Mexican Mayor Latest Drug War Casualty

Photo by Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/38658687@N00/408972520">jclarson</a>.

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The mayor of the Mexican border town of Palomas, Estanislao Garcia, was kidnapped yesterday morning and then found dead yesterday afternoon. Whether it was the drug cartels or the Mexican army that tortured and shot Garcia, he has become a statistic in the Mexican drug war. So far in 2009 6.8 people have been murdered each day in the drug siege. And the 2nd-year mayor has now become one of the 14,000 people killed since Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006. 

Mother Jones contributing writer Charles Bowden visited Palomas while reporting the story of Mexican reporter-on-the-run Emilio Gutiérrez Soto. Bowden describes the town in our summer issue:

In Palomas, a town that like Ascensión falls within the gravitational pull of the sprawling border city of Ciudad Juárez, the entire police force recently resigned, forcing the police chief to seek shelter in the United States. The town is dying. Few people cross from America to shop because of the violence. There is a gray cast to the children begging in the streets that suggests malnutrition. Work has fled—the people-smuggling business has moved because of US pressure in the sector and so the town is studded with half-built or abandoned cheap lodgings for migrants heading north. Also there is an array of narcomansions whose occupants have moved on. And there are eyes everywhere. I walk down the dirt streets tailed by pickups with very darkly tinted windows. The biggest restaurant in town for tourists closes every day at 6 p.m.—get home before dark.

To follow developments in the Mexican drug war, the Juárez region, and the ongoing plight of Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, join the Frontera Google Group maintained by NMSU librarian and border expert Molly Molloy. I will also be posting updates on Emilio’s trial here as the preliminary proceedings get underway later this month.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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