The gradual progression of aggressive drug wars has successfully claimed more than 3000 murders in Mexico in accordance to the story which was featured in Washington Post (Daniel). Underneath this gore, women and children lives are in chaos and disordered. There are various types of up-to-date fatalities in Mexico’s raging drug war. The atrocious and vicious aggression has had a frightening effect on aspects of every day life on both side of the border.
Libertarian philosopher Paul Hager called the War on Drugs illegal because it defies the standards of a restricted government personified in the structure and foundation of the constitution (Wall Street Journal). In order to combat drug, Merida Initiative was taken between the government of United States of America and Mexico and Central Latin American countries on June 30, 2008. The approximate cost of Merida Initiative was $1. 4 billion which aimed at providing military and law enforcement training and equipment to the Mexican government in order to the fortify the national justice systems (Wall Street Journal).The number of deaths from drug related violence has surged as law enforcement agencies, military, and drug cartels fight each other out.
The brutality of the war has affected the tourism, politics, communities, and economy of the border towns where the violence is high. This paper analyzes the background of the drug war. It highlights the government strategy and the major drug cartels that are fighting a turf war. Finally it studies the impact of these conflicts on the tourism, economy, and border towns. BackgroundThe US-Mexican drug wars have been a series of conflicts between Mexican government forces and organized drug cartels. President Felipe Calderon deployed thousands of Mexican soldiers as part of a strategy to fight the drug lords. While leading cartel leaders have been arrested, violent power struggles have erupted between the various cartels. The government also faces the problem of corrupt judges and police officers who are reported to be collaborating with the drug cartels.
Research has found that the majority of cocaine that enters the United States comes from Mexico (Economist).This trade is controlled by the notorious Sinaloa Cartel and Gulf Cartel. Both groups have been waging a brutal war over major routes. The violence has been brutal with victims being beheaded by the cartels.
Violence has also claimed the lives of police officers and journalists. The drug cartels are heavily armed with advanced weapons like machine guns and grenade launchers. These cartels have been known to receive assistance from Colombian cartels. The fighting dates back to the late 1980s when Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo was arrested for leading the cocaine business.
The 1990s saw drug related violence at all time low. But this has erupted since 2000 when Vicente Fox sent Mexican combat troops to border towns along the border with the United States (Geri). The newly elected President Felipe Calderon deployed six thousand soldiers inside the state of Michoacan to end the drug war (Economist). General Sergio Aponte is currently leading the war on drugs as head of the military campaign. American intelligence estimates that the Mexican cartels are responsible for the distribution and transportation of narcotics in the United States.These criminal organizations have expanded their operations in different parts of the United States. The drug cartels have been waging a brutal war for control of the key smuggling corridors.
American intelligence sources have said that the drug cartels are equipped with lethal weapons and communication equipment. There are two major drug cartel blocs with the Tijuana and Gulf cartel arrayed against the Sinaloa cartel and Juarez cartel (Economist). These drug cartels have been responsible for the smuggling of weapons inside Mexico. This has created a gang war between the rival blocs.The US-Mexican border is the major route for the smuggling of drugs and weapons. Sophisticated firearms like the AK-47 machine gun, semi automatic pistols, armor piercing bullets, grenade launchers, and sniper rifles have been used against rival gangs and law enforcement agencies. Other examples of victims include toddlers being gunned by SWAT team after adhering to their commands to be positioned on the ground and an elderly man suffering fatal heart attack after the law enforcement officers came into her home during the night and placed flash grenades. Several residents in U.
S Mexico border were killed on basis of allegations (Economist). The drug conflict has also sparked concerns that it would spread into the United States. The United States has been providing billions of dollars of assistance in an attempt to assist the Mexican government in defeating the drug cartels. Sinaloa Cartel This organization is one of the major drug smuggling cartels in Mexico as it operates in Sinaloa and Chihuahua. Joaqin Guzman was believed to be the head of this cartel. It is involved in the smuggling and distribution of illegal substances and narcotics in the United States of America.The cocaine is smuggled from Latin America to Mexico from where it is transported to the United States of America. The Cali and Medellin cartels are also reported to be providing assistance and logistics support to the Sinaloa cartel.
The cartel has also linked itself with the Juarez cartel as an alliance to counter the threat posed by the Gulf and Tijuana cartels. During the 1980s, the drug cartel was the largest drug trafficking organization in Mexico (Cook, 78). It has used innovative methods like using tunnels to smuggle narcotics across the border between the United States and Mexico.Hector Palma became the head of the cartel after the arrest of Guzman. The group also operates the Los Negros which is a paramilitary outfit that is used to counter the Gulf Cartel’s Los Zetas.
This group is run by Edgar Valdez. It has been involved in carrying out assassinations and decapitations of its rivals and law enforcement agents. Nuevo Laredo, Acapulco, and Guerrero have been the center of the drug wars between the rival cartels (Cook, 78). Numerous people have been killed in these clashes.The Sinaloa cartel has been targeted by the Mexican army as part of the program to fight drug cartels.
Tijuana Cartel This cartel operates in the Northwestern parts of Mexico. It has been considered as a violent and large criminal organization. Ramon Eduardo Felix was the founder of this drug cartel. Brutal acts of violence are a feature of the drug cartel as demonstrated in the murder of eighteen people in Ensenada in September 1998 (Cook, 82).
This cartel was one of the largest organized crime groups in Mexico but has run into troubles because of confrontations with the Mexican government.Gulf Cartel The Gulf Cartel is one of the major drug cartels in Mexico which has been fighting against the Sinaloa Cartel. It has influence in the cities of Reynosa and Neuvo Laredo (Cook, 85). It is also a major transporter, smuggler, and distributor of cocaine and heroine. It has been known to use violent and brutal methods like decapitation to intimidate and kill opponents and law enforcement agents. The cartel is also believed to collect revenue from border smugglers and business organizations.These taxes ensure that no one will be struck if they are passing through their territory. It has also believed to be linked with kidnapping and extortion of local businessmen.
As the Sinaloa Cartel moved into their territory, they deployed the Los Zetas which as a paramilitary organization. This consisted of ex Mexican army men. Fighting between these groups has resulted in heavy casualties as hundreds of people have been killed. The expertise and training of the Los Zetas has led to the development of a sophisticated and ruthless drug cartel. Mexican government strategyPresident Calderon has launched an ambitious program to crush the drug cartels.
This has included the deployment of twenty seven thousand soldiers in eight Mexican states. Federal officers have taken over police departments in border towns. Hundreds of corrupt policemen have been arrested. The Mexican army has destroyed thousands of acres of marijuana and poppy plants.
Scores of drug cartel members have been arrested and extradited to the United States of America (Economist). Military roadblocks have been established in different parts of the road system.This has provoked a massive response from the cartels as they have hit back by assassinating police officers and journalists.
Gruesome beheadings, decapitations and kidnappings have become commonplace in Mexico. The government knows the risk of taking on the cartels but it also knows the lesson of Colombia. Mexico has learned from the experience of Colombia which has gotten worse since the US poured half a trillion dollars into that country (David). The plan only increased corruption and fueled instability. Calderon has accepted only US military hardware while rejecting the presence of military personnel.
The Mexican program has also been different from the Colombian because it has been run by presidents who were members of the same political party. Mexico is a transit country which means that the drug cartels do not enjoy the support of the public. The government is confident that the entire Mexican society could assist in defeating the drug cartels. They believe that fighting drugs would be a success story unlike that of Colombia. President Calderon has also launched an initiative with the regional countries for fighting against the threat of drugs.
There have been efforts to create a common front against drug trafficking. The aim has been to find the mechanisms which would assist the countries in exchanging intelligence information on drug cartels financial structures, drug and weapons purchase routes and confiscations of narcotics. There have also been proposals to set up a technical group to diagnose the status of drugs in each country that would coordinate and speed up information exchange between the various authorities of each government.
Mexico has been implementing a unique system of crime information that links and organizes networks for the interconnection of data, voice, and videos between municipalities, states, and the federation. Police departments have also began to use military strategies when attacking drug traffickers (David). SWAT teams were mobilized to launch raids against suspected drug traffickers.
Currently there are an estimated thirty thousand heavily armed police units inside Mexico which have been trained to deal with drug trafficking.Politicians supporting the war on drugs believe in evil nature of drugs which should not be tolerated. They believe that the only way to end this epidemic is to imprison those who are associated with drug use. Any relaxation of the law will eventually lead to an increase in drug according to these politicians. They also believe in the justification of lowering civil rights and increasing police power to combat the epidemic of drugs. The military has also been considered for the war against drugs because of their image of discipline and fame.