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Looking For Hope In The Midst Of Mexico’s Trouble


Aired 2/11/11

Headlines from Mexico are dominated by drug cartels and violence. A group of experts recently gathered at UC San Diego to turn the spotlight toward the country’s rich history and vibrant culture.

— About a dozen Mexican scholars and artisans gathered at UC San Diego Thursday to talk about the country’s deep troubles and uncertain future.

The theme of the one-day seminar, "Mexico Moving Forward", was based on the Spanish saying: "El que no mira hacia delante se queda atras." Translation: "He who doesn't look ahead, remains behind."

The writers, artists, historians and even one chef, discussed the country’s evolving literature, modern cuisine and recent contributions to world cinema.

The event was organized by UCSD's School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies. Director Alberto Dias-Cayeros readily acknowledged the violence and corruption that plague Mexico. But his goal was to remind the world, if even for a day, there is much more to the country than the drug war.

UCSD Professor Cristina Rivera-Garza recently traveled to northern Mexico -- ground-zero for most of the recent violence.

She described seeing the streets of Juarez deserted at night. In Monterrey, she canceled a dinner with friends after being told it was too dangerous. In Matamoros, a young woman complained to her she was losing her youth because she was too scared to socialize after work.

The experiences served as frank reminders of how life has changed, for the worse, in Mexico.

Then the professor met Luz Maria Davila of Juarez. Her two sons were killed in a mass shooting last year in the troubled border city that left 13 others dead.

You could understand if Davila slipped into a depression and never left her house again after losing her children. Instead, she lobbies the government to protect the people from the drug war.

Rivera agrees with Davila that confronting Mexico’s problems is the only way to resolve them.

“She said we need to talk about what is wrong. We need to describe what is happening if we ever are going to be willing to fix it,” said Rivera, paraphrasing Davila.

Rivera told the audience that the vibrant spirit of the people she met on her trip left her optimistic about Mexico’s future.

“I witnessed sadness and despair. Fear and isolation. Rage," Rivera said. "But I also have witnessed solidarity and hope.”

Besides the discussions, there was also a Mexican dance troupe, an expo focusing on Baja California and free tacos for anyone who walked by.

UCSD graduate student Stephen Olivas felt the event was a success.

“I think one of the interesting points today was the role of language and literature along the border," Olivas said, "and how that influences both the good and the bad."

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 11, 2011 at 10:58 a.m. ― 6 years ago

I wish these events were filtered down in a better way to the general public. Including buisnessmen and academciians from Baja would improve the discussion. People such as Mario Herrrer of the UABC Tijuana campus who is one of that state's leading legal scholars.

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Avatar for user 'dherrer1'

dherrer1 | February 11, 2011 at 12:18 p.m. ― 6 years ago

The last thing mexico needs right now is another academis study!!! These are good intentions but misguided. America needs to do something about the huge demand for these drugs that is the root of the problem. It should also stop wrapping itself around the 2nd admendment while assualt riffes and amno are shipped south. Not to mention all the money laudering that goes on in US banks. Obviously these are are not easy issues but we should at least admit to them and start doing something about it NOW!!!

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Avatar for user 'Greg Duch'

Greg Duch | February 11, 2011 at 7:48 p.m. ― 6 years ago

I am a European-American, living in San Ysidro. From this point of intersection between LATIN AMERICA and ANGLO-AMERICA, what the US does will affect the ultimate result. does Mexico fall further behind into the abyss of THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES? OR, will it with its economic potential, human potential, cultural characteristic strengths become an integrated neighbor/partner of the US in this 21st Century? Remember mis amigos, the U.S. is approximately one-sixth Spanish-speaking. Mexico has 112,000,000 people right now, and growing. AND once you pass the border here at San Ysidro you will travel all the way to Chile and not find another "ANGLO" COUNTRY. Latin America IS our doorstep, MUCH OF OUR COUNTRY IS LATIN IN ORIGIN. WHY DO THEY CALL US CALIFORNIA, NEVADA, COLORADO, LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, SAN DIEGO, LA MESA, or EL CAJON? LATIN AMERICA will have a growing impact on the US. We can make it either positive or negative, depending upon our choices.

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Avatar for user 'fathertime'

fathertime | June 17, 2011 at 11:51 a.m. ― 5 years, 8 months ago

if america would begin to make suboxone a tool in the recovery of opioid addiction things would get beter.on the east coast it is being california not so.suboxone is a blocker and it is too expensive.the generic is buprinorphine.they have been used for a while in alcoholism.both are expensive and hard to get.why isn"t more light being shed on these drugs to recovery?

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