Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat
Mexico should be especially interested in recognizing how the causes of drug trafficking, with its peculiar characteristics, occur in Europe and the United States, and should suspend a war that attacks drug trafficking as if it were a local phenomenon. This is the equivalent of lighting bonfires in the Anahuac Valley to return our long Mexican spring, shortened in this 21st century by the melting of polar ice caps.
Please raise your hands, those of you who have smoked marijuana or snorted cocaine, I ask the audience in the Berlin Book Fair. Six out of every ten people raise their hands.
Raise your hands, those of you that believe that drugs are the Devil. Not one hand is raised and laughter runs through the audience.
Raise your hands, those of you who have had problems with the police from having smoked marijuana or sniffed cocaine. Again, not one hand is raised and, again, the laughter.
These are the numbers according to the UN's World Report on Drugs: 34 million Europeans consume coke or marijuana as part of their lifestyle. In the United States, the number is 44 million consumers.
If it ever did, today the police in the First World don't go after the distribution or consumption of drugs. Drugs are as near as the neighborhood pusher. Call him on his cell phone and he will bring the merchandise to the house.
In London, I visit the Queensway jail on a Saturday, a night of druggies and crazies. This is where they bring drug users who are acting strange to get over the turbulence caused by an overdose. Their girlfriends or friends, or their mothers or their neighbors call the police. The police pick them up, put them in a cell so they can act out their craziness in solitary. Yell incoherently, slam themselves against the wall, piss in a corner. In the morning, when they're sober, they get breakfast and a recommendation for treatment.
It bears repeating, this is where they bring the victims of an overdose, not any drug user. Consumption of drugs is treated as a public health matter, not a crime.
Drugs have simply lost their diabolic aura in the highly developed countries where they are consumed. That's why no politician dares launch an offensive against them. But neither does any politician propose their legalization to erase the incongruity that they are allowed but are criminalized. Nobody would applaud that. One lives with this matter in a convenient hypocrisy.
Only in this remote country called Mexico does drug trafficking provoke gunshots, people cut to pieces, bodies left in car trunks, protest marches, 95 thousand deaths, billions of dollars in costs, a social malaise that translates into hostility in daily life.
But if there's a robbery in London or Berlin, the police are there in the blink of an eye. A robbery, a homicide, a fight. The police arrive in less than ten minutes and apprehend the offenders and take care of the victims. A judge dictates sentence promptly. Punishments are given out under a reliable system that provides an ethical certainty to daily life.
Mexico has made a mistake. Alone, it fights a war against a global phenomenon that only matters to a few. That makes the headlines in every case because of its unusual cruelty.
Yes, President Obama declares his admiration for the Mexican Army and sends some weapons. Yes, European heads of state wrinkle their brows and congratulate the stupid relative, Mexico.
Actually, Mexico has no obligation to carry on a war to get a pat on the shoulder. We urgently need something else: to reach the level of civilization in those countries, and to achieve that, we need to emulate them, not Colombia.
Mexico's anti-drug policy should emulate that of the First World. That is, like them, we should do nothing against the trafficking and consumption of drugs. To legalize these substances would be congruent, but it would be enough to look the other way, like the Europeans and the United States.
And, above all, we should emulate their policy against crime. Build a reliable and efficient police and system of justice. So long as we lack that police and those judges, so long as we do not construct the circumstances to have these things for the first time in the nation's history, we will continue to lag ten degrees behind the civility that reigns in Europe or in the United States.
In this barbarism with islands of civility.
This is why our next president's upcoming visit to Colombia, to discuss with the executors of that 40 year war against drugs, is worrisome. That's why one worries over his talks with Janet Napolitano, National Security Secretary of the United States, who, with her stern face and luxurious phrases, recommends that he continue the heroic effort against the narco.
It would be desirable for this president to have a clear vision of Mexico's place on this planet and a deep mistrust for all the bla-bla-bla that our more civilized brethren use to encourage us to keep on killing ourselves in this twice-tragic war. one, because any war is tragic. Two, because it's dumb.