Guest Commentary Opinion

The U.S. brings drugs and crime to Mexico

Embed from Getty Images

The United States is bringing drugs and crime to Mexico, and not the reverse. Yes, you read it correctly.

Circa 20 months ago, President Donald Trump opened his presidential campaign with his assertions toward Mexicans: They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime etc. 

The crime claim has been refuted by numerous research studies and articles (with links to many posted on Facebook) showing that immigrants (including Mexicans) have lower crime rates.

To his assertion that they’re bringing drugs, nobody has seemed to ask the question: to whom are they bringing them? Too often ignored is the fact that a line of white powder and a straw has become the paraphernalia for the recreational drug of elite groups who can afford it. Including many who live in expensive dwellings such as Trump Tower.

I was involved in the Caribbean in the 1990s when water transportation involving speedboats and even specially built submarines was the route of choice for drugs from Colombia via small Caribbean islands to be smuggled to the Florida coast. Some of these islands were devastated by the relatively large amounts of cash to be used for bribery and the deaths that often resulted. It was fair to say at the time that the drug problems in the U.S. – the demand for drugs – created the drug problem in the Caribbean and not the reverse.

It was the Cali cartels that drove the illegal drug trade through the Caribbean. With the demise of the Cali Cartels but the survival of the hard drug production areas in Colombia and further South along with the continued demand in the U.S. for them, a new land route had to be found for these drugs. Even so, the drug trade, including transit to Europe remains a problem in the Caribbean.

It is a fundamental axiom to most economists that if something can be produced and/or is already being produced then a way will be found to get it those who are willing and able to pay all the costs – legal or otherwise, peaceful or otherwise. Mexico’s great sin was to have the long border with the U.S. as the only land route for smuggling became dominant.

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase: Pobre de México, tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos which means, “Poor Mexico. So distant from God, so close to the United States.”

In the abstract, virtually all economists would agree that the blame for illegal substances is shared by those who produce it, those who traffic it and those who buy it. Meanwhile those who happen to occupy the areas where it is transited are the real victims. But without buyers at the end of the stream, the flow doesn’t happen. In our current polarized political climate, the politics of a particular situation might alter or at least modify the belief of some economists that demand drives activities such as the drug trade.

Following the logic of the argument that I have presented, Mexico is the victim of our drug habits and they have paid an enormous price for it. Estimates for the death toll over the last decade vary with some so large, I hesitate to repeat them since I cannot verify them. Even without numbers, we can all agree that the death toll from the drug trade has been horrendous. The sizeable amounts of money involved make it possible for the gangs to acquire an array of lethal weapons.

Though most of the deaths are gang members (or so it is claimed), the loss of life by law enforcement officers and innocent civilians is significant and has become a national tragedy. The sums of money involved make it inevitable that there will be sources of corruption.

The concentration of resources fighting the drug trade has strained the law enforcement resources making crime and violence in other sectors more difficult to control. And how does one even begin to measure the impact that this senseless violence has had on the everyday life of Mexico’s citizens?

Mexico has paid a heavy price even though they have cooperated completely with the U.S. to try to stamp it out. The continuing and escalating attacks against them and insults to their dignity are totally unwarranted. If relations between our two countries break down and the cooperation on the drug trade ends, our border problems in the U.S would be multiplied many times over and no wall would keep them out. 

As far as I can learn, Mexico historically did not have a major hard drug problem. I stand ready to be corrected on this point. Whenever drugs pass through an area, it is inevitable that some of the drugs are peddled in the transit areas. I have no data for this but I would be surprised if Mexico does not now have a hard drug problem in its own country. If our language and songs have any validity, Mexico does have a history of growing and using marijuana as we do. Especially where there are now increasing number of states where it has become legal.

I hope that this piece allows some to see another side to the standard arguments on the drug trade. Even if you disagree, I further hope that you recognize that there is another side on this issue.

Guest columnist Thomas R. DeGregori is a professor of economics. To submit a guest column, contact [email protected].


  • OMG!!! An actual Socialist Prof who hates America. Can this day get any better?

    I’d like to thank TDC for serving up hanging curve balls, especially after the Tampon, with their ‘Women’s Bleeding Fee’ piece.

    I wasn’t surprised that Tommy didn’t mention Operation Fast and Furious, the scandalous Obama ATF gunwalking program from 2009-11.

    Yes, the program that literally gave the Mexican cartels 2,000 high-powered weapons of which only a small portion have been recovered; and more than some have been used in actual massacres. So at least the SocProf would have been correct in that sense, if he would have the gall to go against a fellow Socialist.

    I’m sure that logical thinking UH students out there are scratching their heads after reading this piece? Saying, “how can the U.S. be the problem in this?” Do we send our gang members down to Mexico to chop off heads or murder tens or hundreds of people in one fell swoop.

    In the illegal drug relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, it is obvious that America is the demander, and Mexico the supplier. And how Mexico goes about its process of “making its sausage” (so to speak) is none of our business, seeing as our druggies are only interested in the end product.

    The SocProf blames us, and not our druggies for Mexico’s demise, but it is the Commander-in-Chief who is ultimately responsible for the safeguard and protection of our borders, of which involves keeping illegal drugs out.

    And lets be honest, our Southern Border was very porous during the Obama years. Mexicans could have run tanks full of drugs thru our border during Obama’s regime and our guys would have waved them through.

    To solve this problem, we cannot act as Red Coats in a line of battle, waiting for commands to load weapons, aim, and fire on the enemy.

    I’m reminded of the private military company out of South Africa called Executive Outcomes (EO). The Angolan government hired the PMC to put down the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), who went around killing and raping innocents in a bid to gain control of the country.

    When EO engaged the enemy using reciprocal tactics, UNITA became discombobulated. Thus in a relatively short period, the small band of the EO contingent, had control of Angola and UNITA called for peace. The United Nations and the Clinton Administratiion then pressured Angola to allow UN peacekeepers, UNAVEM, to relieve EO. Angola cowered to the pressure, and a revitalized UNITA soon began hostilities again.

    The same thing happened in Sierra Leone in 1995 with the government’s fight against the Revolutuionary United Front, and SL also caved forcing EO to withdraw. The UN was again ineffective, and the Sierra Leone Civil War caused the deaths of 50,000 to 300,000, depending on the sources, with over 2 million displaced from their homes.

    The U.S. and Mexican leaderships need to take a similar approach to Executive Outcomes and their tactics. Let PMC’s ‘make the sausage’ when it comes to dealing with the Mexican Cartels, and I guarantee you a difference will be made in slowing the supply of drugs into the United States.

    Of course our Liberals and the SocProf Tommy DeGreg would call foul if anything happened in harming one hair on the head of a cartel associate. It doesn’t mater if the cartel beheads, rapes, or massacres; those people deserve their day in court.

    Sorry Charlie, I mean Tommy, your argument is as ineffective as your fight to stop your receding hairline; and you offered no solution to the problem. You just blame the U.S., and during the Trump Administration of course; when you cared not to even address the concern when the Socialist Obama was in the White House.

    The Mexican cartels need to be dealt with as harshly as they treat their own victims. If the cartels chop off a head, the U.S. and Mexico should chop two of theirs.

    This fight should not be a judicial concern. The cartels do not understand Justice for All … but they do understand justice at the end of a gun barrel or the sharp blade of a machete.

    If anything … SocProf Tommy Degregori would support … sending in the UN.

    • Everything you say carries the assumption that everything America does is morally right? You’re so worried about what criminals in another country are doing you fail to see that the only reason they exist is because American people use the drugs that they supply. Instead of trying to behead cartels, you should focus on the thousand of civilians killed by drones that both democrats and republicans have ordered. Get your lips off of Uncle Sam’s Butt, and start thinking critically.

      • RRS … you are a glittering jewel of colossal ignorance. If I didn’t know better you either SocProf Tommy or some Islamic sympathizer.

        Of course America is not perfect?

        If you want a Socialist Utopian Society, please move to North Korea or some Muslim majority country..

        But since you wrote some tripe, let me address it.

        Why does anyone do drugs?
        They want to escape from reality.

        And quite frankly the reality of Democrat policies in inner cities creates a situation where drug users want to escape, a lot.

        I don’t do drugs, Do you RRS?

        And Tommy or Akmed, or whatever your name is … why would I care about those killed by drones?
        If someone is target by drones, that are likely to wish harm or actually harm America and the Western powers.

        And let’s be honest … if Radical Islamic terrorism is not snuffed out, and with a wimpy President like Obama in office, the United States has a chance of eventually not existing in the way The Founders intended.

        So go ahead and kiss bottom of Obama and his Shadow Government or the Deep State, or whatever it will be referred,

        You won’t make any inroads into eroding Trump. If the Progressive Media is unable to do it. Neither will you.

        • You propagandist mindset is baffling. You understand that both Democrats and Republicans are equally flawed. You really think a billionaire business man cares about the well-being of the population? You really think Radical Islam is the main problem of today? You are more likely to be hit by lighting twice than be killed by a terrorist. Literally look at gallup polls it shows statistics on this type of terrorism. Your mentality seems to be America is justified in anything it does. You really mean to tell me that 1000 of poor civilians are a threat to America? You can blame liberals as you say Republicans will fix it, but both liberals and conservatives do not care about the people.

          • RRS, does Mommy or Daddy still wipe you after you go pooh-pooh?
            Because that’s the mentality I see you as … as a complainer and whiner, and basically a little baby, suckling the mother teat of Socialism.

            I guarantee you that President Trump cares more about the well-being of American citizens than Obama did. A President’s job is to set conditions in the country to get the very best out of its citizens following their self-interest.

            The SocDems don’t care about the self-interest of their constituents. Obama and the Democrats self-interest, was the self-interest of their constituents. That they

            Obviously, Radical Islams self-interest, RSS … is your self-interest, and coupled with the Democrats ownership of your self-interest … you can never have an original thought free from the influence of Islam or the Socialist Democrats.

            I’ve already said that America is not perfect, but we are the best country in The World.

            You don’t how good you have it here in America RSS.

            Try putting yourself in the shoes of a poor North Korean citizen, or as a woman in a Sharia Law country. But with your brain capacity, I doubt you can.

    • have you got the right country?

      pretty sure the mexican security forces and drug cartels are already similar – in many cases theyre already the same thing. mexican police are true criminals

      very different to the us and south africa where most – with occasional exceptions – are decent, law-abiding folks that match their job description

      i agree however that you have to fight fire with fire, you have to be harsh

  • Yes professor, and umbrellas cause it to rain. The drug problem in Mexico only exists with the complicity of the Mexican government, police and military.

Leave a Comment