Journalism has become a risky mode of employment in Mexico, especially if you are reporting from Ciudad Juarez on the drug war that has been raging there for some years. Journalists have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered, to the point that the integrity, quality and depth of coverage is suffering. Journalists themselves have had enough it seems, with one show being cancelled in protest last months, and a recent march taking place, calling for more protection. I don’t blame them.
There is a new news source on the drug war though, one that has been getting a lot of media attention. An anonymous person is reporting all and sundry that comes his way on a blog called Blog del Narco. There are pros and cons to this sort of informal reporting, the biggest potential issue being the checking of facts before publication. But I guess it’s better than nothing. And I suspect, if the situation continues to deteriorate, further ‘informal’ organisations and methods will be introduced. The similarities to Colombia in the 80′s and 90′s are repeatedly mentioned, and I do wonder how long before a Mexican version of Los Pepes appears. It may have appeared already. It wouldn’t be a surprising or unusual turn of events really. Even the UK govt, a supposedly civilised political machine, has aided paramilitary groups within its own borders within recent decades.
Meanwhile, an alternative solution is being discussed more openly within political circles in Mexico. former President Fox has called for the legalisation of drugs and even current president Felipe Calderon has declared he is ‘open’ to new ideas. I will say now that my opinion on what I’ve heard so far is based on some fairly piecemeal info that I’ve heard. But the idea seems to be to legalise marijuana. My first thought was that I had been under the impression (naively perhaps) that cocaine was the big problem, not the grass.
But it did then occur to me that Mexico doesn’t produce cocaine, and is simply a transit country, whereas a lot of marijuana is grown here. Perhaps the hope is to stop the trade in marijuana and hope the cartels look for alternative routes to ship the cocaine. But still.Will legalising grass really solve anything? After all, it’s no good Mexico legalising the drug if the US doesn’t. The cartels are far more interested in supplying the US market than the Mexican one. I can’t see it changing anything.
As the War on Drugs rages on, drug treatment programs continue to help drug addicts who want to turn their lives around.