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June 2005
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The Staggering Inability to Add 2+2

Reuters has an article today: Mexico’s Fox under fire as drug war spirals.
Poor Vicente Fox. We used to wine and dine him and show him off at fancy parties. Now we don’t return his calls.

MEXICO CITY, June 19 (Reuters) – In the first four years after Mexican President Vicente Fox took office, he became Washington’s sweetheart in its war on drugs with his crackdown on traffickers.

But an escalating gangland turf war that has killed at least 600 people south of the U.S. border this year has soured the romance, with serious doubts raised about Fox’s ability to rein in the violence.

A senior U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official, Anthony Placido, told Congress last week that Mexico’s corrupt police forces were “all too often part of the problem rather than part of the solution” in fighting the drug cartels.

Fox won office in 2000, ending 71 years of one-party rule and promising to clamp down on the multibillion-dollar cross-border trade in cocaine, marijuana and heroin.

Profitable black-market trade with high demand, plus increased prohibition, equals increased violence and corruption. Basic arithmetic.

“The honeymoon period following the capture of these top drug traffickers is now over for Fox,” Jorge Chabat, a Mexican security analyst, told Reuters.

“We are now seeing a return to the relationship we had during the 1990s between Washington and Mexico that was characterized by conflict and reconciliation,” he added.

Analysts say the real problem is the heavy U.S. demand for cocaine and marijuana and the ability of the drug cartels to pay off police, politicians and judges inside Mexico.

The analysts are giving all the hints, but it seems the drug warriors can’t count to 4.

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