For my Global Thesis Project I decided to not only study the struggles behind the Mexican Drug War but devise possible solutions for the Aztec country by studying Colombia’s drug history. After watching ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary on Pablo Escobar and Andrés Escobar’s interesting relationship, I became instantly hooked with the complexity and problems that come from narcotrafficking in these Latin American countries.
The scale of drug violence in Mexico is astonishing, with more than 30,000 dead since President Calderon’s inauguration in 2006 and over 13,000 casualties in 2010 alone. The tragedy goes beyond the number of people killed, as the drug violence undermines the political and judicial systems, having a significant impact on entire communities. Increasingly, the drug wars have resulted in countless civilian casualties and violations of human rights. The lessons learned from the fight against the vicious Colombian cartels in the 1990’s when coupled with the new ideas for alternative solutions could help frame policies by both the Mexican and U.S. governments. Discussions such as police and judicial reform, the role of economic and intelligence aid, gun control in the US and the potential legalization of drugs, are all part of the universe of policies that I am analyzing.
Though my main topic has never wavered, my ideas have changed quite a bit. At the beginning, my idea was that the legalization of marihuana could be an important step to reduce the drug violence in Mexico. However, as I did more and more research I grew increasingly convinced that, while legalizing marihuana may be important, it is highly unlikely to contribute much to the reduction of violence in Mexico. I have seen that the problem is much more entrenched given that the criminal organizations derive most of their revenue from other drugs and other illegal activities. It seems clear that a long-term solution will require a complicated set of reforms and actions on the part of the Mexican and the United States government. One of the things I learned working on my thesis is how important it is to keep an open mind in a research project like this, as you find evidence that forces you to rethink your thesis all the time.
In the beginning of the year, I decided to write my thesis in Spanish. With an Argentinean background researching a Spanish-speaking country like Mexico, I only saw fitting that the resolutions be written in said language. The project forced me to read Mexican newspapers and a lot of daily material looking for ideas and clues as to what might help resolve the problem of drug violence.
With the guidance of my advisor, Mrs. Morrison, I have substantially progressed in my research and resolutions. My argument far extends the restrictions of one sole idea and considers the various perspectives at hand. As my research is coming to an end and my thesis is reaching its full conclusion, I can affirm that this has been a valuable experience for me. Not only did I learn to think with an open mind, but this project has taught me that a full faceted thesis requires multi-media presentations as well as various expert interviews. I am very excited to present my ideas to the community at large in late May.