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Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

Saturday 12th November 2011

I can remember parts of a TV drama I watched something like thirty to forty years ago. It was in the days when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had a reputation for well-acted, thought-provoking television albeit made on a very low budget with often only one set. The premise of this play was that four men decided to pick someone bad and kill them to make the world a better place. But, after further thought, they decided to kill someone good on the grounds that ten people might step in to continue his good works and, therefore, the world would derive a big net benefit.

I don’t remember the outcome of the drama and, obviously, its key premise, how important is one life, has been dealt with before and since. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ would be the film most people think of first. But, this question of the effect of one life cut short came to mind when I read of the death of the Interior Minister in the Government of Mexico, Francisco Blake Mora, in a helicopter crash.

The cause of the crash is being investigated but poor weather seems to be favourite at the moment and it is reported that there was fog in the area. Mora had a reputation for being prepared to go anywhere in Mexico and, of course, the virtual civil war between the authorities and the drug cartels means that travelling by air is the least risky way to move around.

I don’t know if Mora was a bad man or simply a very misguided good man but he is being spoken of, by some people, as being key to maintaining the willingness of Mexico’s states to pursue the fighting against the drug traffickers that is believed to have claimed over 40,000 lives. Others though are saying that Mora was less important to the war on drugs than people such as the ministers responsible for defence and public security and the attorney general.

It is also said that President Felipe Calderon’s resolve will not be affected by the loss of someone who had only been in the job since June 2010. In fact, Mora was Calderon’s fourth Interior Minister in his five years, so far, in office suggesting that the role may not be at the centre of the failed policy on drugs. One of Mora’s predecessors died in a ‘plane crash leading to some speculation that Mora’s death may not be just an unfortunate coincidence.

The quote being used in reports of his death is “Organized crime, in its desperation, resorts to committing atrocities that we can’t and shouldn’t tolerate as a government and as a society,” which, of course, ignores the many atrocities being perpetrated by the authorities by pursuing an unwinnable fight that is drawing all Mexico’s people in. A recent poll found that Mexicans are more concerned about the insecurity caused by the present situation than they are by poverty itself.

It is far too early to know if the death of Mora, and the other seven people on the helicopter, will produce any significant changes in events but it has to be hoped that it does. It has to be said, however, that the 40,000 deaths, so far, don't seem to have had any impact. It beggars belief that the tales of violence and appalling acts against innocent people by forces on both sides are largely ignored by the rest of the world.

A world that, by failing to address the issue of how to deal with demand for psychoactive substances, has created the chaos in Mexico.