Mass Poverty or Drug Violence…What is Worse?

David Simmonds

President Calderon, in a speech at the National Palace presented at his one-year-in-office-address, declared that “The biggest threat to Mexico’s future is lack of public safety and organized crime“. Citing 15,000 arrests of drug dealers and a couple of huge drug confiscations as proof of the success of Mexico’s version of a war on drugs, Calderon has vowed to eradicate a brutal industry that has reportedly killed over 2,000 people this year (in a country of over 100 million), as the drug cartels battle one another for turf and supremacy. This is obviously a problem…but the major concern of the average Mexican?

Admittedly, I’m just a long-time interested pinche gringo observer with a marginal IQ and a keyboard, but I submit that Mexico’s major problem is in transforming a dysfunctional economic system that endured 71 years of heavy-handed corruption, where the majority of its citizens continue to survive on less than $5.00 per day, into a country of equality, promise and individual hope for a better life.

Mexico is a country blessed with enormous resources and hard-working people, most of whom are not directly affected by the drug cartels who stay in business funneling their product to a hungry band of coke-snorting and weed-inhaling Americans. But many of them do face a day-to-day struggle of survival, sending their young and strong across the northern border to earn subsistence money for the loved ones back home. This permanent band-aid policy is bad business for both countries and needs to be addressed as a top priority. If it is ignored, Calderon’s decreasing popularity will continue downward. The people know the score…they always do.