Mexico's New President Peña Nieto Is Probably Not Going to End the Drug War

In less than two weeks, Mexico's President-Elect Pena Nieto has managed to send some incredibly mixed messages about his country's future participation in the war on drugs. Boiled down, Nieto's position seems to be this: He's not going to make any major changes to Mexico's drug policy without the consent of the U.S.

"I'm not saying we should legalize," Nieto told PBS last week, adding that he could be persuaded otherwise. That claim has since evolved. "Personally, I'm not in favor of legalizing drugs," he told CNN's Fareed Zakaria in an interview that aired yesterday, adding, "Our new strategy is to adjust what’s been done up until now." 

Bloomberg News interpreted Nieto's interview with Fareed Zakaria thusly: "Pena Nieto To Expand Drug War, Debate Drug Legalization." Except that debate has to be started and led by the U.S., which is not interested. See these statements from the Obama administration:

"It's worth debating [legalization] in order to lay to rest some of the myths that are associated with the notion of legalization." - Vice President Joe Biden

"We cannot lose, because if we lose we will say to the generations that come after us ‘you are condemned to live in a disgusting and repulsive world,’ and that's a conversation I do not want to have with my children or grandchildren in years to come.” - William Brownfield, the State Department's man in Mexico and one of the architects of Plan Colombia.

“It may seem contradictory, but the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success in the fight against drugs....[cartels] are like caged animals, attacking one another." - the DEA's Michele Leonhart.

Nieto told the Washington Post, meanwhile, that he'd like to see more U.S. military instructors in Mexico, teaching counterinsurgency training. “Without a doubt, I am committed to having an intense, close relationship of effective collaboration measured by results,” he told the Post. His one caveat? He doesn't want U.S. agents behaving in Mexico like they do in Honduras. 

In an interview in Mexico City, he told the L.A. Times (which describes Nieto as "a well-rehearsed master of gesture, an attractive if sometimes robotic speaker who never veers too far from the script"), "We will widen the fight on organized crime, fighting drug trafficking, but also put a special emphasis on the crimes that generate violence in society."

None of those components add up to a smaller or less violent drug war. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Amazingly, this was all predicted in an episode of ALF, decades ago.

  • db||

    the L.A. Times (which describes Nieto as "a well-rehearsed master of gesture, an attractive if sometimes robotic speaker who never veers too far from the script")

    Get ready for the Nieto/Romney Greater Robo Coprosperity Sphere.

  • mr simple||

    Romneybots are multiplying and taking over the world.

  • NotSure||

    Americas first robotic president, but when will there be the first fembot president ?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Wow. Mexico has lost the equivalent of the US casualties in Vietnam over drug war violence. Why would they elect this asshole?

  • ||

    For all the free stuff he promised.

  • ||

    Because he's so cuuuute!

  • db||

    Probably because he was the "otger" of the Two Big Parties. Evidently Mexico's political process must be as broken as ours.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    You know who else was a "well-rehearsed master of gesture, an attractive if sometimes robotic speaker who never veered too far from the script"...

  • Drake||

    Apollo Creed?

  • Rich||

    Michael Jackson?

  • Mo' $parky||

    Arnold Schwarzenegger!

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I mean we don't want to 'condemn future generations to living in a disgusting and repulsive world.' At least the ones who don't have their heads and arms chopped off with lawn care equipment in mass murdered villages.

  • R C Dean||

    It all makes perfect sense if he's renegotiating the government's under-the-table take from the drug biz. His "shifting positions" are just negotiating points.

  • fried wylie||

    He's not going to make any major changes to Mexico's drug policy without the consent of the U.S.

    YEAH MUTHAFUCKER, You don't do SHIT without our permission. Now get back on your knees and finish with my cock.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement