Jul 31, 2010

Collateral Damage: Mexico Journalists Kidnapped as Drug Cartels Threaten Freedom of Speech

While a major cartel leader was killed by the Mexican military this week, the most significant news was the kidnapping of four Mexican journalists. Such acts point to the "collateral damage " being done to already fragile Mexican civil society.  Also here, a book review of Cocaine Nation, which makes the case for ending the "war on drugs" by legalizing their regulated sale and taxing them. 

Journalists Rescued in Mexico "Mexican federal police rescued a group of journalists held hostage by captors in northern Mexico, authorities said Saturday morning. In a press conference Saturday, Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said that the reporters had been rescued from a safehouse run by the Sinaloa Cartel, the powerful drug organization run by Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman. A major kingpin of the syndicate, Ignacio Coronel, was killed by Mexican soldiers in an unrelated raid Thursday." July 31, 2010, Wall Street Journal

Mexico Journalists Kidnapped as Drug Cartels Threaten Freedom of Speech: "Mexican gang members took at least three journalists hostage this week in Durango state after the reporters investigated alleged links between prison officials and drug groups, the state attorney general’s office said.

The kidnappers demanded that the journalists’ employers air videos that aim to show ties between local police and the Zetas drug gang, according to news station Milenio. The videos aired this week on an early morning broadcast, the news organization said on its website.

The kidnappings show Mexico’s drug cartels are growing increasingly violent and forcing members of the media to practice self censorship for their own safety, according to Carlos Lauria, a spokesman for the Americas division of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists." July 29, 2010, Bloomberg

Mexican TV station cuts signal to protest violence against journalists - : "The signal of one of Mexico's largest television networks faded to black for almost an hour as a symbolic protest of violence against journalists. 

'We will not pretend that nothing is happening,' said Denise Maerker, anchor of Televisa's 'Punto de Partida' as she opened the show.

The protest Friday comes after four journalists were kidnapped Monday while covering a riot at a prison in the northern state of Durango. One of them, Televisa's Hector Gordoa, was released unharmed Thursday." July 31, 2010, CNN

Book Review - Cocaine Nation - By Tom Feiling : "Now four decades old, America’s drug war, initiated in its modern form by Richard Nixon, has burned through $1 trillion and helped make the United States the most locked-down country on earth. Yet victory still recedes from view. In 1970, some 20 million Americans had experimented with illegal drugs; by 2007, 138 million had. While drug purity has increased, street prices over the long term have dropped — precisely the opposite trajectory promised by drug warriors. Small wonder that a growing number of skeptics, from George Will to George Soros, have called for a serious change of course." July 30, 2010, NY Times Sunday Book Review

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