> From: fnsnews@... <fnsnews@...>
> Subject: FNS News: Fox Joins Drug War Fray
> To: fns_nmsu-l@...
> Date: Sunday, October 18, 2009, 10:14 PM
> October 18, 2009
> Politics News
> Fox Joins Drug War Fray
> Continuing his break with the old Mexican tradition of
> former presidents
> refraining from direct engagement in politics, Vicente Fox
> has plunged
> into another controversy: the Calderon administration’s
> drug war.
> In blunt remarks made in Vienna, Austria, over the weekend,
> Fox called on
> President Calderon to return the Mexican army to its
> barracks as soon as
> possible and leave the enforcement of drug laws to federal
> “Using the army, using force against force hasn’t
> solved the problem,” Fox
> told the annual meeting of the conservative European
> Popular Party. “On
> the contrary, it has multiplied it.”
> Mexico’s former president also had words for the United
> States, calling on
> his nation’s main trading partner to do a better job of
> controlling arms
> trafficking, money laundering and illegal drug consumption.
> Fox questioned drug use prohibition as a realistic
> “Drug consumption is a personal responsibility, not one
> of government,”
> Fox was quoted as saying. “Perhaps it is impossible to
> ask government to
> halt the supply of drugs to our children.”
> Mexico decriminalized the possession of small amounts of
> drugs for
> personal use this year.
> Fox’s Austrian comments could be a response to criticisms
> from Calderon
> administration officials and others that drug-tainted
> violence and
> corruption spiraled out of control during the former
> president’s term in
> office from 2000 to 2006. Entitled “The Farm,” a
> video song released this
> year by the musical group Los Tigres del Norte lampooned
> the Fox years and
> the explosion of narco-violence. The wildly popular combo
> performed the
> song before 35,000 fans at a concert in Monterrey, Nuevo
> Leon, on Sunday,
> October 18.
> The latest drug addiction survey sponsored by Mexico’s
> Health Ministry
> reported that between 2002 and 2008 cocaine use nearly
> doubled from 1.4
> percent to 2.5 percent of the population in the 12-65 age
> group. By 2008,
> illegal drug use of any kind was reported among 5.7 percent
> of the age
> group in question, according the study.
> Like all Mexican presidents during the last 40 years,
> Vicente Fox relied
> on the armed forces as the leading force against illegal
> drug trafficking.
> Significantly, the armed forces also expanded its role in
> immigration law
> enforcement and other civilian policing duties during the
> Fox presidency.
> In the Fox years, the Mexican army was deployed in Sonora,
> Tamaulipas and other states after narco-related violence
> intensifying to unseen levels in 2003. A review of Frontera
> archives, showed that at least 1,395 people were reported
> killed in
> homicides linked to organized crime from January 1, 2005 to
> November 29,
> Another 2,012 people were reported slain in similar
> circumstances during
> the same period of time in 2006. By contrast, nearly 2,000
> people have
> been murdered in the narco war just in Ciudad Juarez this
> year so far.
> A recent edition of the weekly Proceso magazine estimated
> that about
> 14,000 people were killed as a result of narco-violence
> from the time of
> President Calderon’s December 2006 inauguration to
> mid-August 2009.
> “Not since the years before the Revolution and the
> (1920s) Cristero War
> has Mexico experienced homicidal violence as it has now,”
> wrote Proceso
> reporter Jorge Carrasco Araizaga in a story that compared
> Mexico with
> Somalia, Haiti, Brazil and Colombia.
> In his piece, Carrasco noted the proliferation of
> paramilitary bands,
> self-defense groups, armed communities, and private guards
> of all sorts.
> Arturo Alvarado, researcher for the College of Mexico, was
> cited by Carrasco.
> “We are in an era of unprecedented criminal violence,”
> Alvarado said,
> “produced by delinquent bands as well as by the military
> and police
> interventions of the federal government.”
> Sources: El Universal/EFE, October 17, 2009. La
> Jornada/Notimex, October
> 16 and 18, 2009. Lapolaka.com, September 3, 2009. Proceso,
> August 17,
> 2009. Article by Jorge Carrasco Araizaga.
> Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
> Center for Latin American and Border Studies
> New Mexico State University Las Cruces,New Mexico
> For a free electronic subscription email: fnsnews@...
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