LatinaLista — We’ve all run into people, whom just by their body language and how they reply to our questions, immediately trigger our gut instincts to the possibility that they are lying, or at the least, being purposely misleading.
I had never felt that feeling as strongly as when I happened to have a particular conversation about the Mexican drug cartel violence.
It was a couple of years ago when stories were first surfacing about the Mexican drug cartels’ escalating violence and their “buyout” of people in high places. I was at a cocktail reception attended by newspaper executives from around the world.
Mexican police find a Tijuana massacre as a result of the ongoing drug cartel violence.
While having a friendly chat with a jovial, white-haired newspaper executive from a Sinaloa, Mexico newspaper, I asked him about the drug violence increasing in his area. He looked at me point-blank and told me that news accounts of any cartel violence was exaggerated and it was not happening in his area.
Immediately, I felt the man was lying. His quick denial, the toothy smile that never left his face and his attempt to downplay my questions about it, convinced me he either didn’t want to believe it or he himself might have been involved more deeply than I could have guessed.
Today, were I to have that same conversation with that newspaper executive, it would be harder for him to deny that the drug cartel violence does not exist, not only in Sinaloa but throughout Mexico. As we know now, the country’s drug smuggling was born in the man’s own state of Sinaloa.
In fact, an in-depth report by the Los Angeles Times, Mexico Under Siege, reveals that there have been more casualties in the drug violence in Mexico than there have been casualties in Iraq. The article is correct to label this a war on our doorstep.
As such, the threat from this war is far more complicated, immediate and potentially deadlier than our war against Al Queda. With the help of this report, we learn who the players are, where the violence is taking place and what’s at stake if the cartels win.
“Mexico Under Siege: The drug war at our doorstep” is an excellent analysis of the history of the cartel violence.
The report features a timeline, a photo gallery depicting the gruesome realities of this bloody war and an interesting interactive map that shows and identifies the cartel leaders by region. Yet, one of the most interesting features is the Q & A on the site where questions are posed to the reporters who created the multimedia project and they answer via pre-taped video.
However, the LA Times isn’t just releasing the report and moving on to the next assignment. As the project’s editor, Geoff Mohan explains, the paper is committed to extended coverage of this issue.
The Los Angeles Times is committed indefinitely to covering this issue, and we are updating the website with new stories on a regular basis. We’ve written 15 stories this year, on top of nearly 70 since last June.
The issue is not going away, and is rising on the security agenda of the Obama administration.
In a move that underscores the newspaper’s dedication to this subject, the project’s editors and writers will appear in a panel discussion on the campus of the University of San Diego later this week.
Appearing alongside experts from the paper’s collaborators in the report, the University’s Trans-Border Institute (TBI), panelists will hold a free, public forum on the issue.
Mexico Under Siege
Alberto Capella, Ex-Secretario, Secretaria de Seguridad Publica, XIX Ayuntamiento de Tijuana
Jorge Chabat, Centro de Invesigacion Y Docencia Economicas, A.C.
Geoffrey Mohan, Los Angeles Times
Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times
Sam Quinones, Los Angeles Times
Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
David Shirk, Trans-Border Institute
Anna Cearley, Trans-Border Institute
MORE THAN 5,000 DEATHS IN 2008 resulted from Mexico’s war on drugs, with most killings concentrated in the border states of Baja California and Chihuahua. As part of the TBI Justice in Mexico Project and the L.A. Times series titled “Mexico Under Siege,” this panel discussion will feature a group of distinguished academics, journalists, and experts who will discuss Mexico’s ongoing struggles against violent drug-trafficking organizations. The event will take place from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. in the Joan B. Kroc Theatre.
The event is free and open to the public.
Panel discussions regarding this problem is necessary for right now to garner the kind of attention from Washington it deserves.
Mexico City’s El Universal reports that the National Defense Commission of the Chamber of Deputies is reporting that the drug cartels are now recruiting teenagers along the Mexico-Guatemala border, such as in Chiapas, Tabasco and the YucatÃ¡n to train them as assassins.
Down by the Mexican border with Guatemala, drug cartels are replenishing their forces by recruiting men, women and children who see a lifestyle fueled by drug money to be far more desirable than the poverty they endure.
Unless the President and Congress see this situation as a “Level Orange alert” and realize that it’s easier to control the situation now rather than two months from now, it won’t be long before the story won’t just be about Mexico losing control of its drug war but how the U.S. failed to see how it affected us until it was too late.
Some argue that it has already reached that point.