By Anasuya Dindral, Aaron Oosterhart, Steven Marcus
The Mexican and United States governments, as well as the civilian population of Mexico have a vested interest in removing the cartels from power. Whether it be the Mexican government wanting to regain stability, and the trust of the people, both domestic and foreign; the United States government looking to secure its borders and stem the tide of illegal drugs, weapons and cash; or the people of Mexico, wanting the streets to be safe so their children can return to school, or even play a game outside with friends. Their combined interest has become so powerful that the only path toward resolution with the cartels is seen as a toe-to-toe death match… “Into the sea with them!!” seems too often be the battle cry. The Cartels just want to be left alone to make their money and sell their product. With the continuous haranguing by federal and state forces of both Mexico and the US, their back is to a proverbial wall; they feel they must fight to survive. The poor citizens of Mexico —sadly caught in the middle— just want the violence from both sides to stop, so they can live their lives in peace. No one here is having their interests met, and none have even realized that it is their needs, hidden within those material interests they should really be focused on, because no one wins in a fair fight.
If the Mexican government were to focus more on the immaterial needs of sovereignty, justice and order, and less on who broke what law how and with whom, perhaps overhauling their justice system and military, increased societal growth, education and the like their needs could be met with little to no bloodshed. If the United States government stop trying to fix every other nation’s problem and invested in “Deterrent/Treatment” focused initiatives —helping the young learn about what not to do, and helping the already addicted find a better way to deal with their reality— perhaps invest in an electronically and human observed border, their needs could be met. If both governments took three steps back and observed this issue from a new perspective they would realize that the solution to this problem lies before them. The cartels are making their money by selling to the civilian population, especially the US population. The government needs to focus on this population and decide where, and how, they can assist in helping their people out of harm’s way. By doing so, the governments could drastically cut the cartels income and further, their power base. If this takes place then the government can successfully keep the drugs off its streets and out of its neighborhoods. Law enforcement agencies need to “call for treating drugs more as a health issue, as with cigarettes and alcohol, instead of a criminal one”(Schumacher-Matos, A13). If the government can successfully reinforce these simple, yet heavily controversial, demands then the cartels would not be able to make a profit… therefore, with reduced profits, the cartels with have less leverage, creating a reduced amount of crime without necessarily forcing the cartels “into the sea”.
The civilian population’s needs would then be met because they would obtain what was rightfully theirs, peace of mind. The parents would be able to send their children to school without having to fear for their lives. Violence would no longer run the lives of the citizens; they would be allowed to return back to the status quo they once lived. Maybe even the next generation of Mexican youth could see this change take place and hopefully decide that being in a cartel isn’t cool, that it isn’t an optionable way to support their families, and that there are better ways to live their lives.
Maybe even within a few generations the cartels might simply be the stories of legends, told around a campfire, while everyone laughs and jokes freely as they have no need to fear violence anymore.