Is USA the Cause of the Mexican Drug Cartels?

If you've watched the news in the past 10 years, you must be aware of all the narcotics and violence problems that Mexico is currently facing. The drug war in Mexico has kept the country in constant turmoil for that past decade. Drug cartels seem to be winning the war, as they murder members of rival cartels, as well as police and government officials. Assassinations of political figures are almost a monthly occurance. But how does the United States tie into all of this, and could the U.S. actually be the cause?

The cartels in Mexico are larger and more organized than simple street gangs you would find in Los Angeles of Atlanta. They are the illegal equivalent to multi-billion dollar corporations. They have enough money to bribe even the most powerful corrupted judges and government employees and they have access to what seems to be an unlimited amount of weapons and firepower. But where are all these guns coming from? According to the ATF and U.S. government, 95 percent of guns smuggled into Mexico come from the United States, and more than 7,500 illegal weapons recovered had serial numbers that were traceable to the U.S.

But of course, we can't blame USA can we? I mean after all, the mexican cartels would probably just get their artillery elsewhere if they couldn't get it from the U.S. so easily. So how can American be held responsible for the drug wars in Mexico? Well to answer that, we first need to examine why exactly the war is happening in the first place.

The cartels are similar to organized crime in Chicago in the prohibition days. They had money and power because they supplied a demand. If alcohol wasn't illegal, Al Capone would never have risen to power. He saw an underground market he could supply to, and he used his strongarm tactics and criminal influence to make it happen. Much like Al Capone, drug lords such as Pablo Escobar in Colombia did the same thing when they saw that underground market appear again. When you make things illegal, it creates a black market, and black markets create organized crime and drug lords. Mexico's Joaquin Guzman (aka El Chapo Guzman) was ranked #701 on Forbes Magazine's list of the wealthiest people in the world in 2009, as well as #41 for Most Powerful People. It was the black market that allowed this to happen, and now cartels like his have all the money and power they need to keep the police and government in check. Mexico's gov't realized this and decriminalized small amounts of drugs in August of 2009. They must have taken notes from Portugal who had much success after changing their drug laws and doing the same thing. Now, instead of people being jailed for small amounts, they can voluntarily go through rehab without any legal consequences. However, Mexico's drug war rages on. So what's the difference between these two countries? Why did Portugal enjoy success while Mexico is still victim to street violence and batttle zones on a daily basis? It's their neighbors. Portugal does not border a massive country with a strict drug policy like the United States. Why should things change south of the border, when the black market still exists north of it? The cartels are not selling most of those drugs to people in their country, they are selling them to people in Los Angeles, Houston, New York, and every other American city.

Until Obama or any future American Presidents take action and end the war on drugs, their will most likely always be deaths and bodies piling up south of the border and occasionally spilling over into the USA. Americans are always speculating on what would happen if drugs were decriminalized. But why speculate? It'd be more logical to take all the guesswork out of it by glancing to the east and taking a look at how Portugal is doing, or looking down south to see how Argentina has been affected after decriminalization efforts. But then again, USA seems to have a history of turning a blind eye to controversial things that actually make sense.

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