The latest episode of escalating violence at the U.S.-Mexican border was the September 30th fatal shooting of David Hartley, an American tourist who was jet-skiing on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake with his wife. Two weeks later, the severed head of the lead Mexican investigator was delivered to police in a suitcase.
In response to the incident, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, echoed Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s sentiments that the impetus of the violence stems from the high demand of drugs in the United States and therefore the U.S. shares the responsibility in controlling the violence.
Contrary to this view, a recent Department of Justice report indicates that Mexican methamphetamine labs have saturated the market thus driving down prices and increasing availability of the drug. With prices at a six year low and purity levels reaching new highs, methamphetamine use in the past year has increased, reversing a three year trend in declined usage. The report indicates that the increase in production is due to the Mexican drug trafficking organization’s ability to circumvent the Mexican Government’s restrictions on acquiring the chemicals used in methamphetamine production.
Does the United States bear responsibility for the increase in drug related violence occurring in Mexico and if so, should money like the $1.3 billion that the U.S. government has given to the Mexican military and police, be used instead for anti-drug and rehabilitation programs in the United States?
See Nat’l Drug Intelligence Center, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Product No. 2010-Q0317-004, National Methamphetamine Threat Assessment (2010).
See Mexican Drug Trafficking, The New York Times, (Sep. 22, 2010), http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/mexico/drug_trafficking/index.html.