"The whole concept of 'el que nada debe nada teme' (he who owes nothing fears nothing) is no longer valid," said Cárdenas during a recent presentation of his book. "Death in these regions is cheap and easy." While on tour, the writer stopped in Santa Ana where a group of approximately 40 people waited for him to share the message of "Los Morros Del Narco," his latest book.
The event, titled, "Discover How Close You Are to Drug Trafficking," was organized by the Association of Spanish Presenters with the collaboration of several other organizations including el Comité Pro Democracia en México (Committee for Democracy in México) and Librería Martínez Books and Arts Gallery with the goal of shining some light on the drug war in México.
Cárdenas resides in Culiacán, Sinaloa where he writes for La Jornada newspaper. Cárdenas is also the founder of Ríodoce, a weekly newspaper and is the author of several books that focus on drug traffickers. During his presentation, Cárdenas shared several stories that can be found in the book and made it clear that his intentions with publishing such books is simply to tell the many stories that he as a journalist has learned about drug traffickers.
"Los Morros Del Narco" tells several stories of teenagers and kids whose lives have been affected in different ways by the drug war. "My book is not about drug trafficking," Cárdenas said. "It's a book about the people involved in drug trafficking."
"It tells of a national tragedy and how it's drowning us all."
Cárdenas considers that the violence has already gone too far. He see's a terrified society in which people live with the fear of losing their lives every single day, and he sees children who are losing their innocence and their childhood. For Cardenas, this is the saddest part.
"These kids are going to live with mutilated dreams", he said. All of this is happening as a result of a Mexican government that doesn't seem to be able to control the situation and put an end to the problem."We are in a country [México] that we should all be ashamed of," Cárdenas said. "But the government should be even more ashamed because they are murdering the future."
After the presentation, Cárdenas took some time to talk to Excélsior. Here are the answers to some of the questions asked:
As a journalist, did you ever think you were going to be writing about the drug war, drug traffickers and this much violence? When I founded Ríodoce I said: "I would like to do a column about drug traffickers." The idea was accepted and I thought, "Cool!" But I didn't know what I was talking about.
Obviously, I didn't know that everything was going to get so complicated, not to this point. Now, I feel trapped, subjugated by this topic. Before I used to think it was fun, now I'm scared. But I think we need to know how to publish it, how to treat it, so we can keep exposing it. I never, ever, planned on writing about drug trafficking, but this has become so complicated, and the levels of violence have become horrifying. It's very sad.
Would you like to get away from all of this or do you feel a certain level of responsibility now? I have not thought about moving away from this. I want to tell these stories from a human and social perspective. More than anything I want to tell the stories of heroism that is something wonderful to share. In the midst of all the darkness it's like a light at the end of the tunnel that gives us hope and it's going save us. I don't want to stop writing. I don't feel I should stop. I think I need to keep finding ways to expose this. Maybe it's a bit irresponsible on my part, maybe it's a bit dangerous, but as long as (I) do it carefully and know the city I live in and who's in charge I think I have to keep publishing this. For now, I don't want to leave this place, I'll stay here and I'll keep being careful.
Do you think there is a solution to the problem? Do you think there will be an end to all of this violence? I'm going to tell you what I think might help in the long term: that the government provide more resources to the children and to the youth. Nowadays, the government doesn't even know what is happening, and what's worse, they don't care to know. Because, how do you measure fear? In gallons? In meters? In decibels? No. There is no way of measuring it and the government doesn't seem to care. I think for now, it's absolutely essential that they create policies that will give more attention to children. Education, health care, salaries, jobs, everything, everything should be for them, without measure. They have the right to a different country, they have the right to keep moving forward. They have the right to have dreams and we're even taking that away from them.
We need to also have the government be set above the drug traffickers. When I say this I'm talking about a matter the of law. The law should be enforced….
How do you think the Mexican community in the United States can help? You need to take ownership of this fight. Encourage us, let us know that you, too, are outraged, angry, overwhelmed, that you don't like it….
It's going to help us a lot if you demand that the Mexican government stop this war. Demand that the United States government put a stop to the trafficking of weapons (and) the growth and consumption of drugs in North American soil. That will help a lot.
Are you for or against the legalization of marijuana? I think it would help. You would take away a piece of the criminality, it would hurt their business. It will not take away everything and we won't be taking away the biggest part, but we would take away a big part."Like" OC Latino Link on Facebook to see more news, information and conversation.