Monday, June 18, 2012

Blood and Silence on La Frontera

There are many different types of violence in Mexico. There is the long-standing violence of official neglect, there is the seemingly invisible violence of corruption, and then there is the violence that grabs headlines here in the U.S.—the violence of the drug war. At the start of this year, the administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa updated its death count, reporting that 47,515 people had been killed in drug-related violence since the end of 2006. The well-regarded newsweekly Proceso recently published an estimated number of homicides from the Index of Visible and Invisible Victims (IVVI), putting the homicide number at 88,361. Mapping Mexico’s dead through a statistical count is one way to tell a story—obviously those numbers can be manipulated or obfuscated for political purposes. But those of us with family or loved ones in Mexico hear fragments of a bigger, un-mappable story be it through late night anecdotes or hurried Facebook messages. For example, a close relative of mine is irate because she had to hold her daughter on the floor of their apartment while a gun battle exploded at a major thoroughfare in one of Mexico’s biggest cities; a cousin tells me about the safety training elementary students go through in case of gunfire at school...more

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