Topic: Mexican Drug War
Weak judicial and police institutions coupled with close geographic proximity to the world’s largest consumer economy has made Mexico the center of one of the world’s most sophisticated drug networks. Drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) have employed Mexico’s internal strife to their advantage for decades to create “a system-wide network of corruption that ensured distribution rights, market access, and even official government protection for drug traffickers in exchange for lucrative bribes.” These networks were further empowered in the 1980s, when Mexican cartels ascended to power after the successful dismantling of the Colombian cartels. During this power shift, Mexican gangs adjusted themselves to being wholesale suppliers instead of couriers for Colombian cartels.
Today, Mexico is a major supplier of heroin to the US market and is the largest foreign supplier of marijuana and methamphetamine. Furthermore, more than 90% of cocaine travels from Mexico into the United States, a significant increase from 77% in 2003. Experts estimate that the illicit drug market comprises three to four percent of Mexico’s GDP-amounting to 30 billion USD- and employs at least half a million people. This contribution is due to its lucrativeness: officials approximate Mexican drug cartel’s revenue amounts between nineteen and 29 billion USD annually.
To combat this massive drug enterprise, the former president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, launched a major crackdown against DTOs in December 2006 in collaboration with the United States. This crackdown has escalated into a deadly conflict that has continued to intensify under Calderon’s successor, Enrique Pena Nieto. From 2006-2014 it is estimated that more than 164,000 Mexicans have disappeared or been killed as a result of the conflict. Illicit drug activity has exacerbated poverty levels while also fostering chronic violence and crime that serves to drive illegal immigration. Today, the world calls on the Mexican government to bring an end to the violence, and the responsibility for this great task rests on the shoulders of the Gabinete Legal to bring peace to it’s country.