Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I fear what lies beyond 2010

A recent informal survey of ex-Los Angeles Times staffers, revealed that a slim majority expected the newspaper to fold. God, how I hope that will never happen. The Los Angeles Times has been doing amazing work in the last year-ish covering the drug war in Mexico. The latest story, reported and written by San Pedro, a suburb of Monterrey, Mexico's industrial capital, boasts multinational corporate headquarters, Ferrari dealerships, pristine streets and parks, the top luxury hotels. At one typically orderly intersection rises a copy of Michelangelo's David larger than the original.

In an interview in a City Hall office decorated with paintings by Mexico's top contemporary artists, Fernandez dismissed comparisons between the intelligence units and death squads or Colombia-style paramilitaries, saying his units are "more like detectives," albeit answerable only to him. He refused to provide any details as to who serves on the squads or how they operate.In some parts of the country, priests have used money from traffickers to pay for church repairs, special chapels or other community projects. One senior priest was quoted a couple of years ago praising the drug lords' propensity to tithe.

"They make us accomplices," said another outspoken bishop, Raul Vera of Saltillo. "A steeple built with drug money has blood gushing from its rafters."

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