Unpublished documents from the Mexican government reveal that more than 25,000 people have gone missing in the six years since President Felipe Calderón took office.
Government bureaucrats, whose names were not reported, said they released the list because they are frustrated by what they said is a lack of transparency about the cases and a failure to investigate the disappearances, the Post reported.
The figures are only the latest in a catalogue of heartbreaking statistics on Mexico’s drug war. Calderón is leaving office tomorrow, and he might want to reflect on some of the results of his notorious Operation Michoacán, which began in late 2006. A small sampling:
- At least 55,000 drug-related deaths, which, as Jorge Castañeda has noted, “is more than the number of Americans who died in Vietnam, but in a country with one-third the U.S. population.”
- Over 7,000 bodies remain unidentified in Mexican morgues or common graves. Oftentimes the bodies are hard to identify thanks to mutilation.
- Deaths amongst journalists have increased. Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist.
- Drug cartels continue to grow and develop, establishing their own radio stations and recruiting from classified ads.
- Soldiers have been taking on the duties of policemen.
Given the obvious failure of Calderón’s drug war it is hardly surprising that there have been calls from other Latin American countries, as well as a former Mexican president, for Mexico and the U.S. to reform their drug laws.
In the U.S. there is little hope for serious policy changes that will help alleviate much of the human misery in Mexico. Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske has said that federal laws will continue to be enforced despite the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado.
Despite the violence, the cost, the lack of public confidence, and the empirical evidence of better alternatives it looks like we can all expect a violent drug war to be the reality for a while longer in both Mexico and the U.S.
Watch Nick Gillespie speak at a recent debate hosted by Intelligence Squared on drug legalization below: