In Mexico, the national army and federal police have gone to war with drug cartels. It's a conflict on a dizzying number of fronts that doesn't lend itself to easy explanation. Over the past week on The Takeaway, we turned to people along the U.S.-Mexican border to help us all understand not just what's happening, but how and why.
In December, a few stories out of West Texas caught my eye. They said that right across the border from El Paso, in the city of Ciudad Juarez, the private armies of Mexican drug cartel leaders were terrorizing Juarez residents. After talking to El Paso Times reporter Diana Washington Valdez
, it became clear that the Mexican drug war is no longer entirely confined to Mexico. When El Paso city councilman Beto O'Rourke told me that there's hardly a person in El Paso that doesn't have relatives or friends or colleagues affected by the often gruesome violence, I became intrigued and surprised I hadn't seen more about it.
But of course, that was only the beginning of the story, and there's much more here than a campaign of brutality by the cartels.Continue reading...