The Missing Americans Project

Looking for People and Answers

This article from The New Statesman is yet another in a long line of stories about the plight of the hundreds, some say thousands, of women who have been murdered or disappeared without a trace in Ciudad Juarez. I read these stories with great frustration because they are the same story, over and over, and as with the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur, and so many other massive tragedies that hide in plain sight, we read, we're sad, we turn the page, and nothing is done.

What does this have to do with The Missing Americans Project? These are, after all, Mexican women, not Americans. Isn't this beyond our mandate?

The nightmare of the women of Juarez is the direct result of a total breakdown in the rule of law that is spreading through Latin America and the Caribbean. It is the same systemic disorder that has given rise to the drug cartels and the puppet governments they control. It is, in part, a function of U.S. policy with regard to the region -- a policy that turns its back on U.S. citizens who disappear or are murdered when traveling in these countries as easily as we in America turn the page on the news stories about the women of Juarez.

Our mandate is not a U.S. mandate. It is a moral mandate. If a bunch of "rich gringoes" can't get justice or even practical support from our government, what hope is there for the women of Juarez and, more generally, the people of Mexico and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean? Their plight is our plight -- but many times worse. If we accept or ignore their needs, their fate will be ours.

And we will deserve it.

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Comment by Brian Dobbins on February 18, 2011 at 9:37pm
The breakdown of law and order in Mexico and Central America is a threat to the personal security of tourists.  The foreign policies of U.S. and western governments are partly responsible.  These governments need to take their duty to protect citizens seriously.

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