Wednesday, July 08, 2009

we bring fear

MotherJones | There are two Mexicos.

There is the one reported by the US press, a place where the Mexican president is fighting a valiant war on drugs, aided by the Mexican Army and the Mérida Initiative, the $1.4 billion in aid the United States has committed to the cause. This Mexico has newspapers, courts, laws, and is seen by the United States government as a sister republic.

It does not exist.

There is a second Mexico where the war is for drugs, where the police and the military fight for their share of drug profits, where the press is restrained by the murder of reporters and feasts on a steady diet of bribes, and where the line between the government and the drug world has never existed.

The reporter lives in this second Mexico.

Until very recently, he liked it just fine. In fact, he loves Mexico and has never thought of leaving. Even though he lives about 20 miles from the border, he has not bothered to cross for almost 10 years.

But now, things have changed. He knows about the humanitarian treaties signed by the United States and he thinks given these commitments, he and his boy will be given asylum. He has decided to tell the authorities nothing but the truth. He has failed to realize one little fact: No Mexican reporter has ever been given political asylum.

Suddenly, he sees a checkpoint ahead and there is no way to escape it.

Men in uniforms pull him over.

He discovers to his relief that this checkpoint is run by Mexico's migration agency, and so, maybe, they will not give him up to the Army.

"Why are you driving so fast?"

"I am afraid. There are people trying to kill me."

"The narcos?"

"No, the soldiers."

"Who are you?"

He hands over his press pass.

"Oh, you are the one, they searched your house."

"I have had problems."

"Those sons of bitches do whatever they want. Go ahead. Good luck."

He roars away. When he stops at the port of entry at Antelope Wells in the bootheel of New Mexico, US customs ask, as they always do, what he is bringing from Mexico.

He says, "We bring fear."