Insight and investigations from our expert reporters
After the latest news from Mexico where armed men torched a casino in Monterrey, killing at least 52 people, it’s a good time to re-read Robin Emmott’s special report “If Monterrey falls, Mexico falls.”
As the story says:
In just four years, Monterrey, a manufacturing city of 4 million people 140 miles from the Texan border, has gone from being a model for developing economies to a symbol of Mexico’s drug war chaos, sucked down into a dark spiral of gangland killings, violent crime and growing lawlessness.
Since President Felipe Calderon launched an army-led war on the cartels in late 2006, grenade attacks, beheadings, firefights and drive-by killings have surged.
That has shattered this city’s international image as a boomtown where captains of industry built steel, cement and beer giants in the desert in less than a century — Mexico’s version of Dallas or Houston.
Robin Emmott has been covering the drug wars in Mexico for the past four-and-a-half years, based in the north industrial city of Monterrey. Robin’s special report “If Monterrey falls, Mexico falls” examines the sharp rise in violence in recent years and how the country’s richest city is dealing with it. (Read the story in multimedia PDF format here.)
Here’s what Robin had to say about working on the story:
“Don’t worry about the violence,” the elderly priest said to the congregation in a middle class suburb of Monterrey last month. “Get out there and live your lives. When it’s your time to die, God will decide,” he said in his Sunday sermon as the distinctly bemused churchgoers looked up at him from the pews.
Our latest special report is not a feel-good story. Catherine Bremer visited an orphanage in Ciudad Juarez, the epicenter of Mexico’s drug war, to tell the largely overlooked story of the tens of thousands of children whose lives are blighted by drug violence.
Northern Mexico is a tough place to work. This is what our Monterrey correspondent Robin Emmott has to say about covering the drug war: