Wednesday, May 5, 2010

An Inconsequential Murder - a political crime novel

Recent events in Mexico prove that the "War on Drugs" is not being won by anybody, and is being lost by all. Dozens of murders each day, billions of dollars invested in the war--money which could have been used to fight poverty and disease--are being wasted, and fear, suffering, and social dis array are widespread.

My novel deals with a central issue to this "war": legalization. For years there have been rumors and even public pronouncements by public figures hinting at the struggle between legalization and anti-legalization groups on both sides of the Mexico-US border. Conservatives in Mexico and in the US have traditionally opposed legalization of even the most "benign" of the currently outlawed drugs, that is, marijuana. On the other hand, liberal groups not only point to the success other countries have had in legalizing and controlling the use of such substances, but also of the regulatory measures which have kept usage in check of other substances such as the liquor and cigarettes.

Another question posed in my book concerns the lack of desire exhibited by the US government and the general population in the US to fight the consumption of drugs and the sale of armament to the Drug Cartels.

Most Mexicans believe, and with some validity, that if the Drug Cartels are exporting tons of drugs into the US, three things are evident: one, somebody is letting them into the US, two, the drug market there is bigger than anyone cares to admit, and three, past, present, and future governments of the US are content to portray this as a Mexican problem (of supply) and not an American problem (of demand).

The novel describes the murder of a young man in Monterrey, Mexico, a large, industrial city located in the country's northeast. The subsequent investigation discovers a "legalization war" involving public and private citizens of both countries, as well as the illegal activities of governmental institutions concerning the issue, from both sides of the border.

This is not a pitch for you to buy the book (although I would not mind if you do so) but rather a discussion of the issues that are part of the book's plot. In a future post I will provide a link to an excerpt of the book (as well as to the book itself). I would appreciate any comments not only on the matters mentioned above, but also on the book or the excerpt itself.


  1. The main character of my book, Captain Guillermo Lombardo, is a composite of Mexican police officers I have known, or have know about. I still wonder how these men can take on a job which must be among the most dangerous in the world, probably more dangerous than being a soldier in Afghanistan. The average life span of a top police officer in cities such as Ciudad Juarez or Tijuana, is said to be about 6 months. Yet, they keep finding people to take on the job.

    Lombardo is old school. He went into the police force because in his days it was a good, reliable, civil servant job, that was the right kind of profession for "a man with extensive familiarity with guns and violence". He doesn't understand the new breed of policeman who join the force because they are politically motivated, hungry for fame, money and notoriety, and who seem closer to the gun slinger sheriffs of the Old West, rather than the sleuthing bureaucrats invented by Simenon or Agatha Christie.

    Although the police officers after which I modeled Lombardo were anachronisms, they were very effective in solving the old type of crime: burglaries, murders committed in a rage or fit of passion, fraud, etc. because they knew their territory and the people who lived in it so well.

    All of that, I am afraid, has been swept away by the hurricane of violence and corruption that is the "Drug Wars".

  2. Here is an interesting article about "How Legalizing Drugs Will End the [Drug War] Violence". Notice in the next to the last paragraph of page 2 the comment on how then President Vicente Fox had tried to pass through congress legalization legislation but was thwarted by the Bush administration. This is not the only case of Life imitating Art. The same thing has happened in other countries such as Colombia and Costa Rica. Not only will the US government do nothing about drug consumption in the US, it uses all of its diplomatic and economic power to thwart any initiative, enlightened or not, in other countries.

  3. This recent article of the Wall Street Journal is typical of the conservative view of the War on Drugs. It is optimistically titles "In Praise of Mexico's War on Drugs". It places the blame for the violence on "Mexico's record of corrupt, weak and incompetent governance"; not a word is said about the rampant consumption in the US, the corruption and weak, incompetent law enforcement agencies in the US that allow tons of the stuff to flow past US borders, or even about the simple act of denying the cartels firepower with effective gun laws. Yes, if only corrupt, weak Mexico would get its act together everything would be fixed. What a sham! They ought to be ashamed to publish such rubbish.