Monday, March 13, 2006

Spanish Newspaper says 


The Past Few Years Have Seen Tremendous Growth
in the Number of Mexican Law Enforcement Personnel,
Including the Military, But a Paradoxical Deterioration in the
Ability to Reduce the Drugs Trade.

Everywhere, the war against drugs is being lost. I refer at least to South America, Central America, Mexico, the United States and Canada - each country, each region, in its own particular way, with its own particular conditions. But not a single one escapes some of the impact of this crime.

The situation in Mexico is very hard to accurately describe, but if one were to indicate a source of Mexico's state of constant deterioration, the main culprit would be the Vicente Fox government, which has left an indelible mark in its last term. The security forces and their military "auxiliaries" have grown to levels never before seen, and yet the level of creativity, of reinforcements and even the ability sustain a fight seem exhausted.

In considering Mexico, it should be emphasized that based on the telling if tall-tales and denunciations, trust continues to be placed in the supposed effectiveness of "casual" operatives, and so the intelligence being garnered has failed to reach the promised level of accuracy. The National Institute for the War Against Drugs, created in 1993 to focus attention on the roots of this problem, was terminated by the Zedillo Administration [1994-2000].

The Center for Drug Control Planning (Cendro), created 15 years ago for the purpose of obtaining and implementing specialized intelligence exclusively about narco-trafficking, was dismantled by the Zedillo government, and converted into a hybrid organization charged with responding to all federal crimes.

On January 6, 2005, Fox created a cabinet-level Agency of Public Security, over which he himself presides, and in which the attorney general is not included. Nothing of substance has ever been made known about this agency. Federal agencies are working with a total lack of coordination, and even a lack of competence. And the reality of the situation surprises us!

State governors and municipal officials operate in total discord. They have been left with no clear idea of their responsibilities as outlined in the law, but what is worse, even if when they are informed as to what they should do, they are not particularly trustworthy, nor do they know what techniques or methods are necessary to do the job.

The President [Fox] was seen to be satisfied and proud of the fact that the prison system holds some 50,000 indicted or sentenced people whom he calls narco-traffickers. He didn't clarify how many tens of thousands are farmhands for accused opium and marijuana growers, and not the real criminals to whom he likes to refer.

In the Andes, drug production continues to expand; Venezuela and Ecuador remain significant producers. All across Argentina, they export to Europe. Drug production recognizes geographic and climatic conditions, not national borders. The production and shipping of drugs to where they are consumed is determined solely by demand: where there is demand, there will be supply, and demand is rising explosively.

Canada exports domestically-grown marijuana of very high quality. For the entire continent, it is very difficult to overcome this sort of activity while Washington never varies its prohibitionist strategy, a strategy that demands determined cooperation from the rest of the affected countries. What is generated is an enormous pressure cooker, where each country suffers, or will suffer, its own form of Hell.

Colombia, in addition to confronting a never-ending problem, has incorporated unprecedented levels of human rights violations into its battle against drugs. At various times, according to the United Nations, extrajudicial executions have been carried out by law enforcement agents, who then disguise the corpses and place guns in their hands to make them look like combatants.

Among Colombia's principal related crimes are the massive practice of kidnapping, the use of anti-personnel mines, selective murders, massacres, the forced displacement of civilians, and the conscription of children for use as cannon fodder. These are signs of desperation and a loss of control by government forces.

The United States, despite its apparent inclination toward the consumption of synthetic drugs [pharmaceuticals], has not addressed the demand for other sorts of drugs. They have begun to argue that drug gangsters are not from the United States, but are solely of Hispanic or Asian origin. It seems that not a week goes by without a proclamation of "the biggest drug arrest in Georgia ever," "seizure of the largest shipment of drugs ever in New York," or "we have cut off the head of the dragon," as Robert Bender, head of the DEA office in San Francisco, announced in 1991. A bit later, it was discovered to be, not a dragon, but a Hydra. As much as they wish to hide it, the U.S. has its own gangsters, and the problem continues to spring forth with its own natural force.

Will there never come a time when, setting aside the foundations driven or imposed by the United States, there could be a special reunion, without antagonism, without empty rhetoric, that promotes a clear strategy, and is not perpetually smashed against a wall? Such an initiative might give new life and a clear theme for the arguments of the George W. Bush government. Fox might come along with a plea for clear-sightedness, for an adjustment to the times, for self-critical wisdom and self-correction. And wouldn't such a new and promising strategy bring along the majority of Latin American governments, who have just begun such efforts or are about to do so?
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