The Financial Times yesterday editorialised on drugs and violence following Monday’s murder of Rodolfo Torre, front-runner in the campaign for governor of Mexico’s northern state of Tamaulipas. Mr Torre’s death was tragic, but we should not forget that more than 22,000 Mexicans have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderón declared war on organised crime in December 2006.
California’s largest cash crop is not wine but marijuana. More people die in England and Wales every year from opiate-related deaths than British soldiers have died in Afghanistan since 2001. The North American cocaine market generates about $38bn of profits a year. Of that, 85 per cent goes to US-based dealers; local South American producers and traffickers, meanwhile, scrape by on 2 per cent. The “war on drugs” throws up many uncomfortable facts. Many on the planet also have the luxury of being able to ignore those facts. Mexico no longer can. ….
Mexicans, rightly, may feel aggrieved that they bear the brunt of the violence when the root of the problem lies with consumers elsewhere. Drug legalisation is certainly an interesting debate. But it will take years to play out. In the meantime, and for its own sake, Mexico has to sharpen up its act.
“More than a touch of evil in Mexico”, editorial, Financial Times, 2 July 2010.
The best way to win this “war” is to legalize drugs and make them available as a controlled substance, much as governments do with alcohol and tobacco.