Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields," by Charles Bowden

Don't read this book for amusement or relaxation. This beautifully constructed narrative will horrify you while forcing you to expand your thinking about a very timely topic and causing you to fret about the darker side of human nature. Bowden found that although there's no denying the ruthless role played by the drug lords in illicit drugs, some issues are rarely cited. One is how the North American Free Trade Agreement obeyed the law of unintended consequences by diminishing Juarez's economy and leaving thousands unemployed or working for wages even lower than before NAFTA. But there's easy money to be made in drugs. Another aspect seldom reported in the United States (and not in the Mexican press, from fear or as a result of bribery) is the role of the nation's military as well as federal, state and local police units. To one degree or another, they are all corruptly involved in the drug trade. Bowden's depressing summary: "In over half a century of fighting drugs, Mexico has never created a police unit that did not join the traffickers. Or die." He offers another compelling observation: "There are two Mexicos. There is the one reported by the U.S. press, a place where the Mexican president is fighting a valiant war against the evil forces of the drug world and using the incorruptible Mexican army as his warriors. This Mexico has newspapers, courts, and laws and is seen by the U. S. government as a sister republic. It does not exist. "There is a second Mexico, where the war is for drugs, for the enormous money to be made in drugs, where the police and military fight for their share, where the press is restrained by the murder of reporters and feasts on a steady diet of bribes."...more

No comments: