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Texas

Tag Archives | Texas

Panama’s Untold Story: Security and Police Forces Step up their Game

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Xinhua
Xinhua

Xinhua

To say Latin America is not considered a safe area would be an understatement. Indeed, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime paints Latin America as the most dangerous spot in the world and the only place where homicide rates keep rising. However, is the region really to blame for its years of violence and bloodshed?

It all began with the infamous “war on drugs” announced by Richard Nixon in 1971, rooted in the belief that all drugs are evil and that we must ensure their ultimate destruction using any means necessary. More than 4 decades and some $1 trillion later, US drug policy is now more militarized than ever, focused solely on conducting army and police operations. The results are usually expressed in cold numbers linked to the area of drug crops destroyed or the unprecedented number of arrests made after each operation. But is this enough?

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The Texas Cowboy in Drought

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Jay Janner/The Statesman Photojournal
Jay Janner/The Statesman Photojournal

Jay Janner/The Statesman Photojournal

Ag Web, an online agricultural news outlet, reports the latest on the Texas climate: more than 96 percent of the state is experiencing drought. Farmers and ranchers who once thrilled to work the land have seen their livelihoods reduced to daily drudgery by the three-year drought. From the Panhandle to the Rio Grande, the soil cleaves and crumbles from dehydration. Skin-and-bones cattle lie down to die, 70 mph dust devils careen across the plains, and bass fight for oxygen in vanishing lakes and ponds.

Texas society has responded in various ways. Suburban dwellers have cut back on outdoor water use. Government officials have sued neighboring states to claim more water and invested in technology to turn sewage into potable water. Wes Perry, an oilman who also serves as the mayor of Midland, said, “We are worthless without water.” He and many Texas business leaders recognize the need for good water policy as the state prepares to welcome millions of new residents to the Sunbelt. The Lone Star state is projected to increase its population by 82 percent between 2010 and 2060.

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Mexico’s Drug Violence and American Complacency

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DoD Photo
DoD Photo

DoD Photo

Violence in Mexico reached new levels in 2010 with killings totaling 15,273. The dead included innocent bystanders, drug cartels members and police and security forces. Since 2006, according to data released by the Mexican government, 34,612 have been killed. In Juárez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, out of a population of 1 million, 3,100 were killed in 2010. The states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Michoacan and Guerrero have witnessed the brunt of the violence. Despite the thousands killed in Mexico, violence is relatively low compared to its regional neighbors. According to government data, in Mexico there were 18.4 murders per 100,000, in Brazil the number is significantly higher with 25 per 100,000, in Colombia 37 per 100,000 and in El Salvador the number is even higher at 61.

The perception that Mexico is experiencing such high murder rates in comparison to its neighbors is explained by how these victims are killed and disposed of. The deaths tend to be gruesome by Western standards with victims turning up headless and in mass graves. Other methods of execution are hangings from bridges while the victims are alive or after they have been killed. In May of 2010, 55 bodies were found deep inside a silver mine in the town of Taxco and in June of 2010, six bodies were found in a cave in Cancún. Additionally, near the town of Acapulco in the state of Guerrero, over a dozen Mexican tourists were found in a mass grave. Killings in Cancún and Acapulco are putting a severe drain on the Mexican economy which is heavily dependent on tourism.

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