Mexican protesters took to the streets in more than 20 cities on Wednesday to protest President Felipe Calderon and his drug war. The impetus for these marches was the death of Juan Francisco Sicilia, 24. Sicilia is only one of the roughly 35,000 Mexicans who’ve been killed in the violence, but his death struck a chord with the nation because his father happened to be the famous poet and journalist Javier Sicilia. And fittingly, as the demonstrators marched, authorities in northern Mexico found another mass grave with about 60 bodies.
The most frustrating aspect of the carnage in Mexico is that it remains a direct consequence of American drug policies. Even Calderon’s predecessor, Vicente Fox, has been outspoken about this very simple fact, but being right about how to defeat Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations is still not acceptable discourse in Washington. The Obama Administration has only been marginally better than previous administrations (although that may stop being true soon), still foolishly believing that this is a problem that can be solved by law enforcement (nope), even while claiming that they’re trying a different approach.
The 35,000 deaths since Felipe Calderon launched his ill-fated drug crackdown aren’t just his fault, they’re also ours. American drug policy rewards Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations with the billions of dollars in easy profits that they then use to battle each other for an even greater piece of the pie. Every time a major player in the trade is arrested, dozens step up to take his place and the violence escalates. Yet to the head of the DEA, Michele Leonhart, this is somehow seen as winning:
“It may seem contradictory, but the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success in the fight against drugs,” the DEA chief said.
The cartels “are like caged animals, attacking one another,” she added.
No, they’re not. And one has to have their head lodged really fucking far up their own ass to believe that. These are organizations that have so much money that they were able to launder their money directly through the U.S. banking system in order to buy airplanes. They’re not caged animals, they’re pretty goddamn free to do what they want. A lot freer than the Mexicans who took to the street today to protest against a gruesome quagmire that they have essentially no control over.