Ending the Drug War in Mexico

Mexico’s president, Andrés Manual Lopéz Obrador, was elected on the promise of stopping the epidemic of violence in Mexico.
AMLO made a bold first step last month.

On May 7, Mexico’s new populist president, Andrés Manual Lopéz Obrador, announced his country was withdrawing from the Merida Initiative, the regional U.S.-led drug enforcement pact, and will be turning down the aid package offered through the program. “It hasn’t worked,” he told reporters in Mexico City. “We don’t want cooperation in the use of force, we want cooperation for development.”

He’s proposed across-the-board drug decriminalization in both nations and wants to “reorient” the program away from drug enforcement and toward social programs. “We don’t want armed helicopters or resources for other types of military support,” Lopéz Obrador, who’s known as AMLO, declared.

If AMLO's statement looks familiar, that's because Bolivia did something similar a decade ago.

From 1997 to 2004, a US-funded program seeking to eradicate coca in Bolivia by force plunged the Chapare into traumatic conflict...
Wherever you go in the Chapare — one of Bolivia's two coca-growing regions — you hear similar stories of life in the 1990s and early 2000s: narco-slayings, police violence and rapes, and coca-grower protests ending in violence and death.

You also hear gratitude that Bolivia has replaced a strategy of eradication with one of regulated production to meet historic national demand for coca.
...Farmers feel particularly indebted to President Evo Morales, a former firebrand coca growers' leader from the Chapare. Morales expelled the DEA from Bolivia in 2008 after violent confrontations in the region claimed 30 lives and he said he could no longer guarantee the US agents' safety.

"It is different now, the police are our friends," the farmer says. "Before, I would look away when they passed by. I didn't want to catch their eye. Now, we always stop and say hello."

Decriminalization in no way reduces drug production, but it does dramatically reduce the violence.
The lessons of Bolivia are not lost on AMLO.

In his National Development Plan for 2019-2024, President López Obrador (also known as AMLO) outlined the goals of decriminalizing illegal drugs in Mexico and diverting funds used for narcotics enforcement toward "massive, but personalized" treatment programs for drug abusers, CNBC reported.

According to the president's policy statement, such drugs would not become legalized, but authorities would implement enforced medical treatments in place of drug arrests.

The statement also called for cooperation on these issues between Mexico and the US, where over a decade of intense drug war has fueled an estimated 150,000 organized crime-related deaths, and left nearly 40,000 Mexican citizens still missing.

Mexico is already on a set path to cannabis legalization, but AMLO is going far beyond that.
I'm not certain how much success this plan will have, but I am certain that AMLO's critics have no better ideas. Their incremental reform suggestions have no chance of success.

0 users have voted.


Lookout's picture

Since it decriminalised all drugs in 2001, Portugal has seen dramatic drops in overdoses, HIV infection and drug-related crime.

Portugal became the first country to decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit substances. Rather than being arrested, those caught with a personal supply might be given a warning, a small fine, or told to appear before a local commission – a doctor, a lawyer and a social worker – about treatment, harm reduction, and the support services that were available to them.

I wish AMLO and Mexico the best of luck and hope their approach crosses our border too.

0 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”


good outcomes for human beings on a number of fronts, without regard to their wealth?

Could there possibly be a more ill-conceived national policy? /s

0 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

The standard political line so far, in all the countries, has been: "we're non-serious because we're beholden to powerful people and we can't do anything to offend them."

0 users have voted.

"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

Joining Colorado and I believe others.
Might as well go whole hog and legalize it all. Cocaine and Heroin used to be legal in the USA and sold in most drug stores. The same groups that later got alcohol criminalized first got the Federal Narcotics Act of 19XX. They went from that success (legislative success) to their piece de resistance, Prohibition of alcohol.

Some people are going to abuse, more will not, and some will abstain totally.

EDIT: The most abused drug in the USA is probably Viagra/Cialis

0 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

Alligator Ed's picture

maryjane usage has actually dropped a small amount since legalization. "The thrill is gone" perhaps. The allure of doing something both illicit and inherently harmless is too strong to resist for many. Certainly the reduction in maryjane-related crimes, if such are really that, is well worth any theoretically deleterious damage caused by maryjane--the only actual such disease is lung damage from pot smoking.

0 users have voted.
The Liberal Moonbat's picture

...before THEY build a wall!

Cagey bastardos will probably make US pay for it, somehow...



*slaps cheeks Macaulay Culkin-style*


MEXICO hacked the Election to keep us walled out of their country!!!

0 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.