Allen Kukovich, former member of the Pennsylvania Senate and Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Lane's insight:
In what ways do you think legalization of currently illegal drugs would improve Mexico's current battle with the drug war?
The legalization of drugs in the U.S. would severely cut into the profits of the drug cartels. History has shown that prohibition laws typically lead to a burgeoning black market for illegal products. Since a disproportionate amount of the cartels’ money derives from the U.S., this would reduce demand and weaken their power. This, in turn, could strengthen the ability of the Mexican government to contain the problem.
Do you believe there are things the United States as Mexico's bordering country could be doing to help fight the drug war?
The U.S. for decades , as part of its “War on Drugs” policy, has poured a tremendous amount of money, technical resources, and coordinated law enforcement activity into Mexico. According to most experts, this has had minimal effect. As many policy experts have stated publicly, including some very conservative former prosecutors, judges and mayors of major cities, it’s time to admit this policy has been a tragic failure. The U.S. could be more helpful by treating this as an economic issue and a health care issue than a criminal justice issue.
Mexico recently inaugurated a new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, who plans to take on the cartels by creating programs for opportunity as opposed to the former president, Felipe Calderon, who declared "war" on the cartels resulting in much corruption. In what ways do you think Nieto's methods will be more affective?
If Pres. Nieto is successful in creating meaningful programs for opportunity, it could reduce the disparity of income levels and create a more stable, balanced economy. Thus, Mexico’s economy wouldn’t need to rely so heavily on drugs, further damaging the power of the cartels. Recent scandals in the banking industry ( including a major British – based bank doing business in the U.S.) have disclosed large financial investments in illegal drug trafficking in Mexico. Hopefully, Nieto’s proposals would encourage better business investments from the financial institutions. This would not only help their economy, but also cut off money to the cartels.
If you were elected the president of Mexico what would be the first thing you would do in order to better the country?
As president of Mexico, the action which would reap the most immediate benefit and have long lasting implications, would be for the government to make major investments in Mexico’s infrastructure . By building and maintaining its transportation industry ( roads, bridges and ports ), jobs would be immediately created. By improving its sewage and water delivery system, jobs would be created and public health would be improved. And by modernizing its telecommunications and technology systems, would become more economically competitive.
It was once said that Mexico's only problem was being a bordering country of the United States. Do you think Mexico's cartels have grown with the United States' drug dependency or our drug dependency has grown with the cartel expansion?
Primarily Mexico’s cartels have grown due to U.S. drug dependency. U.S. drug demand is higher per capita than any other country in the world despite our war on drugs. The closeness of our countries simplifies business for the cartels.
With Obama changing the immigration policy, do believe this will heavily influence the illegal activity in Mexico?
Obama, by executive order, has made it easier for children of immigrants born in the U.S. to be educated, etc. But major immigration reform must be legislated. Currently four Democratic Senators and four Republican Senators are crafting legislation to address how to handle the problem of 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S. It makes sense for the President to wait for a bipartisan compromise. If this plan shrinks the time it takes to become a naturalized citizen and eases the process to grant undocumented workers permission to work in the U.S. permanently, it would eliminate burdens and create opportunities that would have a positive effect on reducing criminal activity in Mexico. ( This would also be advantageous for the U.S. which according to the Migration Policy Institute spent $18 billion in 2012 alone on immigration enforcement. Compare that number to the $12.4 billion the U.S. spent in 2012 on all law enforcement according to the U.S. Department of Justice.)
Do you think the economically struggling areas of Mexico could benefit from the kinds of financial programs we have in the United States? If so what are some examples?
Yes, there are some American policies that would benefit struggling economic areas in Mexico. Some examples would be: providing seed money for entrepreneurial start-ups and business incubators / agricultural subsidies in remote, rural areas / investments in “cluster industries” which can feed off large manufacturing companies which are NAFTA beneficiaries / low interest loan programs for small businesses.
It is predicted that Mexico is going to be the new China, many companies are investing in factories and plants in Mexico. Do you think a more industrialized backbone in Mexico would help or increase corruption?
Even though there has been increased private investment in manufacturing in Mexico, the vast majority of the people have not benefited from it. Unless the money from growth in the industrial sector goes into reinvestment and modernization of manufacturing facilities and unless workers begin to receive a more livable wage, it will have little impact on reducing corruption.
Many US agents go undercover within the cartels. Do you think undercover work within the cartels is beneficial or dangerous and not something the US should be worrying about?
This undercover work is by definition dangerous. It also has not proved to be successful in defeating the cartels. We need to move beyond failed and flawed policies.
Ask the experts what they think the root of Mexico's problems is and you'll get a myriad of responses. However, ask the average Mexican the same question, and the answer will most likely be corruption.
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