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1 wrenchwench  Tue, Jun 12, 2012 8:24:23am

A repost from the Page Daniel Ballard made about this article:

Here is the commentary on this article from Molly Molloy, a person whose perspective on the border I trust more than just about anyone else's. You can read more about her at the links in her sidebar. I've been reading her Google Group postings for several years.

A long CNN story on Columbus. I don’t know exactly what to say since the very premise seems a bit of a fabrication…that there is big cartel corruption in the town and that is what is behind the Federal raid and guilty pleas of town officials in the gun smuggling case… First, the violence in Palomas did not begin in 2009 when mayor Tanis Garcia was murdered. Some of the most violent incidents in Palomas occurred in late 2007 and early 2008. As far as the town being ”a lovely town that had lived off some farm and ranch exports and tourism,” as described by Josiah Heyman in the CNN piece, people who have been going to Palomas for years and who venture off the main street, know that it is extremely poor, that many children there are malnourished and that what little economy there was from tourism basically stayed with a few businesses in the town. And there is an army garrison also just south of the town and for years soldiers have harassed people in the town, as the incident in 2005 that led to the threats against reporter Emilio Gutierrez who reported it. In 2004-2006, the town was a staging area for immigrant smuggling–the outskirts south of town are littered with abandoned hotels, or abandoned sites where hotel construction began and then stopped when the immigrant smuggling moved west to Arizona…At least 40 people were killed in the first few months of 2008 and many of the townspeople fled. I attended the funeral of Tanis Garcia in Palomas in October 2009 and there was not a single reporter there from Las Cruces, Deming, El Paso or Juarez–much less from any more distant media. And at least 500 townspeople were in attendance.
The politics in the town of Columbus has been dominated by the anglo
minority there for many years and in 2005 or 2006 when Eddie Espinoza was first elected mayor (beating Martha Skinner I believe) it was seen as
something of a scandal. [...]

Emphasis added. Do read the whole thing.

I know there are people from Mexican cartels in the US, but they are not any more of a threat than any of the other criminal gangs here. That is to say, they are a threat to certain people, but mostly to their associates, and to people in the neighborhoods they operate in. They are a much bigger threat to a wider swath of humanity in Mexico. We owe it to those Mexicans to deal with the cartels in a realistic way. Mexico needs to reform its criminal justice system and reduce corruption in order to start getting a handle on this. They have started the job, with help from the US. They have an extremely long way to go. They have been losing ground for years, and still are, I think.

If we focus on an imaginary threat, we can't focus on the real one.

New comment: Despite all that, Molly's Twitter account retweeted the CNN story several times, not always including a link to her commentary.

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