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PBS News Hour: Discovery of Bodies in Mexico Linked to Drug Prohibition

Submitted by Thinking CAP on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 - 3:28 am

Finally, the word "legalization" is mentioned! However, the word "prohibition" is not. :-( Boo.

In this discussion, moderated by Gwen Ifil, Ana Paula Ordorica, a journalist with FOROtv in Mexico City, and Eric Olson, a senior associate at the Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute talk about the set-up video (Mexican Media Face Perils Reporting on Drug Prohibition) and the recent news of 72 people found dead on a ranch.

Why the keep snubbing Walter McKay is beyond me.

Video Title: 
Discovery of Bodies in Mexico Linked to Drug Prohibition

Here are some quotes from the video, and my commentary. Gwen's got a good question here, "President Calderon, Eric Olson, declared war on these cartels in 2006. It's been four years, by some accounts, 28,000 people dead. Is it working, his war?" Unfortunately Eric Olson gives what sounds like a prohibitionist answer, "Yes, I think it's very hard to say it is working. I'm not saying that he's not trying hard, he's not dedicated to defeating them, but, by all measures, it's pretty difficult to say there's success when we see violence continuing to grow.

"And, more important than violence, the real power of these cartels is growing and expanding into new areas. And, so, this -- it's not a very successful experience thus far."

I mean, what's up with saying he hasn't tried hard enough?! He should have said the truth, "this Drug War violence is the predictable outcome of Drug Prohibition. We saw it in the early 1900's with alcohol prohibition. In fact, the International Center for Science in Drug Policy recently released a study, Effect of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug-Related Violence: Evidence from a Scientific Review, which shows this."

Sorry to say, but he flubs another slam-dunk question from Gwen, "Eric Olson, how much is public corruption a part of this problem and how difficult does it make it for the government to do anything to curb this violence?" Olson replies, "I think it's absolutely fundamental. All the polling suggests that people have very low confidence in their authorities. The latest surveys say, nationally, only 22 percent of crime is actually reported -- 78 percent of people don't report their crime. They don't trust their authorities. And police officers around the world will tell you their job is immensely more difficult if they don't have the trust of their citizens and the constituents.

"So, I think, at some level, that's really at the heart of this. People don't trust the authorities. Organized crime has penetrated the police, the judiciary, every aspect of government. And that's really got to be a part of the solution."

That last bit is a bunch wishy-washy mumbo-jumbo. Why didn't he just come out and say "the huge profits in illegal drugs has corrupted government to the core. We saw this in the take-down of their drug czar, among many other examples. The only way to take control back is to legalize drugs, regulate them intelligently, thus taking them out of the black market and really controlling them; versus kidding ourselves that we control them. Which is what we are doing now with our current policy of Drug Prohibition and the farcical 'Controlled Substances Act.' Ha! Orwell would have loved that one.

"In fact in the U.S. we have seen a dramatic decrease in respect for law enforcement. And why? Because these Drug Prohibition laws have turned them against us all. Just like the illegal warrant-less wiretapping, we now have added warrant-less GPS tracking to the mix. It's cancer that even infects them! No doubt — since these huge sums of money corrupt so many people — they are busying spying on each other."

Ms. Ordorica repeats some prohibitionist lies too, instead of vigorously refuting them. Gwen asks, "Ms. Ordorica, we have also heard reports in recent days of the mayor of Santiago being assassinated by his own bodyguards. We have heard tales of people found being hung by bridges in resort towns. This seems to be spreading, rather than being contained."

Ms. Ordorica replies, "Yes, and what the government has been saying is that this spreading of the violence is a signal of success. They compare it to what has been happening in Colombia, what happened in places in the United States like New York, for example, or Washington, when they fought against organized crime.

"And what they're saying is that it takes at least seven years of continuous and growing violence before you can see some success. Not everybody agrees. And many people think that the strategy is not working. …"

She should have just come out and say "Ha! The U.S. is escalating in Colombia. How long have we been there? How much money have we spent there? We've seen escalating violence in the U.S. for at least 40 years since Nixon declared the beginning of the War on Drugs, are we really in the midst of the most success we've ever been in? Bankrupt. Jails and prisons unconstitutionally overflowing. And on and on…

"The sick minds who think violence is a sign of success, will they be cheering when high school proms in the U.S. are interrupted with grenades and AK-47 shootouts?! Will those sick minds be calling it a success when little Bobby comes home from a soccer game and describes to his mom how someone threw some balls on the field with people's faces sewn on them?! Will these sick minds be excited and enthused over tales of how more and more nude people are being hung from overpasses?"

She should continue, "just the mere fact they consider violence a success shows how much like terrorists they are and completely undeserving of any power or authority. I just don't understand how they passed all the psychological exams I thought were necessary to be in government."

Posted Because: 

Finally someone mentions the word "legalization!" Gwen, again being a good moderator, provided a wide-open court for the guests to stand where they please to take the shot, "So, is there any discussion being held about changing the terms of this drug war or changing the approach on the government's part?"

Ms. Ordorica said, "Yes, as Eric says, the president did open the discussion. He did so through Twitter. He wrote in his Twitter account that he was open to a discussion, although he himself was against legalization of drugs.

"And this has opened a whole big discussion, where most of the citizens, most of the population is against legalization. But, still, the -- the coin is up in the air, and especially so if we saw what's going on in the U.S., where some states are talking about legalization or decriminalization, especially a place like California, which is our neighbor.

"And, on some accounts, it would be impossible to ask soldiers and ask policemen to prosecute something that here is a crime and right next door is legal."

  1. It's really odd to me that throughout this whole discussion no one once mentioned the word "prohibition."
  2. I am not sure where she's getting the notion that the majority of Mexicans are against legalization. I've heard otherwise on interview shows; general interest shows which are not geared towards drug policy reform.
  3. Clearly this shows the need to push hard for California to vote Yes on Proposition 19.


Mexico does not have to do a single thing differently. All that has to happen is for the USA to legalize and regulate drugs and the cartels would wither like flowers in the sun. It's our citizens that are the customers. Mexico is just the trade route.

Recall how they legalized miniscule amounts for personal consumption late last year?

Not only that but I have to congratulate them on how fast they enacted it! Although according the news item Calderon stubbornly dragged his feet (probably due to a chokehold from his U.S. overlords), the law was signed on a Thursday and took effect Friday! Now that's what I call action. If only we could get our leaders to do what they know is right! And without delay.

I'm reminded of the many times I hear about legislation coming from our own govt. "signed today, takes effect next year."