Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Finding the News in the Mexican Borderlands

Where to find them? If you are new to town, it's hard to find a newspaper in Mexico, especially outside the major metropolitan areas. You need to know the routine of the street vendors, or which pharmacy or liquor store carries the paper. And you need to be willing to shell out ten peso (a dollar) for papers that have little or no international news (not unlike most U.S. dailies), but have extensive social sections featuring the marriages, showers, and engagements of the region's elites. But Mexican newspapers are essential if you want to understand what is happening in the escalating drug war in the borderlands. The latest offensive is Operativo Conjunto Chihuahua in which 2500 Mexican soldiers have been deployed in the northern state of Chihuahua. According to the region’s military commander, Gen. Jorge Juarez , the army is confronting five cartels that are contesting power in Chihuahua: the Juárez, Golfo, Sinaloa, Aztecas, and El Pirata, which is the most “dangerous.” As the narcos continue to battle each other for control of territory, even in such small border towns as Palomas, Chihuahua, the military and the police are also at war. After the military arrested 22 police in Juárez, a group of demonstrators (reportedly hired by the policy) shut down the Santa Fe Bridge going into El Paso for an hour last week, demanding that the army leave the city. But this morning the government announced that it would continue the Joint Chihuahua Operation for at least another six months. In the next post, I will include a list of links to Mexican border newspapers so that even if you missed the guy hawking the newspaper, you can follow the spreading drug war in the Mexican borderlands.

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