This week, while participating in a university event in the Dominican Republic, former President Vicente Fox went out on a limb and pointed his finger toward Colombia and Venezuela for presumably being culprits in Mexico’s drug-cartel violence problem.
Ignoring the basic economic principle that demand drives production, Fox ridiculed himself by saying that Mexico’s challenges in combating drug-related violence are mainly due to the fact that “Colombia continues to produce way too many drugs. And Venezuela continues to make it easy to smuggle drugs.”
Reminding us of the fact that during his presidential term, diplomatic ties between Mexico and Venezuela were severed, Fox went on to say that “it seems that there is an association between Hugo Chávez and the drug cartels. This is what happens when someone loses the compass of democracy. Such is the case of Hugo Chávez, who has lost his head.”
Vicente Fox made a mark of his presidency by constantly blurting out things without thinking about them beforehand (Mexico’s own version of the very famous “Bushisms”). Here are some examples of them:
- “Seventy-five percent of all Mexicans now have washing machines. And I don’t mean the ones that stand on two feet.” A sexist joke not taken lightly by our female constituency.
- “Mexico should escape ‘the perfect dictatorship’ as famous Nobel Laureate Vargas Llosa once said.” Vargas Llosa had not received the Nobel prize at that time.
- “I did a lot of mischief when I was a kid. I continue to do mischief now that I am President.” Speaking at a Children’s Day event (April 2001).
Fox’s recent declarations about Colombia and Venezuela can now be officially added to the “Foxisms” list.
The fact that Colombia and Venezuela are origin countries for some of the narcotics that travel through Mexico is the least of all the causes of rampant violence in the country. What about corruption and cajoling between law enforcement agencies and Mexican drug cartels? What about a weak rule of law that does not allow us to effectively prosecute drug trafficking offenders in Mexico? Shouldn’t we also crack down on local production of these narcotics? (They don’t all come from South America, you know).
Now as I mentioned earlier, demand drives production. If Fox is pointing fingers, shouldn’t he also look to the North? The U.S. is where the highest demand for these illicit products lies. You can’t address the drug problem without looking at the demand side. Also, drug cartels are not shooting at each other with packages of cocaine from Colombia. They are throwing hand grenades and shooting with AK-47s and AR-15s bought in the United States and brought into Mexico without any resistance or actual vigilance on the U.S.-Mexico border. Where is our binational responsibility in stopping this?
Whether Hugo Chávez is associated to Venezuela’s drug cartels or not is beside the point. The shootings and executions are not going to go away because our former president has a chip on his shoulder about unfinished business with South America.
*Arjan Shahani is a contributing blogger to AQ Online. He lives in Monterrey, Mexico, and is an MBA graduate from Thunderbird University and Tecnológico de Monterrey and a member of the International Advisory Board of Global Majority—an international non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of non-violent conflict resolution.