Mexico: Spillover


September 17, 2009: Mexico's decriminalization for small amounts of drugs has caused a political stir in Mexico, and the U.S. One view holds decriminalization amounts to surrender to the drug cartels. Another says that decriminalization for small amounts is long overdue and lets the police concentrate on the big criminals. This is one of the Mexican government's arguments. A third view is that this is the camel's nose and “hard narcotics” ought to be legalized. The cartelistas should still be arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for their thefts and murders, but legalizing drugs is the way to put them permanently out of business. That may or may not be the case, since the cartels have accumulated huge profits, and are already buying their way into legal businesses. There is also another line of discussion that has raised some eyebrows: Mexico could become a mecca for “drug tourists” who will flock there to use drugs.

September 16, 2009: Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua state) passed its 2008 total for murders. Officially, Juarez had 1607 murders in 2008. The death toll in 2009 reached 1620 this week. In August, 150 people were murdered in Juarez. The murders have taken place despite a massive reinforcement of police by the Mexican Army and federal police

September 10, 2009: The governor of Texas said he intends to deploy special detachments of Texas Rangers (“Ranger recon teams”) to the Mexico-Texas border. The rangers will assist local law enforcement in dealing with drug-related violence “spilling over” from Mexico. The Ranger teams may be assigned to rural areas that are used as smuggling corridors. The State of Texas has asked the US Department of Homeland Security for a thousand additional National Guard troops to assist in border protection. People are also wondering what the state government in Arizona will do, where the spillover has given Phoenix, Arizona, the highest kidnapping rate in the country. Mainly because of Mexicans kidnapping other Mexicans for ransom, or because of some criminal deal gone bad.

September 9, 2009: Police forces swarmed a hijacked passenger jet in Mexico City. The police freed over 100 passengers. The Bolivian hijacker claimed he had been sent on a “mission from God.” The hijacker told the plane's flight crew that a canned drink he had was an explosive.

September 8, 2009: President Felipe Calderon fired his top anti-narcotics adviser, Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora. The attorney general was once called “the point man” in the Cartel War.

September 3, 2009: More bad economic news: economists estimate Mexico's economy will shrink by seven percent in 2009.

September 2, 2009: the president's annual report to the legislature claimed that the government is “making strides” in the Cartel War. The government claims that 24,000 have been arrested in the war (over the period December 2006 to June 2009). Moreover, the war has “weakened the structures of organized crime” in Mexico.

Cartel gunmen in Ciudad Juarez murdered 17 people who were in a drug rehabilitation clinic. Police said the attackers burst through the door and began spraying automatic weapons fire.

September 1, 2009: The US government said that it has distributed $214 million in counter-drug operation aid to Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative. The US has promised Mexico $1.4 billion in aid.



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