In its discussion of the recent elections in Mexico and why the National Action Party may have been voted out, the Providence Journal editorial board has recognized our role in the Mexican drug violence and suggests a possible alternative to our government’s current drug policy.
Though voting the PRI back into power was not what we would have recommended, we can understand the frustration of Mexicans caught up in horrific cartel violence and a sick economy. America can help. Our apparent bottomless demand for drugs should be sated — and treated — by means other than enriching the drug lords in Mexico. Legalizing or at least decriminalizing drugs in this country would be a serious step toward putting the cartels out of business. The unappetizing alternative would be for Mr. Nieto to reach an understanding with the drug cartels to maintain some sort of peace, though the president-elect has said he won’t cut deals with criminals.
To get a clear idea of what we are up against read Patrick Radden Keefe’s exposé of the Mexican drug cartels in ‘Cocaine Incorporated’ (NYT 6.15.12). The amounts of money involved are so staggering that, in addition to container ships and a fleet of 747’s, the Sinaloa cartel is also transporting drugs in $1-million submarines . . . which are considered disposable . . . just the cost of doing business. And the continued building of border fences seems a little silly in light of the 100+ tunnels that have been discovered in the last thirty years.
Illustration by Steve McNiven for ‘Cocaine Incorporated.’ NYT.