Narco News 2001
March 27, 2001
A Narco News Global Alert
Offers Solidarity to
Johnson of New Mexico
Patricio Martínez Says:
Narco News Analysis: One week after Mexican President
Vicente Fox announced his agreement with the proposal to legalize
drugs, the governor of the violence-torn border state of Chihuahua,
Patricio Martínez García, tells Mexico's largest
daily, El Universal, that he, too, favors drug legalization.
Martínez, who last
December received a bullet wound in the neck in an attack that
many have associated with narco-trafficker efforts to destabilize
the government, says that the assassination attempt and his recovery
from the injury have pushed him to rethink the drug laws.
Martínez, a member
of the PRI party - a different party than President Fox - governs
a Northern Mexican state that borders New Mexico and Texas, and
that includes major areas of drug-war violence like Juárez
City and Ojinaga, called for increased state and local control
over the drug problem, and expressed his solidarity with the
ideas of New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Drug legalization,
says this governor from the front lines of the drug war, "must
be studied seriously." He said that society cannot rely
on the government alone to solve its problems. "The problem
of public safety is not a problem of cops and robbers. It is
a problem for all society," said the latest Latin American
leader to call for radical reform of the drug laws. "There
are voices that say that the government is to blame for the violence."
By Carlos Coria
From the daily El Universal, Mexico City,
March 27, 2001
Translated by the Narco News Bulletin
possibility of legalizing drugs like
marijuana and of developing programs to strengthen values and
that each level of government plays its respective role in the
combat for public safety are the fundamental factors for diminishing
violence in the country, said Patricio Martínez García,
governor of Chihuahua.
In an interview granted to El Universal,
still with the bad taste of the painful memory of the impact
of a bullet in his head - fired by a woman formerly of the police
force - and asking, constantly, "Why me?", the state
governor rose to establish parameters to evade the "decomposition"
of society that generates criminal and violent acts such as the
attack against him.
Now a victim of this violence, but recuperated
from the injury that the ex-police officer Victoria Loya Montejano
inflicted upon him, the state governor recognizes that among
the causes that motivated the attack was the social decay that
the country finds itself in, that comes from the failure of authorities
in the combat against delinquency and organized crime, as well
as the public's disinterest in strengthening traditional values.
At the start of the interview, he warned
about the failure of the federal government in the fight against
drugs and the obsolete nature of the laws to punish this and
other crimes. He also cited a society submerged in post-modernism,
with diluted values that impede its consciousness of its role
in the social fabric: "It leaves everything up to the government."
The most serious problem, drug trafficking,
is not attacked from the perspective that it deserves, that is,
establishing the goal of reducing damage and choosing to manage
the cancer that throws cadavers and addicts into the streets
Still skeptical, Martínez García
admits the possibility that the bullet that injured him came
from drug traffickers and he asks: "Why? And why me? I have
no authority over federal anti drug laws? They who made the decision
to eliminate me were wrong, because it is not me who has the
ability to impede their work or their business."
However, the dramatic shock that he experienced
and the painful recuperation of his health have agitated and
induced him to seek solutions to the problems of insecurity in
the country and this brings him to flirt with visions proposed
that are considered daring by some conservative sectors of the
government and society.
"There have been voices
like that of the governor of New Mexico in the United States,
Gary Johnson, that establish that the war on drugs is lost and
that ask for it to be legalized. And this voice has not been
listened to, nor has his proposal been seriously considered.
I believe that this proposal must be studied seriously, because
if the war is going to continue being lost, with the deterioration
of the life of communities and even the nation, and with the
deterioration of the quality of life for the citizens of the
country, well, then, "Where are we heading?"
But it would seem that the recognition
that the battle against narco-trafficking is practically lost
is how the regions that suffer it see it. They see the blood
running through their streets and the thousands of addicts that
it provokes, now that the federal government continues monopolizing
the constitutional prerogatives of its war. "If the federal
authorities have a monopoly over the war on drug crimes, it must
comply with its obligation and act within its own sphere of influence,
that is to say, the Nation."
This leads the governor to think in terms
of the concept of federalism (state control) of the means of
combating against drug trafficking. "Organized crime is
a federal crime established by the constitution in 1917
This was good for society in 1917 but it's no good for the society
of the 21st century. This system of division of powers to confront
crime is a system that has already demonstrated that it doesn't
work. It has not functioned and needs to be changed."
Still, his role as a statesman and the
experience he has had in the business sector, as mayor of the
capital, as federal congressman and now as governor of the state,
have brought him to rethink the capacities of the anti-drug fight
and the possibility of continuing to lose the battle while making
the problem worse.
"At this moment I would not ask that
this monopoly that the Constitution established in the combat
against drug crimes, established exclusively for the federal
government, should be eliminated or disappeared. No, the Nation
should conserve it and exercise it widely. Or, if they are going
to share the obligation with us and give us authority in this
area, that they also give us the troops and the budget to combat
understanding that this evil is not a state or national
ill but a continental one."
Governor, are you afraid that narco-trafficking
and corruption have taken hold inside the federal government?
"I believe that to say 'yes' or 'no'
would be overly simplistic. I believe that the question implies
the position of all citizens before this class of powers that
have a lot of money and a lot of lead."
"Maybe an option to get out of this
political and social degradation - and until now it has not been
spoken of much in our country and other large drug markets that
cause the production of drugs - is the promotion of social, religious
and family values that establish firmer bases so that the population
can assume its responsibility and consciousness of the decisions
over what paths our respective communities will follow."
And he recognizes: "The reality is
that the disintegration of society and of the family is moving
rapidly. It cannot be that the society of the 21st century will
bring us to the bottom of the sewer and bring the garbage with
it," said the Chihuahua governor.
The gambit of the government headed by
Patricio Martínez is precisely the educational promotion
of family, civic and spiritual values.
"We have a growing program in Juárez
City of cooperation with the authorities of El Paso, Texas, called
"For a life within the law."
And he hastens to explain its reasoning:
"It's a holistic and humanistic education that brings men,
women and children to know their society in the best of terms
of living together with others. This is a permanent work that
doesn't end, but that began with this government that invested
and continues investing in it." The change, he says, will
come from an integral view of society in which the citizens act
with full conscience of what kind of society they want to form,
and the government, with the legislators, will take charge of
the rest. "The problem of public safety is not a problem
of cops and robbers. It is a problem for all society. There are
voices that say that the government is to blame for the violence."
"There has to be a remaking of the
law. The legal statutes must be updated with the same dynamism
that is found in the social reality. It is necessary to constantly
adjust the laws and that the legislators make law in harmony
with reality, and that they create a new vision responsibly.
There is a great movement within society and a very slow one
in the effort to update the rules that govern the life of that
for the 21st Century