Monday, November 28, 2011
Since 2006, when President Felipe Calderón declared war on Mexico's drug cartels, 45,000 Mexicans across the republic have been disappeared, murdered, or mass-executed. Victims of this violence include journalists, over two thousand public officials, and bystanders. While drug-related activity was previously relegated to only a few Mexican states, the dramatic spread of violence — and its severity — is attributable to governmental policy north and south of the border.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
More protests are scheduled to take place in Mexico. People are extremely angry about the 40,000 people who have been killed in drug-related violence and peaceful cities have begun to be afflicted by the drug wars. There are calls for President Calderone to step down because of the violence. For more on the protests is Franc Contreras, a freelance journalist in Mexico City.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
El Salvador is the last stop on President Obama's three-nation tour of Latin America. Mr. Obama's stops in Brazil and Chile were largely overshadowed by events in Libya, but his reasons for visiting the strategically important South American nations were clear: with their galloping economies, Brazil and Chile are emerging as power players in the region and in the world. However, his reasons for visiting El Salvador are less obvious.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Life-long resident Jesus Ochoa has fond memories of growing up in El Paso, Texas. But he isn't optimistic about 2011; he says living on the border with Mexico is an increasingly scary existence, and is upset at the failure of President Obama and Congress to pass the so called "Dream Act." Ochoa joins us to talk about his hometown and its continuing challenges in the new year.
Monday, December 13, 2010
More and more guns used in drug-related crimes in Mexico are coming from U.S. dealers, according to a year-long investigation by The Washington Post. Many of the weapons are travelling south through the Texas city of Huston. But due to a law passed by Congress in 2003, the identities of the dealers selling the weapons are protected even as weapons they've sold show up at the scenes of violent crimes committed by drug cartels. For more on the story we're joined by a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who co-wrote today's investigative piece, Jame Grimaldi.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Welcome to Wonk Wars, a weekly feature from It's A Free Country as part of the Brian Lehrer Show's 30 Issues in 30 Days. Early each week, we'll post one of those issues in the Wonk Wars sections of the website and invite two or more policy experts to start the discussion online, along with your input. Then, each Thursdays, the conversation continues on-air at the Brian Lehrer Show.
This Week's True/False: Marijuana Should Be Legal, Regulated, and Taxed
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Thursday morning marks the 200th anniversary of the start of The Mexican War for Independence, the conflict that ultimately led to the end of Spanish colonial rule over Mexico. Unfortunately, even as last-minute preparations for a massive commemorative celebration in the capital wrap up, persistent drug-related violence continues to temper optimism over Mexico’s stability.
Friday, September 03, 2010
Soldiers in Mexico killed 27 suspected cartel members in a raid and gun battle near the U.S. border. Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, insists that this fighting is crucial to ending the drug war in that country. "I'm completely conscious that during this last year, the problem of violence has worsened. This is fundamentally because there is an even bloodier war between organized criminal groups in their battle for territory, markets and routes," said Calderon.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
A middle-class ex-high school football star named Edgar Valdez Villarreal has long been in the sights of authorities, who allege Villarreal is one of the most successful drug traffickers in Mexico. On Monday, federal police caught Villarreal, a.k.a. "La Barbie," after an intense manhunt that lasted a year and saw the cooperation of Mexican and U.S. authorities.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Jesus Ochoa, 75, was born in El Paso, Texas, where he has lived nearly all his life. As a young boy, he recalls stuffing his pockets with a $5 bill, picking up his friends and heading just a few miles south to Juarez, Mexico. Every Saturday, he visited the neighboring city to get a haircut, get his shoes shined and eat mariscos (seafood). When he graduated from high school, Juarez was where he and his classmates went to celebrate - something he calls a "rite of passage" for kids in his school.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
It is currently legal to grow, purchase and use marijuana for medical purposes in 14 states and the District of Columbia. And this November, Californians will vote on whether to legalize recreational pot use, too. So who benefits financially from the legalization of marijuana? And could legalizing and taxing the drug be a good way to boost local and state economies?
Monday, June 21, 2010
Since Mexico's President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006, nearly 23,000 people have been killed as a result of the drug war that has engulfed many parts of the nation, and June might end up being the country's most violent month to date. Just this past weekend, the mayor of Guadelupe was shot and killed in front of his wife and child. And the violence just keeps getting worse.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Puerto Rico has called upon 1,000 National Guard troops to help local police fight a rampant crime wave that has pushed the murder rate to a record high. In 2009 alone, 894 people were killed on the Caribbean island. The high rate of crime is being attributed to feuding between gangs battling for control of the cocaine and heroin trade. And the crime has not been restricted to metropolitan areas. There have also been reports of violence and murder in the mountain regions of Puerto Rico.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
A former Mexican presidential candidate, and close friend of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, is feared dead after he went missing over the weekend. Authorities believe Diego Fernandez de Cevallos was kidnapped by organized criminals in what may be a direct attack on the government. We talk with Inma Gil, a reporter with the BBC who is Mexico City, for reactions to the kidnapping.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Two big drug-related stories have made headlines this week. The first was the killing last Saturday of two American government employees in Ciudad Juarez. The violence is believed to be related to an ongoing turf-war between rival drug cartels in Mexico. The other event could provide a good story line for Ocean's 14. One of the biggest pharmaceutical heists in history took place in Connecticut last weekend when thieves stole $75 million worth of drugs from an Eli Lilly warehouse. But they weren't recreational painkillers, but rather mostly antidepressants.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Mexican President Felipe Calderon is in Ciudad Juarez this morning, where three people affiliated with the U.S. consulate were killed over the weekend. The trip comes, not in response to this weekend's killings, but following the horrific massacre of at least 11 high school students at a party in Juarez in late January. Calderon is expected to announce an initiative to make city residents safer.
Monday, March 15, 2010
More tragic news from the drug-war torn nation south of our border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. On Saturday, three people with ties to the American consulate were shot and two killed in a drive-by shooting.