Mexico. Drugswar, 2006-current
Type of conflict: Drugs war
Conflict: Mafia gangs fight for control of the drugs trade to the American market
Parties involved: Various drugs gangs, the Mexican government supported by the United States
Estimated number of victims: some 60,000 deaths
Drugs such as cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine (called speed) are illegal and therefore expensive. They can generate a lot of money. Mexican gangs who supply drugs to their American neighbours earn some € 10,000,000,000 (10 billion!) a year. No wonder they are embroiled in a very violent battle with one another. In a discotheque in Michoacán, the western state in Mexico, gang members once threw the severed heads of five people onto the dance floor just to say: ‘Don’t mess with us’. The Mexican government tries to contain the violence but has not yet succeeded. The gangs’ power is considerable, even bribing people in the army and police with big sums of money to collaborate.
Ten years ago Colombian gangs controlled the cocaine market. Now Mexican gangs are firmly in charge, controlling 90 percent of the cocaine supply to the United States. The reasons are as follows. The US deploy their resources to fight the drugs trade in other areas such as the Caribbean and their own state of Florida. Another factor is that the political party that was in charge in Mexico for decades is no longer in power. This party (PRI) managed to limit the violence by making deals with the leaders of the drugs gangs. More and more politicians in the US now call for the legalisation of the drugs trade in the hope that prices will drop and deaths will decrease as a result.