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Primary Materials ● Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini (sculpture, 1545) ● Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Rigoberto A. González (painting, 2013) ● Los infortunios de Alonso Ramírez (The Misfortunes of Alonso Ramírez) by Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (novel, 1690) ● El periquillo sarniento (The Mangy Parrot) by José Joaquín Fernández de Liz­ ardi (novel, 1816) ● Astucia by Luis Gonzaga Inclán (novel, 1865) ● Los bandidos de río Frío (The Bandits of Rio Frio) by Manuel Payno (novel, 1891) ● El Zarco by Ignacio Altamirano (novel, 1901) I mages of the drug war in Mexico have reflected ever more striking vio­ lence as the war between branches of the government and cartels continues to claim a monstrous number of lives in the country. As of this writing, approximately 120,000 murders have been linked to the war on drugs in Mexico between 2006 and 2012 (20,000 per year, approximately 6 per 1,000 people), though it is hard to provide exact numbers, as it is difficult to attri­ bute cause for murder clearly (Robles de la Rosa). During President Enrique 11 War Medusa’s Head: The Drug War Commandeers the People Rafael Acosta Morales 220 Rafael Acosta Morales Peña Nieto’s term, the number of murders attributed to the drug war has been put at 65,209 for the period between January 2012 and January 2016 (21,736 per year, approximately 6 per 1,000 people) (Blog del Narco). These numbers include only verified murders in the country, without counting the unknown number of disappearances. Narco News estimates that in the period 2006–2016, 11,000 deaths were at­ tributable to the drug war in the United States, taking its data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program (Conroy), though the news outlet states that for fewer than half of the yearly murders was enough information reported to be able to determine whether their causes might have involved drugs. More­ over,“currently, no comprehensive, publicly available data exist that can defini­ tively answer the question of whether there has been a significant spillover of drug trafficking–related violence into the United States” (Conroy). From 2000 to 2012, somewhere between 14,661 and 17,309 murders and nonnegligent man­ slaughter cases were registered every year in the United States (Federal Bureau of Investigation). While it is very difficult to calculate properly just how many of these mur­ ders were related to drug violence, it is clear that drug violence figures greatly into the causes of murder in both countries. According to the United States’ National Institute on Drug Abuse, illicit drug overdose cases averaged 8,388 per year during the same period reported in Narco News, 2006–2016 (NIH Na­ tional Institute on Drug Abuse 2015). As a matter of comparison, prescription drug overdose cases average 16,682 per year (NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse 2015). Illicit drug overdoses are on the rise, in spite of all the efforts to suppress these drugs (NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse 2016). Low esti­ mates claim that the U.S.government,across its different levels,spends upward of $41.3 billion yearly on enforcement of drug prohibition laws (Miron and Waldock 1), while others assert that these expenses are up to $51 billion (Drug Policy Alliance). And yet, “while international efforts to step up drug seizures may affect availability,price and consequences associated with a particular drug (i.e., cocaine or heroin), CASA [National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse] was unable to find evidence that such strategies have an overall impact on reducing substance abuse and addiction or its costs to government” (Na­ tional Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse 58). Results have not fol­ lowed actions in the drug war that is being waged in Mexico and the United States,and it has been waged for far too long not to be evaluated or reconceived in the light of its multiple failures. War 221 If policies relating to the drug war were aimed at reducing drug consump­ tion or drug availability, any reasonable person ought to consider by now that either the war is irretrievably lost or that the strategy by which it is being fought is entirely mistaken and should be drastically altered. What a growing number of voices tell us is that the drug war is about everything but drugs and that, in terms of its true targets, it has actually been very successful. An examination...


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MARC Record
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