, who apologized for not having done enough to protect the innocent, but also vowed to continue fighting organized crime. (continue reading… )

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