Why Mexico’s ‘Drug War’ is Not About Drugs

Major events these days in Mexico’s seven-year-long criminal conflict have precious little to do with a war on drugs.

In the past year, the capture of town after town by volunteer police and citizen militias in the Pacific coast states of Michoacan and Guerrero has roiled and embarrassed President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government.

Officials have dispatched thousands of troops and militarized police to contain the “self-defense” groups, which claim they’re filling a vacuum left by incompetent or corrupt officials.

But many of the civilians taking on the gangs that control the region say they care little about illicit narcotics, which have been supplying US and Mexican consumers for decades. They just want the criminals to leave ordinary residents in peace.

“Drug trafficking is always going to continue,” says Neftali Villagomez, a 66-year-old butcher who now commands nearly 400 armed vigilantes in Tierra Colorada, a rural market town 35 miles north of the gang-ravaged resort of Acapulco.

“We aren’t against drug traffickers,” he says. “We are against organized crime.”

– Read the entire article at Global Post.