The Washington Post recently reported that, based on various estimates by well-respected Mexican newspapers (the Calderon government has not released any figures recently), around 12,000 people were killed in Mexico’s drug violence in 2011 alone, bringing the total to over 50,000 since Calderon initiated a campaign against drug trafficking in 2006. That’s comparable to the death toll in Iraq during that timespan and more than die in many wars that grab headlines around the world.Unfortunately, violence is only the tip of the iceberg. The damage to Mexican institutions, the rise of dark power structures far worse than anything the US saw during Prohibition, the escalating corruption and the climate of fear: Mexico is being damaged and its prospects undermined in ways that will be felt for decades.The US talks grandly about promoting democracy around the world. Our uncontrolled appetite for drugs, and our inability to find policy solutions to mitigate the consequences of our behavior, is wrecking a promising democratic experiment next door.Via Meadia is frequently reminded of Mrs. Jellyby in Charles Dickens’ great novel Bleak House. Her house was a mess, her children neglected, her affairs in chaos — as she bustled around endlessly promoting various fatuous schemes for improving the lives of people living far, far away. America often looks like her these days, and Mexico is one of the chief victims of our lack of focus and our character flaws.
American Hipsters Murder Democracy in Mexico