Contrary to what may be running through your mind, I did survive the Cinco de Mayo festivities. The celebration of all things Mexican in the US (because, as you know, many in Mexico say “¿¿Estan celebrando que??” (They are celebrating what?) was overshadowed by so many other things taking place.
Early in the morning on May 4th, I had tweeted about what a surprise it had been to not hear the U.S. helicopters that had been sweeping the Rio Grande frequently. A few hours later, I saw the first report that 9 men and women had been found hung from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo. Later that morning came the reports of the additional 14 found decapitated.
Or did you think I had been arrested along with our Loop 20 friend who was reviving the Freedom Riders on Cinco de Mayo to take down the borders? I was tempted to go look for him but… I would have been one of thousands on the bridge, like looking for a needle in a haystack. I don’t think he followed through on his plan, though, or we might have heard about it through regular media channels.
No readers, as I briefly alluded to, I have been busy setting up my little changarro. I made the leap over into small business owner. Sigh. I spent a week without internet connection aside from my phone. Día de las Madres passed on 10 de Mayo, then American Mother’s Day on the 13th. What do mothers do on Mother’s Day in Laredo?
Ok, not all mothers wash their favorite chair at the car wash – just those that remind me of me :P. Thanks to reader Pablo C. for submitting the picture.
In all that time, I got home late and sat outside to listen to the helicopters flying overhead.
I sit at home in safety, I watch the helicopters in safety, I enjoy being able to walk around in safety… but a river divides and that feeling of safety is not shared.
I wasn’t that shocked to hear that El Mañana was self-censoring before but after the attack this past weekend, I can understand their decision to make a public announcement that they will no longer report on cartel violence. It does make me sad for the state of Journalism in Mexico, especially along the border cities. The editorial letter published in El Mañana on May 13th states clearly that the situation is painful but conditions do not permit free and safe reporting. Despite the violence, they will continue to report the news but are choosing to not provide more coverage to the bloody and violent wars.
Por ello, este periódico apelando a la comprensión de la opinión pública se abstendrá, por el tiempo necesario, de publicar cualquier información que se derive de las disputas violentas que sufre nuestra ciudad y otras regiones del país.
El Consejo Editorial y de Administración de esta empresa ha llegado a esta lamentable decisión, obligado por las circunstancias que todos conocemos, y por la falta de condiciones para el libre ejercicio del periodismo.
Sólo se abordará el tema a través de la opinión profesional de los analistas que estudian el fenómeno y lo tratan de manera inteligente y responsable.
I am not a reporter, I don’t have a journalism background but I do know to pull back from your passion and chosen career is difficult. I expect that other mechanisms for communicating what is taking place in the underbelly of Nuevo Laredo will continue to flourish. Blogging is my little way – despite my disjointed and mixed efforts – but I blog in the safety of the United States without much first hand information about the violence. My life will soon get back to normal, I can only hope that someday it will for Mexico too. In the meantime, I will continue to sit outside and watch the helicopters flying earlier and lower as the violence increases less than five miles away from me.