Monday, August 20, 2018

AMLO has plans to make his country safer – but could they make things worse?

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat republished from "The Conversation"


"Removing the army from the streets without capable police officers to replace them could strengthen organised crime groups and make the situation worse."

Mexican voters upended their country’s political establishment this summer when they elected Andres Manuel López Obrador – the left-wing former mayor of Mexico City known as AMLO – by an overwhelming margin. His impressive victory owed a lot to his personal charisma and populist rhetoric, but it also reflected the public’s weariness with Mexico’s current state of affairs – and in particular, with criminal violence.

Long a problem for Mexico, deadly violence is now at an all time high. There were more than 31,000 murders in 2017, the highest number on record, and this year is shaping up to be even deadlier.

López Obrador’s term begins on December 1, but his incoming government has already pledged to reduce violent crime by between 30-50% within three years, and to bring crime rates in line with those in OECD countries within six years. To achieve this, it has come up with three strategies: tackling the “root causes” of crime through social policy, ending the war against organised crime, and restructuring security institutions.


One of the central ideas behind López Obrador’s approach to security is that when it comes to fighting crime, the best policy is social policy. But muddling social policy with crime policy is troublesome; rather than lifting people out of criminogenic conditions, it can simply spawn a welter of social programmes that have little bearing on crime at all.

This is what happened during the tenure of the outgoing administration, when every proposal from cooking lessons to handing out free glasses to schoolchildren was held up as a worthwhile crime prevention initiative. This sort of policy making neglects the fact that the police can actually be very effective at preventing crime in the short term.

AMLO clearly sees things differently. He plans to roll out an extensive scholarship programme aimed at preventing the 7m young people not in education, employment or training from joining criminal gangs, even though there is no consistent evidence showing that youth unemployment and poverty are the main drivers of involvement in organised crime. Though scant research on this topic has been conducted in Mexico itself, evidence from the UK has shown the opposite: as youth unemployment and poverty has increased, the amount of crime committed by this age group has actually decreased.

Beyond the drug war

On a different front, the incoming government has correctly identified the decade-long war on organised crime as one of the main drivers of violence. But while it has proposed a three-pronged plan to bring about peace, it is unlikely that this is achievable in the short term.

First, AMLO and his team have proposed implementing a process of transitional justice to break the cycle of violence, including a controversial amnesty for low-level drug-traffickers. There is still much uncertainty as to how this would be implemented, but it remains unclear whether it would actually help end violence in Mexico, since these mechanisms were designed to manage the aftermath of political and ethnic conflicts.


[When pressed for details on the amnesty plan, López Obrador has simply responded that “amnesty is not impunity” or that Mexico needs “justice,” not “revenge.” And states it is a work in progress.  Last year he stunned campaign watchers by saying he would consider amnesty to traffickers but has tempered that somewhat.  Read more using this hyper link]

Second, with a growing global consensus that the current drug prohibition regime has failed, the new government plans to legalise cannabis and the cultivation of opium poppies. However, wholesale legalisation of cannabis has never been attempted in a country as large and complex – and as fraught with poor institutions – as Mexico. That means it may be years before legalisation is implemented, as the necessary regulatory frameworks and institutions will have to be established first.

In addition, legalisation in Mexico would create more opportunities for smuggling drugs into the US – potentially a boon for some organised crime groups, and potentially a serious risk to an already troubled relationship with Washington.

Finally, the new government has pledged to train enough police officers to remove the armed forces from the fight against organised crime in three years. But this plan is based on a highly optimistic estimate of the state’s capacity to recruit and train new police officers.

Between 2015 and 2016, there were 133,000 soldiers involved in the fight against organised crime; replacing them would require at least 50,000 new elite federal police officers. President Calderón (2006-2012) took six years to recruit 20,000 federal police officers. His successor, Peña Nieto, promised a 50,000-strong National Gendarmerie, but ultimately delivered a force of fewer than 5,000. It’s highly unlikely that the new government will be able to perform any better.

Reinventing the police

The incoming government has also hinted at yet another redesign of Mexico’s security institutions. Though they have dropped a plan to create a “National Guard” incorporating the army and the police, AMLO plans to recreate the Federal Security Ministry (dissolved by the outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto), to form a new police force charged with protecting tourist destinations, and to replace the country’s intelligence agency with an entirely new body.

These reforms are likely to take much longer than anticipated, wasting precious resources that could otherwise be spent on actual police work. And even if they’re implemented swiftly, they are unlikely to directly improve the security situation.

Mexico is simply too vast and too diverse for centralised control of security policy to work. The federal government does not and will not have the resources to properly deal with most of its crime problems. A better approach would be to delegate responsibility to state and local governments, using federal policy to induce improvements in local policing. Security institutions require continuity and time to mature; small, incremental improvements to their operations are a better bet than wholesale redesign.

The security situation in Mexico remains dire, and it’s likely to remain that way for some time. Social policy can help reduce poverty and improve welfare, but it’s no substitute for intelligent, evidence-based crime prevention delivered by a well-trained local police. Removing the army from the streets without capable police officers to replace them could strengthen organised crime groups and make the situation worse.

63 comments:

  1. I wonder what cartel funded his election. Cds or cjng or maybe both. We will soon find out

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  2. Chivis. Well done. The dreams of this man will not be supported by a public that has lost hope in the years of broken promises. Again, well written

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    1. I republished from "The Conversation" which is an amazing source of outstanding articles. I could spend hours just going from one article to the other. Follow the hyperlink....

      as for this article. This represents the apprehension I had when writing my op-ed a day or so after the election. But I suppose hoping for a person that does no harm to the people would be a step forward.

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    2. 838 you said he is not supported be the public, how can that be if the public, is who elected him.

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    3. 6:31
      The comment never said he is not supported by the public but ONLY that his dreams may not be supported.

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  3. The problem really is that this 'war' is a US made and guided bloodbath against the people of Mexico. AMLO needs to cut the US military loose from making this 'war' continue on and on. Right now the violence of the Mexican state is directed from Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs and has only led to the horrible militarization of Mexico in a style that has much in common with what has been done to Honduras and Guatemala.

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    1. Best comment here

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    2. Blaming it all on the US is old news... the problems in Central America and Mexico are corruption, inequality concerning women, and wait for it... racism...America declared independence in 1776 and has struggled with these issues as well but journalism has kept these issues in everyone’s mind...BB reports sensitive issues in Mexico that journalists there won’t even mention...
      One theory suggests that civilizations closer to the equator are more diverse and struggle with poverty,low education opportunities, and violenc because of the diversity found there...
      GC

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    3. @3:36 pm you know what i hate is when paisanos feel tbe need to put the indios de mexico down like da f man thats are roots we came fron them and they treat them a less than a mexican get a grip mexico todos somos indios unos gueritos pero somos indios wake up!!!!!

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    4. Exactly! I am very proud of my 12% indio blood. Yes I did the damn DNA thing. but I am still trying to figure out how it knew the states my family come from...Jalisco, Sinaloa and sonora.....and a surprise ..GTO! who knew? not me.

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    5. The indians of mexico have always been discriminated agains.but here in Tamps. The army and marines have saved us. Locate police are the cartels. Please do not pull the miltary out of Tamps.

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    6. Its out to blame the U.S. for the problems in Mexico. In 68 years here when Mexico has a problem they cannot take responsibility for it. Blame it on the U.S.

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    7. Chivis I'm interested what test u took

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    8. I took 3... DNA tribes very comprehensive but not longer available. The I took Natl Geo's mitochondrial or MT test. unless you are a scientist don't take that one, and besides it is expensive at 400. and lastly My Heritage DNA. that is a good basic one that will give you all you need. I bought a dozen at 59 dollars and gave them to family and friends. you can sign up to be connected to relatives or see their info.

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    9. 4:47 they are horribly discriminated each and every lace in Mexico.

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  4. The issue with the so called social policies you mentioned being done by the current administration is they are not real social policies. They are for show only and they are done to make it look like new social policies are being done and done quickly. The current admin does not believe in actual,real policies to lift people out of poverty so instead they do cooking classes, etc.

    AMlO's new polices will work, but they are not short term fixes. Poverty, corruption, and the apathetic attitude of the ruling class is deeply entrenched and it will take years to accomplish the goal of lifting millions out of poverty thus reducing crime. And I have news for you, this is the only way to reduce crime. It is just that people are used to wanting and being sold quick fixes to solve gigantic complex problems. legalizing drugs and providing well paying jobs are the only way to solve Mexico's crime problem,but the elite will fight to the death before allowing better pay and the drug warriors in Washington won't allow legalization so AMLO has his work cut out for him.

    I have seen a couple of articles from Borderland Beat showing skepticism of AMLO and that is understandable. But, this attitude that new policies are not worth trying is just mind boggling to me considering the approach this site seems to like which includes the military, going after kingpins, etc has been shown to be a complete failure. So trying something new is not only a worthy goal, but at this time it is an absolute necessity.

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    1. Agree.
      As long as his policies are fundamentally adopted by all those in government things will change.
      However, like many countries whose political views and interests are opposed by those who tend to lose. Expect criticism and challenges from the next upcoming elections. Creating the dismantling of progress depending what side one sits on. A situation US is experiencing now (A country divided).

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    2. @1:27AM Joe Blanco thank you for posting this comment. I have written articles that have said that for Mexico to even begin to solve all of its problems It would need a leader that could and would think "out of the box". For a while I thought Dr. Mireles might be the man. But he was wrong place wrong time. I am thankful that AMLO decided to make a third run for it.

      You said in your comment that "Borderland Beat showing skepticism of AMLO and that is understandable. But, this attitude that new policies are not worth trying is just mind boggling to me considering the approach this site seems to like which includes the military, going after kingpins, etc has been shown to be a complete failure". Rest assured that everyone at BB does not share that skepticism of AMLO.

      As I said as the title to my OP/ED that I published on BB on July 7 "“If there’s not a change in Mexico with Andres Manuel, then God help us.”

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  5. El cañamo en mexico,ya estoi listo pa construct mi casa en Chihuahua y mi troca andando con puro disel verde jaja.

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  6. Mexico is in a sure Lose/Lose situation.

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    1. On the contrary. Current management and policies have failed. One cannot continue a path where its clearly evident has not progressed.

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  7. The Military is what caused this chaos to begin with. When Calderon unleashed the Armed forces into Michoacan in 2006 violence got worse. In 2008 the City of Juarez was visited by the army where killings spiked. Same in Tijuana in 2009. Then Matamoros/Reynosa and so on and so forth. You find a pattern here. Wherever the military shows itself the killings get worse. This is no surprise to long time BB and blog del narco readers. Its a good thing the Military is taken off the streets

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    1. Yeah its just another outlet for the capos to payoff to ahve them do their dirty work. Besides they were initially put out to fight El Chapos wars now that he is long gone time to disband the mexican army and leave the bosses to work in peace

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    2. Things were already getting heated due to mayors/governers selling plazas to outside groups for more cash/fear.

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  8. So basically letting the criminals traffic drugs willy nilly again in order to decrease extortion, thefts and violent crime. The next best thing to legalisation I suppose.

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    1. Yup, because making an activity legal always reduces criminal activity in that area. You simply don't hear about it is all. For example, smuggled cigarettes are a serious cash cow, but you never hear about it.

      Just like the public rarely hears about the (literal) tons of marijuana illegally shipped out across the US from Washington, Oregon, California, and Colorado anymore. And I'm just talking hydroponic, not counting the various oils, etc. or the Mexican crap that is converted into hash oil to up the potency and sent through those states to mingle with "legitimate" product.

      Legalization actually makes criminal activity more tempting, particularly for addictive substances. It generally accompanies reduced criminal sentences compared to illegal drugs. Much less risk, same reward, and easier access to the product.

      KB

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    2. If drugs become legal in Mexico, Mexico will actually cease to be in the next twenty years...

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    3. 11:37...correct....here in The Pac. NW, pot is legal. Only 20% is grown and sold legally. It's all exported to non legal states. And the immense local black market.

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  9. So Mexico will be a communist nation now under Obrador starting December 1?

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    1. 9:17, what makes you think that? How did this thought come to you?

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    2. Because he's one of those idiots that thinks socialism and communism are the same thing

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    3. Believe it or not, they are more similar than different, idiot.

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  10. Beautiful input/outline of AMLOs agenda.
    The Legalization of poppy and cannabis is a good idea. We are all aware of the continuous demand for cannabis among other things here in the US. An implementation by many states which has generated revenue for many communities. Moreover,added with the legalization of poppy for pharmaceutical products will benefit farmers who are struggling to make ends meet. Providing income like those coca farmers in Columbia who know all to well cocaine consumption will never end nor the demand to ever stop.
    A realization that Columbia now embraces.

    It's a failed drug war. Rather than treat drug consumption as a health issue than criminal would benefit all parties (communities and societies). Something many hope AMLO is willing to agree with. Unlike the many states, counties which have failed to see.
    The reforming of its judicial system will be a much difficult task for him. The Decades upon decades of a corruption embedded within Mexicos governments will not sit well for many. Affecting many who have relied upon this livelihood.

    Good luck AMLO. Many wish you the best.
    Why not? All else has failed.
    As long as intentions are true.

    Good post chivis.



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    1. Correct...it's gonna take more than a president...the Mexican people need to stop the corruption and impunity.

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    2. Nice to still you Granderojo. Best to you.im sure you know who might this be.

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  11. Heard about a Canadian getting shot to death by large commando in Guadalajara over the weekend and that an American with him later died.

    Here's an update. Money launderers for CJNG, apparently:

    https://vancouversun.com/news/staff-blogs/real-scoop-west-vancouver-man-shot-to-death-in-mexico

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  12. Is it me or am I nuts for thinking these policies are over 30 years too late?

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  13. It would be chaotic to let municipales and estatales take over because of the high levels of corruption. The only way to somewhat mitigate corruption and still be able to combat cartels would be to implement a national police ala Colombia, push a law through the senate that punishes any le, mil, or politician who becomes corrupt with 25 years in jail without possibility of an early release or federal amparo

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  14. I think AMLOs strategy is simple decrease violence invest in social programs he is not worried about decreasing drug flow to the US that’s an American problem. He is more focused on the local issues. I think it’s a great strategy if you live in Mexico. Whatever the result is God help us all.

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    1. It essentially turns Mexico into a narco state. It won't reduce corruption. It MIGHT reduce the violence, if the cartels involved in the now legal activity are willing to use business rules to settle difference (pardon me while I stop to laugh...). IF that occurs what you'll most likely end up with is shadow governments a la Afghanistan, where there are politicians as figureheads but everything is really run by the guys with the money and guns that nobody sees. And those guys may well be politicians lower on the visible totem pole.

      Look at what happened with Colombia. Cease eradication of coca crops and attacks on the FARC, cocaine production and exportation explodes. More people get involved in growing and shipping. Now cocaine is becoming an issue in Europe where it was once a relatively small problem because it cost so much. Price is going down. Same thing with Australia. More profitable for the Colombian groups to send it straight there than it is to sell to the Mexican cartels too (even though logic says a number of Mexican cartels are, or were, funding those operations too). Heck, it's even becoming a problem in China now.

      Much easier way to destroy other countries and make a ton of money than actually putting forth the effort to create a truly productive society. Instead Mexico will deal in drug addictions and to hell with everyone else. But then, many people take the easy path with no regard for the consequences on future generations...

      KB

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  15. Time for prayer to get God's help. When prayers start working, people will believe. Its worth a try.

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  16. why hasn't BB reported on the 50 tons (yes, tons) of meth seized in Sinaloa over the weekend. Some say it's over 5 billion worth.

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    1. Dude they reported on it days ago.

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    2. Este vato ya no está bien ,tanta merluza no es buena. Esa información ya fue posteada.

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    3. Plus it’s not even cristal it’s all the bull shit to make it with.

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    4. 7:51 - no I'm pretty sure it was 50 tons of meth. Not 50 tons of precursor

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  17. Miguel Trevino pulls the strings and AMLO dances.

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    1. Lol you think Mr. Lava Caro's pulls strings? Lay off the meth buddy.

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  18. So main board, do you think 006 will have a corrido written about him before the year is up? The Chapo Snitched guy got a corrido I think. Chivis, I actually encourage 006 to keep it up. He may bring attention by his humor but someone might actually read into what is happening within the post. I wish the US would cover and report on more events that occur in Mexico. On a side note, 006 is no dummy. His writing style and knowledge of various groups leads me to believe he is no kid in his moms basement. Too bad he can’t translate all the hate he gets into cash. Maybe he should start a blog or YouTube type thing.

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    1. Any link to chapo snitch guy corrido?

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    2. in English

      This corrido is dedicated to the crazy Chapo Snitched guy, who said Guzman would be a rat, we all rolled our eyes, I really don't know why, He said it in every single topic here at borderland beat, even if the story was about the zetas, or if it was about massacre on any given Mexican street, We all would tell him to shut up, his same old comment was getting lame, then one day chivis said Chapo Snitched, we look foolish, we have ourselves to blame, So this little corrido, goes to my hero the Chapo snitched guy, I'll pray to you for forgiveness, up till the day I die! -from El Arrepentido

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    3. Chivis 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 that shit was hilarious pa te amo...!

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    4. Quien lo canta chivis, post it in spanish. Am pretty sure sicarios 006 will be better. Lol.

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  19. When it’s blatantly obvious that the war on drugs not only failed Calderon but also his predecessors I think it’s got to be worth a try. I wish the people of Mexico we’ll and really hope AMLO makes a positive difference for them.

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  20. I did some looking at your comment about...

    "...evidence from the UK has shown the opposite: as youth unemployment and poverty has increased, the amount of..."

    Stats I found from legitimate looking resources show:

    UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN -- Since 2013 (there was an uptick of unemployment starting with the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/youth-unemployment-rate

    YOUTH ARRESTS DOWN YEAR OVER YEAR -- Since 2007 despitte 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/676072/youth_justice_statistics_2016-17.pdf

    I would have posted screen shots, but don't know how.

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    1. The uks different. Under labour people were given a lot of money every time they had a child. They got tax credits that equated to more money than most people earn. The economy was booming (so we thought) and I know many people who just carried on having kids.

      Then labour nearly bankrupted us and Tony Blair wasn’t the hero most working class thought he was. With the new Tory government came huge cuts. People can no longer claim as many benefits. They can’t claim for more than three children and suddenly most council estates hit problems. The crime rate in the uk is to do with that.

      Cocaine wasn’t as common and now young kids are doing it, dealing hard drugs has become really common as has all these mugging, stabbings etc. At the moment it will get much worse for us as poverty is getting worse.

      Under Teresa may some people are doing great but others in poorer areas are really struggling. We’ve had lots of schemes aimed at improving education from nursery age to high school age stopped, employment opportunities are not great.

      I worked in nurseries and schools for years and there’s lots of children going hungry as their parents can’t afford to feed them. Many people are being made homeless. I have two extra kids here who are homeless, their parents kicked them out as they cannot afford them. I’m in a tiny village and have seen so many people struggling.

      In my village we’ve had a couple of murders, I’ve lost count of the people I know that have been mugged, robbed or stabbed. My friends husband was stabbed last week coming back from the pub...it’s not even been reported by the local paper.

      The village next to ours has had shootings...a street was held up by gunmen as they raided all the grow houses, again unreported.

      It’s grim here at the minute but it’s as a direct result of all these cuts. People will turn to other means to survive.

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  21. Legalize all drugs in Mexico , its a matter of National Security and then the violence will die down

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    1. Still illegal where they traffic to. So, legalization in Mexico will not have an affect. They'll still fight for trafficking routes. JMO

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  22. Amlo,a naive fool.Mexico will spiral downward even more quickly.

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  23. The current policies are the only thing keeping MX from getting completely steamrolled by heavily armed criminal factions. Next, they will declare sovereignty ala FARC and we all know what happens next.

    Wake up, and look around. MX already has bodies hanging from bridges and severed heads in coolers every day. You really think disengaging these groups with military resistance will quell the violence? lol what's to stop them from killing 48 kids next time?

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  24. Will be curocur to see how the media covers a leftist president. Neto was blamed for everything...

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