Last night there was an eruption of violence in Juarez, Mexico, so severe that parts of the area are closed down. Drug gang warfare has made life dangerous for everyone along our border.

A "major gunbattle" between drug traffickers and Mexican federal police broke out Saturday evening in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just 30 yards from the U.S. border at El Paso, Texas, causing U.S. authorities to cordon off a section of the city, according to a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman.

Three police officers were injured and one armed suspect was killed, federal police spokesman Ramon Salinas said.

First reports of gunshots came in from border agents around 7 p.m. (9 p.m. ET), U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero told CNN.

"The gunbattle is still going on right now," Cordero said 30 minutes after the incident began, just south of the University of Texas at El Paso.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries on the U.S. side of the border, Cordero said.

U.S. authorities blocked off a section of Paisano Street, which runs parallel to the Rio Grande.

U.S. border areas are seeing an impact on their quality of life, police forces, and their budget, that has necessitated now almost a military presence. The National Guard/a began deploying this month, and will be in place by September to support border security.

The deployment of about 1,200 National Guard troops along the southwest border has begun to unfold in a move the White House says shows it means business when it comes to border security.

The cost, and the questionable impact on drug wars, are hardly reassuring to communities along the border. Long years of trying to wipe out the industry have failed and are not making life any better or safer. A change in emphasis by this administration to health treatment rather than militancy has helped, but does not end the violence.

Drug wars that have taken a toll on our border towns and made life dangerous are one inevitable result of the ineffective ‘War on Drugs’, launched in 1971 by Richard Nixon, that we have used to combat just the end effects of deeply flawed policies trying to end drug use rather than accept given facts.

There has not been an end to drug traffic, just a monumental war among the factions that have taken over its production and distribution. This country tried before to go dry, and it doesn’t work. Like alcohol, mood altering drugs are used and will continue to be used by many people.

It makes more sense, and better working policy, to legalize the inevitable, for control and an end to illegal profiteers from that industry. The quality of life along our border can and should be improved by rational drug policies that benefit, rather than endanger, our citizens.

Photo: Ugly stuff we can do without
From Foreign Policy Journal


Author: Ruth Calvo, who is 66 today, and retired, is a longtime political activist for progressive causes and writer as well as a daily editor here at The Seminal. She worked in the office of TX. Senator Ralph Yarborough after graduation from Wellesley College in the 60’s, served on the Council on the Arts after receiving their award for playwriting, managed some political campaigns in Maryland, and served several years as assistant to Maryland House of Delegates member Delegate Gene Counihan.

Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.