Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, May 14, 2010 8:52 pm

One good reason to legalize marijuana in the U.S.

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 8:52 pm
Tags: , ,

It would make a lot of this go away:

On Monday, just after the conclusion of a wedding ceremony, a group of armed men burst into a Juarez church and ordered everyone down on the floor. Moving quickly, they collected the groom, his brother and their uncle and led them out. When another man tried to intervene, they shot him dead. The three relatives were then thrown into a truck and disappeared. On Wednesday, state police found their bodies in the bed of an abandoned pickup in the eastern sector of the city. They had been tortured for many hours before they were killed. It was a particularly horrifying example of the fact that violence in Juarez can strike anytime, anywhere. …

A lot of the violence in the city has been characterized by this kind of symbolism. Bodies have been dumped on many occasions in lots and playgrounds near schools, with children gathering around the crime scene to watch as police bag and remove the dead. Drug rehab clinics have been the scenes of mass murders. People are shot down in broad daylight during the normal hubub of everyday life, on main streets and in restaurants. Considering this, it’s clear that what’s happening isn’t just a war between rival cartels, but a campaign of terror against the local population. The murdered groom’s father conveyed perfectly the effect of this kind of violence to the El Paso Times: “I’m confused, frustrated and in despair. My wife, she is devastated.” There really aren’t any better emotions you could hope to inspire in a population you’re trying to control. …

A week before Easter, typewritten messages spread around Porvenir that anyone who hadn’t left the area by Easter Sunday would be killed. Citizens packed up and left in droves. While no such large scale attack ever came, the assault on the social climate of the community was enough. Residents were threatened with death on the most holy day of the Catholic calendar. Like this week’s wedding murders, the sanctuary of religion was directly challenged when the main church in town was burned to the ground on Good Friday. …

In the US we talk a lot about “not letting the terrorists win” by giving in to fear. It’s very hard to look at Juarez, just over the river, and see terror not only succeeding, but ruling. In a city where US business interests play such a prominent role, it’s harder still to talk about defending democracy when the mayor of Juarez, Jose Reyes Ferriz, keeps his family in El Paso due to constant death threats and the country’s prominent political parties can’t find anyone willing to run in July’s mayoral elections except the man who was mayor previous to Reyes Ferriz. It would be tough to find a more fitting example of the fact that the outcome of this war won’t be any step in a new direction for Juarez. It’s a reminder that history seems doomed to repeat itself in this city that has become an allegorical ground zero for the violent, protracted stalemate of Mexico and America’s war on drugs.

In addition to all the human and economic damage being caused by the War on Some Drugs inĀ  El Norte, that war is actually killing innocent people south of the border. But, hey, they’re brown people, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

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