July 15, 2011
Ricardo Boone Salmon, a congressman in Mexico’s Chihuahua State, wants to outlaw “Call of Juarez: The Cartel,” a violent video game centered around Mexico’s drug war. The game, released earlier this week, pits a gang of renegade law enforcement types against the fictional drug-dealing Mendoza Cartel. The game is situated in Los Angeles and Juarez, Mexico.
“It is true there is a serious crime situation, which we are not trying to hide,” Salmon told the AP. “But we also should not expose children to this kind of scenarios so that they are going to grow up with this kind of image and lack of values.”
“It is true there is a serious crime situation, which we are not trying to hide,” Chihuahuan congressman Boone Salmon told the AP in February. “But we also should not expose children to this kind of scenarios so that they are going to grow up with this kind of image and lack of values.”
“Children wind up being easily involved in criminal acts over time, because among other things, during their childhood not enough care has been taken about what they see on television and playing video games,” said congress leader Enrique Serrano. “They believe so much blood and death is normal.”
The politicians are calling for federal authorities to ban sales of the game in Mexico.
“While ‘Call of Juarez: The Cartel’ touches on subjects relevant to current events in Juarez, it does so in a fictional manner that makes the gaming experience feel more like being immersed in an action movie than in a real life situation,” replied UbiSoft, the manufacturer of the game.
Mexico is home to more than a dozen illegal drug cartels. In the last few years, remarkably brutal conflicts between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels and the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels have turned the country into a virtual war zone. Between 30-50 thousand people have lost their lives since 2006. The violence has spilled over the border and Americans are now becoming targets.
Due to the ongoing and increasingly violent drug war, Mexico is now considered a failed stateby the Pentagon. The violence and corruption are so bad that Mexico, like Pakistan, could see a “wholesale collapse of civil government” despite the efforts of president Felipe Calderón, who sent 45,000 troops and 5,000 federal police to fight the drug traffickers.
The situation is being exacerbated by the U.S. government as it conducts arms smuggling operations into Mexico under Fast & Furious and Operation Castaway.
Instead of calling for a video game to be banned, Mexican politicians should be looking for effective ways to decrease the violence.
They might begin by getting rid of large transational banks that keep murderous drug cartels thriving. Sensible drug laws in the United States would also limit the reach of criminal gangs and reduce the violence.
The largest share of cartel cash comes from the production of marijuana. “As Mexico’s biggest agricultural export, marijuana generates billions of dollars in revenues each year for the brutal narcotics cartels. By some estimates, it is the most profitable product for the Mexican drug gangs,” NPR reported last year.
Methamphetamine, cocaine, and brown-powder and black-tar heroin represent a small percentage of cartel business.
Decriminalizing the cultivation and use of marijuana in the United States would put a big dent in the illegal drug trade in Mexico. It wouldn’t eliminate it, but would certainly reduce the number of people killed.
It might also lead to video game designers picking another violent hell-hole to model their shoot-em-up products after.