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Amexica This was my beach read for our Thanksgiving vacation to Florida I was so thoroughly engrossed I barely remember any details from our holiday This fascinating angering and heartbreaking report is very well researched and written and the authorreporter so well versed and caring so much about the subject matter that I began an instant obsession with the region as well as its our vexing issues Ed Vulliamy is wise to trace the root of the problem beyond America's drug addiction and subseuent arms smuggling He points to the much larger fault of theoretical globalization and the scars left after corporate flight Although depressing sickening and rage inducing he leaves us with hope from non profit saintly groups and individuals A well informed piece of traveloguereportage of the literally torturous history of the US – Mexico border in the era of the War on Drugs It captures well the way in which the simple stories of opposition between nefarious drug lords and virtuous Mexican government is blatant misrepresentation On the contrary there has long been a series of not very cozy condominia between various drug cartels and both local and national factions of the Mexican government The most important aspect of the book is it's unflinching examination of the symbolic and instrumental use of violence on the part of various factions in Mexico most obviously including the various kaleidoscope of mutating cartels but also encompassing the Mexican government's own response For those who have not followed events in Mexico closely the images will undoubtedly be shockingAs Vulliamy makes clear the brutalization of the war on drugs is in fact a perverse reflex of the democratization of Mexican politics so long as the PRI monopolized political power from 1917 until about 2000 drug dealers knew who they had to pay off and territories were clearly defined which minimized the violent contestation of the plazas the staging areas for the transshipment of drugs into the US With the break up of the PRI's political monopoly it has become unclear who should be bribed or who has the authority to dictate territorial arrangements Likewise the increasing professionalization and fairness of the Mexican judiciary has ironically made it much harder to secure convictions for drug related crimes including murder — which has increased the impunity with which crimes are committed Vulliamy also pays attention to the way in which US stances on drugs and related deviant activities have created the conditions for the brutalization in Mexico Not only is the US's insatiable demand for drugs to primary driver of the drug economy but so is the US effort to crack down on domestic production of drugs Likewise Vuillamy emphasizes the role of the iron river of guns flowing from the United States into Mexico in the growing violence in Mexico Nor does he shy away from the important role of racism in defining not only the US goals in the conflict but also the daily behavior of both policymakers and front line agents Moreover he wisely notes that just as the fragmentation of political authority in Mexico is a precondition for the violence in that country so is the fragmentation and competitiveness of different US antidrug bureaucracies a key factor in the ineffective US government response to the challenges of drug tradeVulliamy's narrative focus stays mostly on the front lines of the conflict the drug dealers the border agents the innocent and not so innocent bystanders He is less interested in the underlying economics of the narcotics industry For example he pays little attention to the central role of money laundering in the war on drugs other than noting the DEA's disinterest in following the money — which is not exactly accurate nor about the role of the US prison industrial complex nor about the bureaucratic incentives in favor of hardening and militarizing the campaign The result is a fascinating narrative with vivid characters that alas remains somewhat analytically incomplete In the end he does not ask the most fundamental uestion why does this hopeless war continue decade after decade? Perhaps because of his unrelenting focus on violence Vulliamy largely affirms the metaphor of war to describe the regulation of the transnational drug economy So far my main goal is to try to get over how many spelling mistakes there are in the Spanish and focus on what Vulliamy is saying It is difficult given I am still only at the prologue and I've tallied 14 mistakes so far which is frankly embarrassing for Vintage Hopefully it won't get worse though clearly it will and I will be able to get through Amexica without hurtling it across the room unfinished Here's to hopingOkso ages later I've finished My verdict is that this book is little than poverty porn with a pathetic and ineffective attempt at analysis I was especially put off by the chapter talking about feminicide which did nothing than enumerate murders without trying to understand the phenomenon Vulliamy rattles off horrible incidents of death torture violence you name it and rarely attempts to analyse anything from it Makes me think somewhat of the crap I produced at university aged 20Also seriously having lived in Mexico in 20034 I feel I know about the country and the national psyche than he does erroneously or not and certainly did not recognise the country or the people I fell in love with granted I was in Puebla but I didn't think it was as simple as he put it All in all a really average misguided book I hope people take it with a pinch of salt because it's badly researched or really only insofar as it serves its own ends and is riddled with mistakes Fantastic read and a really important book everybody should read it and be aware of the atrocities happening everyday in MexicoLove the very poignant closing line by Munoz the Tijuana pathologist I live like a man who sits eating a delicious taco on the street there aware that every moment could be his last One bullet and he is dead A literally shocking non fiction account of the drugs war raging on the Mexican American border and the breakdown of society that this is in turn promoting The book starts in a fairly dry way but soon becomes a gripping dialogue for the dead as the atrocities and breakdown of society are catalogued through accounts from not only the people trying to address the problems but also from the bereaved the addicted the detritus of this burnt out society that still functions despite itself Soon enough it reads like the worst excesses of a James Ellroy or Don Winslow crimehorror novel all the gripping because you know it’s true despite the fact that you have to strain to believe it Are the drug barons the police the army and the judiciary caught up in some sort of demonic campaign to kill women for kicks? The book infers that this is the case Are the worst of the junkies alcoholics and mentally ill patients interred in charitable hostels being systematically massacred by death suads in some sort of attempt at social cleansing? uite possibly the book states and takes you to the places that these massacres occurred the author literally walking through the pools of congealed blood as he traces the killers’ undisguised bootprints on their killing trail through one of these erstwhile sanctuaries It is shocking stuff As the book progresses it becomes concerned with socio economic issues such as the exploitation of cheap labour in Mexico by global American corporations which is probably a book in itself But it's the drug wars that glue both sides of the border together with the drugs going north and the guns running south What to do about it though?Part travelogue part history part social study and almost always a bit of a horror story Amexica is an eye opener but don't be surprised if you want to close them just as uickly Maybe they should just legalise the lot of it and see where it takes us For white middle class America this situation woud be utterly unthinkable and intolerable as intolerable as the lives of the Mexicans living on the borderline already is Fantastic book mostly about the drug war raging on the US México border All aspects are covered including the army's and policy fight against and often complicit involvement with the narcos the war's effect on immigration the recent involvement of Native border tribes in the issue the complicity of the mauiladoras in providing the grounds for recruitment the complicity of the US in regards to easy availability of weapons the lack of interest in following the money etc The book treats the whole border and all the major narco factions from the East coast California all the way to the Gulf of México Texas The format consists of interviews by the author of a sample of people affected by each of these issues Most of all it shows the brutality of the drug cartels and thereby the brutality with which the army has resorted to fighting themThe main thesis of the book which I think true but not uite as defended as it should be is that the drug war represents a foretaste to a post political globalized free market economy where multinational corporations such like the drug cartels have become seek profit at any cost without regard for the conseuences to peopleA rather encouraging as well as despairing trend revealed in the book is the involvement of women and The Church in the fight against the drug cartels Encouraging because in a society where the police will do nothing and in fact are often complicit with the drug cartels themselves to help the people they are meant to protect where the police and sometimes the army too are too scared to fight these criminals and with good reason people of good will the majority of which are women displaying that special genius of which John Paul II spoke and which was in full view at the Crucifixion of Jesus when all his Apostles scattered but the women remained and The Church are practically the only ones opposing the drug cartels speaking out against them organizing public protests trying to shame these bastards into acting humanely; that is they are practically the only ones exemplifying the dignity of the human person even in situations where such a concept appears to be folly and fairy tale like And yet the trend is despairing as well for anyone who speaks against the cartel be it priests police women politicians reporters army generals anyone ends up dead usually in some grotesue way and very often cruelly tortured and raped before being killed Despair is indeed uite close by evil has won; good is destroyed It takes soooooo much faith to believe that the example of human dignity displayed by these people far outweighs spiritually the evil being perpetrated and that therefore good will be triumphant in this world one day But one day seems so very far away when your children are being killedOverall I would recommend it to all the clueless Americans who do not see the connection between their drug habit and the terrible harm they are causing As was put in the book anytime someone inhales drugs they are inhaling human lives But I do not suppose those kind of people read books Amexica is the harrowing story of the extraordinary terror unfolding along the US Mexico border—a country in its own right which belongs to both the United States and Mexico yet neither—as the narco war escalates to a fever pitch thereIn 2009 after reporting from the border for many years Ed Vulliamy traveled the frontier from the Pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexico from Tijuana to Matamoros a journey through a kaleidoscopic landscape of corruption and all out civil war but also of beauty and joy and resilience He describes in revelatory detail how the narco gangs work; the smuggling of people weapons and drugs back and forth across the border; middle class flight from Mexico and an American celebrity culture that is feeding the violence; the interrelated economies of drugs and the mauiladora factories; the ruthless systematic murder of young women in Ciudad Juarez Heroes villains and victims—the brave and rogue police priests women and journalists fighting the violence; the gangs and their freelance killers; the dead and the devastated—all come to life in this singular book Amexica takes us far beyond today's headlines It is a street level portrait by turns horrific and sublime of a place and people in a time of war as much as of the war itself A point in time review of events along the US Mexico border during some of the worst of the narcotics related violence From the gruesome open warfare in Tijuana and Nuevo Laredo to the calm but chilling repression in Matamoros which has seen escalating violence since this was written Vulliamy sympathizes with the Mexican citizens who have gotten caught up in all the chaos The book details the rise of the various cartels the various territorial fights that shift along the border and the enormous flow of drugs heading north and guns and cash heading south Additionally he goes into detail about the relationship between all the twinned cities on the border the violence against young women in Ciudad Juarez the challenges of the mauiladoras and other subjects Not exactly a fun read but very informative An excellent read Sometimes these kind of books can be a bit on the dry side but Vulliamy does a great job of bringing to raw desperate life the people he talks to and the places he describes My interest in the whole War on Drugs subject had been sparked initially by reading Sam Hawken's 'The Dead Women of Juarez' and then the magnificent 'The Power of the Dog' by Don Winslow; but this book shows that nothing in fiction is as shocking as the events that now pass for daily life in the north of Mexico Highly recommended Author did a tremendous work to describe every aspect of this violent and unbelievably cruel warThe numbers of victims are terrifying and whe don't know when this conflict will finally endFor most of the people who lives among the cartels it's s dead end they have no choice left they need to cooperate with drug traffickers Sad thing is that there is no hope for them corruption and bribery is on every level from police military administration to politicians But we can't blame only Mexicans guilty are also the Americans as a clients

  • ebook
  • 368 pages
  • Amexica
  • Ed Vulliamy
  • English
  • 05 December 2016
  • 9781429977029