Friday, March 25, 2011

Screening "Living Juarez" (RGV)

A Diversity Initiative by the UTPA Office of Student Development

In December of 2006, Felipe Calderón took office as president of Mexico and that same week launched the War on Drugs. Since then, some 95,000 soldiers have been dispatched throughout the country and violence has exploded, reaching over 30,000 drug war-related deaths and counting. Many experts calculate that the total by the end of the current administration will be more than twice that, with an increasing number of civilian deaths. The border city of Ciudad Juarez lies at the epicenter of the violence. Its drug-related homicide rate now makes it the murder capital of the world. It is also the most heavily occupied by Mexican military/police forces and the center of debate over Calderon's failed Drug War strategy.

LIVING JUAREZ looks at the Juárez neighborhood of Villas de Salvárcar where in January 2010, of a group of youth attending a birthday party were brutally murdered and in the massacres immediate aftermath, Calderón characterized the youth as gang members. The outraged families personally confronted Calderón at public forums in Juárez during his visits to the city after the massacre.

LIVING JUAREZ tells the story of the real victims in Calderón's Drug War: regular people just trying to survive in a city over run by senseless violence, and corruption. The neighborhood of Villas de Salvárcar is organized and speaking out against the arbitrary and frequent abuses that are committed by the armed forces against civilians and particularly the youth in Juárez.

Laura Carlsen will present LIVING JUAREZ and then lead a discussion on Drug War topics such as militarization, human rights abuses, the Merida Initiative, US drug policy, and corruption. Laura will also present some possible solutions to this on-going quagmire.

Laura has been a political analyst and writer in Mexico for over twenty years and has written extensively on trade, security, immigration and gender issues. She is the author of "A Primer on Plan Mexico" and has been closely tracking the Merida Initiative over the years, working with U.S. and Mexican groups to develop facts-based assessments and explore alternatives.

For questions or any special accommodation please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Student Development at (956) 665-2660.

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