Murders in Mexico

On the blogosphere, we often think of the risks bloggers face in countries like Iraq, Iran, and Venezuela, given the power of their words to fuel revolution. The danger is real, and for that, we pay closer attention. Bloggers encounter the force of the law, not only in Iran but even in Canada, as Captain's Quarters can show. The attention they draw is its own proof that the authorities they are exposing are up to no good.
 
But none of this compares to what is going on in Mexico. Just over on the other side of our southern border, it's not bloggers, but journalists, who are taking the huge risks to tell the truth, and the price they are paying is death. As in murder.

One after another, they are being shot in the streets in the cities of northern Mexico. Saturday, a Nuevo Laredo radio reporter died of her wounds after thugs with machine guns greeted her at her station's door on April 5. And she wasn't the only one in the past week.
 
Journalists are important in Mexico because the country is still very poor and few people can use the Internet to get news. Latin America has some of the lowest Internet penetration in the world. Therefore the people of Mexico must rely on newspapers more closely. The journalists who write for them are underpaid, disdained and ignored by those with power, and taking tremendous risks.
 
Every one of these journalists was shot dead by drug traffickers for exposing the depth of Mexico's narco—political drug culture, one of the worst on earth. Dopers flourish in Mexico because officials protect them. Their drug organizations grow strong because they have networks, huge international ones, and are connected to the Marxist FARC narcoterrorist networks of Colombia, the Russian mafiya, and the Golden Crescent opium kingpins connected with Osama bin Laden This is a global plague. And there these journalists were on the scruffy other side of the border writing about it, writing as they full well knew they could pay a price for it. And many did.
 
It's easy to dismiss it as just the same old garbage that always goes on over in Mexico. We have been hearing about this kind of violence for as long as we can remember. But there are a couple of differences. One is, there haven't been this many murders in a long time — about five years, according to the Houston Chronicle, about when President Vicente Fox took power. The monsters who traffic are growing stronger organizationally and more confident politically and think undisguised killing is something they now can get away with.
 
Two is, it's a warning sign of an economy in distress. Mexico's economy continues to perform at sub—standard levels, so we can expect to see more growth in this kind of underground activity. Last year, Mexico only posted 4.2% GDP growth, very bad in an emerging market which needs to grow faster, and worse yet, a huge chunk of that growth was from about $20 billion in illegal alien remittances from the U.S., which itself have grown hugely, due to the bad economy in Mexico and not actual economic activity.
 
What does that say for the state of Mexico's institutions that this is happening? In Nuevo Laredo, people are afraid to cross the border now. The courts, the cops, the bureaucrats — have they changed any? Vicente Fox came in to power on a strong reform ticket in 2000 and instead has allowed this kind of thuggery to go on unchecked, shockingly enough, in the northern part of Mexico, which is his own party's strongest political base. Thousands of troops were sent to the Nuevo Laredo area and their impact has been nil.
 
We are kidding ourselves if we don't think that isn't going to spill over here.

On the blogosphere, we often think of the risks bloggers face in countries like Iraq, Iran, and Venezuela, given the power of their words to fuel revolution. The danger is real, and for that, we pay closer attention. Bloggers encounter the force of the law, not only in Iran but even in Canada, as Captain's Quarters can show. The attention they draw is its own proof that the authorities they are exposing are up to no good.
 
But none of this compares to what is going on in Mexico. Just over on the other side of our southern border, it's not bloggers, but journalists, who are taking the huge risks to tell the truth, and the price they are paying is death. As in murder.

One after another, they are being shot in the streets in the cities of northern Mexico. Saturday, a Nuevo Laredo radio reporter died of her wounds after thugs with machine guns greeted her at her station's door on April 5. And she wasn't the only one in the past week.
 
Journalists are important in Mexico because the country is still very poor and few people can use the Internet to get news. Latin America has some of the lowest Internet penetration in the world. Therefore the people of Mexico must rely on newspapers more closely. The journalists who write for them are underpaid, disdained and ignored by those with power, and taking tremendous risks.
 
Every one of these journalists was shot dead by drug traffickers for exposing the depth of Mexico's narco—political drug culture, one of the worst on earth. Dopers flourish in Mexico because officials protect them. Their drug organizations grow strong because they have networks, huge international ones, and are connected to the Marxist FARC narcoterrorist networks of Colombia, the Russian mafiya, and the Golden Crescent opium kingpins connected with Osama bin Laden This is a global plague. And there these journalists were on the scruffy other side of the border writing about it, writing as they full well knew they could pay a price for it. And many did.
 
It's easy to dismiss it as just the same old garbage that always goes on over in Mexico. We have been hearing about this kind of violence for as long as we can remember. But there are a couple of differences. One is, there haven't been this many murders in a long time — about five years, according to the Houston Chronicle, about when President Vicente Fox took power. The monsters who traffic are growing stronger organizationally and more confident politically and think undisguised killing is something they now can get away with.
 
Two is, it's a warning sign of an economy in distress. Mexico's economy continues to perform at sub—standard levels, so we can expect to see more growth in this kind of underground activity. Last year, Mexico only posted 4.2% GDP growth, very bad in an emerging market which needs to grow faster, and worse yet, a huge chunk of that growth was from about $20 billion in illegal alien remittances from the U.S., which itself have grown hugely, due to the bad economy in Mexico and not actual economic activity.
 
What does that say for the state of Mexico's institutions that this is happening? In Nuevo Laredo, people are afraid to cross the border now. The courts, the cops, the bureaucrats — have they changed any? Vicente Fox came in to power on a strong reform ticket in 2000 and instead has allowed this kind of thuggery to go on unchecked, shockingly enough, in the northern part of Mexico, which is his own party's strongest political base. Thousands of troops were sent to the Nuevo Laredo area and their impact has been nil.
 
We are kidding ourselves if we don't think that isn't going to spill over here.