Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The War Next Door

Urban gun battles drive schoolchildren to the floors of their classrooms and entire villages into flight; noncombatants die in the crossfire; others, unfortunate enough to cross paths with pitiless irregulars, are hacked to death or beheaded. The national economy falters because of the rising chaos and uncertainty. Tensions rise along the border of a neighboring nation as some seek to escape the violence any way they can. This is not a description of a social meltdown occurring in faraway North Africa. This is the meltdown occurring in North America, at your doorstep. Mexico, a major economic and political partner of the United States, is entering the fifth year of a deadly struggle between the U.S.-subsidized forces of law and order and the ruthless armies of drug cartels and crime syndicates. The violence has claimed the lives of almost 40,000 people, and each week it seems to cross a new threshold of depravity. Not too long ago the discovery of a mass slaying in the Mexican State of Tamaulipas, south of the border near El Paso, Tex., caused shock on both sides of the border. Such reports have become all too regular. This year has witnessed the advent of a new kind of carnage as gangs—apparently in cahoots with regional immigration and security figures—set up roadblocks to intercept and hold for ransom migrants from southern Mexico and Central America heading north to the United States. The migrants are hoping to find work and a better life. Instead they face kidnapping and death on the highway or forced recruitment as cannon fodder for the drug cartels...more

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