‘The current war on drugs, launched by the government of Felipe Calderón, is just as fake as that undertaken by the administration of Vicente Fox.’ This is how Anabel Hernández, a journalist and the author of Narcoland, describes a Mexican government crackdown on drug-trafficking organisations after spending five years researching the drug trade in her country. For about seven years, the Mexican military and police have sought to combat a societal scourge in a war that has left more than 80,000 people dead and at least another 250,000 imprisoned. Dozens of kingpins have been killed or arrested. Thousands of innocent people have died.
The war on drugs is not ‘fake’. It is a highly politicised, polarising and complex affair. It involves agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration and their informants, their counterparts in Mexico, corrupt officials on both sides of the US–Mexico border, the Mexican military and police, lawyers, politicians, overburdened prison