A few days ago, Mexico's attorney general announced a figure depressingly near the 25,000 mark for the number of deaths attributed to the drug war since President Calderon took office in 2006. This shocking statistic will inevitably fuel another spasm of condemnation from the American media on Mexico's many inadequacies, which by the way, our southern neighbor takes rather personally. For example, about a year (and a couple of months, give or take) ago, it became fashionable among a certain set to pronounce upon the moribundity of the Mexican state and its impending failure, much as if it were a poorly-run business on the verge of bankruptcy or a bad marriage about to go down in flames, rather than a sovereign country in its own right. Not surprisingly, the diagnosis provoked a paroxysm of responses defending Mexico's stability. (One of my dear friends,Tanya, penned one of those responses in the Guardian, in which she mentioned that she did not in fact run with "embassy crowd," and I, for better or worse, now do, so I pinched the phrase from her--hence the name). Now, poor Mexico will face another round of censure from the very neighbor that should most support it through this conflict (although the means of support are very much a matter of debate), especially since we are the ones driving the demand for all that coke and meth and whatever else they are slinging these days. And, just a few weeks before our departure to the country in question here, I'm now faced with the eternal burden of anyone in or of the foreign service, the constant queries from family et al about our personal safety. More on that later, but for now, let's take it easy on Mexico lindo, as there's a lot more going on there than narcos killing each other.
By the way, my friend Tanya is a woman of many talents, so if you liked her article, check out her painting: Tanya Huntington Hyde