This semester, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Professor Morales-Rodriguez about the negative effects that drug trafficking has had on the citizens of Mexico. Professor Morales hails from Mexico herself, and regarded it fondly during her presentation; however, she explained that the continued prominence of the drug trade has had various negative social, political, and economic effects in the country and is to the extreme detriment of the Mexican people.
As one might expect, the drug trade in Mexico has caused severe violence in the country, and many innocents have fallen victim to it in one way or another. Furthermore, many individuals have gone missing during the reign of the drug cartels in Mexico. Professor Morales noted that many young women were particularly susceptible to being kidnapped.
Unfortunately, the Mexican government has never been stable for any extended period of time, and in the absence of legitimate government many cartels have seized political power (although unofficially). Due to the political influence of drug cartels in the Mexican government, there has oftentimes been a high level of corruption in the Mexican government. Therefore, the Mexican government has historically reacted with relative indifference to the atrocities committed by the cartels during the drug trade.
While current Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto has taken a more proactive approach to solving Mexico’s drug problem, there is still a severe lack of government involvement in abolishing the drug trade and punishing the cartels.
The drug cartels have morphed Mexico into a country in which many parents fear to send their children to school, or let them play outside unsupervised. However, in many communities the drug cartels have had an unexpected positive influence which further complicates the issue. Given that the Mexican government has oftentimes failed to invest in communities, leaving them in dire economic circumstances, some cartels have actually improved the schools and hospitals in local communities in return for the communities permission to carry out the drug trade without local protest.
Dr Morales noted that if the United States’s goal is to cut off the flow of drugs entering the nation, then we should not focus our energy on building a wall on our southern border, but instead focus our attention on assisting the Mexican government and investing in Mexican communities so as to minimize their susceptibility to the influence of drug traffickers.