American demand for illicit drugs is partly to blame for drug-related violence in Mexico, according to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,who called for changes in antidrug strategy, the Washington Post reported March 26.
“Clearly what we’ve been doing has not worked,” Clinton said at the start of this week’s visit to Mexico. “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police, of soldiers and civilians.”
Government officials in South and Central America have long demanded that the U.S. accept responsibility for the role that demand plays in fostering drug production, trafficking, and related violence. The Obama administration has taken several highly visible steps in recent weeks to bolster Mexico in its bloody fight against drug cartels, including adding new enforcement personnel at the border and pledging to fund helicopters to aid Mexico’s police.
Clinton’s remarks seemed to contradict recent reports of success in drug interdiction, including higher street prices for cocaine, decreased purity, and reported of more drug seizures. “Neither interdiction [of drugs] nor reducing demand have been successful,” she said.