Are Obama, Romney ignoring Mexico's drug war?

Are Obama, Romney ignoring Mexico's drug war?

By Susana Seijas

Mexico City (CNN) -- "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States," is something I heard a lot growing up in Mexico in the 1980s. How that saying, first coined by President Porfirio Diaz around the turn of the 20th century, resonates today.
With the U.S. election next door, Mexico seems not only far from God, but forgotten. In the past six years, 60,000 people have died in drug-related violence. Some say the death toll could be as high as 100,000. Yet the violence here didn't make it into the last U.S. presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Susana Seijas
We may share a 2,000 mile border, but the view from here -- notwithstanding our trade relationship and the hunger for drugs in the U.S. that is fueling the bloodshed and flooding my country with weapons -- is that we're truly off the radar.
"We can't blame the U.S. for the violence in Mexico," says Anabel Hernandez, an investigative journalist who has put her life on the line writing about Mexico's drug lords.
"We have to look at our own corruption, the terrible impunity and lack of justice. We have to fix these problems ourselves, not wait for Obama or Romney. But that Mexico didn't even warrant one line in the last debate, when we have thousands dead, and even two CIA agents nearly killed in an ambush recently -- that tells you that the U.S.-- Mexico relationship is not going to change."
So much has happened in Mexico since outgoing President Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party (PAN) declared war on organized crime in 2006 that it's hard to keep pace with how much the country has changed. Hard to come to grips with the pain of families I've met during my years covering the drug war -- whose fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters have come to an untimely and tragic end.
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Because it is hard to understand how we got here, I think back to the time when I was a child here -- back then, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, dominated Mexico -- and miles of walls across the country had the PRI logo painted in Mexico's flag colors of green, white and red.
One party, one ideology. One powerful broadcaster that fed us party propaganda. That was just the way it was.
Very early on, during family trips to Texas, I learned that the U.S. meant choice. In the U.S. you could get a whole range of shoes, not just the boxy and nerdy pre-NAFTA shoes available to schoolchildren in Mexico. It meant playing Pac-Man, watching the film "E.T.," not being spoon-fed soppy telenovelas. But the best, in my view: Snickers and Milky Ways, not the slim, omnipresent Carlos V chocolate bars available back home.


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