Finally, some sensible discussions about marijuana by national governments in the region. The US military-industrial complex loves war but it's a bad investment for everyone else. The US can't afford this drug war and our neighbors to the south have even fewer resources to waste on this phony war. How many more people have to die and how many billion more needs to be spent until Washington gets it? The Atlantic:
Since Mexico declared its own war against drugs and drug cartels in 2006, over 50,000 civilians, police, journalists, judges, and soldiers have died. Several cartel kingpins have been arrested or killed, but organized crime is as potent as ever, and there's no indication of a significant drop in the volume of narcotics flowing into the United States. And the Mexican state is suffering mightily for its effort. Despite years of training and hundreds of millions of dollars in police and military modernization and professionalization, there are still episodes like Tuesday's jail break in Nuevo Laredo, where prison officials appear to have helped Zetas cartel gunmen kill 44 inmates -- all members of a rival cartel -- and help 30 Zetas escape. It's depressing. In Guatemala, the drug war looks even worse. The Guatemalan national budget for public security is $420 million and its military budget is $160 million. The value of the narcotics smuggled through Guatemala each year is in the range of $40 to 50 billion -- about equal to the national GDP -- and that does not include the money made from smuggling weapons, people, and other contraband. In just three years, it appears that the Sinaloa and the Zetas Mexican cartels have come to control as much as 40 percent of the country's territory. They grow poppy, process cocaine and methamphetamines, and run training camps for their new recruits, who include members of Guatemala's elite special forces unit. Guatemala and other Central American states are understandable worried their drug wars will come to resemble Mexico's, but with far fewer national resources to support the fight, much weaker police and military forces, and far less help from the United States. In 2011, the U.S. gave $180 million to Mexico for military and police assistance, but only $16 million to Guatemala and around $6 million each to Honduras and El Salvador.