Mexico hasn’t learned the lesson that it can’t win the war against drug cartels

May 26, 2024 | 0 comments

By Jacob G. Hornberger

In the final debate between Mexico’s two leading presidential candidates, Claudia Sheinbaum and Xochitl Galvez, before the June 2 election, both candidates vied with each other as to which one would be a stronger drug warrior. Both of them vowed to smash the violent drug cartels that dominate Mexican society.

It would be difficult to find a better example of obtuseness than that. Following the lead (and perhaps the orders) of the U.S. government, Mexico has been waging the war on drugs for decades. The result has been a slow-motion destruction of the country by the violence that comes with drug cartels.

Years of fighting the drug cartels has only made Mexico more dangerous.

What Sheinbaum and Galvez simply do not comprehend is that it is their drug war that has given rise to the drug cartels. If there was no drug prohibition, there would be no drug cartels. Drugs would be sold in peaceful places like pharmacies and other reputable businesses. No killings. No kidnappings. No turf wars. Just a nice, pleasant, peaceful society, just like Mexico used to be.

My parents actually drove to Acapulco for their honeymoon. That’s because Mexico was once a nice, safe country in which to drive. When I was in high school in my hometown of Laredo, Texas, we would take our dates across the river (yes, I confess it was without our parents’ consent), where we would eat dinner, have drinks, go dancing, and watch a nice floor show. We never worried about being kidnapped or shot by drug cartels.

Not anymore. No American in his right mind would take a vacation drive into Mexico, given the high risk of being waylaid on the highway and held for ransom by some drug cartel. And my cousins in Laredo tell me that the same principle now applies on going into Nuevo Laredo.

That’s what the drug war has done. It has destroyed Mexico. And it continues to do so.

What amazes me is that intelligent people like Sheinbaum and Galvez can’t see that. They cannot see that there is only one way to restore Mexico to a country that is “lindo and querido.” That one way is to end the drug war. Legalize all drugs, not just marijuana, no matter how vociferously the U.S. government objects.

Immediately, the drug cartels would be out of business. That’s because they cannot compete against pharmacies and other reputable businesses in a legal market. No more drug-war violence. No more drug turf battles.

Yes, it would also mean no more drug-war bribes to government officials, but so what? Aren’t the Mexican people sick and tired of government corruption? What better way to help bring it to an end than by ridding society of the drug war?

Would people now be free to ingest drugs? Of course, but so what? People have ingested drugs for centuries. In a free society, people have the right to ingest whatever they want, no matter how harmful or destructive. What would be wrong with leaving drug problems to rehabilitation, just like we do with alcohol problems? Anyway, people who want drugs are going to get them one way or another, as we have seen with decades of drug warfare.

Sheinbaum and Galvez should be trying to restore Mexico to the beautiful and peaceful country it once was. Unfortunately, both of them are committed to moving their nation in the opposite direction.
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Credit: Future of Freedom Foundation

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