Monday, September 13, 2010

Saying 'Colombia' in Mexican

Mexico...but it could be Colombia a decade ago.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an awkward statement the other day - suggesting that the violence in Mexico today resembles the insurgencies in Colombia at the height of their violence.

That comment offended lots of officials in Mexico, who argue that they've got the situation under control. In Colombia, at their peak, leftist guerrillas controlled nearly half of the country and had the capital under siege.

In Mexico, the drug-trafficking cartels lack the political agenda which the Colombian groups had, and claim to still have. However, it's certainly arguable that Mexico's level of violence, corruption and mayhem resembles that in Colombia during the era of Pablo Escobar.

The 'insurgency' debate is a side issue. The terrible reality is that, seemingly, Colombia's drug-fueled violence has shifted north to Mexico. An aggressive U.S.-financed crackdown on cocal leaf cultivation here in Colombia appears to have pushed coca leaf south, to Peru and Bolivia. Many people compare the phenomenon to a balloon, which you push in in one spot and bulges out in another. Similarly, perhaps, the violence has been shifted north.

Mexican ex-President Vicente Fox, a conservative who was a friend of George Bush, recently restates his opinion that drugs should be legalized, in order to take the profits away from the outlaw groups.

Maybe it's worth a try. The alternative isn't going so great.

Written by Mike Ceaser, of Bogota Bike Tours

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