by David E. Robles
This week, 72 Central and South American migrants were found murdered in a ranch house near San Fernando, about 100 miles south of the U.S. border. The grisly discovery is the biggest massacre to date in Mexico’s brutal war on drugs and the third site authorities have found recently with more than a dozen bodies. National security adviser to President Felipe Calderón, Alejandro Poiré, believes the Mexican crime gang the Zetas are kidnapping, extorting, and murdering migrants to help finance their war with Mexican authorities. Poiré called the killings “an absolute outrage.”
Official statistics show a 15 percent increase in kidnappings in Mexico so far this year, a figure which may be largely under counted. And a new report by The Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego predicted that drug war-related homicides could double this year over last year. On Friday, in a public show of force by drug gangs, Mexican news station Televisa was attacked for the third time when a car bomb exploded in front of its Ciudad Victoria studio.
Here in the U.S., DEA Nominee Michele Leonhart’s confirmation may be dead after a Ponzi scheme by an agency-endorsed financial adviser cost dozens of DEA agents their life savings. Many advocates of drug policy reform have been quick to point out Leonhart’s “Bush style” drug war tactics, including raids on medical marijuana dispensaries after President Obama said the federal government would no longer go after those who are complying with state medical marijuana laws.
As the debate over California’s Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana for recreational use heats up, an online campaign in favor of marijuana policy reform was stymied in their efforts to reach a key demographic of young voters when Facebook blocked the group’s campaign ads from its site. When social news site Reddit’s owner, Conde Nast, asked for similar blocking, Reddit responded by running the ads for free in protest.
An alcohol and drug advisory panel in Contra Costa County, Calif., recommended that the county oppose Proposition 19. Only one panelist, Jerry Lasky, was in support of the proposition. Lasky said, “I haven’t heard one good, logical argument against Prop. 19.” Here’s a list put together by The San Jose Mercury News of supporters and opponents lining up on both sides of Prop. 19.
Finally, the Internet is buzzing with the news that Roger “The Rocket” Clemens may go to prison for a very long time in connection to his use of steroids. Clemens’ indictment is for lying to Congress, but the harsh penalty he faces — up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine — has some saying he is just another victim of the heavy hand of the war on drugs. “Is it ethical and morally right to imprison someone for a lengthy [imprisonment] for putting chemicals in their own bodies?” Anthony Papa of AlterNet asks. That question applies far beyond the baseball diamond. What do you think?