TO DIE IN MEXICO by John Gibler


Dispatches from Inside the Drug War
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An American journalist delves into the grim, relentless drug war between Mexico and the United States and advocates for legalization as the only answer to stop the violence.

An intrepid California-based journalist who risked his life to pursue the interviews he records with Mexican officials and victims here, Gibler (Mexico Unconquered) recounts an endless litany of violence that has exploded during the tenures of Carlos Salinas, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox and, especially, Felipe Calderon. The various drug cartels—the Gulf cartel, the Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, among others—have only grown stronger over the years (the Sinaloa Cartel has been responsible for 84 percent of the recent drug murders). From the time a substance moves in its rawest form—100 kilograms of coca leaves reaps $1,000 for the Colombian farmer—to its arrival on the streets of America (a kilo of cocaine is worth $100,000), its value has increased by more than 3,000 percent. Hence, drugs are big business, especially for the banks, who launder the spectacular profits. The corruption of organized crime has infiltrated every segment of Mexican society, as Gibler demonstrates here, visiting prisons and civic groups, who express an utter sense of hopelessness and despair. However, the author has found fighting spirits, such as young murdered men’s mothers who show up bravely and demand a police reckoning; and the journalists mourning their murdered fellow colleagues at El Diario de Juarez. Gibler argues passionately to undercut this “case study in failure.” The drug barons are only getting richer, the murders mount and the police and military repression expand as “illegality increases the value of the commodity.” With legality, both U.S. and Mexican society could address real issues of substance abuse through education and public-health initiatives.

A visceral, immediate and reasonable argument.


Pub Date: June 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-87286-517-4
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: City Lights
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2011


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