Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Narcotics: Ex-U.S. Drug Czar says Mexico on verge of narco-state

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 --As President-Elect Barack Obama and President George Bush meet Monday and Tuesday in Washington with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, former U.S. Drug Czar (White House National Drug Policy Director) Four-Star Gen. (ret.) Barry McCaffrey reports that Mexico is on the verge of becoming a narco-state.

McCaffrey, who participated in a three-day meeting last month in Mexico of the International Forum of Intelligence and Security Specialists, an advisory body to Mexican Federal law enforcement, issued a report to West Point's Department of Social Sciences, where McCaffrey is Adjunct Professor of International Affairs. McCaffrey reiterated the findings today and stated, "Mexico is on the edge of the abyss -- it could become a narco-state in the coming decade. Chronic drug consumption in Mexico has doubled since 2002 as has cocaine use -- while U.S. cocaine consumption has dropped by 70% in the past two decades. An estimated 5% of the Mexican population now consumes illegal drugs. Nonetheless, 90% of all U.S. cocaine transits Mexico, and Mexico is also the dominant source of methamphetamine production for the U.S. market."

McCaffrey continued, "It is time to deflate the myth that U.S. demand alone fuels Mexican drugs. However, President Calderon and Mexico's senior leadership have launched a serious attempt to reclaim the rule of law from the chaos of the drug cartels. President Calderon has also for the first time boldly used the tool of extradition to the U.S., sending 83 major drug criminals north."

According to McCaffrey, the U.S. must increase assistance to Mexico to confront the drug threat and drug-related violence: "Mexican law enforcement and soldiers face heavily armed drug gangs with high-powered military automatic weapons. 90% of these weapons are smuggled across the U.S. border," according to McCaffrey. "Yet the United States has provided only modest support to the Mexican government to date -- the $400 million/year Merida initiative." McCaffrey calls that "a drop in the bucket compared to what was spent in Iraq and Afghanistan ($700 billion to date). We cannot afford to have a narco-state as a neighbor."

The McCaffrey Mexico report may be viewed here

Source: Robert Weiner Associates
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
Putting principles before profits