Migrant Eradication in the Mexican Drug War

Criminalizing drugs generates other crimes, often making innocent people’s lives more violent or unsafe. A classic example of drug war collateral damage is the US Mérida Initiative (2007) that prompted Mexican President Felipe Calderón to militarize Mexico’s drug war.

By 2008, migrants traveling from or through Mexico to cross over into the US were being scapegoated as drug traffickers, making it easier for the two governments to dismiss their deaths or disappearances—more than 32,000 so far. The Mérida Initiative, championed and extended by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, set drug cartels free to exploit migrants, kidnapping them, robbing them, demanding ransoms from contacts in the US, or torturing people to recruit them into smuggling 80-pound bales of marijuana across the border—and worse. Twelve-year-old migrants have been abducted, asphyxiated, and their organs harvested for transplants. People deported to Mexico from the US face worse survival odds than migrants. Jeremy Slack’s 2019 book, Deported to Death: How Drug Violence is Changing Migration on the US-Mexico Border, exposes the corruption at much risk to his own life:

…corruption has acted as a buffer, with clear ties between drug traffickers and politicians serving to lessen the public nature of violence, as targeting the population at large is avoided in return for being allowed to traffic drugs openly and with impunity. [Kindle 954]

Mexico’s political system has often been referred to as the “perfect dictatorship,” because the one-party system was able to remain in power for almost seven decades…subtle forms of oppression, intermixing extreme violence and corruption with government handouts, a populist front, and media-savvy politicians—all combine for a particularly sophisticated form of pseudo-authoritarianism. [Kindle 1209-10]

What is clear is that the movement between places becomes a commodity, something to be prized, nurtured, understood, and controlled…Recruitment of migrants by drug cartels has become a polemic topic, as the anti-immigrant Right has for years conflated migration with terrorism and cartel violence spilling across the border, while the pro-immigrant Left will not touch the topic. [Kindle 1546, 1942]

Drug cartels work as a kind of pyramid scheme, with those on the streets making very little money, taking on most of the risk, and often dying quickly. Those at the top, with real power and influence, need hordes of people working for them, and replacing them can be a challenge. This has, broadly speaking, led to increased reliance on blind mules, and on those trafficking drugs under duress. [Kindle 1974]

…the idea that it is completely natural for the government to kill drug traffickers has provided unique cover for the same type of atrocities committed during the dirty wars, with even less scrutiny. The military still runs rampant in Mexico, frequently using torture and even sexual violence as a method of interrogation. Yet, internationally, there is no outcry. “This is not a ‘dirty’ war; it’s a drug war” is a common refrain. What is wrong with combating drugs? [Kindle 2456]

What’s wrong is the drug war. Effective control of drugs can be achieved with decriminalization and regulation, as cannabis legalization recently illustrates.

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10 Responses to Migrant Eradication in the Mexican Drug War

  1. well damn… another case of couchites being right oh so many years ago. Merida Initiative = Plan Colombia

    and here I was feeling all chipper about having another of Pete’s Drug War favorite stories to share:

    Coast Guard captures ‘narco sub’ carrying $165 million in cocaine

  2. strayan says:

    The prohibidiots are injecting people with pure THC and concluding that cannabis causes psychosis:


    • Servetus says:

      Poor Dr Erik Messamore—one more victim of a postmodernist education and its requisite propaganda positing that no objective standard of truth exists, only subjective standards, like drug war BS.

      Consequently, ‘psychosis’ has become an ethereal term, like the word ‘freedom’, which means different things to different people, usually proffering fearful emotions instead of reason, and often conceding a citizen’s freedom to what some dysfunctional or hysterical authoritarian society defines as psychosis or freedom.

      In the 70s, drug addiction referred to someone writhing on the floor of a jail cell with a vomit bowl and a bunk as the opioids’-dependent victim fought off cold turkey. Today, the word addiction is used as a tool to scapegoat something someone likes too much, instead of something else.

      What ever happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

  3. DdC says:

    Why Is Marijuana Also Called Pot?
    The origin of pot has nothing to do with the culinary tool. The word came into use in America in the late 1930s. It is a shortening of the Spanish potiguaya or potaguaya that came from potación de guaya, a wine or brandy in which marijuana buds have been steeped. It literally means “the drink of grief.”

    Why Is It Called Pot?
    The Oxford English Dictionary seems to concur that “pot” comes from the Latin term “potación de guayaya,” which means, “drink of grief”. This traditional Mexican beverage is prepared by steeping cannabis buds in wine.

  4. LoopyJoeConga says:

    “I’m also America’s cool aunt. A fun aunt,” the Harris character says. “I call that a ‘funt’—the kind of funt that will give you weed but then arrest you for having weed.”


  5. Majority Of Americans Support Decriminalizing All Drugs, Poll Finds


  6. DdC says:

    Marijuana Arrests Increased Again Last Year
    Despite More States Legalizing, FBI Data Shows

    New Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows that there were 663,367 marijuana arrests in the U.S. in 2018—or one every 48 seconds—representing an annual rise in cannabis busts even as more states enact legalization laws.

    Scientists Create Industrial Quantities of Psilocybin
    via Metabolic Engineering

    Scientists have created a bacteria solution that exudes industrial quantities of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in “magic mushrooms” that is being studied as a potentially groundbreaking treatment for depression and other mental health afflictions.

    Scientists Hacked E. coli
    Into Producing A Powerful Psychedelic


    The Scientist Who Identified THC
    Is Now Working on Synthetic Cannabinoids


    As of Oct. 1, we will issue violations (subject to fines) for offering food and drink containing #CBD. The NYC Health Code prohibits offering food or drink with added CBD, including in packaged food products

    Review of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s
    Regulatory and Enforcement Efforts to Control the Diversion of Opioids


  7. DdC says:

    Soul Men: Jim Belushi’s cannabis farm in Oregon
    the stage for announcing official release of “Blues Brothers” cannabis label

    10 Things About Cannabis Roots

    West Hollywood Cannabis Cafe Opens for Business

    Illinois Awards First Adult-Use Cannabis Grow Licenses
    Shops are expected to open their doors to adult-use customers on January 1, 2020.

    Hemp, Inc. Featured in Plastics News
    Regarding Entry Into Hemp Bioplastics Industry to Help Fill Growing Demand for Eco-friendly Materials

    Cannabis Contributed $8.26B to Canadian GDP Post-Legalization
    Canada’s cannabis industry contributed $8.26 billion to the country’s national gross domestic product as of July; that rise corresponds with a decline in other traditional industries, like mining, construction, and manufacturing.

  8. Rand D Phuc says:

    Judge rules Philadelphia supervised injection site does not violate federal law

    U.S. District Judge Gerald A. McHugh wrote that a provision of the Controlled Substances Act aimed at closing crack houses does not apply to the nonprofit organization’s bid to aid opioid abusers in Philadelphia’s drug-ravaged Kensington section.

    “No credible argument can be made that facilities such as safe injection sites were within the contemplation of Congress” when lawmakers adopted the initial drug law in 1986 or when they amended it in 2003, McHugh wrote.

    Washington Post (paywall)

  9. Chilling report reveals how the DEA inflamed the opioid crisis


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