Prof speaks on Mexican cartels
As the Mexican government fights to constrain cartels and public concern over the war on drugs grows, UH professor John Hart led a discussion Wednesday to explore the escalating situation and increase public awareness.’
Hart, a UH history professor and leading Mexican History scholar, spoke on the impact and influence that the U.S. has on Mexico’s problem.’
‘ ‘What we are doing is building a gigantic repressive machine, making mega profits that otherwise would not exist,’ Hart said.’
The battle between drug cartels and authorities has accounted for more than 1,000 deaths in 2009 so far, the Associated Press reported.
President Felipe Calderon continues to insist Mexico is not a ‘failed state’ and that the drug war will be a success by 2012 at end of his term.’
Two of the most influential and dangerous cartels are the Federation and the Gulf Cartel.
Los Zetas consists of trained military men and is the infamous enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel that operates on the border Texas shares with Mexico.’
The Federation consists of different groups of cartels including the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels.’
With an annual revenue of $4 billion, Hart said the Gulf Cartel easily buys ranches in south Texas where drug cargos are illegally imported.’
Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that he wants federal funding for border defense, including 1,000 troops to guard El Paso.
The U.S. Department of State Web site warns American travelers of impending danger on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.’
The Mexican government does not provide basic services to the very poor and has no income tax, Hart said.’
‘How can you expect them to help rehabilitating drug addicts? The public is not going to do it,’ he said.
Hart said a pressing issue is the apathy that many Mexican citizens have for the U.S.’s large demand for Mexican drugs.’
Mathematics instructor Frances Burfred elaborated on Hart’s point at the discussion. ‘
‘The fact is that there is no reason why Mexicans should care about what (the U.S.) does, and the drug trade has provided many poor people with decent living. It’s not their business to concern themselves with what we do,’ Burfred said.
The U.S. government responded to the war on drugs by offering monetary compensation, military aid and training to Mexico and other South American countries with the Merida Initiative.
The plan has been criticized as a failure in addressing the war. A 1994 Rand Drug Policy Research Center study funded by the Clinton administration pointed to treatment as a more efficient way to dissolve drug use.
‘(Make) all drugs (pharmaceutical) and the serious drugs – the ones that kill people – give them serious monitoring, counseling, rehabilitation and treatment,’ Hart said. ‘For marijuana, they should regulate it to some degree, but it should be legal.’
He said drugs should be regulated to protect the person using the drug from overuse. ‘
‘(Hart) said a lot of things, he gave me more insight into what is happening in Mexico. He gave a lot of facts rather than an opinion. It was factual good information for one to have,’ Burfred said.