Forget the Russian ‘Threat’: Mexico Is Our Real Problem: The cartels control our southern neighbor

we hear almost nothing about the one country where journalists who report on official corruption are routinely killed, and in such numbers that the death toll makes Russia look like a utopian paradise – Mexico, where more than one-hundred reporters have been slaughtered by the drug cartels and their collaborators inside the Mexican government. The killers are rarely found, let alone punished: as of 2012, 98% of homicides in Mexico went unsolved. I doubt the impunity rate has improved much since then.

On May 15, Javier Valdez was sitting in his car on a crowded street in Culiacan, capitol of Sinaloa province, in broad daylight, when suddenly at least two gunmen appeared, forced him out of his car, and pumped at least thirteen bullets into him. Valdez was an award-winning journalist whose reporting on the intersection of the drug cartels and the Mexican government had won him the Committee to Protect Journalists’s International Press Freedom Award. He was a national correspondent for La Jornada, a major paper out of Mexico City. He was also the founder of Riodice, a weekly newspaper out of Mexico’s drug-ridden Sinaloa province, the home of “El Chapo,” and the epicenter of the violent war between rival cartels that is threatening the stability of the Mexican state.

The import of this latest assassination was underscored by Marcela Turati, a journalist and friend of the deceased, who told The Intercept:

“We thought Javier was untouchable. He was one of the most internationally recognized journalist in the country. How do we protect ourselves if they are able to kill the most visible with impunity?”

But who is doing the killing – is it just the narcos? Valdez didn’t think so. Time and again he pointed to the politicians who use the cartels as their bankers and hit squads.

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