In July, Mexico will elect a new president to replace Felipe Calderón. Whoever wins will need to address the foremost challenge confronting the country today: the battle against the drug cartels. And despite all the negative headlines, the next president will find that the government under Calderón has made huge gains toward defeating them.
When Calderón took office five years ago, there were roughly half a dozen cartels, each a large criminal organization in its own right. These illegal enterprises — the Gulf, the Juárez, La Familia Michoacana, the Sinaloa and the Tijuana cartels — dominated large swaths of Mexican territory and operated abroad as well.… Seguir leyendo »
The headlines from Mexico are alarming: Former presidential candidate kidnapped; U.S. consular official gunned down in broad daylight; Arizona rancher murdered by Mexican drug smugglers. Mexico is in the midst of a battle against powerful drug cartels, the outcome of which will determine who controls the country’s law enforcement, judicial and political institutions.
In the last two decades, Mexican drug cartels have acquired unprecedented power to corrupt and intimidate. Three factors account for their rise: pre-existing corruption, the inability of weak law enforcement institutions to counter them, and the demand for illegal drugs in the United States.
Drug trafficking and cross-border smuggling existed in Mexico before the 1980s, but then the trade was chiefly confined to marijuana and small quantities of heroin.… Seguir leyendo »
Is traveling to the United States a “harrowing experience,” as a Pakistani delegate to the International Olympic Committee claimed when the IOC rejected Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Games? The vast majority of the 25 million visitors arriving from overseas at U.S. airports each year experience no more than an inconvenience. But for hundreds of thousands, including Pakistanis such as the IOC delegate, it can be both difficult and unpleasant.
Men from Pakistan and two dozen other countries face onerous “special registration” procedures under the National Security Entry-Exit System set up after Sept. 11, 2001. While this was an understandable precaution in the aftermath of the attacks, more precise and effective measures have since been developed.… Seguir leyendo »