Last week, Manuel Suarez, professor at the School of International Service at American University and negotiator for NAFTA, attacked A Narco History in an article on InSight Crime. Mistaking a recent excerpt of A Narco History posted on Jacobin as representative of Wallace and Boullosa’s larger argument, Suarez panned their work as a rehashing of “all the usual insults that the dogmatic and misinformed left can muster to attack the free market economic model.”

The authors have responded, explaining how Suarez mischaracterizes their point:

[Suarez] says that our “book’s thesis is that NAFTA opened the US’s door to drugs from Mexico, mixing them with legal trade, which is false.” He’s right. It’s not only false but preposterous. Only thing is, we didn’t say this, or anything remotely like it.

Our central proposition is that the roots of the so-called “Mexican Drug War” run back not to the neoliberal 1980s, but to the early 1900s, when the US passed laws in 1909 and 1914 that criminalized the sale and use of most major drugs (though not marijuana). Drugs were thus banned even before alcohol was prohibited, and the ban stayed in force after Prohibition was repealed. Marijuana was outlawed in the 1930s.

To read the rest of their article, visit InSight Crime.

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