The Violence Due To Drug War Near Mexico And Us Border

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The Violence due to Drug War near Mexico and US Border


The U.S.-Mexican border is one of the world's busiest, with hundreds of thousands of legal crossings every day. Alongside the legitimate traffic of people and goods, however, is an illegal trade estimated by the U.S. government to be worth tens of billions of dollars a year. Drug traffickers smuggle their products from Mexico into the U.S., while money earned from those sales flows in the opposite direction. The trafficking is controlled by powerful Mexican drug cartels. In recent years, those cartels have been fighting both each other and the Mexican authorities, who under President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa have launched a major crackdown on the drug trade (Yavener, 2011).

Many observers have characterized the level of violence in Mexico over the past few years as an outright war. Northern cities along the U.S. border have been particularly hard hit, as drug cartels battle for control of the points of entry to the U.S. drug market. Kidnappings, brutal murders and assassinations of government officials, soldiers and police have become common. The drug cartels have developed their own paramilitary units, and are often as well-armed as the government forces they are fighting (Kaye, 2010).

Analysis and Discussion

The U.S. has sought to assist Mexico in combating drug traffickers through a security-related aid package known as the Merida Initiative. That aid is being doled out by Congress gradually, however, and the Mexican government has expressed concern that it is not arriving fast enough for Mexico to maintain the upper hand against the cartels. It has also complained of lax gun laws that allow drug traffickers to buy guns easily in the U.S. and smuggle them across the border into Mexico. In addition, the Mexican government has charged that the U.S. should do more to address the role that Americans' demand for drugs has played in the current surge of violence (El Paso Times, 2010).

It was to address such concerns that President Obama (D) visited Mexico in April 2009 to meet with Calderon. He pledged to expedite $700 million in aid, much of it military- and security-related, under the Merida Initiative. In addition, Obama committed the U.S. to ratifying an international treaty that would improve the tracking of guns across international borders.

Critics of the plan say that Obama should have committed to reinstating the U.S. ban on guns with military-style features, known as assault weapons, arguing that such weapons often make their way into the hands of drug traffickers. Other critics take a completely different view, arguing that the Obama administration went too far in pledging to ratify the international agreement on arms smuggling, which they charge could be misused to deprive U.S. citizens of their constitutional gun rights. Still others call for military troops to be deployed to the U.S. side of the border to help stop smuggling and the overflow of violence from the Mexican side. Additional critics call for the U.S. to explore drug legalization as a way to take the drug trade out of ...
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