Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Laura Carlsen and the Chiapas Media Project

The Americas Program is hitting the road! Join Laura Carlsen and the Chiapas Media Project on their upcoming US speaking tour.

"Living Juarez: Collateral Damage in Mexico's Drug War"

Laura will be screening the latest Chiapas Media Project film 'LIVING JUAREZ: Collateral Damage in Mexico’s Drug War" and discussing various aspects of the War on Drugs in Mexico and US drug policy.

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

The film tells the story of the real victims in Calderón’s Drug War: regular people just trying to survive in a city overrun 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, a graduate of the Stanford Center for Latin Americas Studies, is the director of the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy. 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 and appears frequently as an expert on these issues in US and Latin American media. She is the author of "A Primer on Plan Mexico" and has been closely tracking the drug war and the Merida Initiative over the years, working with U.S. and Mexican groups to develop facts-based assessments and explore alternatives.


In December of 2006, Felipe Calderón took office as president of Mexico and soon after launched the war on drugs. Since then, more than 45,000 soldiers have been dispatched throughout the country and violence has exploded, reaching nearly 35,000 drug war-related deaths and counting. Many experts calculate that the total by the end of the current administration will reach 70,000, with an increasing number of civilian deaths. The U.S. Merida Initiative, designed by the Bush administration and presented as a three-year plan to support the Mexican drug war, has been expanded indefinitely by the Obama administration.

In Mexico and the United States, the high social costs of the interdiction and enforcement model against drug cartels has led many to question whether it is the right strategy. Is the Mexican war on drugs winnable? What are the alternatives to the "war" model? Are there ways in which binational cooperation could be more effective and reduce violence?

Join Laura and the Americas Program at the following events free and open to the public:

March 29th: Edinburg, Texas: University of Texas Pan American Student Union Theater, 7PM,12010 West University Dr.

March 30th: Galveston, Texas: University of Texas Medical Branch, Administration Building, Caduceus Room, 6-9 PM

March 31st: Nacogdoches, Texas: Stephen F. Austin University, Baker Pattillo Student Center Movie Theater, 7-9 PM

April 3rd: Chicago, Illinois: Calles y Suenos, 1901 S. Carpenter St., 7 PM

April 4th: Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Harper Memorial Library, Room 103, 116 East 59th St., 6:30-8 PM

April 5th: Chicago, Illinois: Depaul University, Student Center, Room 325, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., 6 PM

April 8th: Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina, GEC Building (aka FedEx Building), Room 2008, 12-2 PM

April 10th: Washington, DC: American University, 11:30-1 PM

Laura's presentation in Washington is on the last day of the three-day Latin American Solidarity Conference against militarism and militarization of relations with Latin America. The event is sponsored by the Latin American Solidarity Coalition and is being held in conjunction with School of the Americas Watch Days of Action.



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