The drug trafficking laws (Dunn T.J., 1996) had their source in smuggling of various narcotics in the end of 19th and early part of the 20th century. At this time, US joined a dozen other nations to sign up the Opium International Convention as opium was the only drug that was used mostly. Mexico also ratified this decision. Later in 1914, US altered the law so that it could start charging tax on opium and its derivatives.
The new act was called Harrison Narcotic Act. Anybody found in illegal possession of opium and its derivatives was charged by the federal government. USA stepped its efforts to curb illegal possession of opium by declaring that addicts of narcotics could not be prescribed with drugs. This forced these addicts to start operating black markets in order to get these drugs. Here we can see clearly this high demand by addicts and opium consumption in US led to drug trafficking.
To take advantage of the new market in US, Mexicans, Chinese and European Americans started operating along the borders in rings, partnership or in gangs. This led to an increase in the role of Mexican cities as centers of these businesses. It is the demand that led the smugglers, border bootleggers and traffickers to increase their efforts along the border. In 1959s due to the effects of opium usage and social problems, various narcotic acts were passed like Boggs act of 1951 and the narcotic act of 1956.
They were meant to give police and prosecutors powers to deal with the increasing number of drug users. By this time Mexico had taken a firm stand against opium but the laws became ineffective due to the high demand for drugs by the consumers which guaranteed ready market to the supplies. Therefore, the root cause of these drugs is the high demand and the ready market was available.
The proliferation of drug use and trafficking in US (Dunn T.J., 1996) was because of USA unrealistic policies about drug abuse. USA drug war budget in 2005 was 20 billion dollars while in 1981 it was 2 billion dollars. Mexico has accused by USA of increased drug trafficking smuggling and usage. This is attributed to the heavy investment it has and increased militarization in the border. USA felt that Mexico was not doing enough to fight against drug abuse.
They hoped that if trade and tourism was interrupted along the border, then Mexico would feel the pinch because there would be fewer customers. They accused Mexico of failing to fight drugs. They tightened their borders so that Mexico would change its position on conflicts in Central America as well as in other foreign policies. Mexico did not welcome this idea but continued pursuing its independent policies and harshly criticized USA for its failure to address the main causes of the drug problems. These are the insatiable demand for drugs and high consumption in the USA.
In Mexico, due to the lack of enough funds and training of police forces and the weakness of the judicial system, criminals who arm themselves with crude weapons know that there is no chance of them being caught and punished. There have been cases where the perpetrators wear police uniforms and drive vehicles that resembled those of the police casting doubts whether police were not involved in the crime (Dunn T.J., 1996)
USA has been issuing warnings to Mexico through its emissary in Mexico blaming it for not working hard enough to end the state of lawlessness. The Mexico government rejected this and accused them of fostering this state of lawlessness.
Mexico called upon both governments to work constructively in combating the crime. The US government was accused of its failure to control dangerous weapons which are used. For these reasons, Mexico should not be blamed alone for its failure to control these drug businesses.
Effective and sustained financial assistance from US cannot fully help to reduce drug trafficking and violence that it generates but still it can help. For example if it is provided, more policemen could be trained and put along the borderline where this illegal business takes place. They would be able to control the flow of illegal arms that are used by these drug dealers.
It is also true that people whose per capital income is very low and their health and social problems are increasing daily are the ones who deal with drugs. So if US could offer financial aid could be channeled to this end. I think drug business would drop significantly though not completely. No matter how much aid US government can channel, the problem cannot be solved because the root causes are not addressed. These are demand and consumption, business thrives because where there are many consumers hence high demand.
For the fight against drug to be effective, both government should stop blaming each other and work on modalities to solve this problem for once and for all. The Mexican government should take a firm stand on these drug dealers just like USA. Also, US should stop blaming Mexico and address the conditions that are favoring this drug business.
Dunn T.J., 1996. The Militarization of the USA Mexico Border 1978-1992: Low Intensity Conflict Comes Home. University of Texas, Austin.