Narco Wars: Mexico

Talk Wednesday 24th June, 2009

Nearly three years after Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared war on drug traffickers, the conflict still rages on and the drug cartels have since spilled over into the United States.

The US-Mexican border has become a hotspot of activity for drug-related crime, with 230 US cities listed by the US Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Centre as places the Mexican drug cartels distribute drugs.

The cartels use fear, coercion and torture to intimidate Mexican citizens, police and the government and have been responsible for kidnappings, beheadings, assassinations and mass killings. The official drug-war-related death toll is 7,337, but the figures are expected to increase. Hundreds of people have been jailed for their participation in this dangerous war, but over 50 of the country’s most dangerous inmates have escaped from prison.

In a recent report Human Rights Watch said Mexico is failing to hold members of the military who commit human rights violations accountable, undercutting its efforts to curb drug-related violence and improve public security.

The 76-page report ‘Uniform Impunity: Mexico’s Misuse of Military Justice to Prosecute Abuses in Counternarcotics and Public Seurity Operations’ details 17 cases involving military abuses against more than 70 victims, including several cases from 2007 and 2008.

Join us for a panel discussion about the impact of the Narco Wars in Mexico and around the world.

Alex Tweddle, director of Juarez City of Dreams
Observer and Guardian journalist and writer Ed Vulliamy, whose new book Amexica is published next year
Tom Porteous London director of Human Rights Watch