A mass grave, containing over 250 skulls has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz. These are thought to be the remains of those killed in Mexico’s decade-long war against the drug cartels. Veracruz has been the centre of much of this violence due to the prominence of the cartels there. Accordingly, efforts are being made to search for those gone missing in the region – though relatives of the victims have largely been leading these efforts. Following the discovery of the skulls, the authorities predicted that similar burial sites would be found in the coming months. As it turned out, it only took a few days. On March 19, another mass grave containing 47 skulls was discovered
“Veracruz is an enormous grave,” said state prosecutor Jorge Winckler in a statement to local media on March 14. He also added that, “by the time they’re done opening graves in the state it’s going to be the biggest grave in Mexico and maybe one of the biggest in the world.”
A state of conflict has existed between the Mexican authorities and the drug cartels for decades. Following the decline of the Columbian cartels in the late 1980s, a number of Mexican drug gangs rose to prominence, fighting each other for dominance over the highly lucrative trade in narcotics. The present state of the conflict, though, stems from a government decision in 2006 to adopt a more aggressive stance, relying on military force in dealing with the cartels. This approach has only served to exacerbate the violence. The following decade has seen a rising rate in homicides, with no clear end in sight. If anything, the situation might be deteriorating. This January saw nearly 2,000 homicides on record – the highest for any January since the 1990s, according to federal statistics. According to Reuters, A total of 85,000 lives have been lost between 2006 and 2014. Unless a solution to the conflict can be found soon, the death toll will likely rise into six figures.
Dealing with the Mexican cartels forcefully has only bred further violence. Therefore, the solution will need to be a peaceful one. The answer may not lie at home, though. The Mexican cartels are feeding an American appetite. Collectively, the drug gangs supply 90% of the cocaine entering the U.S. As a result, addressing the drug issues in America would be the first step in reducing the power of the cartels. This, in turn, requires a non-violent approach of improving the environments where drug abuse is at its worst and providing addicts with effective treatment. Mexico and America will also need to cooperate more in order to effectively deal with the cartel problem. President Trump’s planned wall will only serve to sour relations, and will probably be ineffective in stemming the flow of narcotics into the country. If he genuinely believes that the current state of the border is causing America’s drug crisis, then he needs to realize that the problem cannot be solved with a wall. The crux of the issue lies at the heart, not at the borders, of American society. If Trump recognizes this, and if he and the Mexican government work to address the problem at its roots, instead of wasting lives and resources in a fruitless war against the cartels, then perhaps we can hope that the recently discovered mass graves will become the last of their kind.