Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Peace in the Drug Wars

Mexico has lived through some very tough times as a result of the decision by the current administration to combat the drug lords.    Thousands of people have been killed including both the prominent and the innocent bystanders.  As you move north in the country the violence increases so in state like Michoacan the violence is significant.  In many other places in Mexico there is no violence to speak of.   But the level of fear in the country has increased significantly.   In one visit more than a year ago - in a state that I have always considered safe - I was told by my hosts to be extra cautious.

On Sunday there was a march against violence in Mexico City.  Yesterday when I was there I asked the people I was meeting with how they might solve the drug/violence problem.   I heard a variety of answers.

Some suggested that the country form a truce with the drug lords and in essence give up.  Others argued that this was a phase that the country needed to live through and while it might take another decade of confrontations - there could be no retreat from the attack on the drug lords.   One suggested a middle ground which said concentrate resources in particular areas as they seem to have done in Colombia.

A couple of conclusions came from those discussions.  First, the problem is not just Mexican - the US role as a consumer and as a supplier of the arms that have fueled the wars cannot be underestimated.  Second, suggesting, as some in the rally did, that they simply wanted an end to the violence at whatever cost, is wrong headed.   Third, many good people are terrified by the level of violence and the lack of policies to solve the problem.  But finally, a couple of friends continued to think that despite the violence the ultimate path that Mexico began to advance its civil and educational systems will ultimately solve the problem.  Nothing here is very revelational except that as a friend of many in Mexico, I am concerned about this additional challenge to the country.

No comments: