By Daniel Farinha and Edgar Alvarez-Rosa
On December 11th of 2006 the Mexican president Felipe Calderon announced that he would begin a war against drugs by aiming to disband the world’s most powerful and dangerous cartels. Just three years after the beginning of this new campaign the homicide rate in Mexico doubled with no progress towards ending drug trafficking. Today it is obvious that the inception of the drug war started by Calderon has resulted in over 100,000 additional homicides in Mexico. These additional deaths caused by the drug war could have been avoided and they create a legitimate human rights question for the policy makers in Mexico. Regardless of who is committing the crimes, whether they be members of the cartels trying to assert their dominance or Mexican military torturing suspects for information, it is the Mexican government that needs to look at itself for taking responsibility for the rising death toll in Mexico.
The human rights violations that are enabled by the Mexican war on drugs of course includes the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the past 13 years, but it has also enabled human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings, torture, and kidnapping. Kidnapping has been such an issue in Mexico that there have been thousands of missing people who are never found or heard of again. For the government of Mexico to refuse to end the war on drugs and to uphold it after so many years of death and torment is a human rights violation in itself. It has caused massive protests all over the country and created the Mexican Indignados Movement. The Mexican people know that the rising death toll is because of the war on drugs and are urging that laws be changed to decriminalize drugs, create stronger legal systems, and remove soldiers from the streets.
People in Mexico are being subjected to unthinkable amounts of violence, pain, abuse, and death as a result of this drug war. They are powerless to fight against the cartels who force them to join in the war or who are unrestrained by the thought of innocent people being caught in the crossfire. They are powerless to fight against the unlawful detention, interrogation, and torture by federal police. Mexico was not like this before the war on drugs began and the homicide rate gets worse every year. Men, women, and children are all affected as the war does not discriminate when it decides if it will kidnap, rape, or throw a body into a mass grave.