Mexico’s New President Unlikely to Deviate from US’s Drug War

Those calling for decriminalization have been marginalized

The presumptive winner of Mexico’s presidential election on Sunday, Enrique Peña Nieto, is not likely to make any substantive change away from the US-dominated, militaristic approach to the drug war, as many hoped.

Central America has become the most dangerous place on Earth. The prevalence of organized crime, corruption, and inordinate rates of homicide has “metastasized,” as a recent report from the Council on Foreign Relations described it.

The U.S. has flooded the region’s states with security assistance and aggressively pushed for a militarized approach to drug war. Together with prohibitionist drug policies which significantly increases profits for cartels, the war-like approach has compounded the problem and intensified violence.

There has been an “increasingly large chorus of nations” in Central America arguing for decriminalization of drugs instead of Washington’s failed drug war. The havoc and blood wrought by drug prohibition and efforts by Washington to militarize the issue have been so detrimental to nations like MexicoGuatemalaHonduras, ChileEl Salvador, et al. that some have been pushing the Obama administration for a change, only to be met with stiff rejections.

Despite the pressure to change, Nieto has shown no signs he is on that bandwagon. As Wired’s Danger Room reports, “Nieto has ruled out negotiating a truce.”

“Last week, Pieña Nieto recruited Colombian General Oscar Naranjo — a veteran of the war against the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar — as his top security adviser,” writes Danger Room’s Robert Beckhusen. “Peña Nieto wants to boost Mexico’s Federal Police, and he’s for creating a new national paramilitary police force to fight the cartels.  His campaign has also been “highly solicitous” of the United States, notes Patrick Corcoran of InSight, an organized crime monitoring group. This could mean a bigger U.S. role. Naranjo is also reportedly close to U.S. officials.”

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for