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  • Archive for November, 2010

    The War on Drugs in Mexico: Behind the Myth

    2010 - 11.24

    In recent history, Mexican society has suffered the malady of a widely accepted myth; a myth that, like a plague, has claimed the lives of over 28,000 people in the past four years in Mexico alone (Associated Press, 2010). Yet this plague has left some sectors of society virtually untouched. Those who are left unharmed do not owe their immunity to some natural or supernatural force. Instead, their defenses are fortified by their complicity with a system of economic and political injustice. This discriminatory myth is called ‘The War on Drugs’ and the storyteller is the government of the United States.

    In the face of escalating scenes of disturbing violence south of the Mexican-US border and non-stop terror being fed to us by the hegemonic mainstream media outlets in Canada (in 2002 one man, Israel Asper owned some 60% of Canada’s media outlets) it is hard to perceive, much less understand, the reality of Mexico’s situation (www.davidduke.com, 2008). Thus, a critical and alternative analysis of the meaning, causes and effects of the United States’ war on drugs in Mexico seems not only necessary but urgent. News bulletins warn of the threat of the drug war crossing the border into the US (Ann O’Neil CNN, 2009); Hilary Clinton compares Mexican cartels to Colombian insurgents in the 80s; recovering drug addicts in rehab clinics are being massacred by cartel gunmen (Jenny Booth Sunday Times, 2009). More often than not, mainstream news stories seem to confuse and terrorize more than provide coherent documentation of events south of the border or accountability of US actions and policies. It is in this climate that it’s most necessary to question the role and the content of our most central means of information. What is the link between a media monopoly and foreign policy? What is the relationship between power and truth? This essay hopes to be part of the effort towards answering, or at least problematizing, these and other questions, as well as an attempt to demystify the great myth of ‘The War on Drugs’.

    Throughout history, myths have been used by undemocratic governments to manipulate public opinion and thus be able to push otherwise unpopular agendas. We use the word ‘myth’ quite literally as a set of fictitious ideas comprising a story. As history has shown us, a monopoly on the mass means of communication has proven to be quite an effective tool in spreading these fictions. The United States, being a central protagonist in recent Mexican affairs, provides two of the most relevant examples of how this functions: The ‘War on Terror’ (waged primarily in the Middle East) and the war on communism (waged intensely on various parts of the globe). The first of these examples has resulted, most notably, in the US led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the war in Iraq in 2003, both of which were allegedly undertaken in defense of ‘homeland security’, both of which were initiatives of the Bush administration and both of which were arguably not in the interest of the public. Considering public opinion polls indicating the popularity of President George W. Bush before (50% supported him) and after (92% supported him) the launching of the ‘War on Terror’ media campaign (Roper 2009) and considering the real effects of the so called ‘war on terror’ which were least of all a decrease in terrorist activity and mainly death, destruction and many other unthinkable harms suffered by civilian populations in the Middle East, it is clear that the war on terror was nothing short of a fictitious story sold to the public by a media campaign characterized by misinformation (e.g. the false claim of the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraqi territory) in order to mask other interests. (more…)

    Journalist Carlos Fazio speaks on Mexico’s Drug war

    2010 - 11.16

    Carlos Fazio, a journalist from Mexico City, spoke in Vancouver on October 19, 2010. This is his entire speech, in which he discussed the so called war on drugs and the Merida Initiative, which is modeled on the failed Plan Colombia.

    Fazio’s talk was sponsored by Building Bridges. The audio of this video was graciously provided by the folks at RedEye on Co-op Radio Vancouver.

    Thanks to Vancouver Media Coop