Thursday, April 8, 2010


The National Institute for Women, in Mexico, released data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that revealed in the year 2008 nearly 28 thousand women working in federal government agencies have experienced sexual assault. That translates into 138 a day (for 200 working days a year) or, for an 8 hour work day, 17 sexual assaults per hour. Of these, only 7796 were reported to authorities, a mere 28%, because of fear of reprisals and/or losing their job for "making waves".

Meanwhile, the new Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Alan Bersin, has gotten off to a very inauspicious start with his uneducated comment that legalizing marijuana would herald the end of the drug cartels. His rebuttal to the legalisation question is disengenous at best (and is based upon a "strawman argument").

ONE of the arguments for the legalisation of marijuana (amongst many) is that it would reduce the amount of illicit income that flows to the drug cartels, no one has said that it would mean the demise of the cartels. HOWEVER, I am sure that there would be an impact to the Mexican drug cartels if 40% of their financing through the sale of marijuana to the millions of willing purchasers in the US (part of a 40 to 60 dollar billion dollar market) was eliminated. All level-headed thinkers recognise that other illicit forms of income (such as prostitution, gambling, smuggling, extortion, etc) would remain in place.

But, if Mr Bersin wants to be simplistic, then I would like to note to him, that it is solely due to his government's drug policy (prohibition) that enables the tens of billions of US dollars to flow to the Mexican drug cartels....a policy that is within that government's power to reverse.

I hope this was simple enough to be clear

1 comment:

  1. Walter your writing on the drug war realities in Mexico has been great, please keep it up. The amount of tragedy is just staggering.

    I hate, hate, HATE the type of reply Mr. Bernstein gave, and I see it so very often. Nobody has ever claimed that ending prohibition would "herald the end of the drug cartels"; for Bernstein to respond as if that were a oft-used
    claim is a cowardly and intellectually dishonest rhetorical device.

    The point is that removing such a large chunk of the cartel's income -- marijuana accounts for 60-70% of Mexican drug gang revenue by some estimates -- can only help in Mexico's desperate struggle to limit their influence and power. Of course they will continue with their lives of crime in whatever way they can find. But they can't just decide to "make money" through another endeavor and replace their marijuana revenue. It's the low-hanging fruit, and accounts for a huge slice of the demand that the general public has for a given gang's services.


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