Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Borderland Beat Reflects on 2010

Saturday, January 1, 2011 |

This is a long one folks, hold on to your ,,,,,,,, er ,,, horses!
Pull up a chair and take the time to read refections from the past!

Glimpse of Hope
By Buggs

I can't really recall, it must have been 2007, I was working at a middle school in Albuquerque where I met an 11 year girl named Alicia. She was a pretty girl always dressed in real nice new clothes. Although she appeared to be from an affluent background, she was very humble in nature. She touched my heart one hot day when I had been playing basketball with some of the boy on the basketball court.

I was exhausted and overheating with sweat. She came over to talk to me and I asked her if the snack bar sold water. She said yes and I told her I needed to go to the office to get money to buy me some water. But as things happen from time to time, I got distracted for a few minutes. I saw Alicia return after a while and handed me a cold bottle of water. I asked her how much I owed her for the water and she said, "nothing." I was not necessarily touched by the fact she bought it for me (as money was not the issue with her), but that she thought of me when I needed water.

So I got to know Alicia at school. I met her mother one day during a school visit and noticed her mother dressed in real nice clothes too. She was a Mexican national who spoke very little English. She also appeared to wear a lot of expensive jewelry and drove a luxurious white brand new Escalate.

I asked Alicia where her Dad worked and she replied that she did not know because her dad lived in Ciudad Juarez. She said they visit him in the summers during school break. She said her mom did not work but that her dad sends them money.

I once also had the occasion to visit their nice expensive home in an affluent neighborhood. The thought of how they got so much money crossed my mind a few times.

So summer came and went, and school started again, but Alicia did not return. I became concerned and went to do a home visit, but did not find anyone at home. So I asked her best friend at school and I was not prepared for what I heard. I was told that her mother, father and little brother were killed in Ciudad Juarez. The friend told me that Alicia had moved to San Antonio with her aunt.

So I started to do research about the incident on the internet and for the first time ever, I started to learn what was happening in Mexico. There was a real a wave of violence engulfing Mexico and Ciudad Juarez was the main battle ground for feuding drug cartels. While researching I started to dive deep in to the dark side of Mexico’s drugs war. I did find the brief article of the incident.

On the date in question, Dad was driving a tan car, mom was in the front passenger seat, little brother was on the right rear seat and Alicia was on the left rear seat. While the car stopped at a traffic light, two men armed with assault rifles came up to the car from both sides and opened fire on the Dad, mother and little boy. They were killed instantly. The man on the left side that had just shot and killed dad was supposed to shoot Alicia but did not. He pointed his gun at her and at the last moment did not shoot. Perhaps he had a little girl himself and felt compassion, who knows.

They eventually found many weapons in the trunk of the car. Mexican authorities suspected that the dad had ties to the Juarez cartel and was a matter of “ajuste de cuentas.”

Living in the comfort of my home, I did not have the slightest idea what was happening in Mexico. But I soon learned that crimes such as gangland-style murders and kidnappings were at record levels making Mexico one of the world's most dangerous countries in the world. I learned that kidnapping was a multi-million dollar industry in Mexico.

I soon realized that Mexico's murder rate was topping all others in the Western Hemisphere. All this despite the fact that Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s tough new war on drugs had sent thousands of Mexican Army troops into the countryside and a record number of drug suspects extradited to the United States for trial.

I learned that crime had been on the rise in Mexico throughout the last decade as drug cartels battled each other for control of lucrative smuggling routes. And it wasn't just the violence but the extent of it. I saw that Mexico's violence was often spectacular and lurid, with tales of street shootouts, decapitations and bomb blasts filling Mexico's news pages and airwaves.

No place was immune, and Ciudad Juarez, our back yard, was the worst. As I continued to read the news every day, the bloodbath continued unabated and everyone here in the US had no idea what was happening just right across the border.

I did not know it at the time but this was a nasty storm that was just awakening.

The violence and mayhem just multiplied by the months and then by the years. I bought books about the Mexican drug war, saw the daily news, read the Mexican newspapers, and glued myself to the internet learning about the Mexican cartels. But everyone around me went about their business as usual without any inclination or idea of the misery and devastation from a country that shared a border with us. I myself would not have known, if it had not been for the tragic fate of a little girl named Alicia.

So one day I started a blog called Borderland Beat, so I could shed some light on the dark side of Mexico to the people here in the US and all the English speakers. And I knew that it would have to be real, a true manifestation of the reality of Mexico of the so called drug war. I took the time to translate the stories and load up the pictures and videos.

And there were times I would ask myself why am I doing this? But I did, and soon others eventually joined me, like Illiana, Maka, Gerardo, El Viento, Ovemex and Smurf. And the readership grew, with many collaborating in the comment section. Soon we would be averaging 30,000 hits a day. It would bring out people from both sides of the border, both sides of the fence, both sides of the issues.

The real important issues about Mexico have been lost on the US side with the debate of issues such the illegal immigration and the origin of weapons in the hands of  Mexcian cartels. I have seen some real heated confrontations on both sides of the isle. We have Mexican blaming the US for creating a demand for drugs trough their vile habit and the Americans blaming Mexico for permitting a drug industry through corrupt practices. But I do not want to sound cliché when I repeat the saying “drugs go north while money and guns go south.”

The bottom line the sale of illegal drugs is just a business decision and it exists for two reasons; product is very good and profit is very high. Nothing on earth can stop something that generates billions of dollars and is desired by millions of people. And the sad part of all this, when you try to stop it, it fuels a wave of violence such in Mexico that could very easily transform it in to a failed state. That is why we will never totally eradicate illicit drug trafficking or the temptation it brings at its wake in the form of the worst violence one can possibly fathom.

And now here we are, the violence has not subsided, it is relentless and shocking with every passing day. But I knew someone had to record it and bring out, because the violence is not about merely interchangeable parts, but about real people. This is more than just statistics or about nameless decapitated bodies thrown in the middle of the street with a “manta” attached to them. It’s about real people like that little girl named Alicia that had a heart to give a little of herself, if only just to give someone some water.

I really don’t know what awaits us in 2011, but I can assure you it will not be pretty, and I can also assured you that we will be there, as difficult as it seems or as hard as we want to deny it, it exists.

So I want to thank every one of you for being part of the experience in 2010.

Deeds such as Alicia's, as insignificant as they may seem, keeps the hope alive!

Borderland Beat 2010
By Gerardo

I still remember that February night in 2010, standing on my mother’s porch hearing the gunbattles erupting just blocks away across the Rio Grande and Nuevo Laredo. Automatic rifle fire and maybe up to 10 explosions (grenades or PPG’s) sounding like they were heading up our street in Laredo, Texas.

This past Christmas night a black Escalade blockaded the side street bordering our home and carjacked the first auto that came upon the scene moments later. My mother told me a pregnant woman was beaten in the process. We live a few blocks from International bridge #1.

This violence has now left between 11,000 and 12,000 dead in 2010 (not including the thousands of uncounted ‘disappeared’).

The first warnings of a change in the life of the twin cities, and the shift in tactics by the drug gangs, were the disappearances of Laredo citizens in Nuevo Laredo beginning in 2005. This happened during La Barbies attempt to takeover Nuevo Laredo for the Sinaloa Cartel. Dozens have disappeared since then, some were involved in drug trafficking others were innocent.

In 2006 or 2007, La Barbie hosted the first of the “narco videos”, an affair where four beaten Nuevo Laredo Zetas are interrogated (presumably in Acapulco) and one is executed.

Rumors flew that even Laredo’s wealthiest were paying protection money to Mexican drug gangs, and these rumors were made credible by a botched kidnapping attempt in broad daylight against a family of the owner of a local automobile dealership.

The arrests of two cells of Zeta hitmen, one made up of teenagers, also highlighted these changes and ramped up the fear. There had always been drug trafficking killings in Laredo, but there was something sinister about these men and boys, “como si el Diablo aparecio”.

So this is when my education on the situation in Mexico began. We often had driven to Monterrey, Matehuala and San Luis Potosi and the church dedicated to San Francisco de Assis at Real de Catorce to give thanks for answered milagros, and never felt threatened but there was a gradual change which suddenly turned very dark around the end of 2009. If you study the chronology of drug violence in Mexico this is exactly the time violence, crime and murders escalated to the level we see today.

We haven’t crossed the border since. Now it’s the relatives from the south with visas that visit us, taking every opportunity possible to escape their world if for only a few days.

I was born and raised on the border, literally as I lived my childhood and early adulthood one block from the Rio Grande. I knew the pulse of my world intimately. My teenage years were spent among friends and relatives involved in “the Business”.

As I graduated from college in the eighties, more money was being made with the smuggling of cocaine, even Colombians were beginning to appear. All of them businessmen looking to open a factory, of course.

I knew that world when the Policia Judicial Federal and Gobernacion ran the drug trafficking protection rackets, assigning the Plazas just like McDonalds franchises. And taking maybe up to half the profits that the traffickers made as the price for protection.

Imagine that, Mexican federal police extorting and threatening and executing traffickers. Those were the good old days.

I have lived away from the border for 20 years now, and I thought I had a feel for what was happening in Mexico based on the past. I thought I knew all the questions to ask and even the right answers. Even worse, I thought I knew enough to pass judgements on people I didn’t know without living among them.

But within a week of beginning my association with Borderland Beat and bringing my obsolete knowledge to the table I was overwhelmed.

A huge paradigm shift has occurred, a transfer of power from the authorities to the traffickers on a vast scale. Is this a glimpse of 21st century warfare, where non-state actors, be they Islamic terrorists or drug cartels, have the military power and tactics to compete with nation states for territorial and economic control? Where the new “guerrillas” are cut-throat capitalists and not Marxists?

So every week that I contribute to Borderland Beat I realize how little I, and almost all of us, know of what is happening in Mexico.

Every day is an education, and I would like to take the time to thank all the regular contributors that post comments on the blog and have contributed to our common knowledge. You have all contributed to what Borderland Beat is today. But most of all, thank you for caring.

Thank you to the contributors that have injected sanity to the gun control and arms smuggling debates that echo with ignorance and irresponsibility. I’m an assault type weapon owning, gun rights Texan who understands that all gun owners must collectively act responsibly in combating arms smuggling into Mexico.

Thank you Buelita, Neto Uno, Lito, J, HLM, Kevin, Matanzas and all the other regular contributors that have added to my knowledge. Thank you to our source in Sinaloa who keeps us abreast of the situation. Thank you Ache from Coahuila for your courage.

Thank you to all those afflicted with the illness of addiction that have rejected that path and sought help and treatment. All of you make a difference.

Thank you Rocio for your heroism and love of live, and for surviving your journey.

A huge heartfelt abrazo go to all the Journalists in Mexico that have not been quieted by the criminal and government forces and continue the work that us lesser mortals would have abandoned long ago. There are still many of you, I should know as I translate your stories.

Thank you to those doves with talons, Estemos Unidos Mexicanos, for your brave campaign advocating for the rule of law.

Thank you Dr Tomas for sharing your poetry with us.

Thank you, U.S. Border Patrol and the Border Sheriffs for your efforts fighting drug trafficking. All the heated arguments I’ve had with Border Patrol agents out in isolated West Texas have not been from a lack of respect but from my dumb ass brown neck hard headedness.

Thank you Buggs for the stage you have shared with us, and to Smurf for all your efforts.

Y termino con gracias profundas para Maka, quien me a extendido la mano como compadre, y para Ovemex, eso que tienen los valientes a ti te sobran. Gracias, muchas gracias.

Y les envio un abrazo de solidaridad a todo el pueblo Mexicano, que vive con este “pan de todos los dias”, nunca estan lejos de nuestros pensamientos y esperanzas.
 
“SI EL CRIMEN ESTA ORGANIZADO, PORQUE NOSOTROS NO?”

Ovemex
As I prepare to say Good bye to yet another year, I can not help but relive a bit of the past, reflect upon the present, and aspire of hope and change for the future.

I remember when the drug war became real for me and not just a headline in a national news broadcast. It was early October 2008. As I drove to work that morning I saw it. The bodies of two federal police officers thrown haphazardly on the shoulder of the highway: their uniforms still pressed crisp, their shoes shined to perfection, their blood still glistened slightly in the early morning rising sun. Soon after it was young soldiers, gutted and mutilated.

This was just the beginning. As the days turned into weeks our town grew smaller and smaller. People simply vanished. Then came the "unofficial" narco curfews, nobody knew if they were real or just rumors, yet nobody dared to find out.

Of course, thinking back, it all began so much earlier. The "outsiders" that seemed to appear from nowhere, new businesses, fancy cars, the loaded luxury SUVS that always traveled in pairs.. The signs were all there, we simply chose to turn blinds eye, until it was too late.

Then came our youth. The humble kids I once watched play futbol with my kids were suddenly dressed to the nines, driving new pickups, buying properties, and prowling for "new friends". Convoys became common scenes, life simply changed, the rules of living were simply rewritten.

A couple of years ago you might have found me commenting on other blogs, fighting tooth and nail to "set the record straight" on Mexico's Drug War, afterall, I had a heads up, or so I thought..

I don't know how to place my thoughts into words, I can only tell you living this so called war on drugs is confusing, it is an emotional and psychological roller coaster that simply seems to have no end. Just when you think you've seen it all, it gets worse. The days change, but the images, death, and tragedy remains the same, day after day.

As the years passed and our lives changed, I realize being here, en carne propia, has given me no extra insight., quite the contrary, I find, somehow, as the years go by and the bodies stack up, my viewpoints and what I thought to be the truth, seem to have blurred. No longer do I pretend to have the answers, much less solutions. I have been humbled and simply want to make it through, with my family, to the next day.

Writing about narcos was never on my top ten list of things to do before I die, all the same, I can tell you, finding Borderland Beat and being accepted by Buggs and Gerardo has been nothing short of a blessing. It has allowed me to continue sharing what little I do know, from the inside, and learn truths and ideals, of which I had previously been blinded to yet desperately seek, from the outside.

My greatest fears and hopes lie in the future of Mexico. I dream of strength, courage, wisdom, justice, transparency, independence and above all tranquility and stability .

My eyes have been opened and I continue to learn each day from you, our readers.

The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months!
~Edward Payson Powell.
 
Smurf:
"Borderland Beat is our corner of the internet. Whether or not the mainstream news pays attention, we in this community are determined to spread the word of Mexican journalists to every part of the globe."

When I left Mexico I was 10 years old. I had spent half my time living in Juarez and the other half in El Paso. I remember coming to Washington D.C. without being able to speak english. Slowly, over time I became accustomed to living in the U.S. almost to the point of forgetting where I was from.

Then I remember talking to my mother about my relatives. They had been receiving threatening phone calls that was an attempt to extort money. They had stopped answering the phone for any number they didn't recognize. Things were changing. A year later I was told that a relative of mine in Reynosa was abducted and held for ransom. My Godfather stopped traveling from Texas into Mexico with his truck, for fear of carjackings. Another phone call told me a childhood friend had been beaten up by a police officer looking for bribe.

And through all this, some of my family still travels back and forth to visit. I get worried each time they go. I'm thinking of taking the trip myself, because what else is left? We can't live in fear. But I would be lying if i said I won't be looking over my shoulder.

This site has given us a voice, a way to reflect on what is happening in the country we love, to the people we love. I'm glad to have somewhere to express these thoughts, and loyal readers who always bring different perspectives, information and personal annecdotes that make Borderland Beat the special place it has become for all of us.
  - Smurf

Around the Net

One day while doing a search on Youtube for the word "Borderland Beat" I came across a person on the US side reporting extensively on the news in Mexico. What was interesting was that he was using Borderland Beat as one of the main source of information in his reporting. He is listed as "the penrev" otherwise known as Martin and uses the news in Mexico to discuss his particular political views, which by the way tend to lean a little bit to the right, but you can also see that he recognizes a problem that is both complicated and tragic.



What Others are Saying

The Blogs:

From Bens Turner's Blog
"This blog is supposedly made up of a group of anonymous folks reporting from Mexico -- while Mexican newspapers usually get the initial stories out quick, Borderland Beat usually follows up later with (very gruesome) photos and more context into what's actually going on in the massive gun battles and violence between drug cartels in Mexico and the Mexican security forces. This is probably the #1 story not being represented well enough in the US. Borderland Beat makes sure it's right in your face."

The Rabble
"I was reading the newest, juiciest, noticias brought to the masses by a group of underground journalists, , , , What I do know is that this site is extremely graphic and the guys or gals of BB who venture into this war zone have a pretty impressive set of stones. If you can stomach the images have a look-see, if you can't then don't even go near this site. The info purged through the BB moles may be biased but so far I am convinced they are legit."

Ehco fotografix
"Excellent Informative Blog, , ,  , interesting  and insightful blog that I've been following called the Borderland Beat ...all about the Tex-Mex-X-border drug trade... well worth checking out the site, interesting perspective on one small aspect of the drug war and some of its myriad, far reaching influences."

Comments for readers:

ajulio
"borderland beat is a good provider of mexican political news in english. it shows it's news uncensored and gives a realistic view of the mexican drug war. the reports are diverse and carefully chosen. it is my favorite website by far becuase of the people who post their comments. it's also the viewers who make borderland beat a unique place to visit."

Buela
Borderland Beat is a cut above the rest. Other Narco-blogs are either in spanish or use computer generated translators..BB does it meticulously, via human translation by their bi-lingual reporters. Thereby never compromising a story..

Ernesto1
IMO, Borderland Beat provides the English speaking world everywhere with an dispensable news service and forum for discussing the current and violently deteriorating situation in the US-Mexico border regions. Where else can one actually go to get the information about this conflict? Nowhere! Borderland Beat is doing a great job at what it does... REPORTING. Information, education, solution.

Profile-
Twenty five + years ago I, an Anglo native Texas, first traveled alone into Latin America trying to teach myself Spanish, though I was already in my mid 30s and couldn't even find my way to the bathroom in that language, so to speak. Yes, I could say the word cerveza but then found it hard to follow up with the necessary more courteous outcome for drinking one!

From Tucson I headed south to the two Nogales cities and found myself on a bus to Mazatlan helping feed a broke Mexican with taquitos who was headed back home after being deported from the US. Later, I just started to drift further and further south... until later I was able to become the annoying voice I am today on BB. Carajo! It was a trip, for sure! I speak out now for this unsolicited friend who socialized with the lone dumb voiceless gringo on the bus, even after having been kicked in the butt by others of like Anglo mannerisms.

Later I ended up married to a South American family upon my return to The States from Central America. So I learned about 'immigration', and learned about how others (Latinos) outside the US and Mexico see Mexico itself. Not so nice, it seems....

Alas, the heart can sometimes move on, as it did with mine. I divorced and remarried, this time to a charming chamaca Tamaulipeca. What could be sweeter than that? Together we began to ride the remaining Mexican trains together. They closed them down but yet our relationship remained. We headed for El Paso and had a kid together! Que Pachanga!

And here we are today, without any of the other details along the way spoken about... Commenting on Borderland Beat today is just one current update for my life, but all I really want to do now is be a retired hippy in a flower painted VW van traveling around all of Latin America as a good will gavacho ambassador from Tejas! Oooh wee! Vaqueros! Durango here I come!

Now, Folks... these days my real interest lies more towards Cocuy though. And like all real Chavistas, I am more a fan of llanera music than tejana. But so? I still love to watch Mexicans, too slowly dancing Colombian cumbias in Monterrey and I still love the lucha libre to be found there. Give me some elote and tacos a vapor! Hijole! Ni modo... Check out their new River Walk, too! I have, though not where dem tourists go.
(signing off, Buggs)
 
Comments from other sources:

"The consequence of the uneven distribution of the future is that all travel is potentially time travel. Even a good blog can be a time machine – if you read someone like Borderland Beat, you’re experiencing a different historical era."

"For those who don´t know "Borderland Beat", think "Soldier of Fortune" magazine in internet form."

"Borderland Beat (a website which offers up-to-date information on the state of chaos in Mexico)"

"Earlier in the day I had read the Borderland Beat ( as I do every day). After reading some of the diary stories I began to cry. This was not a happy cry. Rather I was lamenting that we might never get to enjoy those spots ever again. At least not in an RV. I cried for the country which has turned frome peaceful to one of the most violent places on earth. RV'ing through Mexico has been the happiest times in our lives."

"Borderland Beat provides excellent if unsettling coverage of the drug wars in Mexico."

"I never saw this borderland beat before - nice for me that it is in English"

"this blog Borderland Beat was brought to my attention a while back... and all i can really say is: "damn...."

"I went to that site Borderland beat.com and am completly alarmed. It made me nevrous and scared me. I had no idea that was happening on our border to that extent."

"I know I can get the blood and gore side of the Mexico news on Border Land Beat and pop in and pop out of numerous Mexico blogs to get the local story. I’ll post a link to Borderland Beat but first I need to warn you, the pictures are graphic."

"I think this is a new daily read. It will scare the crap out of you. "

"Reading these blogs is pretty sobering. There are too many people caught in the crossfire."

"Anyone who wants the real and complete story posted daily in ultra-graphic detail, with photos and/or video, should bookmark it."

"Perhaps its because i am from the north east and not anywhere close to the US/Mex border... but before i saw this blog i had absolutely no idea how much shit was really going on down there the only info we get up here are quick little snippets here and there... but even then the story is little more than a sentence or two just dusted over and passed by on the news."

"They provide a great round-up in English about the drug violence in Mexico."

"And if you just want to know what’s going on, www.borderlandbeat.com seems quite accurate."

Thank you all and to all Happy New Year!

Share it:

47 Borderland Beat Comments:

Val said...

Thank you guys for creating this blog for the non native Spanish speakers. This blog provides invaluable information, and provides real unbiased insight into Mexico's drug war that the inept American news media cannot.

T

Anonymous said...

god bless the good people of mexico and thank you for sharing what goes on down there. i read this everyday, and look at the brutality of life that happens in mexico. americans "in general" don't have a real connection to what is happening because they are too " comfortable " here. it's easy to look upon another country and say " that's a horrible situation " while passing judgement if your not really living through it everyday, how, as a country could we deny people in a desperate situation entrance to a country with everything is beyond me..but im glad you made this site and hopefully things will change for the good of everyone in the new year, peace and god bless.

Buela wants to be wrong.. said...

2010 was a pivotal year for me.
Major personal changes & challenges, but as most things in life I have always managed to find a silver lining..my illness demanded I slow down..because of that I found this amazing blog I call BB. And I found a little place in my world that I could, cry out, share, learn, express my sadness, despair, and mourn for the Mexico I love, the place of my culture, the land of my ancestors. Because before BB..i had nowhere to go, clearly not my friends...clearly not my family...clearly not my Mx friends, clearly not my Mx biz assoc, clearly not even my Mx staff....the prohibited subject, I felt so frustrated, and few things have changed, with the exception of our trip to Miguel Aleman, when talking about the violence was unavoidable...and later our photog told me he would use the bonus I paid him to buy new underwear..we laughed and spoke an in-depth conversation of the violence for the first time. Since that day? nada. The fear is impenetrable...
But 2010 was also the saddest year for me. It was the year my hope vanished, my will of "can" died, my optimistic spirit assassinated. I will not live to see positive change in Mx, my children will not live to see hopeful change in Mx...and that realization slammed into my heart directly from the children of Mx. I remember long ago, well ..seems long but really only 18 mos ago... till then I would drive to my apt in Mty and feel no fear, take a couple of kids to Kidzania as a treat, or to Saltillo for a weekend. I loved the drive, stopping in Torreon or Beautiful Santiago, a many other cities.. but no more.
Before 2010...the children would never speak openly about narcos. The big rule. Sometimes I would see poor kids suddenly have expensive clothes, ipods etc and we all knew, but no one spoke. Then a little over a year ago teachers and I saw a big change. Suddenly it was acceptable for the kids to talk openly about DTOs, oh not in the negative sense...in glowing terms...I heard a boy of 9 say "I want to be a narco" a girl replied "I want to marry one so I can be rich" and a sweet child said "I want to be a teacher!" a boy cried out "then you will be poor!" ...since that day we hear it openly.. it is a common mantra of poor kids. Open with their aspirations, i know Mexico cannot win this "war" their future is conditioned to accept the violence, its children have had their character and moral development skewed...forever...by violence..by what they see, what they hear. The future generation will be better conditioned to accept violence and create violence. No educational or employment possibilities ...Ni-Nis...the more than 50% of mx living in poverty. The perfect storm.
SO today, a New Year, I sit here, with a heartbreaking admission, that 2010 was the year I admit things will not get better, they are primed and ready to become worse.
Please God? Let me be wrong

Buela to BB reporters said...

To: Gerado, Ovemex, Buggs, Smurf..

"UNHAPPY IS THE LAND THAT IS IN NEED OF HEROES"
~Brecht~

I know you do not consider yourselves heroes, but I do.
Buggs..the first step more often than not stops potential heroes. I am thankful it did not stop you..
Ovenmex
I am humbled by all that you do, yet are so deidcated to making time to teach & inform..
Gerado
Thoughtful, gracious, insightful..
Buggs
Young blog warrior, immeasurable effort..

Thank you for your efforts, lousy pay (jaja) but amazing benefits..


Que el Año Nuevo les traiga salud, alegria y paz

santiagosrn@yahoo.com said...

its sad that you guys report on all the killings, kidnappings and decapitations but i love how you keep the people informed and i would like to thank Martin(the penrev) for linking this website i been reading your post for 4 months and 4 real its my most visited site i go on i visit it about 5 times a day reading all that happens in mexico and hoping to read about another drug lord getting killed or caught
especially los zetas but keep what you do going and hopefully next year would be differant

Anonymous said...

Presidente Calderon has another tough year ahead of him. Regardless of what some people might think of him, I respect the man for his efforts in this tough and complicated situation Mexico is in. Thank God for giving Presidente Calderon the balls to stand up for what is right and not be intimidated by evil forces. Mistakes will be made like in any battle but do not get discouraged Buelita. Some day we will be able to go back to a safe and prosperous Mexico whether to live or just visit. Keep hope alive.

G

Anonymous said...

I live in a border state but not close to the border. The lady, who has watched my child off and on for years and is a friend, grew up in both Juarez and the US. She still has family down there. She told me that they down there consider any day without a murder a good day. I remember either in 2008 or 2009 saying that it had been several days without a killing and everybody was delighted - of course, it didn't last. This year when she was going on vacation I said "I hope not to Juarez" and the response I got was one that indicated it'll be a long time, if ever, before she goes back.

I discovered BB a few months ago. It's on my daily reading list as this is the most under-reported story there is. People (the media) should be reading (reporting) this not wasting their time on Wikileaks and the Ground Zero Mosque.

I've been promoting this site to anyone who will listen. I had a hard time converting some people due to the graphic pictures, but the recent change to put them after the jump has helped.

Best and most important English language (not rating blogs I can't read) blog on the Internet hands down. Keep up the good work guys.

The second best I've found is the View From Baja Arizona blogs on the Tucson Citizen site which gives a good point of view of those living in southern Arizona who have smugglers going through their land. The third thing I'd recommend is National Geographic's Border Wars to get the story from the border patrol's view. Season 1 is up for free on Hulu.

Again, thanks guys. Now if we can only get the real scoop on RiseMakaveli. Hopefully he is safe but unfortunately I doubt it.

Finally, my heart goes out to everyone in Mexico and the other Latin American countries (who are in worse shape with more death) affected by the drug trade.

Smurf said...

I just want to specifically thank Buggs for letting me post on this site, and to Ovemex, Gerardo and Maka, without their contributions this amazing blog just wouldn't be what it is today.

Also Buela, J, Brito, E1, Matanzas, Ajulio, La Gringa, and all others who post comments here. Y'all make backbone of the BB community. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Buela said...

@ G...and Penrev

I am an extremely hopeful person..I do not allow my employees to come to me with "can't" unless they have almost died trying. So, a little part of my heart still cages hope. But the remainder lies reality. That will not stop my work, in fact I am going at it with a vengence. I was leaving Mx in 2012 taking my work to Iraq & Haiti. Now, I will choose one of those countries and remain in Mx until my body says no more. In addition to my work with children I am trying to figure a way to move information to Mexican citizens. I know by talking to friends that they are unaware of some huge stories, cartels have terrified the press. Knowledge is power and its my achilles heel that important stories go no where. Perhaps readers much smarter than I in communication can give me ideas...

I am not discouraged, I am motivated to do more.
I appeal to BB readers to find a way to help Mx and CA. There are many wonderful NGOs/501C3s to become involved with or donate to, but also you can write to politians, or simply tell a friend.."hey, you must learn what is happening in Mx! Because it is largely ignored in the media...go to www.borderlandbeat.com...even that and you have helped. Like the reader posting thanks to penrev for his videos. Penrev wnated to "do something" he has a huge heart and I have written thank you to him for caring, what he did seems small, but quite the contrary it was huge, another hero in Buela's book.

Paul said...

I just happened to stumble across BB a short while ago, and can honestly say that my life has forever changed since then.

I can only thank everyone here who takes on the dangerous task of investigating and reporting this news to the rest of the (english speaking) world.

God Bless all of you

Anonymous said...

I wanna really thank you, guys, for keeping people informed on all relevant topics of the mexican drug wars. I live in Moscow, Russian Federation but nevertheless I am very interested in this macabre wars. So, I want You to know that not only the americans and mexicans read your Blog and find it full of burning issues!

Anonymous said...

Borderland Beat is a truly amazing grass roots effort and it is no wonder that so many are now finding info here that they know is generally unavailable to them elsewhere. All the people who are writing here are uniquely helping inform the English speaking world about issues that often before were not mentioned, never discussed, and not even known about! They are writing for many who never knew anything at all about the regions of this current conflict.

Those who manage and write Borderland Beat deserve a hand of applause! They are doing a great job of it.

How big is the job that Borderland Beat is doing? Despite having rissen up from principally just interest in one issue, the increase in danger to the citizens of Mexico and also the US of an increasing traffic in narcotics in the Border regions, Borderland Beat actually is a web site that transcends just this one issue. Despite seeing itself as mainly a single issue blog and primarily a regionally localized one, the site transcends being about just one issue or about just one region of the world.

For the longest time the general English speaking public has been paralyzed by a lack of information about the Southern Border of the US. These were considered areas by most of the US especially, of backwardness and poverty that bordered on areas lived in by unknown supposed barbarians of the Great Beyond, which was Mexico/ Latin America.

If there was no drug war at all, no traffic in drugs, no escalating levels of violence close by to the US though, there still would be a tremendous need for Borderland Beat to be reporting on the regions where most of the writing is now most focused on. American citizens simply need to know more about Southern Texas, El Paso, Southern California and Arizona, and the interconnection they have with Monterrey, Guanajuato, Chihuahua, Tijuana-Mexicali, Sonora, etc. This is the great link that connects Latin America with the US, and is as important to us in the US as the European Union has become to Europeans. The time for continuing to remain totally ignorant about this region and the people who live there is now over. Thanks, Borderland Beat, for helping move us forward.

But Borderland Beat is also an important voice in educating and discussing the multi decades of 'drug war' that the US has engaged in from way back even before ex President Nixon announced the so-called 'Operation Cooperation' that helped launch it internationally. There simply is no other site that focuses discussion around 'drug war' issues, an issue that stretches across Mexico, the US, all points in Latin America, and all points even throughout the world.

And because the solution always presented by the US government regarding drugs has been so long one of 'war', Borderland Beat has become a site where issues of war versus peace get presented and then discussed. And thanks to the vision of Borderland Beat's founder/ founders, it is a site where Right, Center, and Left are allowed a voice, and a debate about 'drug war' policies can occur.

All this can said about this grass roots effort and the visions of those who launched Borderland Beat. The site is much more important than even most of us recognize. May BB continue to grow in number of viewers and contributors, of all different POV.

Ernest1

Anonymous said...

To all of you at BB I am extremely grateful for your posts. As an American living in Reynosa, with very limited Spanish, I've come to depend on you for updates on what's happening in my area. If you folks ever stopped writing I would be lost. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Easily one of the most important repositories of news and facts on what is probably the most important and under-reported story in recent years. Here's to the continued safety and hard work of Borderland Beat's staff. Thank you!

ajulio said...

@ MR.BUGGS
you have created something special here. you have always kept us informed and allowed us to express our views and frustrations on mexico's current situation. you helped make all of us a part of the borderland beat community and you always welcome newcomers with open arms. THANK YOU

@ buelita
you are, in my opinion, the most important writer on borderland beat. your knowledge, wit, attitude, integrity, responsiveness, and humanity is what gives you a powerful voice. your words stand out from the rest. i highly recommend you write a book about your life story.

@ smurf
i share similarities with you. you have a history with juarez and el paso. i think that i agree with your comments more than anyone else's and your reports are my favorites. thanx

@ lito brito
you are like that cool uncle that everyone has that is fun to drink with. that one crazy uncle of mine is named hector. i always like reading your comments and especially get a kick when you, as you say,"burn someone" lol.

@ ernest uno
when your not insulting buela, i enjoy reading your informative, passionate, and strong comments. borderland beat needs writers like you or else things can get boring. you know how to keep everyone on their feet...and i have learned things from you.

@ the anonymous ones
there have been some great anonymous writers. some who's writing style i've even recognized and appreciated. i hope you guys come out one day. it would make a difference.

and for everyone else that i did'nt mention(there are too many to mention and right now i'm a lil' crudo from last night). you know who you are. i look forward to this new year. can it get any worse?? now let's wait and see what surprises mexico lindo and the united states will pull out of their asses in 2011. i can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to you all, who have made of this blog a definitive, imperative source of information about Mexico and its narco-war, when all Mexican media seems to be blinded and gagged altogether.

Your provide the true beat without the obscene, prosaic and "stupid" commentaries of those writing to El Blog del Narco and Diario del Narco.

When you read what the Mexican people opine, you begin to understand why Mexico has descended to such a sorrowful, dark pit of despair, depression and self-recrimination.

Keep up the good work.

Mexican by birth, American by choice.

''lito'brito said...

i am in Mexico now ..but can not say much as i want to live to return to the USA..but it is tense ..and as my wife just said ..keep the tv turned down so we can hear for the shooting

Anonymous said...

I'd like to thank you for your efforts as well. And I sincerely believe that if the U.S. really got serious about stopping the flow of drugs north and guns and money south, Mexico would be a big beneficiary. I'd like to see the U.S. stop policing the world and use the resources to police this border.

Anonymous said...

Just as numerous first generation Mexicans in search of a better life north of the border, I'm thankful for my parents who decided to take the leap of faith, and provide me with a better future.

I'm glad I don't live in the mess that Mexico is in. Don't get me wrong, I love my country and its hard working people, but everyday I see my people giving in to petty crimes and fake illusions of grandeur. It's pathetic. It's a sad time to be a Mexican.

As for BB, keep up the good work. I like to keep track of things in English because many of the Spanish "narco blogs" is full or retards, and people with broken caps lock keys.

Best of luck to BB.

Buela said...

@ Ajulio..

Thank you so much for your kind words. Others have encouraged me to write a book..maybe someday when I retire, remember I am only 65 1/2..jeje. My Tio wrote his one and only book when he was 83! I cherish it, especially the well researched data of our family history..

Buela said...

@ Brito

Hey man...there you are! In Mexico with the TV

turned downed.

Stay safe..

Anonymous said...

I'm from Bsltimore, where we have our own serious problems, and BB has taught me so much about the very big problems with our neighbors. Thank you so much for educating me!

Anonymous said...

Outstanding 2010. I love this website. Since the news media stateside absolutely ignores the ongoing conflict, this site is pure gold. God Bless all of you writers and God Bless Mexico. Growing up in Texas and living currently in Arizona, the border and the land to the South are part of who I am. I love Mexico and love the people. It is a shame what is currently going on there now, but this is a monster that has been grown by both North and South and we all have a stake. We are all better than this and solutions are there. Its time we started working for a solution....together. Happy New Years to all Amigos Mexicanos y Americanos. Audere est Facere...to dare is to do. Its going to take patriots and courage to overcome this war, but it will be done. Nothing is easy. Trust me, there are people in the USA that understand this plight and are paying attention to what is going on in Mexico. We will do everything we can to make this right.

Anonymous said...

BB - Thank you for creating this website. I've been following it for awhile and always look forward to reading what is posted (articles as well as comments) daily. When I first started reading, I checked out the links you have posted, and it was an OMG moment that really opened my eyes to realize the extent of the problem when I realized it is not just Mexico, but the routes from other countries (many of which are not friends of the US) which peaked my interest in the subject. The more I researched, the more I realized how complex the situation has become over many years. It is truly frightening (if drugs are easily transported, so can WMD's and terrorists; money laundering trail; etc.).

My heart breaks for the innocent people living in Mexico and the next generation of children who see "no way out" other than to risk joining gangs associated with the cartels to make the big bucks, and little chance of long prison time if caught. Guess they are so young, they didn't calculate death into the decision. Where are the churches? Can't the Catholic church invest some money into this generation to give them an education. But that being said, what good is an education if there is no work. If you start your own business...... the thugs come and want you to pay them for protection or you die. It's sad, so very, very sad.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers as there are so many tentacles to this complex problem which extends into many countries and states and corporations. How do you stop the massive corruption & greed (everywhere) as long as billions are involved? How do you stop terrorism? People that are well funded to do whatever they wish to do, as evil as they are. They obviously have no souls.

When the buzz was about AZ SB1070 (which I agree with), for those posting comments from places far away from the MX border, I always remind them to look at their inner cities, the gangs, and their prisons. If they think drug trafficking and the violence is isolated to the border states and in Mexico, they are wrong. If they are worried about terroism, they should be. I truly understand why people from MANY countries want to come to the US, and I'm so sorry we can't rescue everyone, but we can't. (And we have college students and unions protesting here..... makes me sick! Spoiled young & old brats, as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to ship them off the Venezuela, or the Sudan and see how they like it.)

I guess we can still pray everyday for those around the world that are living less fortunate lives (many in terror). I can't imagine their grief and fear everyday. It truly is heartbreaking.

Let's hope for a better, safer world in 2011. Thank you BB! I post your link whenever I'm on a Blog on the topic. Hopefully with more hits, you can get more sponsors and you can grow this. (BTW - NPR articles..... not!)

Maxine, CA

J said...

My most visited site, or minimum second most visited. I really appreciate the work you guys do, the daily updates and esp. the translations of articles. Not to mention the news from people in Reynosa, Matatmorros, Juarez, Sinaloa, etc. Thanks to everyone who founded the site, and keeps it going.

Oakfern said...

Thanks for giving an expat living in Mty a place to look for information as to just how dire the situation is. I check in here everyday and will continue to do so for as long as I live in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

I live on the border and talk to people from both sides on a daily basis.Most people don't know what's going on in mexico and if they do they hope somebody else will fix the problem. I have talked to people from mier and the only solution they could come up with was run to the USA with their family where it is "safe". This whole mess is going to get a whole lot worse. Somebody once said ""All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

ajulio said...

@ buela

well they say the 60's are the new 50's lol. if you wrote a book, i would be first in line to buy it. you could write about your mex-am heritage and upbringing and show how times have changed today; raising a family, college, your experience with cesar chavez; tex vs cali; reps vs dems; your humanitarian experiences in mexico and with the cartels; the drug war and it's influence on you; mexico's condition today etc. etc.

don't wait too long buela. you obviously love to write.

TORRES7 said...

As a Mexican living in a foreign country, I would like to thank BB for the upright information. I'm concerned with the border area because like some of you I was born and raised in the twin cities LRD/NLD and still have family there. I have restrained myself to only read the information provided on the blog, but some really uneducated comments from certain clueless bloggers just need to be attended to.
Again, thanks to the BB team for the great information published here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks BB!!! Lets hope things finally change for the better this year. What you guys do is so important. Providing people with information that otherwise they would never see or understand. And lets hope the "mange" from BDN don't invade and start posting their silly comments here. LOL!

Buela said...

@Ajulio...

My husband says I am the best writer he has known..but of course he is totally biased!

In a book I could answer what many folks wonder...how did a little Mexican girl, daughter of a farm worker, from LBC...member of La Raza...community advocate for Latinos...Marched w/Caesar..etc etc end up a conservative? JAJA.. Now THAT would be different!

Anonymous said...

I live north of Nuevo Laredo, in the U.S. and miss it dearly. The last time I went with friends and family was about 4 years ago. The drug violence had not been so open (as I'm sure it was going on) as it is now, especially with the help of BB but we all felt the difference in the shop owners, restaurant employees and the vendors were way too aggressive for our comfort and we felt something was wrong....just didn't understand what.

We always stay at La Posada. We made our trips about 3 times a year, staying for about 2 to 3 nights, walking over the bridge and spending all day there shopping, eating, shopping. Then, when we started making reservations at the hotel the prices went way up so we started staying at other hotels. But, then the vendors started to disappear, one large restaurant had closed and there wasn't a crowd on the streets any longer.

A few months later we checked on the rates again @ La Posada and they were way down. We were so excited that we booked 3 nights and had several other families make reservations during the same time we were.

This was Christmas time, 3 years ago.

The chill in the air was not from the weather. It was from the people. The people that used to tug on our clothes right when we would get across, asking (haha) if we needed a dentist, prescriptions, etc. It was fine, we knew we were in Mexico! Finally!!! But this time, the hotel had warnings for it's patrons. Do not shop alone, do not stay out past dark, do not show cash, etc. Hardly any shops were open, even the two Mercados had most of their shops closed and maybe one of them was actually closed all together.

We did the most shopping we could.......hardly any money spent and the cold damp feeling we felt was danger, get out NOW. So, we did.

Within months, I came across this blog and was horrified about Juarez, then as I keep reading it's obvious that we will never go back to Mexico again. These poor innocent people just trying to sell the goods they made for pennies and the children, maybe 2 or 3 years old selling gum for 1.00. All for drugs.

I don't care if your selling drugs or consuming them. If you're involved with either side, YOU are responsible for the killings, torture and the hell you will be in for the rest of your life when you die.......and it will be soon. You will not be able to enjoy life in heaven with the same people you tore apart (literally), raped, kidnapped, stole from, sold drugs to and caused their own deaths. YOU will be in Hell where you belong. Away from me and my family so we can enjoy eternal peace from the pigs you really are.

I just had to get that off my chest as I read the first blog for 2011. I really loved reading it and really appreciate the talent the writers have with Borderland Beat.

Thank you for letting me share/vent my feelings and to say to all the innocents...........I am sorry I'm not there any longer to help support your wares, enjoy your art, crafts, food, drink, laughter of your children, the touch of an older woman's hand guiding me to her little space in the Mercado and most of all, I miss your smiles and your dedication to your country.

Annie

Anonymous said...

From a different point of view I suppose. In the late 90s early 2000s , I was a marijuana distributor in san Antonio,tx. I would smuggle my supplies from laredo,tx. Pounds in laredo were 120 bux, in san Antonio 450 at whosale and 800 broken down retail. Do the math. I first heard of los zetas in 2001. Back then loss chachos were the shotcallers in nuevo laredo. A lot of changes were made and the business turned much riskier to stay in. Originally I am from carrizo springs,Tx. 80 miles north of laredo and 40 miles east of eagle pass,tx. I always read about Mexico narcotic news and keep up with it daily. Just have so many real stories about immigrant smuggling as well. Thanks for your blog. Even as I am no longer in either business, tthose industries won't ever cease to exist.

Matanzas said...

Well, to be honest I didn't want to open this blog on 1/1/11. I wanted one day free of this nightmare. I wanted my breakfast in peace. No news, no TV, no nothing. Only my wife and my dogs and the quiet beach.

Therefore I have waited for the second day of the year to express my thanks to the BB team and to all the posters for having shared their thoughts and made me a little more intelligent, or less stupid...

As E1 justly said: Information, education, solution. I was still living in Europe when a brutal war raged in former Yugoslavia, and European media were full of information. Everyone knew about the snipers in Sarajevo, the mass graves in Srebrenica.

Now Croatia is the number one tourist destination in Europe. Serbia fights the remnants of ultra-nationalism in soccer stadiums only and will soon join the EU. An entire generation has grown up during this merciless war and still has been able to bury its dead and build a better future.

My point is that it is always possible for a country to heal. For that, a country needs help. For help to come, it must be international and popular interest in restoring peace. For Yugoslavia, it was quite simple: the West wanted to eliminate the last Russian "plaza" in Central Europe. But politicians were also pushed by a public aware of the killing fields in the Balkans.

What do we have for Mexico? What incentive would push our politicians to drum up the support for Mexico? So you BB guys continue reporting, may be the incentive will be the public opinion. You all BB readers send emails to news outlets, to politicians, to your friends. Make sure nobody can ever say "I didn't know".

And I love the compassion and anger that transpire from comments. Whether we agree or disagree with each other is not relevant. What is important is our interest in our neighbors.

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality” Dante Alighieri.

Mit Freundlichen Grussen.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading and commenting on BB Blog for almost a year now. Would have signed up long ago so as not to be anonymous but not sure how to do it. Which one of these profiles are easiest to sign up on or best. I tried google account but it used my email account which I do not want advertised. Someone please advise if you can.

Lil'Brito and Buela, I have especially enjoyed your comments and insigntfulness in addition to all the BB "staff". Happy New Year!

Address response to Layla. Thanks.

Durango1 said...

Thanks,
For all your great work on this site! only a couple of months i was at the mercy of Mexican Newspapers that really dont tell the story. Being from DGO i know of the brutality that the border states face as we have our share of violence....only hope is for this to end soon or at least go back to the way it was.
Buela....your quite the character and its always interesting to see your comments as they are different from the rest of the people. Buggs, smurf and Maka and anyothers is missed great jobs reporting even though at times i sense the violence is overwhelming and it gets taken personally, overall great Job!!!

Anonymous said...

okay..there was three kids killed in colonia tampico..monterrey...about four days ago...people said the policia was there just before it happened...and they are saying that a group called los contras did it...it happened ..i seen the blood ..and knew of the kids

''lito'brito said...

whats up you all..for the next little while i am just gonna be reading and if i do add a comment it will be anonymous...i am a little too close to be sayin much right now ..but i am gonna be readin everbodys comments


buela write that book...

and ernie ..you be nice ...jajaja

Anonymous said...

let me say that now ..today in monterrey people are fearing the Z

ajulio said...

@ BUGGS

i really liked reading your profile. now i have a better idea of who you are. lito brito is someone i would like to have a drink with but you are someone i would like to smoke a joint with. Hijole! Nimodo...lol

@ the borderland beat staff

as a whole, you all have given us some great reporting. i respect what you guys have accomplished together and for doing this for just pesos, shows your integrity. this year i will try to contribute more myself. you guys deserve it.

this was the most feel-good article of the year. great way to start off the new year.

yoli said...

I love Mexico. Please God help them.

Anonymous said...

SO WHERE IS MAKA AND IS MAKA OKAY?? IS SOMEBODY GOING TO ANSWER THIS ?

Selina said...

I am a young lady currently in Germany due to the military, and I am glad I have found this site. I check up on it everyday, and even though it brakes my heart because of the stories I read, I am so glad that you guys keep the world updated about what is really going on in Mexico. You guys do an amazing job. Keep up the amazing work.

anon said...

ok is maka dead o alive ..some one please say.... si o no ?..

Anonymous said...

Don't mean any disrepect by it, but can we be updated on Maka's status? I am actually concerned and hope Maka is okay and safe.
Thanks

Smurf said...

Maka's fine, he just doesn't always make his presence known.

If you look in the "Rise is Dead" thread you will see he responded and is alive and well.

In the words of Public Enemy: Don't Believe the Hype!

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