After he was elected president of Mexico in 2006, Felipe Calderon declared his own war on drugs, with an emphasis on battling drug cartels. There have been more than 10,000 drug-related killings since then, and the cartels don’t seem to be going anywhere.
One of the more grisly recent events was the torture and murder of 12 Mexican police officers. Thirty-four suspected members of La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, allegedly responsible for the murders, have been arrested.
Increased police and military efforts seem to have only resulted in more violence and human-rights violations at the hands of cartels and the Mexican army. Former Mexico President Vicente Fox and other Latin American leaders have called for a debate about legalizing drugs.
Fox’s comparison of the current battle to Prohibition in the United States in the 1920s was recently touted by Robert Pastor, who was a Latin America national security adviser for President Carter in the late 1970s. He called the problem in Mexico “even worse than Chicago during the Prohibition era.”
Pastor said a solution similar to what ended that violence is needed now.
“What worked in the U.S. was not Eliot Ness,” he said, referring to the federal agent famous for fighting gangsters in the 1920s and 19’30s. “It was the repeal of Prohibition.”