Drug Trafficking in Mexico: Social, Ethical and Political Problem. Around 20 years ago in Mexico, reading about someone getting his or her head cut-off was something from a horror movie, but times have changed now. Now it is not uncommon to hear about shootings, massacres, or people getting dissolved in acid. Nowadays, reporters have to cut back on whatever news they have for the media. Almost everyone is keeping secret all the things they know about the ongoing war on drugs. But why is it all like this now? Drug Cartels have clashed in gun battles against rivals and against the Mexican government. Nowadays it is really hard to tell who has the power in Mexico.
My perspective on the subject is that drug trafficking has created an atmosphere of fear and violence; therefore this atmosphere attacks the natural rights of people. Life, liberty and property are words that have changed in meaning in Mexico. Now, not only people are being affected by these events, even businesses are getting involved and everyone loses.
The only ones benefiting from these occurrences are the main bosses of illegal corporations also known as cartels. Every day in the news I see something like “5 people were killed in a gun battle”, or “An activist who publicly accused police officers of kidnapping his teenage son was shot to death in an attack that instantly fueled Mexico’s bitter nationwide debate over crime and corruption.” (Castillo, 2011) What does this tell us about the liberties of the people? Mexicans that are poor strive to reach a better life, to offer a better lifestyle to their families, but with these violations of rights happening in Mexican society, a better future is not a sure thing.
People just try living life day by day, but people involved in drug trafficking just keep dying. According to the LA times, several outlets in Mexico have begun citing a figure of 40,000 dead since May 2011 (Hernandez, 2011). According to the numbers, this means that over four and a half years, more than 40,000 families have been psychologically damaged. Yes, of course, Castillo cites that about 90% of all the deaths are related to drug trafficking and everyone involved with Cartels is paying the price of this illicit business (Castillo, 2011). But this is not only a problem for the people involved with Cartels, what about their families? Their relatives?
They also have families and if roughly 90% of the dead people are actually active Cartel members, what about the other 10%? Innocent victims: children, mothers, sisters, brothers, and fathers around 4000 people have been killed and their families can’t go to the police to look for a culprit because police is so corrupt that going to them is like signing a death contract. In the article that I read about the Anti-violence activist slain in Mexico, the activist, named Nepomuceno Moreno, accused police forces of kidnapping his teenage son.
He even went to the president’s house to describe how fearful he was for his life, I believe he felt safe for talking to the president and reporting the level of corruption on part of the police forces. Obviously, this sounds like the best thing to do in case of a kidnapping, police is there to help society achieve justice. However, what happened to Moreno is just an example of how “justice” is distributed in Mexico. Mexican officials said that about 10 percent of federal police officers in that country were being fired on the grounds of corruption, incompetence or links to criminals. As well, another 1,000 officers were facing disciplinary action and were also at risk of losing their jobs. This move appeared to be aimed at dealing with the violence plaguing the country, which has in part been blamed on complicity between criminals and corrupt police (Youngblood-Coleman, 2011). Moreno was shot at least five times while he was driving around, and who takes the blame? Drug cartels.
Drug Cartels are like an imaginary person that gets blamed for everything, but there’s really no one to prosecute or incarcerate. With the high number of deaths in Mexico, it is easy to tell that the right to “life” is somewhat endangered, but these underground corporations also attack the right to the freedom of the press. Cartels and their allies try to silence any kind of publishing against cartel leaders, or anyone related to the drug business. According to Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights, a total of 65 journalists in Mexico have been killed in drug cartel-related violence in the last decade. Consequently, Mexico has the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous country in the world for journalists (Youngblood-Coleman, 2011). By doing this, Cartels get rid of any news that might interfere with their criminal activities.
People can’t say anything about this because if they say something, truckloads of gunmen appear at the door of their houses and either take away the person that is “talking too much” or just get rid of the whole family. For cartels it is not financially impossible to manage this kind of society control because they manage large amounts of money from selling drugs, kidnapping money laundering and other illicit activities. For Cartels, drug trafficking is very profitable, so profitable that drug Cartels could lose up to 90% of their total supply and still be profitable. This multibillion business is causing a complete change in Mexican society.
While some people that work in this business might get some excellent profits, the rest of the people are still poor and the only way to get out of poverty is by working with criminal organizations. This is slowly pushing Mexicans to decide whether to risk their lives or suffer from the lack of services that poverty brings. People have to choose either the ethical way of living, respecting people’s lives and property, or to live on the line, literally risking their own lives to earn a share of all the money that is raining from the US.
The US is a gigantic consumer of drugs, consuming around 60 billion worth of drugs per year! (Zill, 2011) Looking at the problem from the business point of view, a growing business is always a good investment, but a good illegal business is counterproductive because of the little control over it. Every Cartel wants to control all the routes and all the profits, that’s the most profitable way of doing business, working a monopoly where only one brand (or Cartel) controls 100% of the market. The utilitarian point of view would focus on the extension of the benefits and the burdens on the majority of people, however that cannot be accepted in the drug business. In the drug business people are ready to give up their lives for the business, that’s why they kill each other.
Money has turned these people into money making machines, this can be compared as a stock broker that spends a lot of time working the stocks to get a profit of, lets say in a hypothetical situation, 20 % in a good day of business. Well, cartel members have the same kind of dedicated work responsibility, but they risk a little more than some profits. Drug trafficking is a really serious business. They don’t play around with anyone. Depriving people of their natural rights is just unacceptable in the American society, but South of the border, depriving citizens of those rights its just one more injustice.
The steps that might be taken to prevent future occurrences of this kind might be an all out war against the cartels to eradicate them completely out of this world. Some kind of genocide-like against people working for the cartels. Obviously that would be very extreme, but it wouldn’t be the first time that someone tries to get rid of a specific kind of people (for example the Germans against the Jews before and during WWII) Yes that would be completely unethical and immoral, but I don’t see any other solution to this growing ethical, social, and political problem. Drug cartels are the black plague of our society. But they also bring happiness to people that actually do drugs. So its really a complicated problem.
Castillo, E. (2011, November 29). Anti-violence activist slain in Mexico. Retrieved from http://news.yahoo.com/anti-violence-activist-slain-mexico-150950615.html
Hernandez, D. (2011, June 7). How many have died in Mexico’s drug war?. Retrieved from http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laplaza/2011/06/mexico-
Youngblood-Coleman, D. (2011). Country Review: Mexico [2011 Edition]. (Political Conditions), Retrieved from http://www.countrywatch.com.libaccess. sjlibrary.org/cw_topic.aspx?type=text&vcountry=114&topic=POPCO
Zill, O. (2011, November 15). Do the math: Why the illegal drug business is thriving. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/special/math.html