Week 12: Speaking Truth to Power

What I found very interesting this week is how profit in the drug wars is so reliant on the criminalization of the drug trade. The resistance of the state actually benefits the cartels, as it makes the prices soar. As more restriction is placed on drugs, the higher the demand is, thus the cartels make more money, even as violence increases. So it makes me wonder what the solution could be? Would legalization of narcotics help reduce the violence connected to the drug wars, both on the side of the cartels and of the Mexican state and the U.S.? I definitely do think it would help to change the framework of criminalization to rehabilitation, not only in Latin America but in North America as well. That way, people facing drug addiction are more likely to seek help and the demand for narcotics can be reduced. Dawson mentions that this is something that the MUCD (Mexicans United Against Delinquency) advocates for.

When Dawson discussed the strategies people in Mexico have to avoid the violence, he mentioned that poorer residents that don’t have the option of living in a gated community turn to their friends and neighbors for protection, since relying on the state isn’t an option. This made me think of caudillos and reminded me of how that system is still relevant today.

I think that the term “interdiction” is really interesting. Dawson writes, “Interdiction efforts have what many describe as a balloon effect. When one area is pressed (as in the Caribbean in the late 1980s and early 1990s), the trade expands to another region. Today, as interdiction efforts have increased in Mexico, more and more of the trade has shifted to the even weaker states of Central America, particularly Guatemala and Honduras.”

“One kilo of cocaine sells for $1,000 in Colombia‚Äôs interior, $25,000 in the United States, and $60,000 in Britain.”

I think that this is definitely a case study for the detrimental effects of global capitalism. The drug trade will continue to be international in scope as long as the producers can benefit from the rising prices as the drugs travel farther away from their origin.

The story of the Madres de La Plaza de Mayo is both extremely sad and hopeful. Its amazing to see how a group of mothers, most of which hadn’t been present in the political sphere previously, could create such a powerful international movement. I noticed that there is a documentary about them, which I really want to see now.