Making billions of $ in the drug business of Mexico


“Brazil is portrayed as the poster child for Latin American potential, while Mexico is the symbol for what’s gone wrong.” Rodrigo Lara Serrano from AMERICA ECONOMIA Worldcrunch

Mexico’s population currently living below poverty  exceeds 51 % CIA worldfactbook whereas its “big brothers” (Canada and USA as members of NAFTA) only note a level below 10 %.

Around half a million Mexicans enter the USA a year to find a better life there, many of them illegaly. (guardian)

What attracts people to be involved in the drug business?

Patrick Radden Keefe, a journalist of the New York Times wrote an interesing article about how a cartel makes its money. Did you know that a kilo of cocaine produced in Colombia and worth $2000 increases its value to around $10000 when it enters Mexico? Incredibly.

But did you also know that it will be worth more than $30.000 when it crosses the border of the United States and then even $100.000 if you sell it in gramms?! Not only one kilo is smuggled every year. Imagine there are tons of kilos. Cartels earn revenues estimated somewhere in the billions of $ dollar.

Mexico’s drug war

After becoming president in 2006 Felipe Calderon started the drug war against the cartels and many of their members were killed or arrested.

“Since December 2006, nearly 48,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico” CNN

According to CNN Calderon and Bush had made an agreement to fight against drug business. The Merida Initiative (named after the Mexican city where the two met) had included a U.S. pledge of $1.5 billion between 2008 and 2010. Current President Obama had requested to expand this program in 2011 with investing more millions to enable the provision of aircrafts, inspection tools and other sophisticated drug-detecting technology to the Mexicans.


The normal worker’s life

An unskilled worker earns between $300 and $500 net income a month according to Many families in Mexico are very big with many relatives. Imagine $300 for 5 people a month. Is that enough for a living?

If you had the choice between working around 12 hours a day and earning that little that it is hard to feed your family and on the other hand you can earn millions within the drug business and probably buy something special for your little daughter or your mother. What would you choose?

“it has never been the objective…of the public-security strategy to end something that it is impossible to end, namely the consumption of drugs or their trafficking…” former Mexican president Calderon 2012


Fighting against the drug industry in Latin America

Pradican – a project against the drug industry in Latin America

“Drugs are more available than ever and more powerful than ever”. Misha Glenny (Global Commission on drugs)

What is it about?

Pradican which stands for “Proyecto Antidrogas Ilícitas de la Comunidad Andina” is a project against the use of drugs in the member states of CAN (Comunidad Andina de Naciones). One member, Colombia, is probably the most famous country for the production and sale of drugs, but also the other member states, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador are facing these problems. Therefore their governments now try to fight against this problem with foreseen good results in 2019.

How does it work?

The newspaper Hoy found out that e.g. in Colombia around 15 % of students have already taken drugs like cocaine, ecstasy or synthetic drugs. Until 2019 the members of CAN want to reduce the consumption of drugs substantially. Therefore they plan to inform teenagers about the risk of consuming drugs because especially young people tend to take various drugs without being clear on the consequences. With young people experts now want to discuss about this issue and explain them the risks and problems of consuming drugs. This will be undertaken by showing clarifying and shocking videos. They also want to support families better and help them to talk about drugs with their kids and improve their daily situation in order to prevent young people from taking drugs, especially the new and modern synthetic drugs which are very dangerous.

How will it be financed?

It might be surprising, but this project will actually partially be financed by the European Union which is very interested in stopping the high consumption of drugs in those countries. The European Union is also interested in finding out what all types of drugs contain in order to know better how to fight against them. Therefore this project will also include a lot of research. To check out more about the project visit the homepage of CAN at

How are the chances that it will work well?

Still it cannot be said that this program will be particularly successful because it was only adopted a month ago. I have been in Colombia and seen with my own eyes how difficult it actually is to fight against the drug problem because it is not easy to control it in every part of the country. The strength and power of the Guerilla in Colombia and the other illegal organizations in the other countries cannot be ignored. But Colombia itself has e.g. already introduced some considerable changes in the most recent years and I could already see the effects of this. To be honest I noticed the smell of drugs in the streets of Bogota less than here in Berlin. It will remain interesting to see what happens.

“Any situation that has clearly come to an impart where there is a clear failure needs experimentation and trials with models around the world.” Julian Assange, Wikileaks