Thursday, March 28, 2013

What You're Not Reading, Day Seven

University of Texas Press

I moved to Texas thirteen years ago and knew immediately that it would be an education. For example, you can’t just walk in and talk shit about George Bush. Neither one. Can’t do it. Plus, it’s rude. I also learned by trial and error that El Paso is too far to drive to just to see two accounts, and you don’t cross the border to check out Mexico. Texas has about twenty-five border crossings, and you shouldn’t cross in El Paso. You idiot.

Ciudad Juarez has a dark history; the first thing I read about it after my trip to El Paso was the unsolved murders of over 300 women since 1993 (that figure is now up over 400 according to a new book by Sergio González RodrĂ­guez called The Femicide Machine which I haven’t read yet but I just ordered from MIT Press). These murders, oddly enough, aren’t what Juarez is known for. A devastating fact is that 400 murders gets lost when they occur over twenty years, or even ten. 

It was only a handful of years ago that Juarez had a murder rate similar to any large city; it was comparable to Houston with an average of around two hundred per year. In 2008, the murder rate was up over 1,500, and the following year reached its all time high of over 2,000. In short, the drug war has claimed 60,000 lives in Mexico since 2007. Twenty percent of drug executions take place in Juarez, therefore what happens in Juarez will have lasting repercussions for the United States and the rest of Mexico.

Ricardo Ainslie author of
Fight to Save Juarez and
Long Dark Road
The Fight to Save Juarez by Ricardo Ainslie delves into the complicated and heartbreaking world that is the drug war in Mexico, Juarez being ground zero. That’s where the book is focused. Ainslie interviewed families of victims, Narcos, Mexican government strategists, (including former President Calderon’s security team), plus individuals in U.S law enforcement. The book is as riveting as it is important.

Here was my take-a-way from The Fight to Save Juarez: While we like to bitch and moan about the problem that is Mexico, the drugs are being consumed here by Americans, and the murders are being committed with assault weapons from this side of the border. The drugs go out and the guns go in, and thousands of innocent people die every single year. 

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