|Originally published in the January 2011 Socionomist|
Tallying the Mexican Drug War’s toll:
- 2010 was the cruelest period yet in the four-year-old civil battle: 15,000 dead from drug-related violence.
- The war has claimed an estimated 30,000 Mexican lives in four years.
- Residents are abandoning homes to escape the carnage. In November alone about 400 families fled Ciudad Mier in northeastern Mexico, where two drug gangs—the Gulf cartel and the Zetas—are violently clashing. Residents continue to leave Ciudad Juarez, where a fifth of the country’s casualties—more than 3,000 people—died in 2010. Juarez became a killing field in 2008 when the Sinaloa Cartel attempted to move in on the Juarez Cartel’s territory. As many as 230,000 Juarez residents, or 15 percent of the city’s population, are now Drug War refugees.
- The Drug War is exacting an economic toll as well. For example, about 6,000 Juarez businesses closed last year. Some moved across the border to El Paso, where many of Juarez’s remaining residents are making their purchases to the tune of an estimated $220 million a year.
What’s next? In his landmark article, “The Coming Collapse of a Modern Prohibition,” which appeared in the July 2009 issue of The Socionomist, the Institute’s Euan Wilson drew parallels between the current war on drugs and the prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. during the 1920s and early 1930s. Wilson predicted that the current war would see increasing clashes over supply routes; those conflicts are indeed unfolding in Juarez and Mier now. Next, Wilson said, he expected Mexico’s drug war to spill over to the southern United States, where regions of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas will experience “the same violence that is now plaguing Mexican states.” This process has already started too, as we’ve reported on numerous occasions.
Wilson says that if mood declines again as forecast by Elliott Wave International, the carnage on both sides of the border will continue and worsen. Eventually, he forecasts, the U.S. public will tire of the kidnapping and bloodshed that accompany the war and demand that marijuana, the criminals’ lead product, be decriminalized. Legalization will undercut the cartels’ profits, advocates will argue, and by extension, bleed away their power.■
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