GLOBAL JOURNALIST: Problems in Mexico affect U.S.

Friday, August 6, 2010 | 11:45 a.m. CDT; updated 11:14 a.m. CDT, Sunday, August 8, 2010

Byron Scott, Professor Emeritus, Missouri School of Journalism: Not so long ago, Americans thought of Mexico as a great place to vacation — even somewhere to retire. But in recent years, our southern neighbor’s image has been tarnished by economic, social and political unrest. An estimated 25,000 people have died in assassinations, bombings and gun battles among warring drug gangs. Now these same cartels are using threats, kidnapping and murder to control the press. The Committee to Protect Journalists this week said Mexico has joined Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq among the most dangerous places to be a journalist. When Mexican President Calderon addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress in mid-May, he placed a major part of the blame on the United States. What is the Mexican story? Our guests to help us understand are Susana Seijas, freelance journalist, Mexico City; Grant Fuller, independent radio producer, also working in Mexico City; Mathea Falco, president of Drug Strategies, a Washington, D.C.–based think tank and former Carter Administration official; and Diana Washington Valdez, senior journalist at El Paso Times and author of Killing Fields: Harvest of Women. Mathea, you were the first assistant Secretary of State for Narcotics Matters during the Carter Administration. Can you give us a keyhole picture for what is happening in Mexico and how it affects the U.S.?