By Johan Galtung & Fernando Montiel
Toluca, Estado De México; Workshop on Drug Traffic and Violence
300.000 kg of cocaine to USA via Mexico annually; 60% of marijuana producers had lived in misery, US$ 2/day; the drug traffic profit in Mexico was US$ 59 billion, 5% of GNP; 80% was spent on corruption; 125,000 were arrested since 2006; with an impunity of 98%.
2,000 weapons from USA to Mexico daily; 5.5 million legal and 20 million illegal arms in Mexico; 100,000 have died in the “war on drugs” from 2006; 30,000 disappeared; 42+ journalists killed (more than in Afghanistan); 50,000 military troops involved by 2006, 130,000 by 2009, 50,000 in 2012, 32,000 in 2013; US$ 16.6 billion spent on insecurity and violence, 1.34% of GNP.
Due process of law and violence did not reduce drug traffic and violence; a drug-arms-violence-police-military complex had evolved. No general prevention, maybe not even individual prevention. A discourse-change took place: the perpetrators were seen less as evil and more as products of the domestic and regional contexts. The new approach was prevention by eliminating causes. The goal is reduction of drug traffic and of violence, and even if related they were seen as two different goals not necessarily served by the same means.
Which are these means, causes to be handled?
* Policing borders? South: 956 kms, yes; North 3250 kms-not feasible.
* Eliminating arms inside? They can kill with knives, machetes.
* Economic growth? No, too much inequality and misery at the bottom.
* Economic distribution? Yes, if it lifts the bottom out of misery.
* More equality? Yes, if it makes dialogue and equal benefit easier.
* More conviviality? Yes, positive peace for security=negative peace.
* Identifying conflicts underlying violence: Yes, like fire to smoke.
* Learning how to solve conflict? Yes, at personal and social levels.
* Learning how to concile traumas? Yes, again at all levels.
Below are 50 ideas about how to do this, divided into 10 sectors with 5 proposals for each; some based on positive experiences abroad.
But take note of the discourse change. Talk violence, and you reap violence; talk causes, and you reap change. Violent and judicial approaches coming second to identify primary causes and do something has already had an impact. There is a modest optimism, well knowing it will take time. But these policies are also good in themselves, changing not only the atmosphere, but the reality of México.
Drug traffic has receded somewhat in the background, yielding to violence as the key problem. But, is it more drugs, or more traffic? Meaning, a long chain from production of cocaine in the white triangle in South America to consumption in the United States, with many links selling-and-buying with commissions charged? If so, could the chain–basic to an economic system with “middlemen”–be the problem? If not drugs, serving women traffic, children traffic, kidney traffic, treating human beings and lives as commodities to be traded? There is much money involved and much to be gained by killing the last seller.
To reduce the traffic the whole chain must be broken up, from beginning to end. And that brings us to the old problem: the countries offering supply, distribution, demand and consumption must all do their parts. Problem: we know nothing about what happens after the drugs pass into the USA, not how much is consumed and how much is buying-and-selling drugs going down the drain when the price has become too high. We do not even know who the dealers are except that many blacks fill US world record prisons accused of drug trade.
USA has to cooperate, making the US chain transparent, removing causes of consumption–comforting losers in a top competitive society? the lonely? filling a spiritual vacuum?–identify causes, do something. Does legalizing marijuana help? How about alcohol, tobacco? An annual report, please, like demanded of producer and distributor countries.
I. México federal level
1. COMNAPAZ, National Commission for Peace=Security + Conviviality
2. Organize bilateral dialogues, 32 entities, for mutual learning
3. Due process of law, publish names of murderers, outlaw arms
4. Dialogue with USA, CELAC, OAS; close borders to drugs and arms
5. Dialogue with China on Two Civilizations; U Yichang-U Querétaro
II. States + DF–32 entities–level
6. Organize dialogues among municipalities; for mutual learning
7. Lift up the poorest; credit to basic needs work by the most needy
8. Identify the most peaceful municipalities; prizes, investment
9. Establish zones of peace of neighboring peaceful municipalities
10. Establish an expanding archipelago of zones of peace in México
11. Lift up the poorest families; subsidize basic needs, whole family
12. Have friend networks and social workers assist the most lonely
13. Have fiestas for conviviality; public transportation free
14. Have centers for trauma conciliation and conflict solution
15. Judicial mediation free for family-neighbor conflicts, etc.
IV. Peace Culture in general, against cultural violence
16. Dialogue, mediation, constructive-concrete-creative, 3C, search
17 Equity: cooperation for mutual and equal benefit
18. Empathy: understanding own and others’ world views and goals
19. Conciliation for Traumas, from past violence; 3 stages
20. Solution for Conflicts, Incompatible Goals; 2 goals->5 outcomes
V. Peace Structure in general, against structural violence
21. Reduce inequality lifting the bottom up to dignity and dialogue
22. Make negative relations neutral and neutral relations positive
23. Social growth: denser webs of positive relations at all levels
24. Link isolates to the rest and peripheries to each other
25. Peace Business attentive to side-effects for equitable relations
VI. Public space
26. Make it beautiful, accessible, affordable, safe
27. Make it multi-cultural in decoration and food served
28. Remove monuments celebrating belligerence
29. Introduce art celebrating love, care, solidarity
30. Un-uniformed karate+ guards for intervention when needed
31. Peace Journalism also focused on underlying conflicts
32. Focus on suffering and acceptable solutions to all sides
33. Serve a culture of solution- rather than victory-orientation
34. Peace Press-Radio-TV multi-angle, more positive news, solutions
35. Generous prizes annually for the best peace media, journalists
36. Peace Education covering all 50 points on this list and more
37. Involve students-teachers-parents-administrators; whole school
38. “Bully, what you did is unacceptable, but why did you do it?”
39. Two hours weekly for conflict work: goals, legitimate?, solution
40. At school problems may be structural, not in “difficult persons”
41. Prepare husbands for female emancipation as inevitable
42. Prepare both for parity mutual-equal-benefit in love, sex, work
43. Prepare parents for early children emancipation as inevitable
44. Promote internal family democracy for conflict work, solutions
45. Celebrate parity models for mutuality, emotional resonance, love
X. Work and daily life
46. At work problems may be structural, not in “difficult persons”
47. For peace at work, try more cooperative, less company, structure
48. Identify something good in all, relate to it; be friendly, smile
49. Compete with yourself rather than with others; self-improvement
50. Celebrate life as sacred, normalize peace, marginalize violence
First published at Transcend Media Service here.