Drugs, Death, and the Border

There is an absolutely riveting, tragic, humanistic, and brutal series of audio reports on life and death in the “border town” of Juarez.  These stories do what the best kind of NPR stories do so well: keep you centered on everyday peoples’ lives amid a complex context of powerful global/local forces.  For those of you trying to get your heads around the drug war seemingly dominating the news from Mexico, they also provide a solid introduction.

You can hear part 1, part 2, and part 3 at the NPR website.

It is imperative for people in the U.S. to realize our culpability in this current situation.  This isn’t to say Mexico does not have a lot to answer to.  Their politicians and “public servants” are the primary players in this tragedy.  But it is near impossible to dislodge those people and their institutions of power from corporate and governmental interests in the U.S.  Many of the economic changes in Mexico are shaped and, often, determined outside of their borders.

More under our control is the way U.S. demand for drugs (and cheap products) fuels a profound change in the material reality of everyday Mexicans, as much (if not more than) it does for people on this side of the border.  In this respect, we may be more like the Mexican people than different: we both find our governments doing little to serve our best interests.

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