Friday, July 30, 2010

Facts getting in the way of rhetoric (again)

The papers have been busy this last week with various reports of the violence in Mexico and the "successes" of the army in killing and/or capturing high-level cartel members. One report that struck me as noteworthy was a headline in El Universal (one of Mexico’s national newspapers) a couple of days ago. Translated, the headline stated that now only Russian and Chinese mafias are more powerful than the Mexican cartels ("Sólo mafias china y rusa superan al narco: Se expande más allá de sus mercados naturales: Buscaglia. Aumentan operaciones de cárteles aztecas en EU, Canadá, la UE y Asia" 

According to a study by United Nations drug policy expert, Edgardo Buscaglia, the power and influence of the Mexican cartels has increased 735% in the last 4 years, putting them in 3rd place in the world for organized crime. Oddly enough, it was 4 years ago that President Calderón launched his invasion of Iraq...oops, I mean his war on drugs. Coincidence? Not if you read the study, "Effect of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug-Related Violence: Evidence from a Scientific Review," released a couple months ago by the International Center for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP), a group of experts based in Britain and Canada. After a comprehensive meta-analysis of studies and papers examining law enforcement efforts against drugs, the authors concluded that the harder the governments "fight" drugs and drug related activities (tougher laws, more police, more enforcement, less tolerance etc), the more violence that results.

Maybe if the various leaders of the free world, commanders-in-chief, and other decision-makers spent a little more time reading such studies and less time posturing we truly would have better security and safer communities (they need only glance quickly at Mexico to see the study in action).

For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings

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