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TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT: Military response won’t halt drug flow

April 21st, 2009

By Jenaro Rodriguez

This past week, Barack Obama made his first visit to Mexico as our president, amid rising drug-related violence.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rightly said that the problem stems from the “insatiable demand for drugs” in the United States. But so far, the only concrete measure that the U.S. government has offered is the Merida Initiative – a military response that continues the failed supply-side military strategy of combating drugs, but allocates no money for drug treatment or other proven demand reduction strategies in the United States.

We know from eight years of failed drug-war policies in Colombia that more military aid is not the solution.

To focus solely on the drug cartels and violence is missing the boat. NAFTA and the current economic crisis have had devastating effects throughout Mexico, in-creasing poverty and out-migration.

Sustainable development in Mexico and a reduced demand for drugs in the United States would drastically weaken the appeal of drug cartels and organized crime.

The Mexican people need an economic solution, but instead they suffer the consequences of a military solution with U.S. support.

It is time to renegotiate NAFTA.