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Going Egyptian

In a fine editorial, Narco News’ Al Giordano suggests that the people of Mexico have the power to start a revolution.

On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of Mexican citizens will take to the streets to demand “an end to the violence” wrought by the so-called “war on drugs.”

There might not be thousands, but tens of thousands… or more. […]

And I am left with just one question: If the people of the United States once rose up and demanded, and won, the end of a senseless, stupid, violent, corrupt, criminal prohibition against a “drug” that is, today and for the last 68 years, peacefully regulated and consumed and sold without violence between its sellers, without corrupting police, judges, politicians and presidents, without censoring newspapers and assassinating journalists and community organizers and defenders of human rights… If the gringos could repeal such a violent policy that caused such harm against them… then why not Mexico?

See you in the streets on Wednesday at 5 p.m. We will be there to report it. What you decide to do is up to you. But if there is one thing I have learned in fourteen (really, 24, counting my first voyage) years since arriving in Mexico, it is this: The Mexican people have more power than you know. And one day you are going to use it. If Wednesday is not that day, it will be another day, maybe sooner than anyone thinks. But it also occurs to me that, like with Egypt on January 25, it is not so impossible that Wednesday could be the start of something big…

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45 comments to Going Egyptian

  • malcolm kyle

    Well spotted Pete! I just came across this myself and was on the way here with it.

    This is the kind of event that our own Allan Erickson so eloquently wrote about just a few days ago; Javier Sicilia may possibly be our equivalent of that East German Border Guard.

    I’ll have difficulty sleeping tonight; may need a few extra tokes. Viva Mexico!

  • Somebody said that a pessimist is an optimist well informed. I have said it before in this same site and I’m afraid I have to say it again: there is very little producing and distributing countries, like Mexico, Bolivia and the like, can do to alter the dastardly realities imposed on them by the so-called War on Drugs.

    Is it not rather pathetic to expect that Mexico could dent in any meaningful way Prohibition and War on Drugs policies when the U.S.A., the juggernaut pushing for its implementation and enforcement all over the world, seems reluctant to do anything about it?

    How can we expect that from Mexico, or other Latin American countries for that matter, when the U.S.A. itself cannot put its own house in order. I do think that the fate of the recent legalisation attempt in Washington State speaks volumes.

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2011/apr/04/marijuana_legalization_bill_dies

    No matter how many times the citizens of Mexico take to the streets to protest demanding an end to the War on Drugs, as the experience of Colombia so clearly exposed it during the high of the fight against the drug cartels in the 80’s and 90’s, the stubborn fact is that nothing will happens until the real power behind the drug on war decides otherwise. As I’ve said it many times: the real power, literally and metaphorically, is in the hands of the major drug consuming country in the world: the U.S.A.

    Gart Valenc
    http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

    • Duncan20903

      Every pessimist I’ve ever encountered insists that he isn’t. Their preferred term is “realist”.

      I’m not sure why you think that Mexico in this decade couldn’t emulate Canada in the 1920swith regard to drinking alcohol. Would the US actually send in troops and occupy the country? The only thing standing in the way of Mexico doing just that is the love of money. We wouldn’t invade, we’d just quit sending them checks. It’s actually a much better strategy than sending in troops. We get to dictate policy to Canada with much the same strategy. Only instead of sending them checks they get to do cross border business to get their blood money. Shh, don’t tell Canada that our fuel reserves are running low and that they’ve got plenty o’ natural gas that we want. They might figure out that they can quit rolling over and being lapdogs for the American military industrial complex. It’s one thing to invade Libya or Iraq to preserve our access to their energy reserves. Canada is actually a civilized country that’s (nominally) run by its people. That’s going to make it much harder to conceal our desire for their natural gas reserves to generate the propaganda needed on an international level to get the popular support needed to prosecute such an effort. Mr. Bush the lesser was dancing at the edge with his fantasy about Iraq, WMD and the “concern” for the freedom of Iraqis. Canada’s not run by a mad man/iron fist dictator, there’s no genocide , and even if they have WMD’s no one’s going to be too worried they might be deployed.

      Someday some country is going to grow a set of huevos and tell the US to just keep our money. That will bring about interesting times for certain. The only way that doesn’t happen is if we run out of money to borrow and squander before that happens.

    • Jake

      Gart, we’ve discussed the ‘producer countries’ before and their lack of weight in this fight. The single convention is a house of cards, we have Morales who could potentially denounce it, Santos who is ‘open to suggestions’ and Mexico becoming sick of the drug war. Not to mention some of the other southern countries who could quite readily give up the fight for a better policy, bringing down said card house, if the lead were there.

      I understand that they do not have as much power as the USA, but collectively, if they got together and denounced the convention, allowed legal production, supply and use of all the drugs they currently produce illicitly, what could the USA do to stop this? Short of an all-out war or massive trade sanctions that would end up hurting themselves just as much I don’t know. Could this happen under current UN treaties? I like to think that as a collective they hold more power than we think… and if 5 big producer countries said enough is enough, it doesn’t work and costs us too much (financially and in Human costs), it would at the very minimum take a huge chunk out of the “integrity” the convention so willingly, and desperately, clings on to..

      • Jake, of course, collective action could most certainly trump the opposition of the U.S.A. The question is, why is it that Latin American countries — or for that matter, other drug producing countries — haven’t done it yet. And it is not because those countries are unaware of their collective power or for lack of reasons to do that. Take Colombia for instance, one among several Latin American countries I have had the opportunity to know very well. As devastating as Mexico’s current situation is, it is not new, not even in their intensity and barbarism. I would argue that if you take into consideration the last two or three decades altogether, the effects the War on Drugs have had and continue to have on Colombia are much greater than Mexico’s [Here a proviso is in order: it is important not to lose sight of the fact that Colombia and Mexico are very different in their institutional, political and economic makeup. Thus, any comparisons and parallels between the two countries should be taken with a large pinch of salt.]

        I wouldn’t pretend for a moment that there are simple explanations for Latin American countries’ incapacity, reluctance, impotence — call it what you will — to act together, but one thing is almost certain, the repercussions for stepping out of U.S.A. aggressive line go well beyond loosing a commercial deal here and there. On the contrary, it would be tantamount to redrawing the boundaries of real-politiks in Latin America. And you do not want to do that, unless you are confident enough that you won’t burn the bridges before you have cross the river.

        Gart Valenc
        http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

      • Jake

        Gart, thinking about it, could a strong reason for the lack of enthusiasm for the Latin American countries to band together be that it is more about the top 2% of those countries securing their individual wealth and power… These individuals are often backed by the states in some form, who in turn, use the relationship to exploit natural resources etc. So personal vested interests AGAIN getting in the way of whats right for the people?

        Another question is if the boundaries were withdrawn in such a manner, who depends on who more? The USA brings a lot of aid, tech etc. to the Latin’s but also takes a huge toll in terms of forced policy/militarisation and exploitation of natural resources (and China is hot on their heels in this respect, so there is an alternative market). Could the USA have a ‘political’ war with the Latin’s without it being a pyrrhic victory? Could they afford to do that in the face of China’s itchy feet? What is clear is that its a gamble no one has had any real incentive to chance yet… but it feels like that is changing…

      • Jake, and the list goes on and on. Two words (more precisely, two concepts) come to mind: imperialism (not the crude 19th century version, but its modern guise) and RealPolitiks.

        One could easily turn the table over and ask: why is it that the U.S.A. and other major developed, drug consuming countries are reluctant to put an end to the Prohibition Regime and the War on Drugs? [clue: interesting, isn’t, that they have depenalised or decriminalised the consumption, but what about the supply? Apologies for self-referencing, but you can follow my arguments in my blog]

        If you think about it, you will find that it all comes down to who holds the power. That doesn’t mean that things can’t change or that the balances of power, locally speaking, can’t be shifted. It is not a question of if, but when. It is a question of where the capacity to effect real, effective, meaningful change truly lies: the periphery or the centre (to use rather obsolete terminology). My bet is that it won’t come from the periphery, in this case, Latin America.

        Gart Valenc
        http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

      • Jake

        Well I still hope they can have a meaningful contribution, if not generate the change. I hope that a successful protest goes ahead today in Mexico. The balance of power is currently in the hands of few to the detriment of many, and when it shifts it will not take a lot to knock down this house of cards… at least I hope – I try to remain optimistic :-p

  • kaptinemo

    OT: something interesting about the narco-submarines showing up lately.

    Authorities in Awe of Drug Runners’ Jungle-Built, Kevlar-Coated Supersubs

    • Cliff

      The level of ingenuity displayed by people working in a swamp is truly amazing, with duct tape, PVC and kevlar. These people are regular schmoes with limited technical backgrounds putting our own military industrial complex to shame with very creative solutions which are probably, right now, evading the best technology money can deploy on our naval and coast guard aircraft and ships. Elegant simplicity and creativity is owning superior technology.

  • malcolm kyle

    “As I’ve said it many times: the real power, literally and metaphorically, is in the hands of the major drug consuming country in the world: the U.S.A.”

    Ever heard of the domino effect?

  • “Ever heard of the domino effect?”

    Ever heard that in the long run we all will be dead?

    Gart Valenc
    http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

    • malcolm kyle

      Abe startles his friends by announcing, “You know what? I’ve decided to become an optimist.”

      Everyone is clearly taken aback and the place goes really quiet.
      Rea, noticing something isn’t quite right, says, “If you’re such an optimist, why are you looking so damn worried?”
      Abe replies, “Do you think it’s easy being an optimist?”

  • Josh Dean

    umm yeah if that happens then i just suggest that we as american’s do whats best for americans. and thats simpley nuke the hell outta all of mexico.that easyly sloves the problem no more mexicans no more drugs.

    • Gee, why didn’t we think of that? Using nuclear weapons on our next door neighbor — what an interesting idea. I assume you have studied the details of nuclear explosions and subsequent fallout patterns?

      I also am surprised to learn that drugs come from Mexicans. Do they excrete them? I thought drugs came from laboratories, or from growing in the ground.

      After we’ve eliminated Mexico through nuclear destruction, will it be necessary to hunt down any remaining Mexicans around the world to make sure that they’re not excreting drugs?

      Finally, I don’t recognize the language variation that you’re using. I can decipher a lot of the words, because they’re similar to ours (easyly, sloves, simpley, etc.). It’s not American English, or British English, or Australian English. Where are you from?

      • malcolm kyle

        I’ll hazard a guess at Mental Asylum English :>)

      • Maria

        I vote that Mental Asylum English needs to be a choice in Google Translate.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        Isn’t it precious when someone comes along and thinks they have the solution to an almost century of ordeal, as if they’re the first to think of their proposal? Kind of like the Know Nothings who say they’re all for medical cannabis but that it needs to be distributed by pharmacies filling prescriptions written by doctors. Gee whiz, in the 15th year of laws protecting patients using medical cannabis, adopted by 15 States and DC, and it never even crosses their minds that there just might be a reason why the dispensary/recommendation model took hold.

        Let’s see, we were worried about nuclear fallout because of the recent tragedy in Japan but there are really people who think we can drop nukes on our next door neighbor with out serious consequences, even presuming that the Mexicans drop their trousers, bend over and grab their ankles when we do it?

        Why is it that so many people can look at almost a century of utter failure and decide that more of the same is a good idea? Seriously, how does that work?

      • paul

        Well, he’s got a point. If we turn Mexico into a radioactive sea of glass, killing everything expect the cockroaches, then yeah! No more drugs will come through Mexico. The radiation would kill anyone trying to transport their drugs through the wasteland.

        Now, I understand that not all drugs come from Mexico–there’s South America to consider. Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela would have to go up in a mushroom cloud for sure (BOOM!! Yeah, baby, YEAH!!!), and then some of the smaller countries bordering them, just to be sure.

        After that, all we would be left with are Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay…Am I missing anything? (If I am, well, we can come back and clean up later). Those countries could be taken care of with surgical strikes, nuclear style. Nuke the favelas in Rio–they’re all on the hilltops, easy to target–then hit the poor parts of Sao Paulo, then ignite the Amazon rain forest area, to get any growers who may be hiding out there.

        But that’s just a start. The mountains of Thailand, Burma, North India, Afghanistan…Hell, Pakistan, Iran, China…All those guys gotta go, too.

        Better get our bomb factories up to full production!

    • a drive-by dolt… isn’t that precious. Prolly gove himsef a sweld head, overwellemd by his grate sinse of hummer.

      Drink a Keystone (Keystone Lite of course!) or 12 for me Josh.

    • darkcycle

      Dad, just shut up and watch the monster trucks. You’ve had too much to drink again and nobody wants to hear it.

  • DdC

    Obama’s Drug War in El Salvador
    For author Lovato, El Salvador feels like 1980, the year its civil war started, after U.S.-trained death squads murdered Monsenor Oscar Arnulfo Romero.

  • Windy

    Judging by what I’ve seen around the blogosphere, America is nearing that same powder keg explosion if the federal government keeps going the way it has been. I really do NOT want to see that happen, so I’ve been urging people to demand from their so-called “representatives” in DC to make some real changes back to Constitutional government in order to avoid that war in our streets.
    JFK- “When you make peaceful revolution impossible, you make violent revolution inevitable”

    • darkcycle

      Windy, like Malcolm said: It looks like a long, hot, summer.

    • Cliff

      The new bread lines are unemployment checks and food stamp debit cards. Right now, things are out of sight, out of mind. Our government employees have become detached from the reality facing most Americans. They are disconnected and believe that eveyone has it as good as they do. They are mistaken and their failure to recognize that their pay and benefits far out strip those of ordinary Americans will be the final straw.

      When government employees of any level think that they are indispensible and their entitlement to a lifestyle with good pay and benefits should come at the expense of those who work for way less and get no benefits, it is beginning to look a lot like Egypt. There are a lot of people out there benefitting from the good news on Wall Street and K Street, but way more are not.

      Folks here are tapped out, foreclosed on, unemployed, underemployed, down-sized, tired, burned out and pissed off at all the stunts our betters have done in our name. It won’t take much more than a computer glitch to stop unemployment checks or food stamp debit cards to cause some real chaos and mayhem, the likes of which, we haven’t seen as a country since the Civil War.

      IMHO, all those Americans at Wal-Mart who wait until midnight at the end of the month for their food stamp debit cards to recharge may become our own example of the Tunisian fruit vendor which sparks the whole shebang off, when the cards don’t work anymore. Whatever happens, it is not going to be pretty, you can bet on that.

  • anonymous2

    The punctuation seems to be a bit different too, Pete. I submit the phrase “we as american’s” in contrast with our usage of “we as Americans” as an example. It seems that the language in which Mr. Dean writes uses the possessive form and the plural form interchangeably and also doesn’t capitalize proper nouns. However, at the end of the sentence containing the phrase I quoted, he writes with the proper English usage; typing “americans” but still without the capitalization.

  • David Marsh

    My guess is that Josh Dean is really a pseudonym for Muammar Gaddafi and he would rather have “we as american’s” use up our nuclear weapons on our own continent.

  • ezrydn

    Hadn’t heard a thing about it but I’ll be out and about tomorrow in Mexico’s 2nd Largest City and relate back if anything crops up there.

    Seriously though, I don’t think the Mexican Mind has hit the “mind-swell” point yet. I just checked today’s paper and there’s no mention of any gathering or protest so it’s still “underground” probably.

    And Josh? Just a wandering putz.

  • Peter

    I think it’s Jabberwocky English:

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

  • vicky vampire

    Hell right now it Looks like a long wet spring full of surprises April and May and part of June plenty can still happen in these few months and days.

  • ezrydn

    I asked around at coffee today and was told that the protest will be in Mexico City (Seat of Power) only. It won’t be country-wide, YET!

  • Hope

    59 bodies found in pits in Mexican border state

    http://tinyurl.com/6btsb58

    Excerpt:
    The wave of drug-related killings — which has claimed more than 34,000 lives in the four years since the government launched an offensive against drug cartels — drew thousands of protesters into the streets of Mexico’s capital and several other cities Wednesday in marches against violence.
    Many of the protesters said the government offensive has stirred up the violence.
    “We need to end this war, because it is a senseless war that the government started,” said protester Alma Lilia Roura, 60, an art historian.
    Several thousand people joined the demonstration in downtown Mexico City, chanting “No More Blood!” and “Not One More!” A similar number marched through the southern city of Cuernavaca.
    Parents marched with toddlers, and protesters held up signs highlighting the disproportionate toll among the nation’s youth. “Today a student, tomorrow a corpse,” read one sign carried by demonstrators.
    The marches were spurred in part by the March 28 killing of Juan Francisco Sicilia, the son of Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, and six other people in Cuernavaca.
    “We are putting pressure on the government, because this can’t go on,” said the elder Sicilia. “It seems that we are like animals that can be murdered with impunity.”
    ___

  • «“We need to end this war, because it is a senseless war that the government started,” said protester Alma Lilia Roura, 60, an art historian.»

    It certainly requires a lot of art to reinvent history. Incidentally, could it be possible that a large number of Mexican citizens are starting showing evidence of Stockholm Syndrome?

    One can understand why some Mexicans feel so despondent, but how do you explain, let alone justify, the callousness and cynicism shown by Michele M. Leonhart, DEA Adminstrator, when she says [http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/primera/36596.html]

    the high level of violence [in Mexico] is a signal of success [of the War on Drugs]

    Compare that with former Mexican president Vicente Fox comment [http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/primera/36596.html]

    It is the U.S.A. who has to stop the flow of drugs, not Mexico.

    Gart Valenc
    http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

  • ezrydn

    There was nothing on the Nat’l/Local news last night. No mention of any protests anywhere.

  • ezrydn

    Sorry. It double posted.

  • Hope

    Media is obviously purposely ignoring this event.

  • Cliff

    “Media is obviously purposely ignoring this event.”

    BBC News covered it last night.

    • Jake

      Posted this is the wrong thread yesterday.. oops:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12994692
      (wish they would say prohibition-related violence instead of drug-related). Talks about alternatives at the end, but fails to mention legalisation…

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12995773

      • As I said before, if I didn’t know better, I’d say that Mexico citizens are showing evidence of Stockholm Syndrome. Of course not, what they are showing in clear and ambiguous terms is their impotence to stop the War on Drugs. As understandable as it may be, by asking Calderón to resign they are barking at the wrong tree. Their anger and frustration should be directed to the USA and its acolytes who not only support the War on Drugs, but celebrate the increase in violence, murder, destruction and what have you, because it is a signal (as Michele Leonhart, DEA supremo said recently) that USA drug policy is working!

        Gart Valenc
        http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org