Sunday, June 8, 2014


By Connie Ogle
Journalist Michael Deibert doesn’t believe America’s war on drugs is a battle that can be won.
“I think if most Americans saw the cost that the prohibition of narcotics exacts in places like Mexico and Guatemala and Colombia,” he says, “the idea of decriminalizing drugs might not seem so far fetched.”
That’s why Deibert has written In the Shadow of Saint Death: The Gulf Cartel and the Price of America’s Drug War in Mexico (Lyons, $24.95), about which he’ll talk Tuesday at Books & Books in Coral Gables. In the book, he examines the history and legacy of the drug war, which he traces back to President Richard Nixon, through the prism of the Gulf Cartel, a ruthless trafficking organization operating across the border from East Texas. In terms of the drug wars, Ciudad Juárez gets all the notoriety, but Deibert writes that this area has seen just as much violence as its sister city to the west.
Embroiled in a brutal battle with its former allies Los Zetas — made up of “military special forces who became the enforcement wing and changed the dynamic of drug trafficking in Mexico,” Deibert says — the cartel has been around so long its founding members got started during Prohibition.
“Another great success that immediately made people stop drinking and undercut the criminal element,” Deibert says wryly. “The U.S. had this 13-year experiment that was a total disaster. So I thought I’d look at the strategy that has been a more deadly disaster in my view.”
Deibert is no stranger to dangerous territory. For his book The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair, he traveled through the killing fields of central Africa. He’s also the author of Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti, an account of the events leading up to the overthrow of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. But talking to ordinary people trying to conduct their lives amid the cartel violence was eye-opening.
“People are living under a siege and have been for many years,” he says. “It’s amazing what the human spirit can adjust to.”
Q: What parts of U.S. policy are most problematic in your view?
A: The kingpin strategy, taking out the leaders, makes no difference in terms of movement of narcotics to the United States. There are 100 people in line to take their places. … The idea that somehow we have this secure fence act, that we’re going to have a 12-foot wall at the border, and the cartels are going to say, “We’re going to stop trafficking drugs,” is just ridiculous. The idea that corruption stops at the border in Mexico is false. … I really, truly believe that decriminalization is the only way the violence will end.
For the rest of the interview, click on link below:


Anonymous said...
Only the selected few have a good salary the forgotten few rely on a hot dog plate during election day?

Anonymous said...

It is called a a Naco Dog. It's delicious if you are hungry.