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

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Calderón's war 'too costly,' ex-official says


Former foreign minister calls for legalizing drugs

Mexican President Felipe Calderón needs to order military troops back to the barracks and halt a losing war against drug cartels, Mexico's former foreign minister told the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board on Tuesday.

"He should not have done it," said Jorge Castañeda, who served in Calderón's predecessor's Cabinet. "He wasn't prepared for it."

Castañeda, who was in Houston Tuesday to promote his new book, said Calderón has framed his war on the cartels as a moral crusade, but it can't be won, and certainly can't be continued by whoever takes office there in 2012.

"It is too costly. We are up to 42,000 dead," he said. "By the end of Calderón's term, more Mexicans will have died in this war than Americans in Vietnam."

As a condition of the retreat, Castañeda said cartels need to get the message that they must crawl back into the underworld, and stop the kidnappings, extortion and mayhem that have rocked Mexico for five years.

If they don't comply, the military needs to be unleashed again to go after them for the murder and mayhem, rather than wasting more resources on drug trafficking crimes, he said.

"You don't sit down with them. You don't talk with them. You don't pardon them," Castañeda said of drug bosses.

The cartels have fought each other as well as against government security forces.

Prior to Calderón taking office, the military was used sparingly in the drug war, which was fought chiefly by civilian police.

"It pretty much has to change; the next president will not be able to continue with Calderón's policy," Castañeda said.

Legalizing drugs in Mexico is the only viable long-term solution, he said.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, his former boss, said the same thing when on a Houston visit recently.

"It went too far," Castañeda said of Calderón's war. "If Calderón hadn't messed with it, maybe you wouldn't have this reaction," he said of a number of high-profile Mexicans, from all across the political spectrum, calling for legalization as a result of the war on cartels.

"The question at the end of the day is whether the violence brought the war upon the country, or whether the war brought the violence upon the country," Castañeda said.

He was in Houston to promote his new book, Mañana Forever? Mexico and the Mexicans, which examines flaws in the national character that he says have prevented Mexico from realizing its democratic and social potential.


  1. Gosh, not even many PANistas like the Calderon/ US government war, do they? Incredible!

    Castañeda- "It is too costly. We are up to 42,000 dead," he said. "By the end of Calderón's term, more Mexicans will have died in this war than Americans in Vietnam."

    Yeah, but for many in government, their drug that they are addicted to is 'waging war'. Their actual drug is power and abusing it. Their drug is themselves, and they are chronically high on themselves and their being able to use the power over others that most of the general population does not have... If we could only take away this drug from the politicians????? Outlaw it....

  2. Funny, this guy was a member of Vincente Fox's cabinet? I just read a story on here the other day about how the situation in Mexico bacame ramped up as a result of the dismanteling of the Colombian cartels and that story's writer actually credited the Fox administration with officially launching Mexico's war on the drug cartels and how the current president just followed through with the initial launch.

    Thats right, I remember, this guy is here to promote and sell his book! Sex is not the only thing that sells, so does sensationalisim.

  3. Further Empowering of Criminal Gangs in Mexico is out of the Question. Just who will represent the Underworld gangs in this TRUCE?? Will the Criminals promise to go underground,will they give their word? Drugs are already legal, user quantitys ,in Mexico. In Houston to promote his book,how nice. Hand the Cartels the keys to the city and they will stop killing each other and expanding their power, sure they will WHY you ignorant SOB.

  4. OL JORGE Looks like hes been smoking the wacky tabackey. Droppy eyes and that big "munchies" stomach!!

  5. Honestly he is right but the PAN/U.S government will never listen because the U.S makes too much money making marijuana illegal, the pharmaceutical industry, private jail/prison industry and tobacco possibly tobacco etc. industries will lose 10s of billions of dollars if not 100 billion or two a year. I hope the next president directly tells the cartels to stop the violence and return back to the underworld and any criminal group that commits acts of violence/extorts; the federal government will deploy troops on them and kill them.

  6. With everyone complaining about Calderon's war I really don't know what the alternative is, should Calderon just call it all off and let the cartels completely take over Mexico and America????? while the progress by the federal forces has been limited it does still restrict the Cartels somewhat. If he was to call this whole thing off then it would just get worse and worse and worse.

    There's no other option here other than to fight these assholes.

  7. I live in Mexico, and who the hell is this guy to say that, protecting my life, and my children's is too expensive?!?!

    Screw him!

  8. It is too expensive to keep doing the same stupid things, as the overly militarized US population and the Mexican elites always want to do. It's like many of us are in some mad rush to go over the cliff??? Why? The drug gangsters out here are not even close to being our main problem with criminals.

  9. June 19- 9:32PM,

    What? you must be confused..last I heard the PRI was in power not PAN. You hope the next president tells the drug cartels to lighten up and go back underground..and if they don't the Mexican gov't will dispatch the military? Isn't that what they are doing now? I don't think the drug cartels are worried about the Mexican gov't or the military for that matter...

  10. He may be a Mexican President when he can achieve in some systems, but he is a MEXICAN'T President when it comes to dealng with drug war. Also, He can't find El Chapo, so he is a MEXICAN'T President.

  11. I read some amazingly silly and ignorant things here from so many BB readers. Here, Anonymous of 9:45 am actually lectures another previous reader for being supposedly confused. But who is actually the confused one that took not even a second to check what is actually the case? Why it is Anony 9:45!

    'What? you must be confused..last I heard the PRI was in power not PAN.'

    Then last you heard, you heard wrong, Anonymous 9:45. Calderon is a PAN party leader and he is Mexico's president at present.

  12. Many of the 31 States in Mexico are controlled by the PRI, and the States have a much higher involvment with PROMOTING Criminal activity,WHO knows what BS the Mexican voters will go for in the next Presidential election, BUT for sure it will be TELLING of the NATIONAL CHARACTER OF MEXICO and its citizens,they will show the world their true colors.

  13. @Ardent,

    Yea, 9:45am(Anonymous)..looks like he's confused but the rest of his/her post makes sense! So, it's safe to say he or she is partially But you know what? The post sounds like your posts Ardent..your post are confusing, off topic, and way out in left field somewhere, bordering on the ridiculous! So, why is that Ardent?

  14. Here is the case of somebody saying absolutely Nada, just to be engaging in a personal flame...

    'your post(s) are confusing, off topic, and way out in left field somewhere, bordering on the ridiculous! So, why is that Ardent?'

    Well, Anonymous, you came up with the perfect totally empty of any and all content insult. You say that my posts border on the ridiculous yet never say how?, other than to say that they appear (to you) to be.. 'left field'... whatever that means to somebody who, I guess?, is standing out way in the opposite 'field' themselves...

    Gosh! It sounds as if we're playing baseball! What you said is about as meaningful as a Middle Finger extended. Uh,,, NIce.

  15. @Ardent,

    You answered your own question..indeed your posts say absolutely "nada." Your posts on here express the same views over and over again.

    1. you have a dislike for "Anglos"
    2. anybody with a differing POV from you is a "right winger"
    3. you blame the U.S. for all of the world's problems
    4. the U.S. is guilty of all kinds of war crimes
    5. a general dislike for U.S. overall even though you reside in the U.S.
    6. all American politicians are corrupt and greedy
    7. Mexican President Calderon is nothing more then an American puppet

    I think that just about covers it..your an Anti-American socialist, who needs to go live in China somewhere..but if you did that then you would focus your blame on the Chinese for hating on Latinos!


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