¡URGENT! Paramilitaries Attack in Oaxaca, Your calls are needed!

Paramilitaries Attack Caravan Headed to Oaxacan Autonomous Town, 15 Wounded, 1 Disappeared

*Phone Calls to Governor Urged So That He Orders State Police to Rescue the Wounded*

by Kristin Bricker

A solidarity caravan headed to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, was attacked as it passed through La Sabana, a town controlled by UBISORT, a paramilitary organization that is allied with the ruling Institutional Revolution Party. One young woman managed to make it to a hospital where she is being treated. She reports that there are 15 wounded people. Alberta Cariño, the director of the community radio organization CACTUS, is reported as disappeared. No one saw what happened to her, but she is among neither the wounded nor the uninjured.

The Puebla-based human rights organization Nodo de Derechos Humanos reports that the Oaxacan State Police who are in the area refuse to rescue the wounded “because they don’t have orders to do so from the State.”

San Juan Copala declared itself autonomous following the 2006 uprising in Oaxaca, and the autonomous government declared itself adherent to the Zapatistas’ Other Campaign. The autonomous municipality has been the target of paramilitary violence ever since. Countless San Juan Copala residents have fallen victim to paramilitary violence. The most prominent case was the
execution of two young Triqui radio journalists.

This past November, paramilitaries opened fire on San Juan Copala’s town hall during a caravan that was traveling to San Juan Copala from San Salvador Atenco. UBISORT had put up a highway blockade to stop the caravan, which was comprised of People’s Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) members. While the FPDT was trapped outside the town, paramilitaries attacked the town hall. They shot four children, killing one of them.

The official action alert from the Nodo de Derechos Humanos is reposted below. They request that people call Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz to demand that he orders the State Police to rescue the wounded. Here’s a quick line in Spanish: “Que manden la policia estatal a rescatar los heridos en San Juan Copala.” It means, “They need to send the state police to rescue the wounded in San Juan Copala.”

****

*URGENT:* The solidarity caravan that was en route to the Autonomous Municipality San Juan Copala in the Triqui region, which was made up of international observers, members of CACTUS, VOCAL, Section 22 of the teachers union, the the APPO, was attacked with firearms in the La Sabana community, which is controled by the organization Unidad de Bienestar Social de la Region Triqui (UBISORT). This organization is impeding the rescue of the wounded. Reports indicate that there are at least 15 wounded, it is unknown if there are any deaths. It is reported that Alberta Cariño, director of CACTUS, is disappeared. We fear that this action constitutes a provocation that could be used to justify the militarization of the Triqui region.

*Requested Action*

Call the Government of Oaxaca and demand that the necessary conditions be established so that the State Police and rescue teams can rescue them and provide them with medical attention.

Governor of Oaxaca

*Ulises Ruiz Ortiz*

Tel. +52 951 5015000 ext. 13005

Fax. +52 951 5015000 ext. 13018


Kristin Bricker

Freelance journalist / periodista freelance
http://mywordismyweapon.blogspot.com

Mexican Supreme Court Finds Oaxaca Governor Responsible for Human Rights Violations

By Monica Wooters / Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

November 17, 2009

Article excerpts:

Ulises Ruiz Ortiz

Ulises Ruiz Ortiz

“After two days of deliberations, on Oct. 14 the Mexican Supreme Court made public its decision that Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (governor of the state of Oaxaca) is culpable for the human rights violations that occurred in Oaxaca as a result of teacher protests and political and social unrest in May 2006-January 2007 and July of 2008.”

On the Merida Intitiative

“This past summer, the U.S. State Department ignored ample evidence provided by Mexican and U.S. human rights organizations that the Mexican government has committed numerous human rights violations in Oaxaca and in the drug war, and authorized the release of remaining funds to the same security forces accused of perpetrating the violations. In addition, the impact that the drug war is having on social movements has also been largely ignored as more and more members of social movements are targeted with false claims of organized criminal activity that has the insidious result of criminalizing social protest throughout Mexico. The decision of the Mexican Supreme Court is yet another confirmation of the U.S. government’s deliberate refusal to recognize the reality of the human rights situation in Mexico.”

Click here for article

Amnesty Int. Calls for review of Brad’s Investigation

Amnesty International calls on the Mexican authorities to review the investigation into Brad Will’s killing.

Ocober 23, 2009

“The tragedy and injustice of Brad Will’s death and Juan Manuel Martínez’s unfounded prosecution are part of the failure to investigate and hold to account those responsible for widespread human rights violations committed in Oaxaca in 2006 and 2007.”

“It is time for the killing of Brad Will to be impartially investigated and prosecuted on the basis of reliable evidence and according to international fair trial standards.”

Click here for full article

MÉXICO: OAXACA NEWSPAPER EDITOR GOES INTO HIDING AFTER SHOOTING ATTACK ON HOME

From: Reporters Without Borders

OAXACA NEWSPAPER EDITOR GOES INTO HIDING AFTER SHOOTING ATTACK ON HOME

Mexico, September 1, 2009

The police and judicial authorities investigating a shooting attack on the home of Guillermo Soto Bejarano, the regional weekly Nuevo Milenio’s editor and columnist, on 30 August in Salina Cruz (in the southern state of Oaxaca) should work on the assumption that it was linked to his journalist activities, Reporters Without Borders said today.

The press freedom organisation also urged the authorities to provide protection for Soto and his family, who left their home after the attack.

“Fortunately there were no victims, but this was the second attack in a short space of time on Soto and his newspaper, which also came under fire,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The lack of any reaction from the Salina Cruz authorities is incomprehensible. We hope the federal justice ministry office in the city of Oaxaca will carry out an appropriate investigation. The safety of Soto and his family must be guaranteed so that he can continue working.”

NY Mexican Consulate – Protest for Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno

Is Mexico under attack by its military? – LA Times editorial

A pretty solid piece by the LA Times on the situation. -

Is Mexico under attack by its military?

“And yet, the cartels cannot serve as an excuse for the country’s security forces to commit abuses with impunity. A modern and moral state demands the rule of law.”

The end is especially strong, although FoBW would press for a stronger approach of withholding not just the 15% but all the money of Plan Mexico:

“Mexico’s legislature has become more powerful in recent years, and Calderon has begun to reform a judicial system that has been weak and often corrupt. We’d like to see that continue, matched by a more holistic approach to the drug war that includes real training, professionalization and pay for the country’s police forces. Ideally, we’d like to see Mexican institutions act on their own to address the abuse cases and hold the Mexican military accountable, without U.S. pressure. No country should have an army that is above the law, a condition that’s poisonous to democracy. But until Mexico acts, the United States should make the case for justice by trimming a symbolic 15% from its aid package.”

Mexican military defends record on human rights

This is absolutely ridiculous.  Over 2000 abuse claims have been made, yet denial and US dollars continue:

Mexican military defends record on human rights

By NACHA CATTAN
Associated Press
2009-07-24 07:22 AM

“The Mexican military defended its human rights record Thursday, saying most abuse complaints against soldiers prove unfounded and are filed in an effort to discredit the government’s battle against drug cartels. Read more »

Press Release – H.R.2410 Foreign Relations Authorization Act

Last month, Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (H.R. 2410), a wide-ranging legislation aimed at improving U.S. foreign policy efforts. Among many things, this bill seeks to modernize the Foreign Service and to provide the State Department with resources for operations abroad. Within these reforms are a number of requirements aimed at “enhancing” the Merida Initiative (aka Plan Mexico) and ensuring that the $1.6 billion allocated to Mexico and Central America are appropriately spent. These measures include the creation of a “Merida Coordinator” in charge of designing and tracking all Merida related efforts, the addition of the Caribbean to the overall Initiative, and the authorization of 5% of Mérida money to fund evaluation of the program’s performance. This evaluation would include the reporting of “accusations of serious human rights abuses committed by the armed forces and law enforcement agencies of recipient countries” and a description of Mérida-recipient governments’ efforts to investigate and prosecute these allegations.

 

While Friends of Brad Will are encouraged by such reforms of the Merida Initiative that aim to enhance it, we continue to demand the immediate end of the Merida Initiative as a whole and the implementation of a policy based on the improvement of the Mexican police and justice systems, anti-corruption programs, and drug rehabilitation and prevention on both sides of the border. Friends of Brad Will, many other organizations and the US government are well aware of the fact that stipulations such as these requiring the Mexican government to track and prosecute human rights violations are merely superficial and do not lead to actual change. When the final version of the Merida Initiative was enacted in June 2008 it contained a series of conditions based on Mexico’s human rights issues that stipulated that 15 percent of Merida funds would not be granted to Mexico until the Mexican government showed significant improvement in the accountability and transparency of federal police forces, and investigations of human rights charges.

 

“The stipulations that the US places on Mexico have proved to be worthless because there has been no follow through. A year after the Merida Initiative, the Mexican government has done nothing in the name of human rights, yet continues to receive funds from the US that will merely add to its ability to violate them,” said Angelina Garneva, Human Rights Associate Intern of Friends of Brad Will. “While the conditions set up by this Act are just more empty rhetoric for human rights, the money that it provides and the violence it supports are real and legitimate.”

SLAIN U.S. JOURNALIST BRAD WILL's friends RESPOND TO framing OF innocent OAXACAN JUAN MANUEL MARTINEZ MORENO!

MEDIA ADVISORY * MEDIA ADVISORY * MEDIA ADVISORY
 
PROTEST AT MEXICAN CONSULATE!
FRIENDS OF SLAIN U.S. JOURNALIST BRAD WILL RESPOND TO RAILROADING OF OAXACA ACTIVIST JUAN MANUEL MARTINEZ MORENO!

juan-manuel-protest-flier
 
WHAT: Protest against Mexican judicial corruption and the practice of impunity
WHERE: Mexican Consulate in New York City, 27 East 39th Street.
WHO: Friends of Brad Will

WHEN: Monday July 13 at 4 pm
 
Contact:
Mark Read: 917-776-8847
Harry Bubbins: 646- 648-4362
Spanish Speaking Contact:
Salvador Pantoja: 646-257-6178
 
July 13th, NYC–On Wednesday, July 8th, Judge Rosa Perez reversed course from her January ruling. She now accepts hearsay testimony previously determined to be “deficient” as factual evidence in the case against local activist Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno for the 2006 murder of U.S. journalist Brad Will.  It was also ruled that Moreno will remain indefinitely imprisoned pending a verdict in his case. 
 
The case is being closely monitored by international human rights organization such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and was even singled out by the U.S. Congress when they passed the funding bill for the Merida Initiative in July 2008, calling in that bill for “progress in conducting a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation to identify the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice.”
 
Despite an independent report from Physicians for Human Rights debunking the government’s case against Moreno, and a condemnation of the case by Mexico’s own National Commission for Human Rights, the government has refused to investigate the most likely suspects—Mexican government officials who were videotaped and photographed openly firing on protesters, including Will. Instead, the judge has accepted the testimony of two “witnesses” that, according to their own words, were not present at the murder of Brad Will.   These two “witnesses” are the heart of the case against Moreno.
 
“The Mexican government has to come up with a conviction in Brad’s case because the U.S. Congress told them they had to,” says Mark Read, a friend of Will’s.  “If they want those U.S. taxpayer dollars, they have to put somebody away, but the real killers walk around with impunity while the government proceeds with this bogus case against one of the people that Brad was there trying to report on, an activist who rose up against corrupt government rule. This recent reversal makes it pretty clear that the Mexican government intends to railroad Moreno despite all the best evidence. It’s corruption, pure and simple.”

"We Bring Fear"

A reporter flees the biggest cartel of all—the Mexican Army.

A vivid report on a journalist’s flight from the Mexican military to the United States. This is the same Mexican military which the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress are funding even more than Bush did!

A Vision of Things to Come in Mexico – Latin America – Under Merida Initiative

Below is a quote (and then a link to the original document) from the Lawyers Collective (or Colectivo de Abogados), a Colombian non-governmental organization. It raises the obvious question about the Merida Initiative (aka Plan Mexico): namely, why are some Mexicans ‘nationalists’ objecting to end-use monitoring of lethal aid funding for militarization (including surveillance) to Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean under Plan Mexico instead of opposing it outright?

Quote: “Colombian history demonstrates the State’s security agencies have considered as enemies those from society who are committed to the defence and promotion of human rights. Additionally, since February 2004, the DAS has substantially increased its persecution of human rights organisations. In this respect, it created special strategic-intelligence groups with the purpose of structurally persecuting human rights organisations as they were considered to be “a threat or risk to national security.”

Within this context, the DAS decided to undertake intelligence activities against CAJAR through a very laborious, extensive and sophisticated operation called OPERATION TRANSMILENIO, the funds for which came out of a heading designated for RESEVERED EXPENSES. This OPERATION TRANSMILENIO has consisted in gathering information on the Lawyers’ Collective and its members, and specifically information on activities relating to human rights defence work, international cooperation, and the organisation’s financial records. During this time, the DAS has carried out diverse intelligence activities against members of CAJAR, including the identification of their nuclear families and the gathering of biographical economic, financial and work-related information. Political and psychological profiles were also developed and fingerprint records were kept. The DAS kept track of the members’ routines and travel routes and surveillance was carried out throughout the country (along with ongoing surveillance at set points by way of apartment rentals). Photographs and video have also been taken of the lawyers and their families at home and in their places of work. Telephone conversations and email communication have also been intercepted on a massive scale. Lastly, records have been kept on their migratory movements and their national and international contacts have been cross-referenced. The DAS has obtained this information from the government protection program for human rights defenders, public and private institutions, and what were called “human and technical sources.” The Colombian State Employs the Administrative Department of Security Against Human Rights Organizations”

The rest of this frightening document by the Lawyers Collective here.

Mexico's Emerging Narco-State

From this excellent piece by Todd Miller published by NACLA:

“Washington is funding both sides of the drug war. U.S. military aid to this corrupt system has flowed rapidly under the Obama administration.”

Here’s the synopsis:
The July 5 mid-term election in Mexico will continue narcotraffickers’ creeping reach into all sectors of the country’s political life. The army and police are already drenched in narco-scandals, while reports show that political campaigns and government offices have also been infiltrated or co-opted by traffickers. But Mexico is not a failed state, such extensive corruption and illicit wealth creation actually depends on the state.

The rest here.

Does the US back the Honduran coup?

The Obama administration’s condemnation of the coup in Honduras has been lukewarm compared to the rest of the world.
[Read this great piece on recent coup in Honduras to get insight into whose side President Obama is on in the 'war on drugs'. Ed.]

Also, here are calls coming from inside the country for international support:

“The recently formed Popular Resistance Front called for delegations to travel to Honduras to stand by the popular organizations of Honduras in support of the return of the democratically elected president and inform the situation.

The Front has called for mass demonstrations in the country. It also called on foreign media, members of grassroots organizations and human rights groups to increase pressure on the coup and support the call for reinstatement of the president.

Monitor this site for updates.

Drugs Won the War

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
(Op-Ed Columnist, published in the New York Times)

June 13, 2009

This year marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s start of the war on drugs, and it now appears that drugs have won.

“We’ve spent a trillion dollars prosecuting the war on drugs,” Norm Stamper, a former police chief of Seattle, told me. “What do we have to show for it? Drugs are more readily available, at lower prices and higher levels of potency. It’s a dismal failure.”

(Read on here)

Two Minutes With Pelosi

Tonight, Rad Rich and I got free tickets to the Pelosi event and even the reception. We walked past the jeering crowd of tea-party people and my friends from the peace movement to attend the green-room reception for Nancy Pelosi and I got to talk to her for two minutes.

I introduced myself as Nick from Friends of Brad Will and told her who Brad was and she said she was sorry about his death. I told her that we were concerned about human rights abuses taking place in places where we have free trade agreements like Peru and the deaths there last week. She replied that she was waiting for Obama’s cue on that. I replied that indeed Obama had mentioned union leaders in Colombia in the debates, but that people were dying now and this tends to happen wherever we have these free trade agreements — corporations get better access to resources and indigenous get displaced. She thanked me for telling her. Then Rad talked to her about student loans.

Nick Cooper meets Nancy PelosiRad Rich meets Nancy Pelosirightistleftistprotesters1protesters2listen to this guy

6/10/09 Human Rights Activists Present Letter to Consul General

Houstonianians and Peruvian Consul General

This morning, three human rights activists representing Friends of Brad Will, Houston Indymedia, and Houston Food Not Bombs met with The Consul General at the Peruvian Consulate in Houston.Ellie Sequeira, Rachel Clarke, and Nick Cooper expressed concerns and delivered a letter (below) about the role of the Peruvian government, oil corporations and free trade in the deaths of dozens of indigenous Peruvians. Read more »

Obama's Choice: Human Rights First or Plan Mexico

June 1 2009
Kristina Aiello
for NACLA

These efforts to suppress political dissent are part of a growing trend of increased governmental aggression towards activists and social movements occurring across Latin America. Accompanying this repression are huge increases in military spending authorized by the Bush administration to combat drug trafficking and “terrorism” in Latin America via programs like Plan Colombia and now the Merida Initiative.

The Obama administration has a chance to walk U.S. anti-drug policy back from this long favored militarization stance. But recent actions taken by the new administration are disappointing for those seeking a dramatic change in U.S. policy in the region.

Read the rest of this clarion call, here.

Reinventing Demons

The Obama administration plans a new round of ‘public safety’ programs in Latin America.

by Jeremy Bigwood

Published in In These Times, May 13, 2009.

From the article: “Obama may not understand the dangerous waters his administration is drifting into by expanding “public safety” policing programs. If the history of the OPS and similar projects are any indication of what will come, U.S. policing initiatives in Latin America and elsewhere could result in violence and political repression.”
Read all of it, here.

Real News: War on drugs and Mexico's demise

May 3, 2009
Part I: Free trade and Mexico’s drug war
Collapse of traditional economy created the space for the cartels to grow.

In April, US President Barack Obama visited Mexico where he announced that the US needed to take some responsibility for Mexico’s ongoing Drug War. He also declared his support for a continuation and strengthening of free trade policies between the two countries. According to Miguel Tinker-Salas, it is the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the massive economic transition it precipitated, that has created such fertile ground for the drug economy. The result is that the Mexican government finds itself facing a decreasing level of control over entire regions of the country as the cartels provide the services that the central government no longer does.

May 10, 2009
Part II: US-funded militarization didn’t stop Colombian drug trade and won’t in Mexico either.

Pointing to the abject failure of a similar nine-year-old policy in Colombia – a country where the drug trade has actually expanded over the last decade of the heavily-funded drug war and US military aid has been turned against the social movement – this segment reveals a similar phenomenon that is already being observed in Mexico.

Mexico Decriminalizes Simple Possession, Cracks Down on Everything Else

New Laws Strike a Symbolic Blow to Prohibition, But Net Result is Increased Law Enforcement Powers

Written by Kristin Bricker for Narconews. Published May 9, 2009

Is the Mexican government planning to incarcerate 100s of thousands of casual drug users? Or does it only want to use the threat of draconian sentences to frighten many individuals so as to control and deploy them?

Read the whole piece here.

Merida Initiative: the United States' Bureaucratic Invasion

Translated by Kristin Bricker from a piece in Milenio by Victor Hugo Michel

Two key passages of the article:

First, Dyncorp. . . :

‘The increase in the concentration of new personnel includes support from private companies that have been contracted by the State Department to bring their own specialists, known as private service contractors.

As of now, the Dyncorp company has contracted three employees to administrate its participation in the Merida Initiative, one of whom will be in Mexico City and will help the Narcotics Affairs Office in the Embassy to “maintain good contact with Mexican security agencies.”‘

Second, who are the ‘human rights organizations’ which might be bought with the Merida blood money (you’ll likely have to follow a paper trail to find out):

“The contracts PSC-09-010-INL and PSC-09-019-INL were offered to two specialists in training Mexican police and military personnel, particularly police, inspectors, judges, and prosecutors.”

Drug War Doublespeak

This piece, by Laura Carlsen, Director of the Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP) [americas.irc-online.org] remains a benchmark for analysis on how the media with their ‘defense’ industry-tied pundits are promoting an expansion of the lucrative destabilizing wars (including the ‘war on drugs’ in Latin America). It was written on March 9, 2009.

When read together with Bill Conroy’s pieces exposing how the United States Government’s Direct Military Sales of lethal hardware and training are a key component of the supply-chain for the narco-cartels, this article offers a critical understanding of Plan Mexico.

Drug War Doublespeak

“Through late February and early March, a blitzkrieg of declarations from U.S. government and military officials and pundits hit the media, claiming that Mexico was alternately at risk of being a failed state, on the verge of civil war, losing control of its territory, and posing a threat to U.S. national security.”
<more>

Available in translation: Doble discurso en guerra contra la droga

Mexican NGOs, Brigadier General, Unite in Letter Against Plan Mexico

Human Rights Organizations Break from Amnesty International’s 2008 Pro-Merida Initiative Letter

Check out this excellent piece by Kristin Bricker, written especially for The Narco News Bulletin on May 7, 2009.

Government Harassment in Brad Will Murder Case

Federal Police Pressure Imprisoned APPO Defendant Juan Manuel Martinez to Confess; Will Family Lawyer Faces Legal Harassment

Read the entire story April 21, 2009 by Kristin Bricker via the Narcosphere here.

Private-sector Arms Sales to Mexico Sparsely Monitored by State Department

An excellent provocative piece by Bill Conroy for Narconews. Written a on April 5th it will continue to have relevance as an empirical expose of the lack of credibility on the ‘drug war’ of the network ‘news’ and their ‘defense’ industry pundits.

His well-documented thesis is that the cartels are obtaining their heavy fire power not from gun shows and straw buyers but from private sector arms exports authorized/licensed by the USG to the MOD. He writes: “Given Mexico’s strict gun laws with respect to private individuals, it is likely most of the DCS (Direct Commercial Sales) program defense hardware approved for export to that nation was directed toward the military or law enforcement agencies. But it is precisely that fact which should be raising some alarm in Washington.”

The corporate media narrative describes the scale of drug violence being due in large part because US gunshow sales and smugglers carrying guns easy-to-buy in the U.S. to Mexico. This is false. Read this to learn why.

President: Calderón Is Not Mexico

Incisive and (historically, economically) contextualized analysis of Obama’s trip to Mexico and the positions he took vis-a-vis human rights, neoliberalism and the ‘war on drugs’.

Check out Mr. President: Calderón Is Not Mexico by Laura Carlsen, Director of the Americas Program at the Center For International Policy

Posted April 17, 2009

The Wrong Solution to Mexico’s Security Crisi

Great piece by Todd Miller for NACLA, written April 17 2009

“On August 5, 2008 a group of 20 Mexican soldiers burst into the community of Santiago Lachivia, Oaxaca and fired into a crowd of residents preparing land for a community garden. Cecilio Vásquez Miguel and Venancio Olivera Ávila were killed. In the aftermath, when neither arms nor drugs turned up in the search, the anti-narcotics military unit moved on, leaving a stunned and traumatized community.

This is the war on drugs in Mexico; a “war” that abuses the civilian population, dramatically increases violence, and arguably has very little effect on the flow of illegal drugs to the largest market in the world, the United States.” <More>

Is Uncle Sam preparing for counter-insurgency against the Mexican people?

U.S. Military Funded Mapping Project in Oaxaca
Geographers used to gather intelligence?

April 2009 By Cyril Mychalejko and Ramor Ryan

From article:

“I feel that this particular controversy would not have the traction that it does if it were not for the direct role of the U.S. military, especially in light of the turmoil in Oaxaca,” said Evergreen State College’s Grossman. “Oaxaca is not just any old state in Mexico and southern Mexico is not just any old region in the Americas, it’s an area that has had significant repression in very recent years against indigenous peoples by federal forces funded by the U.S.”
. . .
Adding to the specter of U.S. and state violence and repression in the region, the U.S Joint Forces Command released a report in November 2008 that stated Mexico risked becoming a failed state and, if that were to be the case, it would demand U.S. intervention. Meanwhile, the U.S. House passed a spending bill on February 25 which allocates $410 million for the Merida Initiative, a militarization project modeled after Plan Colombia, to “carry out counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, and border security measures.”

Op-Ed: A Failed War on Drugs

A Failed War on Drugs: Find a Path to Legalization
Published: April 1, 2009 in the New York Times

To the Editor:

Mexican Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over, Alarming U.S. (March 23, 2009)

Re “Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over From Mexico, Alarming U.S.” (“War Without Borders” series, front page, March 23):

The drug violence spilling over into the United States is fueled by the profits illegal drugs produce. Mexican drug cartels send us the drugs some Americans want to buy. We send them cash and weapons.

When drug suppliers compete for American market share or try to collect bad debts, violence is the inevitable result. All too often, Americans uninvolved in the drug trade are victims. The war on drugs
has failed.

The solution is obvious. We must find a path to legalization, as we did when we ended Prohibition. Legalization does not mean that we approve of drug use or that drugs now illegal are safe to use. But the
violence caused because drugs are illegal and the expense of law enforcement and incarceration outweigh the cost of managing drug use as a public health problem.

We do that now for smoking and alcohol. Why should these other drugs be treated differently, especially when the current strategy is so obviously failing?

Glen T. Cheney
Macungie, Pa., March 23, 2009

VIDEO: Rally for Political Prisoner Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno, Oaxaca City

Oaxaca City, January 14th, 2009: Members of Section 22 and APPO came to demand Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno’s release from prison. In the clip, his sister Lybia reads the families statement at the offices of the 5th District Judge. Background info: On October 16th 2008, Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno was imprisoned for the 2006 murder of American Journalist Brad Will, unjustly, as eye-witness and forensic evidence has proved his innocence. He was scapegoated by the Mexican government in order to appease U.S. demands that the case be prosecuted, as a prerequisite for funding to Mexico under the Merida Initiative. He remains
incarcerated at Santa Maria Ixcotel prison, in the City of Oaxaca, to this day.