Photo Arizona's Border Fence via Time's excellent Pictures of the Year
By now enough of mainstream journalism has reported on the ongoing civil war that is threatening to reduce our southern neighbor from troubled state to failed state. Most reports have detailed both the violent clashes between Mexican authorities and drug cartels as well as the rampant victimization of both civilians caught in the cross fire and gang on gang warfare. The effect has been a body count in some Mexican cities that has exceeded that of Baghdad in the span of a single month.
Recent reports indicate that minions of Mexico's increasingly belligerent and bold narco-feudalists are targeting what most would view as the softest of soft targets. Schools.
The front entrance of the Elena Garro Kindergarten in Ciudad Juarez looks just like any other: its rainbow-colored gate leads to classrooms decorated with homemade art.Two equally worrisome trends in this civil war. First, a nascent exodus of Mexico's merchant class:
But when it opened last month, a sign hung on the exterior wall: if you don't pay, we'll hurt the kids and you.
Schools, however, are not the only targets these days. Journalists, doctors, and any type of small-business owner is vulnerable. In recent months, restaurants, dance halls, and some gymnasiums have been burned to the ground. Many store owners have fled to the US, say residents across town.It takes little imagination to hypothesize the spread of this violence not only regionally but socially. The consequence will likely entail the destruction of Mexico's already struggling professional class as teachers, doctors, business owners, etc. close up shop and head north or south for calmer waters.
Second, the cultural enmeshment of narco-feudalism into Mexico's social fabric:
Juan Daniel Acosta, a director of a secondary school in Chihuahua City, says one of his students posted on the Internet her pride that her father is a narcotrafficker. Mr. Acosta's wife, Irma Leticia Navarro, teaches at the local elementary school. She says that kids are taking turns playing executioner and victim; a first-grader recently stated his wish to become an assassin when he grows up.Shades of Gaza here. The one silver lining is that, to my knowledge, the NF's have yet to embark on a complex social welfare system a la Hamas. Of course the night is young.
Other recent reports on Mexico's civil war:
World Politics Review
Time: Mexico's civil war is spreading south into Central America. Good Times.
AP: Plane crashes involving Mexican authorities seem awfully common these days.
Stratfor: The best "primer" for the Mexican civil war that I've read.
But wait there's more! Addendum: John Sullivan's journalistic crusade is a proud venture. Thanks to Adam (a co-author of John) for this.
Middle East Times