I tend to leave this subject alone, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there’s not much I can add to the international news coverage that isn’t already easily available. Secondly, because a lot of that news coverage can often give a bit of a twisted, one dimensional and tunnel vision view of Mexico to people who wouldn’t know better, and I don’t particularly want to add to that. Thirdly, because, happily, the drug war is far removed from life at Chez Denness, and not something I either want to become involved in, or involve itself in my generally tranquil life.
I would also stress that the reports on Fox, CNN, the BBC and elsewhere shouldn’t deter anyone from visiting Mexico. Perhaps I wouldn’t recommend overnight stays in the northern border towns, but then I wouldn’t recommend that for any country anyway. Dover, in the UK, for example is not a place that I’d want to spend any longer in that necessary. I’m sure the good people of Dover would disagree, but the limited time of a holiday could definitely be better spent further inland. But, still, the drug war is an issue. It exists. It’s not going away.
I often talk to friends, family and students in Mexico City about the drug war and Calderon. He is certainly not the most popular figure in the country, although this dislike is more universal with regard to the economy, although his policies in combating the drug trade also elicit fairly strong responses. Although he does have some support amongst those I meet. The arguments tend to be more in how the war is prosecuted. I personally feel that events are dictating his policies rather than the other way round. And the only analogy I can make of the economy is that it’s like he’s caught in the whirlpool of a flushed toilet, desperately trying to prevent the last few pesos being sucked into the sewer.
We’ll have to wait and see how history views Calderon. Traditionally, history is not kind to Mexican presidents. Traditionally, Mexican presidents have been thieving crooks! But in the meantime, here’s an interesting podcast from the BBC, who dared send a reporter into the midst of the battle.