Today, September 16, is Mexico’s Independence Day, which had me thinking about a paper that a colleague and I presented in a class last year. The topic was analyzing the conflict of Mexico’s drug wars and providing some ideas toward resolution. Here is the five-point strategy for intervention that we came up with: “1) Stop the widespread violence against civilians; 2) Prevent youth from joining gangs and cartels and promote the social reintegration of former gang and cartel members; 3) Obstruct the stream of conflict resources by addressing the southward (U.S. to Mexico) flow of arms and money; 4) Increase drug-related education (on both sides of the border); and, finally, 5) Increase social welfare and promote economic and social development.”
I won’t go into great detail about the conflict here. Suffice it to say, between December 2006 and December 2010, by a conservative count there were nearly 35,000 deaths in Mexico related to the drug violence. By the end of this year, that number will be close to—if not exceed—50,000. To put that number into perspective, the city in which I grew up has a population of 46,000. Imagine, then, in a span of five years a city in which every one of the inhabitants was murdered. Lest you think that these victims are just drug cartel members, they are not, and in fact include an increasingly large number of innocent citizens.
I bring this up because I believe that knowledge is power (‘saber es poder’). Hopefully, as more people know about the underlying issues, pressure will be created to effect change. The problem is not solely Mexico’s, nor is the solution.
For more information, please visit the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute.