From Mexico: Of Presidential Politics and to the Legalization of Marijuana in the U.S.
Last week, Vice President Biden flew to Mexico to meet with the three presidential candidates vying in Mexico’s national election scheduled for July First. In addition to a discussion on the U.S – Mexico relations for the coming years, he—Biden, interviewed each candidate separately on the Drug War and where each candidate will place his or her emphasis relative to fighting the drug cartels.
Nonetheless, Biden interviewed 1) Josefina Vazquez Mota of the PAN and current conservative party, 2) Enrique Pena Nieto of the PRI, and former leftist party, and 3) Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the PRD, and today’s leftist party.
And the net result is that all three have committed themselves to addressing the subject of “tactics” when it comes to the Drug War or for demolishing the drug cartels. Of course, the well-informed experts are telling anyone who will listen that Mexico will remain committed to this fight, but the tactics will shift in the direction of utilizing the National Police Force.
During his six-year term, the conservative President Calderon has utilized the Army almost exclusively, given the level of corruption he encountered among the National Police and among the local jurisdictions of law enforcement, as well as the corrupted and bribed Elected and Appointed Officials. And the large and ‘easy’ amounts of money will do that and especially where marijuana is being grown, the financial forbearance of the local police chief must be addressed, and from therein, commences the political patronage and which moves upward and into the political system.
Today, the ever-present critics of President Calderon emphasize that the military is prone to human rights abuses and the execution of suspected drug cartel members. Of course, the critics will be saying the same if the ‘new’ tactics include the traditional law enforcement agencies. However, the United States has been spending its foreign aid for continuing to vet the background of the new police officers, despite President Calderon’s emphasis that the military is far more professional, better trained and better equipped than are the local law enforcement actualities.
And what’s driving this change for ‘new’ tactics is that the border states, and in particular, Arizona and Texas, with their respective conservative leadership, are espousing that Mexico’s fight with the drug cartels will spill over and onto their border states. And yet, this Construct of the “spill over” Effect has been of particular concern to Mexico and for many years, given the substantial level of trade between Mexico and the United States. Thus, the conservatives in both Texas and Arizona are coming late to this discussion on this “spill over” effect and their standardized Propaganda Machine is straining the political limits for self-aggrandizement of a domestic “spill over” and, further, recognized precisely as the “spill over of Intolerance” when seen from the perspective of the Spanish-speaking communities in both Texas and Arizona. As such, the drug cartel schematic is another straw man argument being espoused by the conservatives in Arizona and Texas, writ large.
Needless to say, all three candidates vying for Mexico’s Presidency are in support of the “Legalization of Marijuana” in the United States, despite Obama’s and Biden’s adamant opposition to this “legalization.” Therefore, their respective emphasis on attacking organized crime must achieve “better results” and where the focus must be on economic development and social-welfare programs and to include a jobs component that will deter young people from joining this criminal enterprise.
Pena Nieto talks about gradually withdrawing the military from the war on the drug cartels, but he’s been quite vague as to any particular timeline.
Vazquez Mota has been emphasizing Calderon’s standardization that is continuing use of the military or until local law enforcement is capable of delivering a qualitative and quantitative effort, and which the experts say will take many years. Additionally, she wants to increase college scholarships and enact labor reform, aimed at increasing job opportunities.
Lopez Obrador’s emphasis is on addressing the “root” causes of crime and of illegal immigration—by increasing economic development and anti-poverty programs. And more on point, he is on the record for pulling out the military within six months of his election. And it’s this ‘pull out’ that separates him from both the conservative—Vazquez Mota, and the centrist—Pena Nieto.
In the final analysis, the conservative candidate, Vazquez Mota is gaining considerable support and when it comes to the “legalization” Construct, this Construct will take the back seat, given that her ‘creative’ effort will be to address ‘labor reform’ and is equivalent to her political patrons and which is the traditional “race to the bottom.” And from my perspective, this labor reform that was never discussed in any considerable detail between Biden—the Democrat and Vazquez Mota—the Conservative, is the rhetorical “pointy-headed pony” stinking up the joint, due to their mutually-shared ‘cavalier dismissal’ for improving Labor Relations.
And since Obama/Biden do not in favor “card check” for domestic use here in the United States, he—Biden, is thoroughly unfamiliar with the Spanish-speaking community’s advocacy for ‘card check’ being implemented domestically and equally important, implemented internationally, and via our regimen of Free Trade Agreements. If so, Vice President Biden would understand and appreciate that, by including Card Check in our Trade Agreements as the presumptive “missing labor standard,” the government of Mexico would have to jettison control of its labor organizations, and leading to increased wages of the Mexican employee and simultaneously reducing the migratory flow of undocumented immigrants from Mexico and into the United States.
In the meantime, under the Merida Initiative of 2008 and with the financial capacity of $1.6 billion, the national judiciary has been vastly improved and the National Police too, has been vastly improved. In addition, the U.S. has provided Mexico with helicopters, surveillance aircraft such as drones, communications technology, while simultaneously having improved the inspection of vehicles transiting the U.S-Mexico border. And yet, the Fourth Estate has given little if any attention for the United States having actualized the funding of programs to treat and prevent drug addiction under this Merida Initiative.
And because the United States is the top consumer of illegal drugs from the cartels, the Latin American leaders including President Calderon of Mexico are urging the Obama administration to legalize the drugs and in doing so, would strip the criminals of their enormous profits, given that the U.S. is unable to reduce the “demand” side of the “supply and demand” formula. And little has been reported in which Vice President Biden is on record for having said, “There is no possibility the Obama/Biden administration will change its policy on legalization.” Moreover, this political football has been tossed into the court that is the Hispanic Congressional Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, and both located in the House chamber. Unfortunately, there is no Progressive Caucus in the Senate chamber to take up this ‘challenge.’
In closing, the Obama and Biden administration, even if re-elected, will continue to adamantly oppose “legalization” or until Congress can “override” a Presidential Veto of a Republican or Democratic president. And my view is being reinforced on a daily basis and premised on the demographics since the “over fifty” Crowd is driving the political agenda and will continue to do so for the next twenty years. Thus, Patience and Self-Restraint is my ‘guiding star’ given today’s toxic environment that is American politics, and represented by the “angry old man” of Arizona, Senator John McCain. And as such, McCain is “oozing” Josefina Vazquez Mota—the Conservative, and we, in the Spanish-speaking community here in the Sonoran Desert, are “oozing” too and for the traditional “mota.”
To wit, who “sells out first” remains to be seen? Obama/Biden or Chicanos/Sonoran Desert. Of course, my money’s on Chicanos/Sonoran Desert.
* Originally published on the web site of the Chicano Veterans Organization