By Jesse Mancuso

The declared drug war in Mexicois approaching its fifth year, and every year the violence by drug cartels and traffickers gets worse.  As reported by El Universal, since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 and declared the war on drugs, about 23,000 young people, age 15-29, have been recruited into drug cartels.  In 2008 there were 1,638 people from the age 15-29 who died of suspected drug related attacks.  In 2009 there were 2,511 dead, and in 2010 it continued to rise to 3,741 deaths due to violent attacks.  As a result of the enormous increase in deaths, violent homicide has surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of deaths among young people in Mexico.  The most recent drug related attack occurred in August when gunman raided a casino in Monterrey, Mexico’s wealthiest city, and set the place on fire killing 52 people.  It is assumed that the attack was a result of the local war between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas who are seeking control of the city.  President Calderon has stated the attack on the casino was a result of one main factor, “the movement and sale of drugs to the United States.”  The Mexican president continued to say that:

“Part of the tragedy that Mexicans are living has to do with the fact that we are alongside the biggest consumer of drugs in the world, and at the same time, the biggest vendor of weapons in the world, which pays billions of dollars every year to the criminals who supply them with narcotics.

These … dollars end up arming and organizing the criminals, and places them in their service and against the citizens.

This is why it is my duty, also, to make a call to the society, the Congress, and the government of the United States. I ask them to reflect on this tragedy that we Mexicans and many other countries in Latin America are living, as a consequence, in great part, to the insatiable consumption of drugs in which millions and millions of Americans participate.”

The issue of violence and the drug cartels is becoming an ever growing problem in Mexico.  It is affecting the Mexican community in many ways.  Thousands have lost their lives and families during the war on drugs.  The war on drugs has also influenced younger people’s views towards security and punishments.  According to a survey by the National Autonomous University of Mexico in August, young people from the age of 15-19 years old were the largest group of the sample population to approve of the use of torture and the death penalty to receive information and punish the cartels.  In June the Global Commission on Drug Policy issued a report urging governments to decriminalize drug consumption and even the legalization of certain drugs, namely marijuana.  The report came about from the current strategies in the war on drugs resulting in more than 38,000 deaths in the past 4 and half years in Mexico and the over $1 billion in aid received from the United States.  However, President Felipe Calderon and the Mexican government have many times stated they to do not agree with the legalization of drugs, but are still open to debate on the issue.