Mark Karlin writes: On March 29, 2012, William R. Brownfield, US assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (in other words, Hillary Clinton’s point person on drug issues), testified before the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. His subject was the war on drugs in the Western Hemisphere outside of the United States and Canada. Few, if any, reporters from the US press attended.
Approximately 50,000 or more Mexicans have been killed since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a so-called war on drug cartels. (In a recent appearance in Toronto, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta claimed 150,000 people have died in the drug war in Mexico, but the timeline Panetta was referring to was unclear, as was the origin of the figure he cited.) Given that five Juarez police officers were gunned down at a party the night before Brownfield’s testimony, the Spanish-language press, unlike the American media, took an interest in his remarks.
You see, Juarez is kind of a sore spot for Mexicans. In 2010, more than 3,000 homicides took place in the city where killings are committed with general impunity, making it the murder capital of the world that year. Although Juarez’s murder rate has now lowered slightly, the city’s mayor – who lives across the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas – indignantly denies that Juarez is the deadliest city on earth, even though it almost certainly remains close to being just that. Borderland writer Charles Bowden writes in “Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields“: “The violence is everywhere. It is like the dust in the air, part of life itself.” [Continue reading…]