Jan 2, 2011

Death of a City

You know all you need to know about Texas -- that big braggart of a state where everyone goes around armed with a handgun, threatening peaceable citizens, and shooting up the town every boozy Saturday night.

And you know all about Mexico, that gentle southern neighbor where disarmed peasants go humbly around, doffing their sombreros to the damas, smiling "manana, senor," and donating their pitifully few small pieces of silver for a new bell for  Santa Maria's Cathedral.

Ahem. It isn't the guns. It is the politicians.

Massacres, beheadings, YouTube videos featuring cartel torture sessions and even car bombs are becoming commonplace in Juarez, where more than 3,000 people were killed in 2010, according to the federal government, making it among the most dangerous places on earth.

El Paso, by contrast, has had three violent deaths — and one was a murder-suicide.


The piece concentrates on citizens'  flight from a city I once loved.  It's the drug violence, of course, but the most frightening and revealing passage is about the federales' effort to figure out just how many Juarez people have fled.

Now, the Mexican army and federal authorities are going door-to-door, conducting an emergency census to determine just how many residents have fled.
Many people, however, refuse to answer their questions for fear authorities are simply collecting information about neighborhoods so they can begin extorting residents — just like the drug gangs.

Mexico is a failed country because it has been corruptly governed since September 16, 1810, and because its people have no tradition of standing tall and telling its dictators du jour to go the Hell. And because of the "war on drugs"  --  lost the instant it was declared.  When unworkable and unenforceable laws create a market so skewed that drugs easily command 100 times their pharmaceutical costs, the war lords are in control. No level of horribly expensive DEA macho can alter that.

RTWT, if you please.

EDIT: Link fixed -- to AOL reprint of disappearing AP original. Thank you, Billll


Billll said...


Link 404

DirtCrashr said...

Just read a bit of El Blog Del Narco and you'll see how far down the swirling porcelain Mexico has descended.

markm said...

Corruptly governed only since independence? I think you may need to look into the Spanish government that preceded that. And the Aztecs that preceded the Spanish... AFAIK, Mexico has been misgoverned since government was invented.

SpeakerTweaker said...

For the record, Saturday night doesn't need to be boozy. Heck, for that matter it doesn't need to be Saturday night;)

Good post. Scary that it's literally right across the river from us here in TX. Glad I live a couple hours north...