Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette , Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix . See the about page to read more about the DG.
[<a href=”http://storify.com/chartman4/when-does-it-end” target=”_blank”>View the story “In Times of War” on Storify</a>]<br /> <h1>In Times of War</h1> <h2>Is it time to end the drug war in Mexico? WNR’s Clara Hartman examines the argument behind the Caravan for Peace Campaign against the U.S. and Mexico’s militarized drug war policies in Mexico.</h2> <p>Storified by &middot; Wed, Sep 26 2012 12:32:25</p> <div>Indymedia</div> <div> <p>Javier Sicilia wants to “bring to the American people’s conscience their shared responsibility for the thousands of dead, missing and displaced in the drug war.” Sicilia, a Mexican poet whose son was killed last year, is leading 110 other people affected by the violence in the US Mexican drug war on a journey from San Diego to Washington D.C. this month on a “Caravan for Peace” advocating the demilitarization of drug policy. Sicilia wants the United States and Mexico to stop using military force to combat a social issue. In response to the movement I looked into the question: is it time to change our stance on drugs?</p> <p><b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p>The Caravan protest is part of a renewed effort to draw attention to the consequences of the drug war and call for a reevaluation of the U.S. and Mexico’s military tactics against the drug trade. The campaign comes to the United States after similar protests in Mexico and an ineffective meeting with President Calderón that ended with Calderón’s reaffirmation of military-led campaigns against cartels. Sicilia has partnered with the Latin America Working Group and the Global Exchange to organize the city-to-city protest and awareness campaign.</p> </div> <div>Let’s Listen to the Message, a New Approach to Drug Violence | Caravan For Peace 2012One hundred and ten victims of violence from Mexico and human rights activists traveled thousands of miles, caravanning in 2 buses to vis…</div> <div> <p>As competition between the Gulf and Zetas Cartels is ramping up in Northern Mexico, so is violence. In the weekend of September 14, 33 drug-related bodies were discovered in only 3 days. According to an interview with Sicilia on the Caravan’s website, Mexico has reached a fork in the road; either the United States takes responsibility for its mistakes and changes its ways or Mexican democracy will fall in a humanitarian crisis.&nbsp;<br></p> <p><b></b></p> <p><b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p>The conflict with drug cartels<b> </b>began in 2006<b>, </b>when U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderón initiated a “War on Drugs” in Mexico. Since 2006 Mexico has seen a huge spike in violent deaths, but no decrease in drug production. Sicilia writes in a <a href=”http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/10/opinion/sicilia-cartel-killed-son/index.html” class=””>CNN op-ed</a>:</p> <p><i>“If instead of declaring war on drug trafficking, Calderón had pursued a bilateral agenda with the United States to decriminalize drugs and regulate their use, is it possible that they and tens of thousands of other young people killed in the last six years would be still be with us? Declaring a war obliges one’s enemy to build up defensive armies.”</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>United States funding to the Mexican military (which is often susceptible to corruption) is only one level of US involvement in the drug war. In addition 70-90% of weapons confiscated from Cartel criminals originate in the U.S., where high power automatic rifles are legal. The Zetas cartel made millions <a href=”http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-09/fbi-says-cartel-used-bank-of-america-to-launder-money” class=””>laundering money through Bank of America</a>, which has repeatedly been criticized for its failure to prevent similar schemes. But perhaps most importantly, US drug consumption provides the demand that fuels drug-related violence.</p> </div> <div>Mexico drug cartel unleashes new levels of violence — Reuters Investigatesreuterstv</div> <div> <p>The Organization of American States (OAS) called for a pan-American <a href=”http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/oas.php?news_id=11952&amp;start=0&amp;category_id=38″ class=””>review of drug policy</a> with possible alternatives including legalization and regulation, but effective reform requires the complete cooperation of the United States. In the current political climate American cooperation is unlikely as the argument against military intervention is not part of American political dialogue.<b>&nbsp;</b>At this time the <a href=”http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform” class=””>2012 Democratic platform</a> states:&nbsp;</p> <p><i>“We have strengthened cooperation with Mexico, Colombia, and throughout Central America to combat narco-traffickers and criminal gangs… As we collectively confront these challenges, we will continue to support the region’s security forces, border security, and police with the equipment, training, and technologies they need.”</i></p> <p>The <a href=”http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_home/” class=””>Republican Platform</a> reads almost identically saying:</p> <p><i>“We propose a unified effort on crime and terrorism to coordinate intelligence and enforcement among our regional allies, as well as military-to-military training and intelligence sharing with Mexico.”</i></p> <p><b><i>&nbsp;</i></b></p> <p>In an <a href=”http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2012-07-26/news/mexico-s-unknown-drug-war-death-toll/” class=””>article for the Phoenix Times</a> in July, Molly Molloy, a researcher at New Mexico State estimated the total violent deaths in Mexico to be between December 2006 and June 2012 to be 99,667. Molloy estimates another 10,000 deaths by December and, with no end in sight, even more deaths every year following. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano <a href=”http://articles.cnn.com/2012-02-27/americas/world_americas_mexico-drug-war-napolitano_1_mexican-drug-war-sinaloa-drug-cartel-drug-trafficking?_s=PM:AMERICAS” class=””>dismisses claims</a> that the drug war failed, maintaining that “it is a continuing effort, to keep our peoples from becoming addicted to dangerous drugs.” But others like Uruguay’s Defense Minister say that <a href=”http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2012/07/09/will-mexico-declare-peace-in-the-war-on-drugs-and-will-obama-let-them/” class=””>prohibitions don’t work</a>; “the violence causes more problems than the drugs themselves.” And so the Caravan continues on to Washington.</p> </div> <div>Mexico’s drug war visualisedData visualisations are often calm affairs nowadays – subtle colours and shapes. Not this one – but then, neither is the subject. From dr…</div>