Most Saturday nights, after Java or the Ticker, many SLU students woudn’t think wtice about lighting up a big doobie or blazing a joint. The implications and consequences for your marijuana habit however, reach farther, and are more deadly than you getting caught by SLU security. I’m talking about a war. This is where most students and scholars would begin a discussion on the Mexican “War on Drugs.” It is easy to say that Mexico needs to succeed in their war on drugs, eliminating corruption, poverty, and violence that plague the nation. I’m not talking about a “War on Drugs,” I’m talking about a war waged on civilians under the auspices of a powerful, and strong military, police force and government. What would be really interesting and helpful is if Americans could really look at the roots and cause of this deadly industry.
As Jorge Chabat writes in his article “Mexico’s War on Drugs: No Margin for Manouver” the Mexican government is doomed for failure. America provides the market for mexican marijuana and heroine. At the same time, it is the American government that is pressuring the Mexican governement to crack down on drugs, drug cartels, and drug traficking. We have created a double edged sword.
As a consequence of this crack down on drugs, during the 6 year term of President Filipe Calderon, over 26,000 people have gone missing. http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/26/world/americas/mexico-disappeared/index.html?iref=allsearch A recent report by Human Rights Watch attributes 149 of those forced dissapearances to the Mexican security forces. Now in order to combat drugs, the mexican military is aiding local police forces. Civilians often can’t tell apart drug gangs from local police and military as they are all interconnected, working together under the table. This New York times article exemplifies this phenomenon by illustrating the story of the Salazar family who have had 6 family members murdered since 2010 and expect the miltary. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/world/americas/26mexico.html?_r=0 Some of you may have remembered Ms. Salazar who traveled to came to campus for our Day of the Dead celebrations.
Sooooo. I have found myself wondering what the Post-Structuralists and Derrida would have to say about this conflict. If, as we have discussed in class, we see the world in binary oppositions, as the Structuralists would agree, then this situation too can be discussed in these terms. We see good vs bad, light vs dark, citizen vs illegal immigrant, moral upstanding citizen vs criminals and the Mexican and American governments vs the drug cartels? If only it was that simple! I think Derrida would argue we must “Deconstruct” thse dichotomies. What if we didn’t argue the binary oppostion of good vs bad and government vs drug cartel? What if these drug cartels and gangs are really just farmers trying to feed their families that are caught up in the whirlwind market of America’s demand for drugs? What if the government is the enemy? They can’t account for 26,000 disapearances! Maybe the drug market (which we have created) is a means of survival? What if Mexico stopped the “War on Drugs,” stopped all the Human Rights abuses and forced disapearances? What if America legalized Marijuana? Would legalizing marijuana in the US loosen the government’s hold on its people, facilitate regulation of the drug market, and bring an end to drug cartels and police and military corruption?
We must understand the United States’ role in the War on Drugs, while rewiring our thinking. What markets are we supporting, and who is dying becau