Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, May 9, 2011

Can Mexico’s Anti-Drug War Movement Truly Succeed?

By: Sylvia Longmire
Mexico's Drug War

The Mexican people want their country back. That’s the message they plan to send on May 8th to Mexico’s government, as well as to the narco thugs who have held their country hostage for years, through widespread planned marches and rallies.

The national sentiment of Hasta la madre! [“We won’t take it anymore!”] has been slowly and steadily building, but was catalyzed by the death of a well-known Mexican poet’s son. Javier Sicilia, a journalist-turned-activist, lost his son to the drug war in late March 2011, and as a result has galvanized a movement of Mexicans, both domestically and in the United States, to protest the conduct of the drug war.

Sicilia says one of the goals of this mobilization is to return dignity to the names of the dead who “in the eyes of the State have been counted as collateral damage or statistics.” He also calls for a rebuilding of Mexico’s social fabric, and a re-founding of the country through a social pact formed between the Mexican people.

But can such a movement, with decidedly lofty goals and ideals, truly succeed in Mexico’s current environment?

There are several factors working in the protestors’ favor. Historically, this is the first time that so many Mexicans have come together to publicly call for an end to President Felipe Calderón’s drug war and associated violence. There are currently 38 marches and rallies taking place on May 8th across Mexico, and some are also planned in the United States.

The El Paso Times reported that Mexican journalist and asylum seeker Emilio Gutierrez, along with a group of supporters, is encouraging people in the El Paso area to join a rally in Mesilla, Texas in support of the national marches in Mexico.

The Mexican people have already warmed up for this day, too. Media reports said that on April 7th, up to 35,000 people in 21 Mexican states and 26 cities took to the streets to protest corruption, push for changes in the government’s fight organized crime, and lament the deaths of thousands of innocents across Mexico. These people were inspired by an open letter penned by Sicilia shortly after the death of his son.

I’ve had the chance to speak with people who are passionately answering Sicilia’s call. Some are looking at May 8th as just a beginning, a precursor to a process that will likely take years to bear fruit. Others have used the terms “revolution” and “civil resistance,” invoking recent events in Egypt and historical figures like Gandhi and Martin Luther King to draw parallels with this phenomenon.

Unfortunately, as well-intentioned as these protestors may be, it sounds like they’re forgetting about the number one cause of the drug war that is ruining millions of Mexican lives—American drug users.

Sicilia outlined several goals for this movement in a long open letter, but they’re all domestically oriented. Many of them are vague and idealistic, like the forming of a “social pact” and “rebuilding Mexico’s social fabric.” Others are practical, like eliminating corruption from the ranks of politicians, soldiers, and police. Some are outright unrealistic, like completely legalizing all drug trafficking in Mexico.

The anti-drug war movement seems to be using Sicilia’s letter as a manifesto of sorts, but it still comes across as unfocused. Are they protesting against the Mexican government, the cartels themselves, or US drug policies? Perhaps it’s all of the above, but they don’t appear to have a solid road map for how to achieve their ultimate goal—the end of the drug war.

Most importantly, they’re leaving out the biggest problem—the insatiable American demand for drugs. Millions of drug users in the United States couldn’t care less that their habit results in the loss of thousands of Mexican lives every year. The U.S. media is providing better-than-expected coverage of these marches. But even if millions of Americans learned about the rallies and their goals, most probably wouldn’t flinch, let alone change their daily routines.

The comparisons to Egypt and Gandhi and Martin Luther King also aren’t quite accurate. The protests and civil resistance in those cases were for political reasons dealing with purely domestic issues. If the anti-drug war movement only had to deal with the Mexican government, then they’d really be on to something. But no matter how many people take to the streets in Mexico—or even in the United States—to demand an end to the bloodshed and corruption, no change in Mexican strategy or policy or social outlook is going to affect the American desire for illegal drugs.

There is no question that the Mexican people are displaying an incredible amount of courage, fortitude, and determination by taking steps to get their country back. There are many changes that the anti-drug war movement is demanding that are necessary to have a positive impact on the drug war. Regardless of the U.S. role in the drug war, the Mexican people would no doubt benefit from less corruption, elected officials who weren’t working hand-in-hand with narco thugs, and diminishing national fear as a result of communities working together.

Those changes will take time, patience, and hard work. But the anti-drug war movement can’t succeed by confining its goals to Mexico alone. Without a component to galvanize the American people or the U.S. government to dramatically reduce drug demand or revamp U.S. drug policies, it’s unlikely the drug war and bloodshed will end through Mexican protest alone.



  1. Once again blaming the U.S. while failing realize the true heart of the problem! Mexican culture, greed, and corruption!!!!

  2. The Poet himself said it Mexicos heart is rotten,now that is something many will agree with,but what can be done to make Mexico cast off its heritage of corruption,not just the govt. but business as well.Who can understand a march AGAINST the efforts to instill ETHICS in Mexico. Calderon has attempted to stabilize Mexico to bring some law and order to the country,and is met with RESISTANCE from the Mexican people?? What else is available other than the Military, The State Police?? A Joke, the embedded payoffs,bribes,have neutralized entire States in Mexico,and it seems irreversable All you can do is try but Mexicans need to grow up and be counted as decent people.

  3. It's not that American drug users don't care about the desruction that the war on drugs is doing to Mexico , most are so addicted to the drugs they can't stop it's an epidemic that's growing, and Mexico itself has a huge drug problem and is feeding it's own drug problem.
    No easy answer glorify the narcos and the youth will follow, start giving jobs to the poor and hope will follow , this is what happens when the state works for the good and not chasing the money.

  4. USA is weak, weak, weak on this front and should be attempting to do something socially about this huge problem. At least formulating. A long range, serious, multi-faceted plan is needed. Education, help for addicts etc. And keep track of the goddamn guns. Either legalize pot and bring down the deficit with taxes from it. While you're at it make stricter penalties for distribution of the stimulant side of the drug coin. Mexico is full of violent, opportunistic thugs who are causing increased corruption with threats to whole families. They are ruining that beautiful country all because of their insatiable appetite for money. Capital punishment wouldn't hurt for the "El Kilos" of Mexico! Jeez! Who runs that country? The cartels. So what do you expect? Obviously both counties are to blame. Both countries should be embarrassed and ashamed.

  5. Mexico's citizens have little to no power to change what the american market is doing. So Mexico's citizens do what they have within their reach. There must be some change, It has to be done, or the country's situation will worsen, and become something unimaginably violent. Imagine loosing your individual warranties, having all this violence in a truly failed state, living in a land led by the law of the jungle.
    Something, must be done, its an emergency.

  6. Another hatchet job where the Mexicans blame external factors for their problems. Not saying the US isn't culpable but even if every drug user disappeared today from the US it wouldn't stop the violence in Mexico. The root of the problem is lack of education, endemic institutionalized corruption, and zero ability of the poor to find jobs that can sustain them while the people in power fight among themselves. As usual the people with no resources suffer the most.

  7. The most impotent message to the march seems to have been missed. If there were 35,000 participants, the next one will have 90,000 and so on. The numbers will grow and the voting power does not go unrecognized.

    @ 8;03, your exactly right. From the weekend warrior, daily pot smoker, to the full blown addict, few have the understanding of what is going on in Mexico. It is the average users way to escape from their less than desired lives. The addicts pure drive is getting, using and finding more drugs. It is their escape, just as it is for the millions in Mexico.

    @ 6:52 Your view of Calderon is much different then a lot of people's. My view is that he was the one that created the destabilization. Juarez has been hell since he took office and everything he has done has made it worse. His leadership is misdirected and Mexico is on it's way to a revolt.

    We all know what the answer is but as soon as you mention it on this site, the "hawks" and "shred artists" will attack.

  8. Oh lord I cannot stand to read these anymore. What ignorance I see from people. How can you blame Calderon for what is happening? This has been brewing for many decades and it was only a matter of time until it exploded out of control. This goes beyond Calderon, Fox, Zedillo, Gortari, etc. etc.

    @ 9:25 am
    lol Juarez has been hell way before he took office, where have you been hiding????

  9. Mexico is ripe for a "latin Hitler" and they will welcome him with cheers and joy.

    As long as mexicans support socialism they will be slaves.

  10. @May 9, 2011 10:13 AM

    Why don't you shut up, because they actually live in Mexico not on the other side of the border, of coarse its easy for you to praise an incompetent fool when you do not even live in Mexico and bear the brunt of his misguided policies. Your away from all the violence, so its easy for you to say. Calderon is the problem and his stupid strategy.

    lol Juarez has been hell way before he took office, where have you been hiding???? In 2006, In Juarez there was an average of 300 murders a year and after Calderon took office, 3000 thousand what the hell are you talking about.

  11. BUGGGS!! PLEASE tag my post for future reference. Next years presidential run in Mexico is being inundated with the organizsed crime news. Very little is talked about the next election. Mexico will succumb to communism. Partido Comunista Mexicano (PCM) has been working up a candidate. Not sure if the PCM will be reinstituted as it was dissolved in 1981-2? Suppusedly there is talk in the political arena that one of the next presidential candidates will have socialist idealogies. In the end it is rumored Mexico will be another Cuba. Mexico will be under communist government and the governemnt will run all of the drug trade.

  12. The problem is that Mexico opened pandora's box. What will happen with groups like Zetas and La Linea which main income is extortion and kidnapping? Those groups need to be eliminated at all cost.. and no, I don't mean prosecuted, I mean executed on the spot. For those people that do not believe Calderons (pan) involvement look at the facts.. 2003 guillen is arrested and extradited, chapo is released, don't believe the whole bs of escaped. Chapo decides to invade gulf cartel territory with the help of los beltranes. The war goes on for years. Chapo in 07 decides to invade juarez, everyone in the juarez underground knew about it. Chapo and the government was coming to clean the plaza.. dozens of police officers that worked for la linea were killed, calderon did nothing, not untill all officers died he then decided to send the army. in march of 08 a friend was eating at los arcos and the whole place went on lock down when a CDS member showed up, no one could leave or make phone calls, an army general walks in and has an hour conversation with that person. That same year high ranking CDJ members were arrested by the military, example Pedro Sanches in parral. Jurez is militarized but they fail to do any arrest or to combat any sicarios.. people are being gunned down infront of military checkpoints, soldiers response "we have orders not to intervene". But they did have orders to go into houses and take weapons from civilians.. they used a device "detector molecular" to break into houses without warrants.. a device that doesn't work, google it. In 07 there were talks that the beltranes were going to jump ship and join cartel del golfo, what does chapo do? Get mochomo arrested, what happens next is the assasination of chapos son.. chapo is going after beltran now, then arturo is assasinated by the army and their whole org is destroyed.. if calderon is no helping chapo then he is disregarding cds completely. By the way, nacho coronel was of no longer use for cds, that's the reason why his men refused to join cds and started cjng.. who are now fighting la resistencia, which is lfm, cm and cdg. All of this is public information, there's an article for everything here (bb), you just need to put the puzzle together..

  13. Zetas hideout found on falcon lake, shoot-out with Mexican military ensues and 12 Zetas are dead and one military personnel. 45 Miles from McAllen Texas. HEY JANET, our borders are not safer than ever!!!

  14. There are no Mexican Drug users?

    "The 2008 Addiction Survey reported that the number of people who had used drugs increased by a million between 2002 and 2008 - from 3.5 million to 4.5 million. Inhalable cocaine use almost doubled. For those between the ages of 12 and 25, 43 percent are exposed to drug use, half of those experiment with drugs and 13 percent use drugs frequently. The number of those addicted to illegal drugs increased 51 percent to nearly half a million."

    "It is clear to everyone that our nation has stopped being a transit country for drugs going to the United States and become an important market as well. We are experiencing a phenomenon of greater drug supplies in the streets, at relatively accessible prices."

  15. Nothing can stop free market.No morality,no police.Supply and demand mechanism always win.Sad but true.

  16. No cartel is actually going to start wreaking havoc on the US side of the border though, or go after border patrol agents or do something retarded like that. They just want to move drugs and people across. The US side of the border is pretty safe, not secured from smuggling but safe.

  17. I am an American married to a Mexican who grew up in Monterrey. We were married in Monterrey 12 years ago with many, many friends from my home town in Missouri, from the college I went to and who served with me in the US Army in Bosnia. We have 2 American children and we used to go to see beautiful Monterrey as often as we could as my entire wife's family still lives there.

    Our beautiful picture of Monterrey all changed 2 weeks ago when my brother-in-law was kidnapped at a Home Depot parking lot. The kidnappers are demanding more money than any of us have ever known. They want cars. It is horrific. Who knows what torture and horrific acts they have done to him.

    Please keep us in your prayers. My 7 year old daughter wants to see here uncle again someday.

    My advice is to stay as far away from Monterrey as possible. If you have family, tell them to leave. It is like being Jewish and living in Germany during World War II. Get the hell out of that craziness. The Zetas and other cartel members and kidnappers are animals.

    Although you can go to the US illegally also know that Canada and Spain and other European countries are more sympathetic and it might be easier to get asylum there. If you do go to the US...don't stay in south Texas. It's filled with these same animals.

    My understanding is South Padre is now where all the narcos go to relax on the beach in relative safety. Places like McAllen and Brownsville are overrun with zetas as well.

  18. 10:56 is correct. Now mexicans want peace at any price. They are ripe for another porfiriato. Even the old time PRI looks good.

    If you're waiting for the US or Canada or Europe to stop taking drugs you are in for a looong wait. Longer than you will live.

    Plus - half of mexico is getting rich from crime. Why change? Just act like you have changed and keep that big money coming in. As many BB posters have noted - The corruption in mexico goes higher and deeper than your wildest imagination.

    The mexicans that could leave the country are gone already. Left are those that cannot leave and those that do not want to leave 'cause they're making more money than they ever dreamed of.

  19. @2:16 South Padre? Really? Obviously you have never been to S. Padre or spent much time there, the cops there are on alert and will pull anyone over for looking funny. Last thing they want on the island are the narcos, wealthy gringos prefer relative safety. I have family in Brownsville and can assure you that there are some issues, just as there have always been, I would hardly say the place is "overrun", in fact far from it. I'll be sure to pack my Glock when we go down with the kids in a couple of weeks. (read sarcastic)


  20. Eh if the people from Mexico don't want to live without these scum bag cartels then fine, leave them there so they can terrorize their people. But I vote for the US to make some kind of border wall so we can atleast control all this crap so it doesn't enter and destroy our great nation. Arizona knows what it's doing, and the US needs to follow.

  21. I can't believe I'm seeing the same retarded, peacenik liberal crap in Mexico that infests the U.S.

    I'm sure the cartels are shaking in their boots at the sight of thousands of UNARMED, panty wetting Mexicans demanding action. And what action might that be? Call out the army? Gee, tried that and it didn't work. Root out corruption? Tried that, hasn't worked out so well and some of those police officers have gone to the cartels with their skills.

    You have two choices, either you kill the cartels or you live on your knees kissing their ass until the day they come for you in the parking lot of Home Depot, or in the night in your home.


  23. Yet another useless solution to a huge problem. Anti drug-war movement right. Totally pointless! won't change a fucking thing!!

    ARM UP CITIZENS OF MEXICO....YOU GOTTA FIGHT THE CARTELS ON YOUR OWN GROUND!!! forget about all this peaceful marches shit and arm yourself to defend yourself!!

  24. G D BULLSHIT, US Drug demand,has nothing to do with cops jacking people on traffic fines,customs bribery,tax collector bribery,kidnapping,protection,robbery,stealing from mines,PEMEX,ripping of transients,killing immigrants , coyotes, on and on. BLAME IT ON THE USA,BLAME IT ON CALDERON, WHAT NONSENCE HOW CAN MEXICANS EVER HOPE TO EVOLVE ???

  25. @4:46

    The same reason the high level narcos enjoy South Padre is the same reason you and your kids do...'s peaceful. I didn't say the narcos go there grabbing people off the beaches. They go there to "de-stress" from all the kidnapping, murdering and other cartel work they do. When you kidnap people, you're on call 24 hours a day. Ordering some low level employee to pull the toes off of a 45 year old kidnapped woman so you can mail them to her family is not easy work. Even the Gestapo killing hundreds of Jews a day during the Holocost had to take breaks to Italian beaches once in a while.

    So in South padre if you're a high level narco, you can chill at your hotel or the house you bought with $400k in cash and take a break.

    When you go there with your kids, have a great time but realize these animals are there side-by-side with you with their nicely dressed wives and their Tommy Bahama shirts.

  26. @ Anonymous 5:09's who says ...

    'I can't believe I'm seeing the same retarded, peacenik liberal crap in Mexico that infests the U.S.'

    You can't? Well I can't believe that I'm arguing with the same retarded war monger reactionary crap mongers that have totally and virally infected US society since WW2. But I am!

    Have all your Made in the USA wars produced a better planet, Anonymous ..uh... 'Conservative'? They've produced a planet dissolving before our very eyes. Your constant wars that you cheer on constantly bring insecurity rather than security in us all having a better planet ahead for the next generations to live in. That's might be called 'retarded' but it's an insult to compare this sort of thinking to those that have medical disabilities instead of social ones.

    And the author of this article lets the cat out of the bag with her final US military analyst paragraph....

    'Those changes will take time, patience, and hard work. But the anti-drug war movement can’t succeed by confining its goals to Mexico alone. Without a component to galvanize the American people or the U.S. government to dramatically reduce drug demand or revamp U.S. drug policies, it’s unlikely the drug war and bloodshed will end through Mexican protest alone.'

    She correctly informs us that this Mexican drug war stuff is in actuality, a US Made drug war. So then she is absolutely right that it is not as simple as just protesting against Calderon and the cartels.

    The protests will go nowhere unless the Mexican people begin to now understand that the US is driving their own country's own elite's domestic policies in a way that is totally destructive to their own sovereignty and domestic tranquility. The author merely wants to more convincingly US sucker punch the Mexican people in line with further Pentagon running of Mexico's national affairs.

  27. Texcoco Mex said

    El Regio May 9, 2011 6:52 AM
    Once again blaming the U.S. while failing realize the true heart of the problem! Mexican culture, greed, and corruption!!!!

    I'm Mexican and greed and corruption is not my culture.
    When you said greed what do you mean? Do mean what you people did to Indians in the 1800 or what you did to Mexico in 1846 or what you did to Samoa in 1898 or what you did to the Philippines in 1899 or what about Panama from 1903 to 1913 or what about Iraq there is many more but I don't remember. Was that greed or was it two powerful nations fighting what?

  28. @ G D Bullshit: You forgot to mention dumping them all in shallow graves.

  29. If what SOME BB posters are saying that the MENTALITY OF MEXICAN PEOPLE WAS; let the the gringos, or the AMERICAN PEOPLE DEAL with drug addiction, now because of thAT PLAGUE HAS HIT HOME, IT'S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE, Mexicans killing each other because of greed, and here in the U.S., kids and adults dying a spiritual diesease, THRU the use of drugs, using the governments funds, welfare, stamps, etc, etc, to fund their habit...

    ...The joke on Americans is no longer exclusive to Americans, everybody gets a share of the pain of seeing someone you love die slowly with drugs, or in Mexicos case, a violent and evil death...

    ...The story goes like these:Just as long as the trash is thrown on someones else's yard, it's not my problem,..But wait...It is all our problem...

    ...We as a collective part of human beings all affect each other, reguardles of race, sex, religion, We all affect each other, and we are feeding of each other...That's the problem; No love or respect for each others as brothers and sisters.....


  30. Drugs kill people, so are the alcohols and cigarettes. Many people do that for many different reasons. Business is business, customer is customer, legal or illegal stuff... Drugs, alcohols and cigarettes possibility can fade away if billions of people quit using them... Right now, they are everywhere in the world and it is impossible to stop them overnight.

  31. The Mexicans Always want to Blame the US for their Third world Narco-State Non-Functioning State status. Mexcio is CORRUPT from the TOP Down. Its Institutionalized, with NO Morals, No Respect for the rule of Law.

    Obediance to Law is Freedom

    Anything contrary is Chaos, like you have now.

    Reagrdless what Caldeon says....Mexico is a mad Mad Beyond Thunderdomb NARCO STATE, a FAILED STATE.

    The US Drug problem doest help their situation, nut the Mexicanshave to Clean Up their Own Yard.


    They shouldbe responsible for their own People.

    A Famous poet once said "MEXICO, So far from God, and so close to the United States"

    We as Americans cannot carry them forever, they need to WALK on their own!

  32. What people do not realize is the Chapo Guzman and The Sinaloa Cartel have Calderon in their Pocket. Its that Simple. They are more Powerful than the Govt. and the Govt. has caved into them. Makes u wonder why no High Level Narco from Sinalo has ever been caught.

    The World and The US is catching on to the Dog and Poney Show Calderon is showing "His war on the Cartels" Too bad his War on the Cartels ONLY include the enemies of Chapo.

    Either CHAPO and CALDERON are working together or Calderon is Turning a BLIND Eye.

    There is a famous saying here in Mexico, that Everyone knows where CHAP is Execpt the Goverenmnt.

    The Govt.of Mexico is VERY SIMILAR to PAKISTANS, and they were hiding Bin Laden.

    Put 2 and 2 together and u will see, Mexico Needs AID money and Drug $$$$$ to finance the Corrupt Oligarchy that Runs the NArco STate of Mexico.

  33. @May 10, 2011 6:38 AM

    Oh yeah so if everyone knows where he is, where is he? so I can cash in 5 million dollars...

    And ever heard of el Nacho, el mochomo, el teo or VINCENTE ZAMBADA AKA EL VICENTILLO...

  34. @ May 10, 2011 9:45AM

    Last time reports stated that Vincente Zambada went back to the federal court earlier this year, with the news claimed by his barristers that some people who worked for the American government were actually working for him. I have no idea if this information is true or false.

  35. Both the U.S. and Mexican government should be ashamed indeed. There is so much hate in the comments I've read on this website. On the other side, if the terrors were more covered by the American media, we'd be closer to legalizing pot. Cannabis' addictive properties range near caffeine to alcohol, it has huge medical benefits and prohibition simply gives the black market huge amounts of power that the government could put into the economy. When it was being prohibited and put on as a Schedule I with heroin and meth (not even Schedule II, where highly addictive pharmaceuticals and cocaine lie), people specifically fudged over facts that were even available eighty and more years ago about both the benefits and low-risks of cannabis. We haven't successfully moved this drug from Schedule I, despite that grounds for classification (highly addictive, NO medical use) are bull.

    Our drug laws that make us jail addicts instead of put them in rehab were driven in large part by fear of cocaine making minorities (specifically the black community) uppity enough to rise against their oppressor. Now we hold all people who become addicted to these substances to the standards of treatment formed around extreme racism.


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