While journalist Jesus Ramos Rodriguez was having breakfast in a restaurant in Mexico’s Tabasco state, a stranger approached and fired eight shots, killing him. The assailant then fled, avoiding capture. Rodriguez had been warned not to report drug cartel activity on his radio program for which the punishment is death.
He’s the second Mexican journalist to be assassinated this year; there were ten killed last year and 100 since 2000. Apart from the war zones of Syria and Afghanistan, Mexico is the most dangerous country in the world for news reporters. Not that they are the only victims of cartel violence. More than 33 thousand Mexicans were murdered last year, a record.
No end is in sight for the carnage which has turned Mexico into a narco state where cartels make the law or lawlessness. Ordinary standards of government don’t apply. Americans and their media are now obsessed with the border wall and a caravan of immigrants trying to cross over. There’s little reporting or discussion of the violence that threatens lives, destroys jobs and motivates people south of the border to seek the safety of the U.S.
American reaction here in the U.S. is a combination of ignorance and indifference which is sustained by the media. A Mexican insulted in a local restaurant is likely to get more press attention than the thousands slaughtered across the border as the cartels compete for drug routes and kill anyone in the way. America first indeed. We are above all concerned with ourselves. our manners and musings, the privilege of the pampered.
Mexicans and Central Americans are denied these luxuries while struggling to stay alive and make a living. But the media focuses on the ephemeral. The wall or fence – it’s a matter of semantics – is something of an impediment but hardly an over all solution. The media fails to connect the dots, which is simple enough. Americans’ ever increasing demand for drugs is supplied by the cartels, which otherwise would not exist. Americans are thus financing the caravans now threatening their border.
Anyone who watches the popular TV programs showing “cops” at work knows that virtually every car that’s stopped has hard drugs inside. They are not about to vanish nor are the cartels. At least Americans could be apprised of where those drugs are coming from and what they are doing to other countries as well as our own.
2 thoughts on “The Shot That Explains the Caravan”
Am reading your blog posts. Thank you for your thoughtful point of view, with which I mostly agree. We – Ann and I would enjoy another conversation with you in Miami or wherever we might meet again . Minnesota?
I served under Edwin Warner, a fine editor, at Voice of America. For VOA’s flagship FOCUS program, he sent me to Tijuana and San Diego to cover drugs, border issues, and the unsolved assassination of Mexico presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio. I interviewed many experts on drugs, including an incredibly well placed source inside the U.S. Attorney’s office. The “demand-side” of the drug trade, taking place in California homes and offices, was taken as a given in the office, but many of those arguing for stiffer sanctions on drug use by U.S. professionals saw their careers derailed. I never got to the bottom of the politics of that in California.