Mexican professor and columnist Denise Dresser analyzes the links between drug violence, corruption in the Mexican government, and demand for narcotics in the U.S.

As I reflect on my troubled country, the lyrics of a Bruce Springsteen song come to mind: “We’re a long, long way from home… Home’s a long, long way from us.” And that’s how it feels to live in Mexico during these turbulent times: far from democratic normalcy; far from the rule of law; far from home and close to everything that imperils it. Always on the lookout, anxious, suspicious of our own shadow. Invaded by the legitimate fear of walking on the street after dark, taking money out of an ATM, hopping into a cab, being stopped by a corrupt policeman, receiving a kidnapper’s call, losing a son, burying a daughter. My home has become a place where too many people die, gunned down by a drug trafficker or assaulted by a robber or shot by an ill-trained law enforcement offi cer or kidnapped and strangled by a member of a criminal gang, as was the case with the teenage children of prominent businessmen Alejandro Martí and Nelson Vargas.

Denise Dresser
Publication date: 
January 13, 2009
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article