HomeNewsBriefToday's Drug Lords Can Be Tomorrow's Businessmen: Ex-Mexico President Fox
BRIEF

Today's Drug Lords Can Be Tomorrow's Businessmen: Ex-Mexico President Fox

DRUG POLICY / 31 MAR 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

In an interview with a prominent Mexican newspaper, former Mexico President Vicente Fox proposes a number of potentially controversial approaches to solving Mexico's organized crime problem, explaining why the legalization of marijuana and allowing former criminals to become legitimate "businessmen" is the best way forward.

In conversation with El Universal, Fox claims that "[drug] prohibition doesn't work" and suggests a laissez-faire, free market approach to marijuana legalization. Claiming that negotiations with criminal organizations are "not necessary," the former president says that decriminalizing the drug would allow today's drug lords to be "the businessmen of tomorrow," while weakening the economic power of illegal organizations.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Drug Policy

Fox also affirms that forgiving the cartels' crimes is the way forward, referring to the past dictatorships of Argentina, Chile and Spain as examples of how forgiveness was successful in the transition to democracy.

Fox's views differ from the heavy-handed approach of his successor President Felipe Calderon (2006-2012), which he denounces as being a "blatant violation of human rights," in reference to alleged extrajudicial killings by the Mexican army.

InSight Crime Analysis

Fox's proposals have been criticized both by opposition politicians and by his own party, the National Action Party (PAN). Such was the case in 2011, when the PAN censured similar comments by Fox following an arson attack by criminals on a casino that left 52 civilians dead; Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard characterized Fox's views at the time as "throwing in the towel."

However, Fox's opinions have some resonance amongst Mexicans who feel severe militarized efforts to be exacerbating the conflicts between organized crime groups and the state. Many Mexicans also regard the drug war as a US problem for which Mexico pays the larger price.

But translating Fox's utopian vision into reality is at best a leap of faith and at worst irresponsible. There is little guarantee that legal marijuana will lead to lower levels of violence, and it is Mexico's weak, corrupt and inept government institutions that open the door for violent actors at least as much or more than the current drug paradigm.  

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

DRUG POLICY / 7 NOV 2012

The passing of marijuana legalization ballots in Washington and Colorado raises the question of whether these measures will hit the…

MEXICO / 6 APR 2015

Many say Mexico's war on drugs began after former President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006, but a new book…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 7 NOV 2013

Mexico's Knights Templar earns more than $73 million each year outside of its drug trafficking activities, revealing the diverse criminal…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.