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Mexican protesters marching

Mexican protesters begin 3-day march seeking end to drug war

Hundreds of protesters began a three-day march to Mexico’s capital Thursday, demanding peace in the war between the government and drug cartels.

Some carried signs bearing the names of victims of the brutal wave of drug-related violence that has hit many parts of the country. Others who gathered in the central Mexican city of Cuernavaca toted a large black banner that said “STOP THE WAR.”

One of the most persistent enemies of finding real solutions to the violence is the pathetic war mentality that is completely blind to the fact that they’re throwing gasoline onto the fire. That same traditional war mentality also convinces them that any suggestion other than continuing the present course is an unacceptable “retreat” or “surrender.”

“Retreating from the fight is not an option. Quite the opposite. We must redouble our efforts, because if we stop fighting, they are going to kidnap, extort and kill all over the country,” Calderon said. “Because marching back means things will get worse. If we retreat, we will allow gangs of criminals to walk all the streets of Mexico with impunity, assaulting people without anyone stopping them.” […]

In his statement Wednesday, Calderon acknowledged that some Mexicans are less committed to — and afraid of — his fight against criminals. But he showed no sign of changing his approach.

“Just like you, I also want a Mexico without violence. I want a peaceful Mexico. But this goal will not be accomplished with false exits. The solution is to stop the criminals, who are the enemies of Mexico,” he said.

Perhaps the people of Mexico are stepping up and saying “This is my house that’s burning down and you keep throwing gasoline on it. Stop it! Take your gas can and back away — I don’t care if you call it retreat or something else, but our house doesn’t need your kind of help.”

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30 comments to Mexican protesters marching

  • kaptinemo

    There are none so blind that they will not see. And Calderon is about as ‘blind’ as they come.

    But…notice the instant appeal to emotionalism? He knows the wind has changed, and it’s blowing in his face. In 3 days, if there are no disturbances by either cartel or government forces (is there really a difference anymore?) it could erupt into gale-force winds for social change.

    While things are economically bad here, they’re much worse down there; any mass movement that shows as much intensity as this one is could trigger much more in the way of social ferment, which I am sure the political (i.e. ruling) class in Mexico City are only too well aware of. But any attempt by the government there to squelch this could backfire with very serious repercussions…like a revolution. Calderon is walking a tight-rope, and he knows it.

  • Probably I’m wrong, but after reading this post I was left with the impression that the violence associated to the War on Drugs in Mexico is the Mexican government fault, that it should stop fighting the criminal organisations that control the astronomical drug market and do…well, the piece doesn’t seem to give any indications as to what Mexico should do instead.

    One may debate about the optimal strategy to rein on the drug cartels power and whether declaring all out war on them is the best tactic, but doing nothing and leaving the drug cartels alone doesn’t seem to be a reasonable option to me. Should we just try to appease these bloody thirsty organisations, and every other criminal organisation that blackmail us with unimaginable atrocities, and say, you do your business but be discrete; and as long as you do that, we hear nothing, we see nothing, we say nothing?

    Let’s say, for the sake of the argument, that the Mexican government turns a blind eye on the drug traffickers and lets them operate, for all intents and purposes, unimpeded. That could be a reasonable proposition if said organisations were small, local groups with no real power. The bad news is that the drug cartels are not marginal criminal organisations, or a mere nuisance, or an anecdotal punctuation in the daily lives of million of citizens all over Latin American countries. Just the opposite!

    If that is the case, you need to ask yourself: what do you do when criminal organisations manage to cumulate almost unimaginable power (economically and politically speaking) and make of corruption and violence the means through which that power is kept and fed? What do you do when these organisations manage to intimidate whole populations through blackmail, torture and killings? What do you do when they use their power to determine who should or shouldn’t be elected to all sorts of public bodies? What do you do when politicians, journalists, policymakers, innocent bystanders are slain for speaking against their corrupt and corrupting practices? What do you do when you are killed just because they don’t like the way you look, or the way you speak, or the way…

    One has to be totally disingenuous or blatantly ignorant about the recent history of Latin America to believe that doing nothing is an option. One may ignore the corrupting and destabilising force drug cartels represent at our peril. Instead, one has to wake up to the fact that the only way to cut their power for good, to effectively stop their violent and corrosive influence is to put an end to Prohibition and its brainchild, the so-called War on drugs — a regime sponsored, sustained and imposed by the U.S.A.

    And this is the crux of the matter. Even the most naïve and gullible person can see how hypocritical and cynical the U.S.A. drug policies are: instead of dealing with the fact that the it is the biggest drug consumer in the world and fight its fight in its own soil, the U.S.A. puts the onus on Mexico, and other Latin American countries. It seems to me that if somebody should be marching and protesting it should be U.S.A. citizens. How many millions do you think we will see marching to Washington? Will other major cities follow the example? How soon?

    Gart Valenc
    http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

    • Duncan20903

      Gart, your argument fails because you are ignoring all but 2 choices, and this is by no means an either/or situation. I guess I thought everyone that frequents this blog was aware of the possibility of establishing a tightly regulated market and that it would spell the end of the cartels’ power because their singular business advantage is their willingness to break the law.

      You are correct, turning a blind eye to the cartels would be a tragic mistake, only exceeded by the stupidity of continuing to prosecute the guaranteed failure of the war on (some) drugs. Those are by no means the only two choices.

      Oh well, I’m off to the liquor store. Can I get you some 190 proof grain alcohol while I’m there? Perhaps some 151 proof rum? I sure hope I don’t end up collateral damage if another liquor store owner decides to do a drive by shooting to increase his sales territory while I’m there.

      • I not sure I follow the full implications of your comment. If you read my comment, I said:

        «Instead, one has to wake up to the fact that the only way to cut their power for good, to effectively stop their violent and corrosive influence is to put an end to Prohibition and its brainchild, the so-called War on drugs.»

        I do think that legalisation and regulation is implicit in that excerpt. But if you are still in doubt, you can read what I’ve written on my blog, where I do discuss at length my position on Prohibition and the War on Drugs.

        Gart Valenc
        http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

      • Duncan20903

        Well the first thing I want to make clear is that I’m lucky if I know 10 words in any language other than English, though I can folow along somewhat when reading Spanish.

        Gart, I think maybe it was that something was lost in the translation. After re-reading and further reflection I do believe what I thought that I read wasn’t in your post, and I apologize for jumping to a conclusion.

      • darkcycle

        Duncan, I ran out of tincture last night. Everclear is on my list today too. Two bottles for me, please.

    • DdC

      The Free Mexican Air Force
      The Mexican people took to the streets in protest under Fox. Firing up Colitas in the open. Then legalization for small amounts of everything. Then Boosh DEA threats the same as they threatened Canada with trade sanctions. Then the killing of thousands and now more protests with Caluderon in the hip pocket of the Fascists.

      Mexico’s Fox To OK Drug Decriminalization Law
      * Mexico Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Drugs
      * Mexico legal-drug bill condemned
      * U.S. Cautious on Mexico Drug Measure

      Ganjawar Puppets Cave… again
      * Mexico President Seeks Review of Drug Law
      * OH, MEXICO (OH, THE EMBARRASSMENT)
      * MEXICO MOVES TO DECRIMINALIZE DRUG POSSESSION — NO, WAIT, NEVERMIND
      * Threats From USA Force Mexico to Drop Decrim Plans

    • DdC

      If your point is reality you’re in the wrong arena talking about the Ganjawar. Of coarse these tragedies are taking place. The news tries hard to keep it under wraps. Most would rather go along with the crowd than question authority. All of the negatives you posted are collateral damage. Like kids getting killed after a bombing run. This reality only enforces the negative and the negatives are commercials to keep selling this drug war product. Once again it is not a war on people using certain drugs. Its a war on people using the wrong kind of drugs. Or worse, people wanting something for nothing. Commies growing their own medicine? Making the same products from Hemp as they do crude oil, trees, meat, dairy, fish, paper and the poisons on cotton. Can’t sell many tanks to hippies. Just to warmongers and brokers. Using the “M” word is like Martin Luther King marching with banners saying Free us Niggers! Pitifools.

    • tensity1

      When you talked about blood thirsty and criminal organizations, I first thought you were talking about the DEA and other drug warriors, but then I realized you were just describing what will be the state of the plutocracy that is the good old USA in a decade or so.

      On another note, Calderon is right; there can be no retreat or surrender. You know, all the mass killings and ultra-violence we heard about that was going on before Calderon declared war, right? Can’t go back to such crazy violence. . . .

    • DdC

      What post are you replying to Gart?

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    I think these guys have never heard of or read the stuff written by Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu knew that retreat and yielding ultimately could lead to victory. The drugs warriors are not only corrupt, they are woefully inept at the “art of war”. They have one tool in their shed…the hammer, and they wonder why things do not work out. It’s not the war mentality that’s in play here, it’s the war mentality of losers. There isn’t a competent general in any army in the world who doesn’t accept that sometimes the best strategy is to wave the white flag.

    All quotes below attributed to Sun Tzu:

    The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.

    ————————————————————

    Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.

    ————————————————————

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterward looks for victory.

    ————————————————————

    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    ————————————————————

    No leader should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no leader should fight a battle simply out of pique. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life. Hence the enlightened leader is heedful, and the good leader full of caution.

    ————————————————————

    “To capture the enemy’s entire army is better than to destroy it; to take intact a regiment, a company, or a squad is better than to destroy them. For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the supreme of excellence. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.”

    ————————————————————

    Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

    ————————————————————

    He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.

    • DdC

      The Art of War, Sun Tzu

      1. What is the nature of the substance or problem?
      2. What is its origin?
      3. What is its composition?
      4. What is its function?
      5. Who possesses, controls, or causes it?
      6. What is my opinion of it?
      7. What is my relationship to it?
      8. What are my expectations of it?
      9. What is its destiny?

      That and the other quotes only prove this is not a drug “war”. NORML has been collecting salaries 40 years with a derogatory buzzword in their title. I like NORML and they have good info but perpetuating is the profit. Know your enemy and most Libertarians blame just the government as most Greens blame the corporations. As most status weird d&r keep it going. What is the problem if there is no complaint? Those making it a problem don’t even use it. They just collect on keeping it a problem. Most reformers don’t know their enemy or themselves. Sun Tzu is laughing his ass off.

      A Few Buzzwords
      If you spend any time watching, reading, or listening to the mainstream media, you’ll find yourself immersed in a linguistic culture of political jargon that I call “buzzwords”–these are words that are used to Confuse and obscure meanings and to derail critical thinking. Imagine a warning buzzer sounding off in your head when you see or hear one of these words being used.

      Propaganda by Edward Bernays (1928)

  • malcolmkyle

    We’d do well to remind ourselves that Calderon is neither ignorant nor naive but is actually acting on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel.

    During a very recent conference, former Nuevo Leon governor Socrates Rizzo admitted that previous presidents had formalized agreements with drug cartel leaders to coordinate and protect Mexico’s lucrative drug trade.

    Read more here: http://www.businessinsider.com/former-mexican-governor-admits-pri-presidents-controlled-drug-trade-2011-2#ixzz1FLhl1BqO

    Accusations of a corrupt Mexican government protecting certain cartels have been around for decades. Investigative reporters say they have solid evidence showing that authorities are going after other cartels, but not targeting the largest one which is the Sinaloa cartel.

    “There are no important detentions of Sinaloa cartel members, but the government is hunting down [Sinaloa’s] adversary groups and new players in the world of drug trafficking. “
    – Diego Osorno, an investigative journalist and the author of a book on the Sinaloa cartel published in 2009.

    Edgardo Buscaglia, a leading law professor in Mexico and an international organized crime expert, has analyzed 50,000 drug-related arrest documents dating back to 2003, and said that only a tiny fraction of the them were against Sinaloa members, and low-key ones at that.

    “Law enforcement [statistics] shows you objectively that the federal government has been hitting the weakest organized crime groups in Mexico.”

    “But they have not been hitting the main organized crime group, the Sinaloa Federation, that is responsible for 45 per cent of the drug trade in this country.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT0HD_6hfq4

    Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman – one of the most wanted criminals in the world – runs the Sinaloa cartel. Arrested in Guatemala in the 1990s and transferred to a maximum security prison in Mexico, Guzman escaped in 2001 and has amassed a $1bn fortune by trafficking cocaine, heroine and meth to the US.

    • I do not know if Calderón is acting or have acted on behalf of a particular cartel. The question here is whether Mexico or any other Latin American country can turn a blind eye to criminal organisations. But just for the sake of the argument, let’s assume he and other before him were in cahoots with drug cartels. It would only support one of the points I was calling the attention to, that is,

      «what do you do when criminal organisations manage to cumulate almost unimaginable power (economically and politically speaking) and make of corruption and violence the means through which that power is kept and fed?»

      As I said before, when it comes to solving the problem, the onus is on the US and not on drug producing countries

      Gart Valenc
      http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

      • strayan

        The reason the cartel business is violent is because their expenses are high – they have to pay violent thugs to guard their shipments, pay for weapons so they aren’t ripped off, bribe officials as it suits and then threaten them if they reneg on their promises. They pathway to success in this climate is to be as ruthless and unscrupulous as possible.

        No business wants actually wants to pay for these things – especially not one interested in profit. If drugs were legal, they wouldn’t have to.

        Have a guess how you get competing wineries to start shooting each other even though they peacefully coexist right now.

      • strayan

        It is the same reason that enforcing the drug laws increases the level of violence (because you increase the cartels expenses).

      • malcolmkyle

        I do not know if Calderón is acting or have acted on behalf of a particular cartel.

        Then maybe it’s time you did your best to clue yourselves in on this aspect. The evidence is there and just waiting for your attention.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFDVV1YxKuI

  • One thing is reading/watching/becoming constipated with the news and quite another KNOWING. I know it is always been fashionable among US government and some of their citizens to shoot first and ask questions later (extrajudicial killings, unmanned drones, and so on and so on). It is not for me to decide whether he is guilty or innocent. In case you do not know, that’s what the courts are for.

    Gart Valenc
    http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

    • malcolmkyle

      Kindly spend a few hours looking at the evidence and then get back to us. Nobody is suggesting we should assassinate anyone. The point is, the Mexican Federal forces are batting for the largest Cartel, the Sinaloa. What should be done about is a different matter.

      The Sinaloa cartel has bought the Mexican government lock, stock and Calderon.

      http://el5anto.blogspot.com/2011/04/entrevista-con-anabel-hernandez.html

    • malcolmkyle

      “I work in the police and because of this I know the government is protecting Chapo Guzman. It’s hitting all the cartels but Chapo,” — Luis Arturo Perez Torres, 25, until recently a federal police officer stationed in a suburb of Mexico City.

      “The Calderon government has been fighting organized crime in many parts of the republic, but has not touched Sinaloa. I know this. I’m Sinaloan. My family lives in Sinaloa. It is like we’re trimming the branches of a tree, when we should be tearing it out by the roots.” — Manuel Clouthier, a congressman from Sinaloa state and a member of Calderon’s own political party.

      NPR analyzed thousands of news releases on the federal attorney general’s website announcing arrests for organized crime, weapons and drug offenses. The information surveyed spanned from the day Calderon assumed the presidency in December 2006. The analysis showed that Nationwide, 44 percent of all cartel defendants are with the Zetas and Gulf cartels. Only 12 percent of the defendants are with the Sinaloa cartel. The numbers contradict the Mexican government, which claims it has arrested twice the percentage of Sinaloa gang members.

      “I think you’ve identified an issue of concern, and that is, why is the Sinaloa doing so much better than the others and why is the Sinaloa cartel been the one that has escaped a lot of the prosecutions compared to the other cartel numbers?” — U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), a former federal prosecutor who sits on the Homeland Security Committee, when asked to review the NPR analysis.S

      NPR’s analysis is supported by a Mexican law professor and organized crime expert, Edgardo Buscaglia, who has done his own analysis of cartel arrests.

      “If you look at the main organized crime group in Mexico, that is, the Sinaloan confederation, it has been left relatively untouched. The Sinaloa has been clearly the winner of all that competition among organized crime groups. And as a result of that, they have gained more economic power, they have been able to corrupt with more frequency and corrupt with more scope. Now you see that Sinaloa is the most powerful criminal group, not just in Mexico, but all over Latin America,” — Law professor and organized crime expert. Edgardo Buscaglia

      “Has the Sinaloa infiltrated the Mexican government? Absolutely. Has the Sinaloa infiltrated the Mexican military? Absolutely.” — Texas Congressman Michael McCaul

      “When the Sinaloan cartel began to be protected by all the apparatus of the government after 2001, it felt the power for the first time in history to occupy plazas that for dozens of years belonged to other cartels. So you saw them take on the Gulf cartel in Nuevo Laredo [in 2005], My hypothesis, after five years of investigation, is that Joaquin Guzman Loera is the best example of corruption in Mexico.” — Anabel Hernandez, (from the video I posted) an award-winning investigative reporter who has spent five years researching a book on Guzman.

      “This organized form of criminal activity is probably more deeply rooted in the social and political order than is generally recognized. Its chiefs are often a part of political organizations and with the coming of prohibition they gained in power and influence by using an already systematized organization in a new and profitable field of exploitation. The experience gained by years of contact with politicians came into service in organizing the production and distribution of beer and whiskey [p. 654].
      http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/jclc22&div=57&id=&page=

      Source: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126906809&ft=3&f=1001

  • You have formed your opinion, good for you. I have my opinions, too. but an opinion doesn’t constitute a proof in the eyes of the law. I’m afraid you are barking at the wrong tree, again. As I said previously, even if that is shown to be true (and I tend to believe, i.e. I’m of the OPINION, that it is true that corruption is rampant), it only goes to prove the corruption capacity of the drug cartels, which, again, is exactly what I’m arguing about. By the way, I’m also of the opinion that the same goes for the U.S.A. where corruption is equally rampant.

    But let’s not get distracted. As I mentioned in my initial comment, my point is that doing nothing is not an option and that the onus is on the U.S.A. and not on Mexico or any other drug producing and distributing country for that matter.

    Gart Valenc
    http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

    • malcolmkyle

      This is not about individual opinions. I’ve showed you more than enough evidence of the Calderon government’s support for the Sinaloa.

      Here’s how you entered this thread:

      One may debate about the optimal strategy to rein on the drug cartels power and whether declaring all out war on them is the best tactic, but doing nothing and leaving the drug cartels alone doesn’t seem to be a reasonable option to me. Should we just try to appease these bloody thirsty organisations, and every other criminal organisation that blackmail us with unimaginable atrocities, and say, you do your business but be discrete; and as long as you do that, we hear nothing, we see nothing, we say nothing?

      Who’s talking about appeasing the Cartels?

      Our job is to educate ourselves on what’s really going down and then try to inform everybody else. You don’t appear to have even the slightest knowledge of what’s going on in Mexico but you come here and throw strawmen about like your trying to start a fire.

      And I can assure you, we’re all fully aware of how corrupt things are Stateside.
      http://www.ciadrugs.com/

      • I’m extremely disappointed in the manner you have chosen to engage in the discussion. This is not personal and I refuse to engage with you in those terms. Like you, who have visited my blog and have even cared to leave a comment on one of my post, my comments are intended to promote the exchange of ideas, no matter if we agree or disagree. The beauty of engaging in a discussion, is that it should be pedagogic, it should challenge other peoples’ assumptions and arguments and in the process reaffirm or modify one’s opinions. Unless you understand the rules of the game, I don’t see the point in exchanging opinions with you.

        Gart Valenc
        http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

      • malcolmkyle

        I’m extremely disappointed in the manner you have chose … etc, etc

        Nice bunch of words you’ve thrown together there, pity they don’t appear to mirror the situation, not even remotely. My I remind you that such a false depiction of our exchanges is is an intellectually-dishonest debate tactic.

  • @Malcomkyle,

    I find it childish and disrespectful to the people who follow this blog to have to say this, for this is not a CV contest, this is a contest of ideas and opinions: I have lived and worked in several Latin American countries, including Mexico, speak Spanish to mother tongue level and work as an economic analyst specialising in Latin American countries.

    Gart Valenc
    http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

  • Malcolmkyle, I don’t know why you find it so difficult to understand the points I’m trying to highlight in my initial comment and the subsequent replies. First of all, as I say in the very first paragraph of my initial comment:

    «Probably I’m wrong, but after reading this post I was left with the impression that the violence associated to the War on Drugs in Mexico is the Mexican government fault, that it should stop fighting the criminal organisations that control the astronomical drug market…»

    Rather than a “truth statement”, with the opening salvo I was trying to generate a discussion as to whether the violence and corruption (yes, I’m also of the opinion that corruption is rampant and touches every sphere of the Mexican society, including the government, law enforcement agencies, the justice system, you name it!) is Mexican government fault. As bizarre as it may sound, some people believe that fighting the criminal organisations is not only counterproductive, but that Mexico would be better off if the drug cartels were left alone.

    Secondly, the rest of the comment is nothing by my attempt to try to explain why leaving the criminal organisations alone (i.e. appeasing them) is not an option.

    «Instead, one has to wake up to the fact that the only way to cut their power for good, to effectively stop their violent and corrosive influence is to put an end to Prohibition and its brainchild, the so-called War on drugs.»

    Thirdly and finally, as I said before when commenting on the thousands of Mexican citizens pouring into the streets demanding an end to the violence:

    «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!

    So, with this context in mind, the closing paragraph in my comment calls the attention to the fact that it is the U.S.A. moral and political responsibility to face up to the consequences of its self-serving policies and put an end to the war on drugs:

    «And this is the crux of the matter. Even the most naïve and gullible person can see how hypocritical and cynical the U.S.A. drug policies are: instead of dealing with the fact that it is the biggest drug consumer in the world and should fight its fight in its own soil, the U.S.A. puts the onus on Mexico, and other Latin American countries. It seems to me that if somebody should be marching and protesting it should be U.S.A. citizens.»

    Gart Valenc
    http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

  • malcolmkyle

    The words ‘ambiguous’, ‘irritating’ and ‘patronizing’ come to mind.