President Calderon has launched an ambitious program to crush the drug cartels. This has included the deployment of twenty seven thousand soldiers in eight Mexican states. Federal officers have taken over police departments in border towns. Hundreds of corrupt policemen have been arrested. The Mexican army has destroyed thousands of acres of marijuana and poppy plants. Scores of drug cartel members have been arrested and extradited to the United States of America (Economist).
Military roadblocks have been established in different parts of the road system. This has provoked a massive response from the cartels as they have hit back by assassinating police officers and journalists. Gruesome beheadings, decapitations and kidnappings have become commonplace in Mexico. The government knows the risk of taking on the cartels but it also knows the lesson of Colombia. Mexico has learned from the experience of Colombia which has gotten worse since the US poured half a trillion dollars into that country (David).
The plan only increased corruption and fueled instability. Calderon has accepted only US military hardware while rejecting the presence of military personnel. The Mexican program has also been different from the Colombian because it has been run by presidents who were members of the same political party. Mexico is a transit country which means that the drug cartels do not enjoy the support of the public. The government is confident that the entire Mexican society could assist in defeating the drug cartels.
They believe that fighting drugs would be a success story unlike that of Colombia. President Calderon has also launched an initiative with the regional countries for fighting against the threat of drugs. There have been efforts to create a common front against drug trafficking. The aim has been to find the mechanisms which would assist the countries in exchanging intelligence information on drug cartels financial structures, drug and weapons purchase routes and confiscations of narcotics.
There have also been proposals to set up a technical group to diagnose the status of drugs in each country that would coordinate and speed up information exchange between the various authorities of each government. Mexico has been implementing a unique system of crime information that links and organizes networks for the interconnection of data, voice, and videos between municipalities, states, and the federation. Police departments have also began to use military strategies when attacking drug traffickers (David). SWAT teams were mobilized to launch raids against suspected drug traffickers.
Currently there are an estimated thirty thousand heavily armed police units inside Mexico which have been trained to deal with drug trafficking. Politicians supporting the war on drugs believe in evil nature of drugs which should not be tolerated. They believe that the only way to end this epidemic is to imprison those who are associated with drug use. Any relaxation of the law will eventually lead to an increase in drug according to these politicians. They also believe in the justification of lowering civil rights and increasing police power to combat the epidemic of drugs.
The military has also been considered for the war against drugs because of their image of discipline and fame. However there are many critics of President Felipe Calderon’s military strategy against drugs. They believe it has focused only on the seizure of drugs, weapons, and traffickers without attacking the financial and political structure of the drug cartels. Without striking at the financial structure or political structure of the drug cartels, this will only lead to the creation of more law enforcement agents and soldiers.
Criminal groups will increase the level of corruption (Cook, 82). The drug cartels can use their extensive network of financial and political assets to protect themselves from the state’s actions. Organized crime has infiltrated the government as they buy off officials and influence them by contributing to their campaigns. Calderon’s strategy has also been attacked because the Ministry of Finance and banks have not been included to track the dirty money which finances the drug wars.
The US government has also not been asked for assistance except for the sale and purchase of military hardware. Still other journalists insist that the massive increase in bombings, kidnappings, and beheadings are a sign of desperation and weakness. They argue that when Pablo Escobar in Colombia was being pressurized by the government, his people resorted to the killings and kidnappings of policemen and lawyers. This was not a sign of strength but instead a sign of weakness as the government was cracking down hard on the drug cartels.