May 28, 2010

Should Mexico assassinate its Drug Lords?

POLITICS - This is doomed to be a controversial topic. Assassinating people usually is.

Mexico is fighting a war against drug cartels which is becoming increasingly violent and out of control. Its so bad that some Mexicans are fleeing the country and coming to the USA and Canada to make refugee claims.

The drug violence is so bad that when Felipe Calderon became the Mexican President on the promise of putting a stop to the drug cartels he declared war on them, devoting significant government resources to rounding up and arresting the gangs, their leaders and the powerful drug cartels who control them all. In the last three years over 23,000 Mexicans have died in a drug war that makes the USA's contribution to the war in Iraq look small (less than 4,400 Americans have been killed in the Iraq War).

In response to the government action the drug cartels declared war on each other. Gang vs gang violence in the streets and by the time the police or military gets there all the survivors have fled.

The drug cartels routinely murder people for so much of a whisper that they might be helping the Mexican military/police... or worse, rival gang members. Some of the murders are out right macabre as bloody corpses are hung up in the streets to warn other Mexicans not to talk to the police. Beheadings, bodies strewn in streets, dismemberments, mass killings... its sickening.

At one point 15 teenagers celebrating a birthday were killed in a mass shooting simply because gunmen mistook them for rival gang members.

That incident which should rightly be blamed on the drug cartels instead has caused public anger at Mexican President Felipe Calderon for his failure to stop the violence.

Frankly there isn't a lot Felipe Calderon can do... unless he declares a national emergency and culls the drug cartels in a massive military operation.


#1. Declare martial law for 3 days and tell the Mexican people to stay at home where it is safe. Violence in the streets is to be expected.

#2. Use all of Mexico's military and police power to round up every drug gang, drug cartel and their leaders in one massive three day operation. Any who resist will be shot with rubber bullets, tasered or otherwise subdued. Live ammo will be necessary in violent confrontations.

#3. Due to the backlog of legal cases that would need to be dealt with the people captured in this massive 3-day raid on drug cartels these people would have to be held indefinitely until they can be given a proper trial. This means a suspension of the right to a speedy trial.

#4. Assassinate or execute the drug cartel leaders. Obviously this means a suspension of civil liberties that we normally take for granted. Due process, trials, convictions and hopefully prison sentences. The problem however is that the drug lords of Mexico have this remarkable habit of either bribing all the necessary judges or escaping during the legal process.

So far to his credit Felipe Calderon is the first Mexican President to fight the drug cartels. Every president prior to him either ignored them or was secretly receiving bribes from the drug cartels for leaving them alone. He's the only Mexican President thus far who hasn't been corrupt or too frightened to fight the cartels.

Nobody expects Felipe Calderon or even the above mentioned 3-day operation to solve Mexico's organized crime problem permanently. The above operation is meant as a way to round up all the drug cartels and their gangs in a single blow. Doubtless some will hide and manage to escape notice.

The real danger of the above plan is how will those who escape notice respond? More kidnappings and assassinations of government people? Such things are already rampant so its hard to imagine how it could get worse.

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