The Epic Failure of the War on Drugs in Mexico

There is widespread acknowledgement that persisting in doing what we’re doing right now cannot work.

The Epic Failure of the War on Drugs in Mexico

What’s happening in Mexico today is like what was happening in Chicago during the 1920s, the days of Al Capone and alcohol prohibition times 50. You have massive levels of violence, 60,000 or more dead in these drug-related wars.  You have incredibly high levels of violence and corruption and intimidation.  You have narco gangs essentially becoming the sovereign authorities in certain parts of the country.  You have incredible victimization.  You have drugs more available than they’ve ever been.  When you knock out one major drug lord they’re replaced by another one or three or five or ten.  You have the military and the police being corrupted.  You have government officials being intimidated.  You have journalists being killed.  And toward what end?  


Nobody sees this approach working.  And so it’s very interesting to listen to the comments of President Calderon who has been president basically from December '06 until December, 2012.  And you hear him on the one hand leading the drug war, feeling he has to fight against the gangsters and the narcos - and there’s some justice to the fact you can’t let the gangsters take over territory - but at the same time saying, "Let’s open this up."  He says to the United States, "If you can’t reduce your demand for drugs, you better investigate market alternatives" - by which he means options of legal regulation and legalization.  

And he’s just following in the footsteps of his predecessors.  Vicente Fox, his predecessor, is openly calling for the legalization of all drugs.  Fox’s predecessor, Ernesto Zedillo, was a member of this Latin American and global commission calling for major drug policy reform.  

You have the business leadership in both Mexico City and Monterrey independently of one another setting up commissions trying to call for a new drug policy and serious research into alternatives.  You have the leading fellow on the left, Javier Sicilia, the Mexican poet whose son was killed in a horrible killing and has now become the moral voice of the left, leading caravans across Mexico and the U.S. calling for more socially just policies. 

So there is the emergence of a movement in Mexico really to open this up and a widespread acknowledgement that persisting in doing what we’re doing right now cannot work.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Airspeeder's ‘flying car’ racers to be shielded by virtual force-fields

Welcome to the world's newest motorsport: manned multicopter races that exceed speeds of 100 mph.

Credit: Airspeeder
Technology & Innovation
  • Airspeeder is a company that aims to put on high-speed races featuring electric flying vehicles.
  • The so-called Speeders are able to fly at speeds of up to 120 mph.
  • The motorsport aims to help advance the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) sector, which could usher in the age of air taxis.
Keep reading Show less

A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Paitoon Pornsuksomboon/Shutterstock/Big Think
Surprising Science
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Can we resurrect the dead? Researchers catalogue potential future methods

    From cryonics to time travel, here are some of the (highly speculative) methods that might someday be used to bring people back to life.

    Credit: Pixabay
    Mind & Brain
    • Alexey Turchin and Maxim Chernyakov, researchers belonging to the transhumanism movement, wrote a paper outlining the main ways technology might someday make resurrection possible.
    • The methods are highly speculative, ranging from cryonics to digital reconstruction of individual personalities.
    • Surveys suggest most people would not choose to live forever if given the option.
    Keep reading Show less
    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast