(5)

Dem Senate candidates talk about Mexico’s drug war

The Juárez Cartel detonated this car bomb in Cuidád Juárez, Mexico in 2010. (Department of Homeland Security photo)

The Juárez Cartel detonated this car bomb in Cuidád Juárez, Mexico in 2010. (Department of Homeland Security photo)

‘I will give my every effort to make sure the violence and illegal activity are stemmed,’ Hector Balderas pledges; Martin Heinrich says the United States must rethink its drug war and focus on ‘policies of rehabilitation’ to reduce illegal drug use here.

This post continues a series on the U.S. Senate and 1st Congressional District candidates’ stances on various policy issues.

Hector Balderas pledges to “stand up for the rule of law” in combating Mexico’s drug war and illegal drug use in the United States; Martin Heinrich says the conventional drug war “is simply not working” and supports a comprehensive approach to solving the problem.


Advertisement

Balderas, a Democratic candidate for New Mexico’s open U.S. Senate seat, said the United States must reduce the number of firearms trafficked into Mexico. He said he will work to increase accountability for U.S. dollars spent in Mexico and to ensure the United States’ partners there are “reliable, trustworthy and transparent.”

Balderas said he supports initiatives that increase international cooperation in addressing the violence in Mexico and will “work to make sure this country remains a leader in standing up for the world’s needy,” including Mexican families that have been “displaced by the horrific violence.”

“I will always stand up for the rule of law,” he said. “The drug wars have to end, as does the United States’ consumption of illegal drugs. The strength of our economy, the safety of our communities and the stability on our border depend on it.”

Heinrich, Balderas’ opponent in the Democratic primary, said Mexican drug cartels and transnational criminal organizations “pose a serious threat to the security of the United States and must be addressed in a comprehensive way.”

“It’s clear that the drug war as envisioned and executed in the 1980s is simply not working,” he said.

Heinrich said in addition to supporting Mexico’s efforts to combat cartel operations and imprison cartel members and freeze their assets, the United States must “recognize and deal with the fact that ending the violence will be difficult so long as there is an appetite for cocaine and heroin.”

“Focusing on policies of rehabilitation will help quell the appetite for these illicit drugs,” he said. “When the demand goes down, so too will the violence.”

The question

The Democratic U.S. Senate candidates made their comments in response to a question from NMPolitics.net about Mexico’s drug war. NMPolitics.net gave them no word minimum or limit, telling them to say what they had to say. The only criterion was that they not engage in personal attacks.

Here’s the question NMPolitics.net asked:

  • Mexico’s drug war hasn’t gotten as much attention in the United States as conflicts in some other foreign nations, but it’s been a destabilizing force in New Mexico’s neighbor – whose economy is arguably intertwined with that of the United States – and has had a tangible impact in the United States, with cartels operating in many states and some documented instances of spillover violence in Southern New Mexico and elsewhere. That’s on top of the humanitarian crisis the war has created in areas of Mexico including our neighbor, Cuidád Juarez. What policies and action do you support to address the crisis?

Their responses, published in their entirety:

Hector Balderas (Courtesy photo)

Hector Balderas (Courtesy photo)

Hector Balderas

“The drug war in Mexico is truly terrible, harming families directly with violence and indirectly through a crippled economy and loss of trust in law enforcement. We have seen some of this violence spill over into our state, and, undoubtedly, many New Mexicans and their families have been affected by this horrendous state of affairs. In fact, the U.S. Justice Department considers the Mexican drug cartels the greatest organized crime threat to our country.

“As your United States senator, I will give my every effort to make sure the violence and illegal activity are stemmed. First, we need to greatly reduce the number of firearms that smugglers are trafficking into Mexico. Reports have found that the vast majority of weapons apprehended at crime scenes by Mexican law enforcement were brought into the country from the United States. I will push for full enforcement of our existing laws in addition to expanding access to needed resources, such as eTrace, for our diplomatic and law enforcement officials.

“I support initiatives that increase international cooperation in addressing the violence, and I believe we must also address any domestic issues that are helping fuel the illegal activity in Mexico. Importantly, I will seek to increase accountability for funds spent in Mexico. I will work to ensure that our partners are reliable, trustworthy and transparent – not corrupt – so that we can work together to combat the drug wars in an effective manner.

“Additionally, I will work to make sure this country remains a leader in standing up for the world’s needy. Too many Mexican families have been displaced by the horrific violence. We must streamline our immigration system so that true refugees and asylum seekers can begin contributing to our communities and building their new lives in a timely manner.

“As we move forward, we should do with so with our safety at the forefront, but we should also recognize the drug wars’ harmful impact on businesses. Healthy economies depend on healthy communities, and we cannot attract investment if there is concern about our long-term safety.

“I will always stand up for the rule of law. The drug wars have to end, as does the United States’ consumption of illegal drugs. The strength of our economy, the safety of our communities and the stability on our border depend on it.”

Martin Heinrich (Courtesy photo)

Martin Heinrich (Courtesy photo)

Martin Heinrich

“Mexican drug cartels and transnational criminal organizations pose a serious threat to the security of the United States and must be addressed in a comprehensive way. It’s clear that the drug war as envisioned and executed in the 1980s is simply not working.

“In addition to reducing cross-border violence with heightened security measures on U.S. soil, there is much more we have to do. We need to support Mexico’s efforts to combat drug cartel operations and convict and incarcerate cartel members and take all steps necessary to freeze their financial assets. We also must recognize and deal with the fact that ending the violence will be difficult so long as there is an appetite for cocaine and heroin. Focusing on policies of rehabilitation will help quell the appetite for these illicit drugs. When the demand goes down, so too will the violence.”

Tagged as: , , , , ,

5 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.

  1. “Perhaps it’s a very intractable problem and beyond Congress to help solve.”

    Actually, Congress is the one and only entity that can solve it, and they’re normally pretty good at the type of solution that is needed here, but for some reason they’re holding back.

    Turn our corporate masters loose against the cartels.  When Americans can get their Monsanto-patented strains of drugs for $5.99 per ounce at Wal-Mart, the drug cartels will be plunged into the same poverty, impotence, and irrelevance as those who deal in any other agricultural commodity.

    All that’s needed in order for this to happen, is to repeal the laws which don’t allow it to happen.  Our current policy is that we’re using a strange form of inverse-protectionism to keep the profits (for both foreign farmer and their intermediate middlemen) artificially high.

  2. How about trying something that works. The Dutch did it. Facing a huge needle problem they gave users a legal option, marijuana. Then several things unexpectedly occured besides saving needle user’s lives.

    1. drug dealers were put out of business
    2. tax money was generated
    3. marijuana ceased to contain deadly foreign contents, see “wet” or the dipping of pot into embalming fluid
    4. and most important, a generation later the Dutch population having grown up being able to smoke it decided they had better things to accomplish in life and now very few of the Dutch citizenry have a drug problem or smoke pot

    I am sad to see neither of these candidates had the juevos to be bold or, well, daring enough to purpose the solution. Afraid your political careers might be damaged? Get real, a Nation sits in the balance and so do US tax dollars.

    *and for the record I am neither a drug user or pot smoker oh, and I don’t drink alcohol (although legal) either

  3. If I understand both candidates correctly . . . 

    Congressman Heinrich is for more taxpayer-funded drug rehab, for more aid and cooperation from the U.S. government to help the Mexican government defeat the drug cartels, and for freezing the drug cartels’s financial assets.
     
    Mr. Balderas is for eTrace, reducing the flow of firearms into Mexico by enforcing all our drug laws, and easing immigration from Mexico.  And he’ll stand up for the rule of law.

    Since drug addicts can go to Narcotics Anonymous, I don’t support more public funding of rehab.   But I agree with Mr. Heinrich’s other two positions.

    I agree with Mr. Balderas on cracking down on the flow of illegal guns into Mexico.  Not sure what eTrace is or how it will help, but it sounds good.  I’m pro-immigrant but I’m not sure how easing immigration will help this particular problem.

    300,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico over the past decade.  I suppose we need to enforce the rule of law (Balderas) with Heinrich’s two key solutions and the one Balderas solution that seems important – and hopefully we can do a lot more to reduce the violence there.  It is truly tragic, as Mr. Balderas describes with some passion.

    Both candidates make good points.  Perhaps it’s a very intractable problem and beyond Congress to help solve. 
      

                

  4. Utterly disappointing on both counts.  These guys mean to perpetuate the evil that is the War on Drugs as well as, perpetuate the lie that demand can be stemmed by any means including transforming our free nation into a totalitarian state.  Truly, truly horrible.  I can’t tell if these guys are just stupid or if they are paid off by status qua moneyed interests of the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs is an excuse for a campaign of devastation against the people on both sides of the border using our own humanity/human nature to falsely criminalize and hence undermine Civil and Human rights.

  5. “To function as the founders intended, our republic requires that the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
     - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787
     
    Fortunately we are left with one last peaceful avenue for change – Jury Nullification.
     
    Jury Nullification is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to acquit defendants who are technically guilty but do not deserve punishment. – All non-violent ‘drug offenders’ who are not selling to children – be they users, dealers or importers – clearly belong in this category. 
     
    If you sincerely believe that prohibition is a dangerous and counter-productive policy then you must stop helping to enforce it. When it comes to acquittals, you, the juror, have the very last word! 
     
    * It only takes one juror to prevent a guilty verdict. 
    * You are not lawfully required to disclose your voting intention before taking your seat on a jury.
    * You are also not required to give a reason to the other jurors for your position when voting – just simply state you find the accused not guilty.
    * Jurors must understand that it is their opinion, their vote. If the Judge and the other jurors disapprove, too bad. There is no punishment for having a dissenting opinion.
     
    We must create what we can no longer afford to wait for – PLEASE VOTE TO ACQUIT! 

Leave a response

You must be logged in to post a comment.