Drug Policy

Mexico's President-Elect Peña Nieto Wants to Expand Drug War


"The War on Drugs cost you thiiiiiis much!"

The long-awaited end to Mexico's deadly War on Drugs may be farther off than hoped, reports New America Media. Advisors to President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto have signaled that the rebirth of the PRI party means the $50 billion war is going international. Well, at least more international than it already is:

Far from "re-envisioning" the approach taken by outgoing President Felipe Calderon, credited with having launched the crackdown on the country's drug cartels in 2006, Peña Nieto is preparing the Mexican people for a major escalation. It is a shift that could draw in military forces from Mexico's neighbors, including the United States.

"A transnational phenomenon requires a transnational strategy," Óscar Naranjo, Colombia's former director of the National Police and current advisor to Peña Nieto, told reporters last week.  "No country can succeed in an insular and isolated manner if it is to achieve timely or definitive victories."

This "internationalization" of the war that's cost Mexico about 50,000 deaths has come just a few weeks after leaked reports revealed increased surveillance of Mexican citizens under the guise of combatting cartels. Between March 2011 and March 2012, the Secretariat of National Defense awarded five secret contracts to surveillance companies—without opening them up to bidders. On Saturday, Slate reported that under these contracts, spyware companies provided the Mexican government with over $350 million USD worth of surveillance technology, from cell phone interception devices to radar scannars that actually allow officals from Mexico's Department of Defense to see through walls: 

Aside from purchasing mobile phone surveillance technology, the Mexican Department of Defense also reportedly splashed out on a kind of radar scanner that allows them to see through walls. These devices have been available to law enforcement agencies for several years, but little is known about where or when they are used. Similar technology was designed by a British company in 2006, and last year researchers at MIT announced that they had developed an "urban war fighter" radar to detect movement through walls from up to 60 feet away.

Unfortunately, these futuristic Peeping Tom scanners seem to be the only display of transparency in this multimillion dollar spy deal. According to Slate, Mexican officials have been anything but clear with the details of what could be a very expensive violation of human rights. The contracts were negotiated in secret, and when reporters attempted to find any information about the companies involved, they got nowhere:

Mexican reporters have also been focusing on the shadowy company named in the contracts as the provider of the technology. Security Tracking Devices, which does not appear to have a website, is listed online as being based near Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco. But El Universal tracked the address to a run-down residential area, where it reported it found no evidence of the company's existence.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation last week criticized the purchase of the technology disclosed in the secret contracts, saying it builds upon a trend of Mexico increasing its surveillance capacity. Mexico has had ongoing help from the United States to install up to 107 monitoring stations for intercepting communications nationwide.

The lack of information surrounding these spyware purchases, along with known corruption in Mexico's judicial system could mean a privacy nightmare for Mexicans, from political opponents to journalists investigating the costly-on-so-many-levels war.

For more on the Mexican drug war, click here, here, and here.


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  1. Don’t worry, Pe?a Nieto will oppose the War on Drugs just as soon as he term limits out and wants to remain relevant. For now the glittering teat of El t?o tonto is just too tantalizing to pass up.

  2. This guy is out of his mind. American troops in Mexico?? Mexican citizens will NOT like American troops on their soil. Not one bit. The drug cartels will be the least of our worries. It will turn into Afghanistan overnight.

    1. On further thought, the PRI will be blamed for gringos in their country and their re-rise to power will be short lived.

      This could, in short order, completely destabilize Mexico.

  3. Prohibition works. Just ask Al Capone.

  4. So Mexico is going to go FULL RETARD with this. When is it going to start spilling back into the US?

    And I cannot believe they are considering sending US troops into yet another country, and that country happens to be our neighbor.

    1. When is it going to start spilling back into the US?


    2. We need to just blame Canada for all of this, and invade. Afterall, I keep hearing about this notorious VC bud. The Canuck pot barons must be stopped!

  5. This is just really great news. The Mexican voters are apparently as American voters. What?, that wasn’t the house of that notorious cartel boss that we just took out with that drone?, just some widow and her 4 children? Oops. Oh well, collateral damage you know, people must be stopped from harming themselves with illegal drugs.

  6. The new PRI sounds an awful lot like the old PRI.

    1. Re: JeremyR,

      The new PRI sounds an awful lot like the old PRI.

      Because it was always the old PRI. And the PRD is the old-old PRI in drag. And the PAN became like the GOP – a haven for conservative socialists.

  7. So, prohibition money from us US taxpayers speaks louder than words, again. But, the treasury is empty. Prohibition already broke the bank. Now, this move will only hasten the end of cannabis prohibition. US voters will be forced into the streets to protest the total collapse of our economy, due in part to rampaging prohibitionists. Is this what Obama wants, angry citizens open rebellion?

  8. It’s a fantasy that if the drug gangs were left alone, they would stop fighting each other and civilians (which is where most of the deaths have come from).

    What Mexico’s government does is largely meaningless. They can try to contest the drug gangs’ power, or they can not contest it. Either way, they don’t control the country.

    The only way to beat the gangs is to take money out of it, which means legalization in the US, not Mexico. Spend your energy there.

  9. I bet that this is all bull shit. The Mexican protection racket mob wants money and a more secure stream of revenues from the cash cow of what should be a much-wealthier country. For the money from the US, the gangsters would say whatever. The former thug-state balance of power was upset by PRI losses – the upsurge of the Partido Acci?n Nacional was a pie-in-the-sky disturbance to the natural state of things in the limited-access mafia state that is Mexico. The bosses are now trying to re-equilibrate. Some drug gang leaders are the nouveau riche enemy and will be put in their place. The violence at the top will escalate in order to reduce the violence at the level of the mass. If anything, drugs in the north will get cheaper. But the scandal of competing gang violence in Mexico will diminish as the PRI reasserts its cold-blooded control.

  10. lol who cares what goes on in Mexico lol.


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