£17.99 | $31.95

14 June 2012
ISBN: 9781848138865
272 pages
216 x 138mm
Latin America

International Relations, Politics

Drug War Mexico

Politics, Neoliberalism and Violence in the New Narcoeconomy

By Peter Watt and Roberto Zepeda

Mexico is a country in crisis. Capitalizing on weakened public institutions, widespread unemployment, a state of lawlessness and the strengthening of links between Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, narcotrafficking in the country has flourished during the post-1982 neoliberal era. In fact, it has become one of Mexico's biggest source of revenue, as well as its most violent, with over 12,000 drug-related executions in 2011 alone.

In response, Mexican president Felipe Calderón, armed with millions of dollars in US military aid, has launched a crackdown, ostensibly to combat organised crime. Despite this, human rights violations have increased, as has the murder rate, making Ciudad Juárez on the northern border the most dangerous city on the planet. Meanwhile, the supply of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine has continued to grow. In this insightful and controversial book, Watt and Zepeda throw new light on the situation, contending that the 'war on drugs' in Mexico is in fact the pretext for a US-backed strategy to bolster unpopular neoliberal policies, a weak yet authoritarian government and a radically unfair status quo.


'This is a superb, carefully documented analysis of how American drug and neoliberal policies have helped open up Mexico to crony capitalism, crony drug trafficking, increasing wealth disparity, impoverishment of the lower 50 percent, police and army corruption and domination, and now a murderous, fruitless, US-driven drug war. Concerned Americans should read this book, and get others to read it, as a step towards decriminalizing marijuana - the chief commodity of the Mexican cartels - to help end the nightmare.' Peter Dale Scott, author of 'American War Machine'

'Peter Watt and Roberto Zepeda shed light on this dark moment in Mexican history, a drug war that has become one of the most brutal and mistunderstood conflicts of the twenty first century.'
Ioan Grillo, Author of 'El Narco: The Bloody Rise of Mexican Drug Cartels'

'By carefully linking together the economic, political and criminal histories of Mexico over the past decades, Watt and Zepeda roll back the curtain on the 'war on drugs'. Their book offers a comprehensive analysis, examining overlapping facts that others have assumed unrelated and documenting step by step the hypocrisy and corruption rampant in this war of contradictions. With its cast of shady characters and stranger-than-fiction events, the book leads logically to the conclusion that there is much more than meets the eye to the US and Mexican governments' efforts to 'defeat organized crime'. The information presented here will be an important tool in understanding the real interests behind the drug war-it will be up to a new generation to use that tool to end this deadly and unjust war before the death toll climbs even higher.'
Laura Carlsen, Director, Americas Program

Table of Contents

1 Drug Trafficking in Mexico - History and Background
2 Cold War Expansion of the Trade and the Repression of Dissent
3 The Political Economy of the 'War on Drugs'
4 Getting Rich Quick - and Those Who Didn't
5 El Cambio (The Change)
6 War is Peace
7 Another Century of Drug War?

About the Authors:

Peter Watt is Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield. His research field covers Latin American politics and history, with a particular focus on issues of human rights, political repression, narcotrafficking, freedom of expression and censorship in Mexico. Roberto Zepeda holds a PhD in politics from the University of Sheffield and is currently working as a lecturer and academic researcher in Mexico. His research focuses primarily on neoliberalism, globalisation, trade unions, Mexican economic policies since 1982 and the political economy of narcotrafficking.