Latest News: Posts Tagged ‘A Narco History’

“Insightful political contextualization.” A NARCO HISTORY in PUBLIC BOOKS

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The main argument in A Narco History, by Carmen Boullosa and Mike Wallace, is that the Mexican drug war was a creation of the governments of the United States and Mexico. Working sometimes at odds, sometimes in concert, both governments—beset by corruption—are united in the belief that prohibition requires punitive responses, regardless of unintended consequences. The book is based on the abundant journalism on the topic, which the authors combine with clear and often insightful political contextualization. The authors start with the disappearance of 43 students from the city of Iguala in 2014. The episode is “only the latest in a lengthy sequence of horrors” but advances an implicit premise of the book: the authors can only offer a version of the events—despite all the voices and evidence of the crime committed against the students—because there is still no satisfactory account of what happened, nor a clear official resolution regarding culpability. There are “many remaining mysteries,” as well as the possibility of a “horrible” “counter narrative” in which the army, rather than organized crime and corrupt municipal officials, is responsible. This sense of doubt is projected back onto the historical section at the center of the volume: there is much we don’t know about the past of the drug business and the war against it—just enough to weave a narrative that sidesteps the inevitable gaps and treats evidence of different kinds with a similar degree of confidence.

Get the full story here.

“A Narco History on CNN Mexico” CARMEN BOULLOSA and MIKE WALLACE on CNN

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

“Carmen Boullosa and Mike Wallace, authors of the book ‘A Narco History’, recount the prohibition of drugs in the United States and Mexico as well as changes in these policies according to different historical moments along.”

To watch, visit CNN.

“Narco Politics: the Political Economy of the Drug War” CARMEN BOULLOSA and MIKE WALLACE reviewed by CounterPunch

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

“A Narco History does a commendable job of laying out the various players who came to power in the modern day Mexican drug cartels.”

To read more, visit CounterPunch

“Timely, insightful, and passionately argued” CARMEN BOULLOSA and MIKE WALLACE reviewed in Los Angeles Review of Books

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

“Narco History, a timely, insightful, and passionately argued short volume, is essential reading to understand why both Mexico and America have been ravaged for over a century by cartels, politicians, and gangs. The authors aren’t starry-eyed about legalization (although they support it) because they fear that drug cartels, such as Guzman’s Sinaloa, could become corporations and sell marijuana or other drugs legally on the market. What’s required for a wholesome change in Mexico’s dysfunctional political structure is “a complete dismantling of the anti-drug regime.” Tragically, at present, there’s too much money to be made for the war to stop.”

To read more, visit The Los Angeles Review of Books.

MIKE WALLACE and CARMEN BOULLOSA interviewed on The Real News Network

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

To listen to the interview, visit The Real News Network.

Let Them Talk interviews authors of A NARCO HISTORY

Monday, December 14th, 2015

“Drugs come [to the US], guns go to Mexico.”
“One of the reasons that we reappealed prohibition was because a) it didn’t work, b) it led to spectacular corruption and c) led to killings and deaths on the street. And all of that is going on in Mexico now.”

To watch the rest of the interview, visit Let Them Talk.

A NARCO HISTORY praised in Broken Pencil Magazine

Friday, November 20th, 2015

A Narco History, co-authored by novelist Carmen Boullosa and Nobel Prize-winning professor Mike Wallace, continues in this tradition by presenting a meticulously-researched, fascinating and deeply troubling history of the Mexican drug trade, and how the country has been all but immobilized by corruption and ghastly violence. Opening with a harrowing rundown of the circumstances surrounding the 43 students murdered in Guerro last September, Bollosa and Wallace trace the roots of the drug war back to the seven-year rule of the tyrannical Instituional Revolutionary Party, and assign the greatest blame to former Mexican president Felipe Calderon, whose six years in office marked the bloodiest in the country’s history, with over 100,000 people killed. They also cite the United States’ deep-seated responsbility, including the ongoing flow of arms between the two countries even as the U.S. government hypocritically extols the importance of the “war on drugs.” This is a expertly well-written primer on how the drug trade can fracture an already poor country and it’s a stoic-as-death reminder of our own culpability.

To read the rest of the review, visit Broken Pencil Magazine.

Business Insider excerpts A NARCO HISTORY

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

To read the excerpt, visit Business Insider.

CARMEN BOULLOSA and MIKE WALLACE interviewed on This Is Hell!

Monday, July 6th, 2015

THIS IS HELL: Since 2000, one hundred thousand people have been killed in the US-Mexico drug war. We have tens of thousands of people who have disappeared. Also, I believe in your book, you talk about roughly two thousand people who have been decapitated. As you know, here in the US when the Islamic state decapitates somebody, that gets a ton of press. Yet I only discover from your book that thousands of people have been decapitated within Mexico.

CARMEN BOULLOSA: More than two thousand.

THIS IS HELL: What explains to you that kind of disconnect here in the United States? Sure, we’ll report on the brutality of what the Islamic state might be doing, but even when that occurs to a much larger degree within Mexico we’re not reporting on it.

MIKE WALLACE: It’s a terrific question and it goes to the heart of your larger question about the relations between the U.S. and Mexico. I teach a course on the history of crime in New York City, and in one session I was offering some comparison with the drug war in Mexico and what has happened in the U.S. in earlier days. And I said, you know, it really is remarkable that we’re at war again, because there are true atrocities, and there were a handful of people who were decapitated. How do we account for this? Maybe people just don’t know. And then one kid raised his hand, hadn’t said a word all semester, clearly Hispanic, and said “no, professor, it’s not true. They know, they just don’t care.”

To listen to the rest of the interview, visit This Is Hell.

“[A] valuable overview” Nomadic Press highlights the usefulness of A NARCO HISTORY

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Boullosa and Wallace, by condensing a vast amount of material into a relatively short book, have provided a valuable overview of the way the US and Mexico constructed the War on Drugs.

To read the rest of the review, visit Nomadic Press

“Ornate in detail yet refreshingly concise” LA Times reviews A NARCO HISTORY

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

The authors do a wonderful job explaining how Mexico’s ordeal grew out of the seven-decade rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, a nationwide Tammany Hall that suffocated the best in the country while exalting the most inert, before Mexicans voted it out of power in 2000. (It has since returned to the presidency but without the political monopoly it once enjoyed.)

Boullosa and Wallace connect the savagery as well to our war on drugs. Their binational tale includes U.S. drug prohibitions, Americans’ appetite for illegal dope and our childlike refusal to do anything serious to limit the flow of arms south, even as those guns and bullets have daily bathed Mexico in blood.

Their overview — a century of history in a few hundred pages — emerges ornate in detail yet refreshingly concise.

To read the full review, visit The Los Angeles Times.

In Al Jazeera, Belen Fernandez highlights the importance of A NARCO HISTORY

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

In a new book called A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the “Mexican Drug War”, Mexican novelist Carmen Boullosa and Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Mike Wallace document NAFTA’s passage as an essential godsend for the drug trade, the lucrativeness of which has greatly exacerbated official corruption.

The aftermath of the agreement, the authors note, saw the number of Mexican farmers living in poverty increase by one-third, with two million of them eventually forced to abandon their land.

To read the rest of the piece, visit Al Jazeera.

Publishers Weekly lauds A NARCO HISTORY for being “meticulously researched and lucidly organized.”

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

[A Narco History] offers a meticulously researched and lucidly organized overview of a topic that is of great significance in contemporary debates in American foreign policy and law enforcement.

To read the full review, visit Publishers Weekly.

NARCO HISTORY authors CARMEN BOULLOSA and MIKE WALLACE discuss their book on the Majority Report

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Listen to podcast on the Majority Report.

MIKE WALLACE and CARMEN BOULLOSA respond to Manuel Suarez on InSight Crime

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Last week, Manuel Suarez, professor at the School of International Service at American University and negotiator for NAFTA, attacked A Narco History in an article on InSight Crime. Mistaking a recent excerpt of A Narco History posted on Jacobin as representative of Wallace and Boullosa’s larger argument, Suarez panned their work as a rehashing of “all the usual insults that the dogmatic and misinformed left can muster to attack the free market economic model.”

The authors have responded, explaining how Suarez mischaracterizes their point:

[Suarez] says that our “book’s thesis is that NAFTA opened the US’s door to drugs from Mexico, mixing them with legal trade, which is false.” He’s right. It’s not only false but preposterous. Only thing is, we didn’t say this, or anything remotely like it.

Our central proposition is that the roots of the so-called “Mexican Drug War” run back not to the neoliberal 1980s, but to the early 1900s, when the US passed laws in 1909 and 1914 that criminalized the sale and use of most major drugs (though not marijuana). Drugs were thus banned even before alcohol was prohibited, and the ban stayed in force after Prohibition was repealed. Marijuana was outlawed in the 1930s.

To read the rest of their article, visit InSight Crime.

“There is no silver bullet that can magically resolve the drug war in Mexico.” Michael Wallace speaks to InSight Crime about A NARCO HISTORY

Monday, April 6th, 2015

The authors make a number of arguments that challenge the accepted wisdom on Mexico’s drug war. One is that the “war” is relatively new; the authors suggest it is the product of a series of policies implemented by the US and Mexico over the past 100 years.

“Most people, when they talk about the ‘Mexican drug war,’ are thinking only of the Calderon period, but those six years were a century in the making,” Wallace told InSight Crime.

Wallace and Boullosa also propose that the reference to “Mexico’s drug war” is actually a misnomer, since the the United States has played an equally important part in creating and sustaining the drug war. Mexico’s acquiescence to flawed US security policies is a major reason for the growth of cartels, however, the authors stress that corruption in Mexico played an important role as well.

To read the rest of the review, visit InSight Crime

A NARCO HISTORY excerpted in Truthdig

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Ayotzinapa is a small village, located near the town of Tixtla, in a remote and mountainous region of Guerrero, a state in the south of Mexico. Though best known in the U.S. for its Pacific coast port city of Acapulco, a famed tourist resort since the 1950s and 1960s when stars like John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Lana Turner flocked there, Guerrero is a poor state, and Ayotzinapa lies in one of its poorest regions.

The village is built around a teacher training school. Its construction dates to 1933, when a colonial-era hacienda was transformed into an institution that aimed to educate the isolated, low-income population of rural Mexico. It was one of a network of “normal schools” imbued with a vision of social justice rooted in the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920). These schools were tasked with educating their students in both literacy and politics: ultimately in creating students who could transform their society. Ayotzinapa’s alumni include two 1950s graduates—Lucio Cabañas and Genaro Vázquez—who became famous leaders of agrarian guerilla insurgencies during the 1960s and 1970s. The school today celebrates this tradition. Its buildings feature murals of Marx and Che and its entryway bears the inscription: “To our fallen comrades, who were not buried, but seeded, to make freedom flourish.”

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit Truthdig

A NARCO HISTORY excerpted in Jacobin

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Ronald Reagan cast himself as a law and order man, ready to reverse the drug policies of Jimmy Carter, who indeed had pulled back from Nixonian fanaticism. Once in office, Reagan set up the South Florida Task Force to go nose-to-nose with the cocaine barons, whose airplanes had been dropping drug-bundles at sea, where they were picked up by fast boats and whisked ashore.

Headed by Vice President George H.W. Bush, the task force brought in the army and navy, and put Miami vice in its crosshairs. It worked. Surveillance planes and helicopter gunships throttled the hitherto wide-open Colombia–Florida connection. But the Colombians simply abandoned their direct shuttle service and increased the flow through their Mexican pipeline.

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit Jacobin

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