“Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade … Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians … I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility.” – Hillary Clinton
Can Mexico be saved? Can its collapse into warlord rule be reversed? I hope so.
As frequent readers will know, I agree with Hillary Clinton’s assessment, but disagree strongly with her implied remedy. Let us consider her statements, made back in 2009. “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade” – YEP. “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians” – YEP, though on a technicality: if we could remove all weapons from Mexico then there would be fewer shootings – but that is beyond the possible. “I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility” – I might actually take it one farther – WE created this beast, that has wreaked havoc on Columbia and now Mexico.
Just to recap: Big US demand for drugs, free movement of weaponry, US shares blame. Got it. The solution? Well, Madame Secretary may suggest ramping up our already failed policies. I suggest this will only make things worse.
As we noted some time ago in “The Aquariums of Mexico City,” I am in favor of legalization. Take the profit margin away and the violence dies down. How hard can it be to produce these drugs if you don’t have to avoid detection? At that point you’re just growing crops. (Yes, it’s still immoral, but we’re looking for a solution to the violence, not the fallen state of man.)
OK, that’s a long winded lead-in to the actual subject of today’s post: Marisol Valles Garcia. On Tuesday, Mexican media outlets reported that Marisol had been elected sheriff of Guadalupe Distrito Bravo, a town known for drug-related violence. Marisol is 20 years old, a college student studying criminology. Marisol was the only candidate.
The former mayor, Jesus Manuel Lara Rodriguez, was apparently executed by the drug cartel. Who would want the job next?
To her credit, Marisol has not made a platform of fighting against the drug lords. She has said she wants to work on prevention and making sure that public space is available for the public. Good move. Why fight an unwinnable fight, in defense of someone else’s definition of morality? Be the sheriff. Defend the rights of the citizenry – but don’t go on a moral crusade against purveyors of drugs. As Marisol notes, that is somebody else’s job.
How will it work out? I have no idea. But, we wish Marisol all the best. It takes a lot of courage to step out like this and try to make your hometown a better place, when it appears to be falling apart at the seams.
If you’re the prayin’ kind, lift one up for Marisol Valles Garcia tonight. May she be safe and effective in her new role.