Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is There Blood in Your Pot?

Every now and then I need to sit in the parking lot of my office and finish listening to a compelling story on NPR.  Today was one of those days.  I was listening to Viridiana Rios who according to her Harvard posting  "is a PhD candidate in Government and a doctoral fellow in Inequality and Criminal Justice at the Harvard Kennedy School. ...She studies drug trafficking, violence and corruption in Mexico. Currently, she works as an adviser for Mexico's National Security Council Spokesman, Mr. Alejandro Poire, one of the country's most important political figures currently designing Mexico's strategy to combat organized crime."

What drew me in was her passionate description of the interconnection between America's drug habit, including the occasional marijuana user, and the crime, victimization and murder of Mexico's innocent citizens, journalists, politicians, lawyers and fighters for social justice.  Caught between the drug-producing countries to its south and the largest consuming country in the world to the north, the Mexican drug lords are financed by our habits and by a continuous supply of weapons to support their nefarious activities. 

Rios does not condemn individuals for their personal drug habits. In fact, she seemed to imply today that California's liberalized marijuana laws might actually be a good thing for Mexico since the weed is grown in the US and does not involve illegal trade, transportation, weapons and gangs.  But, her plea to consider how each puff might be tainted by the blood, sweat and tears of her countrymen was arresting.  It's one more lesson in the globalization that insinuates itself into our lives at the expense of others.

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