Monday, May 17, 2010

Drug Trafficking Organization Violence in Mexico -- History and some options

Two very distinguished scholars -- Luis Astorga and David A. Shirk -- conclude in this-25 page paper from the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars that legalization needs to be carefully studied because it "could yield significant dividends, at significantly lower cost than both countries [the United States and Mexico] are currently paying in the war on drugs." (p. 24).
The authors notes that with potential tax revenue, potential profit and jobs "that could be created through marijuana production and sales, the trend toward decriminalization or even partial legalization of drug consumption appears likely to continue." (p. 24).

The paper details the history of the Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) growth and development, and their long history of close ties via corruption to the Mexican state.

The authors see four conceivable scenarios for reducing violence among Mexican DTOs:
1. Complicity with organized crime through a pax mafioso.
2. Reducing DTO capacity through the strategy of direct confrontation to break them into smaller groups, presumably more manageable, or redirecting major drug trafficking operations outside Mexico, "perpetuating the 'balloon effect'"
3. Eliminate the black market through prevention and treatment.
4. State regulation of drug production, distribution and consumption.

The fair inference of their paper is that they believe that the fourth option holds the most promise.

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