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Mexican Drug War: I'm Aware and I Care

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Why should Georgetown students care that the head of the police chief of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico was found in an ice bucket outside of the local police station or that, in 2008, illegal drug trafficking claimed the lives of over 6,000 Mexicans What do these incidences have to do with Georgetown students or the greater United States’ population As United States’ citizens, we are more linked to the current violence in Mexico between the seven major drug cartels dominating the country than we may think. President Obama arrived in Mexico this past Thursday (April 16th) to meet with Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, to discuss their shared responsibility in combating violence related to illegal drug trafficking. A majority of the opium, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, and heroine produced in Latin America pass through the Mexico en route to the consumers of the United States. A recent statistic reveals approximately 90% of the cocaine consumed by those in the United States comes from Mexico. In addition, the United States are supplying the weapons fueling the violent turf wars between the cartels and their battles with the police and the military. In fact, more than 90% of guns seized at the border or in raids in Mexico have been traced to the United States. As the warring between cartels broadens, gangs within the United States’ have become increasingly linked to the illegal drug trafficking of Mexican cartels. For example, the gang MS-13, one of the most violent and dangerous gangs in the United States, is growing more organized, with factions in places such as Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and all over the United States’ including here in D.C. As a result, there has been a rising number of kidnappings and murders of those suspected of “snitching” on members of the gangs who continue to fuel the drug trade with Mexico. In Mexico, the violence is not just coming from cartels. The military has been accused of human rights violations; at least thirteen killings and four rapes have been reported in conjunction with the military. Journalists reporting on the violence within the Mexican military have received threats for their portrayal of the military’s human rights violations. The number of Mexicans requesting asylum in the United States has doubled from 2007 to 2008. Why does illegal drug trafficking have such a strong hold on Mexico A major reason is a lack of jobs for Mexican citizens. A million workers enter the market each year in Mexico but over half cannot find employment and attempt to migrate to the United States’ for work. For some, drug cartels offer a rare employment opportunity. But, in reality, the only ones benefiting from the drug trade are the elite few at the top. In an interview with Georgetown SFS professor of the course on Illegal Drug Trafficking, Maria Luisa Wagner, she explains that the profit from drugs does not filter down to the general Mexican population. Instead, average Mexican citizens suffer from the violence of the drug trafficking industry without the economic benefits. Not only do those who work for cartels do not reap the financial benefits of the dangerous business, they often take the blame for the crime. People who play minor roles in the illegal drug trade are imprisoned for their involvement while the king pins and the leaders of the cartels get off free. Corruption is widespread within the Mexican government and the police forces as cartels bribe officials with lucrative funds. As long as the economy continues to suffer in Mexico, cartels will have a disposable workforce to exploit. What can do in the face of this multifaceted conflict First, we must adjust our attitudes. This is not strictly a Mexico problem isolated by an international border. Not only is violence spilling over into the United States’, Americans are a principle cause of this violence as drug consumers and weapons suppliers. We need to acknowledge as President Obama and his administration have that we share the responsibility with Mexico to take action in finding solution to illegal drug trafficking. While we as Georgetown students cannot directly stabilize the Mexican economy or single-handedly end Americans’ addiction to drugs, we can promote awareness of this conflict and reflect our concern. Spread the word to those around you that we are partially responsibility for the fate of Mexico and now is our chance to take action. Today, you can help by signing this petition as a way of conveying to our government your concern for this issue and for our involvement.


Georgetown University, Justice and Peace Studies


Anderson Cooper on the Mexican Drug War Interactive Map of Mexico and Cartels
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