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March 10, 2009
Tune in: Online radio show on Mexico’s war on drugs

During the last year, more than 6,000 people have been murdered as a result of Mexico’s escalating drug violence, which is now more deadly than the war in Afghanistan.

The Worldfocus signature series on Mexico’s drug war ventured to Tijuana, featuring its fearful residents, its corrupt officials and the popularization of “narco” culture among youth.

Drug violence is especially heavy on border cities like Tijuana or Ciudad Juarez, and has spilled over into the U.S. American officials have reported a spike in kidnappings and killings connected with Mexican cartels.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has placed some of the blame on the U.S., pointing to growing American demand and U.S. guns coming over the border illegally. He stated that the drug problem is “not an exclusively Mexican problem; it is a common problem between Mexico and the United States.”

Under the three-year Merida Initiative, the U.S. has pledged $1.4 billion to Mexico to help fight drug trafficking. But as violence continues to soar, critics worry that the money will end up in the hands of corrupt police or politicians.’s weekly radio show explored Mexico’s drug wars, life on the border and U.S. policy in Mexico. Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosted a panel of guests.

Natalia Almada is a Mexican-American filmmaker who splits her time between Mexico and the United States. Natalia and her family have lived in Sinaloa, Mexico for six generations. She directed and produced the award-winning feature documentary “Al Otro Lado – To The Other Side.” The film looks at immigration and drug trafficking through Mexico’s tradition of Corrido music. Her latest documentary film, “El General,” received the best director award at this year’s Sundance film festival and will be broadcast on PBS’s documentary program P.O.V.

Tony Payan is an associate professor of political science and an active researcher who resides on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. He teaches subjects such as foreign policy of the United States, the politics of Mexico, Latin American politics and border issues, among others. His research agenda focuses on United States-Mexico relations and border issues, including border security and cross-border cooperation. He has written several articles on these subjects as well two pertinent books, “Cops, Soldiers, and Diplomats: Explaining Agency Behavior in the War on Drugs” and “The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration and Homeland Security.”

Ambassador Andrés Rozental has held numerous positions in the Mexican government, including deputy foreign minister, ambassador to the United Kingdom and Sweden, and permanent representative of Mexico to the United Nations. He served as ambassador-at-large and special envoy under President Vicente Fox, representing Mexico to surrounding nations, and in 2006 and 2007 he advised Felipe Calderón on foreign policy issues. He is also the founding president of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations.

Host: Martin Savidge
Producers: Lisa Biagiotti, Katie Combs and Stephen Puschel

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