Its Time to Legalize in Mexico! (combined posts)

author: 
Rocky Neptun

Like the folk corridos that give artistic expression to a violent and gritty life, a kind of vocal graffiti; Mexico's drug culture is more than just dollars and brutal, sensational murders. It is rebellion, defiance, and resistance that says no..........

Colonia Obregon, Tijuana, Mexico...... Twenty-five year-old Juan Ricardo Flores believes in the market system. Rather than paper money, his wages are paid in ounces, like precious metals. He supports his three little girls, a wife, a cousin and an ailing mother by helping move the white gold through the pipeline from his barrio's "safe house" to the distribution points closer to the border. He even employs his daughters to play on the balconies and in the driveway to give legitimacy to the "casa" in a modest, middle-class neighborhood.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, 51, also believes in the magic of the capitalist model. After all, he should. Forbes Magazine, to the howl of the Mexican government, recently added him to their list of the world's self-made billionaires. Guzman, like our Bill Gates, is a
legend to millions of his fellow citizens.

[Before I go any further, let me state clearly, that in writing this article I am breaking Mexican laws. According to President Felipe Calderon, "in Mexico, it is considered a crime to praise criminals."]

Calderon, himself a criminal, who stole the election from Mexico City Mayor, Lope Obrador, and is allied with Mexico's crooked and exploiter billionaires, props up a "capitalist state" where 10 families control 80 percent of the country's wealth and thousands of
children die each day because of poverty.

Guzman, called "Shorty" because he is only 5 feet tall, is "the silent shadow across Mexico," one army general said recently, "he is everywhere."

Like Gates, Buffet and thousands of other modern capitalist robber barons, he seeks to corner the market, garnering ever greater shares of his country's resources. As the operator of the Sinaloa Cartel, like the heads of the other great cartels (the Gulf, Juarez and Tijuana Cartels) he provides jobs and income for hundreds of thousands
of people; in a nation where unemployment is rampant and their is no social safety net.

Word on the street is that Guzman is a warm, caring person; who supports his family, neighbors, the Church and many private charities. Young Juan, of Tijuana, while he works for a rival Cartel, still feels pride and awe in the exploits of Guzman, comparing him to Zorro or Robin Hood.

While the other Cartel leaders struggle for anonymity, he has been enshrined in a cult of personality since his dramatic 2001 escape from Federal custody in a laundry van just days before he was to be extradited to the United States.The U.S. government, like Pancho Villa
before him, only added to the luster and his anti-gringo mystique by putting a $5 million bounty on his head. His subsequent escapes and exploits are glorified in the increasing popular "narcocorrido" songs that are sung in poor barrios from Cancun to Tecate.

As President Obama ponders sending armed troops, calls for total militarization of the border region are increasing.Texas Governor Rick Perry has formally asked Washington for a thousand soldiers on his southern rim, particularly around El Paso, which abuts Ciudad Juarez. Director of Intelligence, Dennis Blair, on March 10, told a Senate Armed Services Committee that "the corrupting influence and increasing violence of Mexican drug cartels impedes Mexico's ability to govern parts of his territory." While stopping short of calling for military advisers and personnel to aid the Mexican military; his presentation seemed headed in that direction.

Personal Reflections For My Adopted Nation!

Living in Mexico, part of the week with my lover of 8 years, who is a Mexican national, speaks no English and as a Zapatista, hates the imperialism from the north; it strikes me as both sad and tragic that Mexico is dependent and obedient on the madness from the north to define and implement its struggle with the drug cartels. The United States hysterical fear of recreational drugs is a pathological social illness fueled by ideology and a million jobs -from prison guards to politicians - that feed on the war on drugs.

I, personally, don't give a rat's ass which Cartel comes out on top; or whether Guzman is elected President of Mexico - he certainly has created more jobs than the 6 years of President Vicente Fox's administration. One can only hope that the Cartel leaders will one day get together and carve out secure territories that will end this insane (and unprofitable) violence. The numbers are staggering. Six thousands deaths a year, all poor boys; some police officers struggling to raise families on indecent wages and benefits...the price of participating in the underground economy because the above-ground corporate-owned system is owned by rich, powerful cartels of banks and investment firms.

Mexico MUST tell its northern bosses to "vallanse a la verga," and quit being the waging tail of the dog. It is time to consider legalizing and taxing all presently illegal narcotics. If a sales tax was put on these commodities, like oil and copper, all along the pipeline, Mexico could raise hundreds of billions of pesos to finance a decent education system for its future generations.

An educational system, where, in Tijuana, families who cannot afford to pay for "public" education don't send their children to school. A city-wide system where in the 21st Century, most schools have no computers or English teachers and bits of plaster and rat droppings fall into lunches from crumbling buildings and exposed roofs.

These funds could not only finance new jobs, in Mexico's own stimulus package of new infrastructure improvements but provide a social safety net for the millions of compensinos being displaced by American agriculture imperialism through NAFTA and other neo-liberal
schemes.

The four major Cartels operate a business that generates over $15 billion a year; yet because of the drug war, it actually brings down the annual domestic product of Mexico by 1 percentage point a year. Legalizing and taxing would not only end the violence; but propel Mexico into an elightened nation, like the Netherlands and Belgium.

Mexico is the funnel for over 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the U.S.and much of the marijuana, heroin and amphetamines that go north. It is time for the U.S. to pay for its own failure to legalize, rather than expect other nations to suffer the militarization and estrangement of its suceeding generations.

As a correspondent for the Seoul Times, Lee Jay Walker, in a dispatch for the March 16th edition, noted...the violence in Mexico can be laid at the feet of the U.S. "America is the cause of this mayhem," he wrote, "after all, it is the lucrative drug market which is the cause of this problem. This is often overlooked by other nations, but sadly America is the biggest consumer of illegal drugs in the world, therefore Mexico is faced with this reality."

Tijuana Reels From U.S. Addiction

With historic lows of the peso to the dollar (14 to 1) and increasing inflation due to raising world-wide prices, the people of Tijuana are suffering a double-whammy. Like a vice, there are now over 100,000 addicts in the city, according to human rights activist Victor Alfredo Clark. This has resulted in increased arrests for petty drug offenses, which are up more than 400 percent over last year, Tijuana's Police Chief reports, and takes efforts away from real crime prevention efforts.

This in turn, due to the sensationalism of American journalism and its double standard for crime reporting, has devastated the local tourism industry. Visitors are down 90 percent since 2005. One and half million tourists a year have quit coming and it will only get worse when this summer's passport requirements are enforced.

The city spends no funds on rehabilitation programs and the state of Baja provides only marginal support. Taxed narcotic funds could provide quality treatment and education programs for Tijuana's youth.

In colonias and barrios throughout Tijuana "chalinillos" sing the praise of the narcotic trade; its jobs, its machismo, is defiance of the new world order of capitalist thugs, like Gates and the Bushes.Named after Rosalino "Chalino" Sanchez, who merged the older
1930's "norteno" music, its accordion-based polka rhythmic base, with the raw lyrics about the hard lives of the poor and destitute who run drugs because there is no alternative. He helped create and popularize "narcocorrido" songs.

Sanchez, 31, also know as "El Pelavacas," (cow skin peeler), was gunned down in 1992 after a concert in Culiacan, Sinaloa, giving him legendary status. Former President Vicente Fox tried to ban narcocorridos; while in Baja, official pressure and police harassment
contribute to a "voluntary" black-out of the music by radio and television.

Like the folk corridos that give artistic expression to a violent and gritty life, a kind of vocal graffiti; Mexico's drug culture is more than just dollars and brutal, sensational murders. It is rebellion, defiance, and resistance that says no to a system where
only powerful pharmaceutical companies and their bought mules - U.S. politicians - can determine the needs of an individual's personal high
( his ecstasy, her meditative enhancement.)

Mexico's drug culture must be liberated from profit and addressed by visionary and compassionate leaders. The insane idea of making war on our own families and neighbors, without jobs or hope, desperate for food and medical care for their families; is a perverse, obscene North American illusion based on economic superiority and Victorian social notions.

Mexico must, indeed, shake off the yoke of U.S. domination by going its own way. Declare the Drug War won! Legalize and tax!......and provide young Juan Ricardo, in Tijuana, the opportunity to provide for his large family safely; without risking his life each time he goes to work.

Rocky Neptun is director of the San Diego Renters Union and writes for the MediaLeft Website.
§"Shorty" Guzman
by Rocky Neptun Sunday Mar 22nd, 2009 11:26 AM

Just 5 feet tall, Guzman is becoming Mexico's version of Zorro; his very freedom and expoits a middle finger pointed to the United States determination and dominance of Mexico's response to illegal drugs. Like Panch Villa, before him, considered an outlaw by authorities: Guzman's folk hero status grows.