The Cartel Solution

David Simmonds

Mexico has been taking some serious hits lately, beyond the general world-wide recession that is destined to re-shuffle the economic deck, far and wide.

The large Gulf of Mexico oil producer field, Cantarell, is in steep production decline (oil finances a majority of the government) and tourism, another major revenue source, is down from Cancun to Tijuana. U.S. president Obama is talking about renegotiating parts of NAFTA and has recently barred Mexican trucks from driving the U.S. highways.  Now, Forbes magazine has listed Sinaloa drug cartel leader “El Chapo” Guzman on their wealthiest people list, which has greatly irritated Mexico’s President Calderon. And, oh yeah, the peso has fallen in value to the dollar about 30% in recent months.

If all of this isn’t enough, all you read about these days is about the drug wars in Mexico, as the cartels fight each other for distribution turf while they each battle the Mexico army to stay in business. The other issues pale in comparison to this one.

You have to give Calderon credit for the courage in meeting the cartels head-on. But he’s going to need some help from the U.S., beyond the $1.4 billion that has been pledged via the Merida Initiative. It is now past time for the U.S. to legalize and control marijuana, which is 75% of the cartels’ business.

Millions of American’s smoke weed, and I’m talking doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumbers, Democrats and Republicans, Christians and atheists. It is available everywhere from border to border and ocean to ocean. The much heralded decades-long War on Drugs has been unequivocally lost. And Mexico is paying the biggest price.

They didn’t ask for this. The trade routes were diverted to Mexico in great part when we shut down the Colombia-via-the-Caribbean operations. That’s when the Mexican cartels began to grow and thrive, assisted by thousands of high-caliber automatic weapons that easily flow across the border into Mexico, primarily from Arizona and Texas, the right-to-own-any-damn-weapon-I-want states.

And now it is estimated that the cartels operate in 230 American cities, employing many American-born associates. This is a North American problem and needs a bi-national, brave solution. Take away the cartel marijuana cash cow before this problem becomes much worse, which it will. Too much is at stake to ignore the only plan that will work. As Will Shakespeare once noted,  “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…”