The recent debates in immigration have risen recently and have caused tensions in the nation. But the tension here does not compare with the tensions in Mexico as the government continues its war on drugs. The number of victims of drug-related violence in Mexico has reached 28,228.-
This number is six times greater than the population at Fairfield University. Since 2007, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his government have created a war on the drug cartels that have infested Mexico. The crime rates have soared and the deaths are becoming increasingly violent. Daily, there are numerous stories of assassinations, dismemberments, shootouts and car bombings in Mexico.
The United States has offered financial assistance and information to Mexico but it is proving to not be enough. One of the main contributors to the conflict has been the flow of American guns down to the south, which supplies the drug cartels.
The Los Angeles Times stated, “U.S. and Mexican officials estimate that more than 90% of the guns seized at the border or after raids and shootouts in Mexico originated in the United States, with California and Texas the largest providers.”
The controversy around relations between Mexico and the U.S. has involved the U.S. pushing Mexico to stop the drugs while not attempting to stop the gun flow to Mexico. The only organization in charge of the gunrunning is the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (known as the ATF) are running on limited funding, lack of joint investigations with the ICE, lack of agents and lack of training for Mexican officials in order to trace guns. With the Republicans soon to take office and the National Rifle Association increasing its lobbying efforts in Washington, funding seems to become a critical issue.
In all of this conflict, no city has suffered more than Juarez, Mexico which is just across the border of El Paso. It has become one of the world’s deadliest cities since the turf war began in 2008 between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.
Its citizens are the daily victims and over 6,500 people have been killed as a result. It is unknown when the violence will reach a conclusion but there seems to be no end in sight. We can only hope that the situation gets better and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of Mexico in our Jesuit tradition.
Ricky learned about this issue while he was at the Ignation Family Teach-In, in Washington, D.C, which was a Fairfield University sponsored trip. S4SJ does a lot of work with Latin American countries (specifically those in Central America) and next semester, S4SJ is planning to have an awareness campaign about the drug wars.