By David Amoruso
After thousands of murders and extreme violence that saw beheadings and mass graves the drug war in Mexico has finally been made a top priority for the United States. With a U.S. congressman referring to Mexico as the United States’ “third front” after Afghanistan and Iraq, the war between drug cartels has become more than a simple gang war over drugs and territory; it has turned into a war that is destroying an entire nation.
With over 34,000 people killed in the past four years since Mexican authorities cracked down on the Cartels involved in the drug war, it is clear they desperately need help. On Friday, Washington promised a $500 million dollar aid increase under the crime-fighting Merida Initiative that broadens U.S. anti-drug assistance beyond Mexican federal law enforcement to include state and local police. It has promised training and equipment to Mexico's security forces under the initiative that will last three-years and cost $1.3 billion dollar.
Though both countries pledged to work together closely, relations have not been good. AFP reporter Jordi Zamora wrote: “Mexico is upset over the flow of U.S. weapons into their country, while U.S. officials fear that Mexico is riddled with institutional corruption.” There are also those that are critical of the Merida Initiative: “The Merida Initiative is almost an insult,” Mexican historian Enrique Krauze told Reuters. “America spends a trillion dollars in Iraq and a hundred million or so on Merida: Beautiful.”
As politicians on both sides squabble about money and ‘terms of agreement’, the war goes on. And law enforcement tries to put a stop to it. On Friday, Mexican authorities announced the arrest of Miguel Angel Cedillo Gonzalez, a major drug-trafficking suspect who allegedly was trying to rebuild the criminal mob of jailed kingpin Edgar Valdez Villarreal. Miguel Angel Cedillo Gonzalez had been arrested on Wednesday in Mexico City along with two other suspects. Authorities claim he was seeking the assistance of other drug cartels to reassemble Valdez Villarreal's organization and wage a battle for control of the drug trade in the states of Guerrero and Morelos.
A great arrest of an alleged drug boss, but will he see trial? According to an article published by InSightCrime that could be a problem as “over 70 percent of all federal arrests in Mexico never reach trial, highlighting deficiencies in the justice system which are at least as important as issues like police firepower when it comes to tackling organized crime.”
The site quotes a report released by Mexico's Attorney General's Office saying that authorities were able to bring to trial “only 28 percent of federal arrests in 2010. The rest of the more than 106,000 people detained went free. In a majority of these cases, this was due to insufficient evidence against the accused, or cases that were sloppily put together.”
Just like the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan it seems like the violence in Mexico will last for a very long time. One must wonder, though, how a drug war could result in violence that can only be compared to that seen in a real war.
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By David Amoruso