Mexican Jihad the making of a “drug war” through images | Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

Of all the stories I have ever worked on, Mexican Jihad has had the wildest ride. Originally commissioned for a publication that was suddenly eliminated, as tends to happen in our “media environment,” the piece sat on the shelf destined to be forgotten.  And then,  last Fall, Elaine Rivera, a very dear friend and mentor, passed […]

The “Sinaloa Cartel”| the myth, the U.S. government’s case and the documents

InSight Crime, the must read for anyone following organized crime in the Americas, recently published my analysis of government documents submitted in the conspiracy and drug trafficking case against Vicente Zambada which is pending in Chicago. Zambada is the son of Ismael “Mayo” Zambada, who is thought to share the reins of power with Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman […]

Living Under the Law of Border Security

Border security or border enforcement often brings to mind images of green and white-painted Border Patrol SUVs roaming across that contentious line between the United States and Mexico. But across South Texas, which I am defining as everything below San Antonio, border security is a vast apparatus involving multiple agencies across a wide swath of […]

Remembering journalist, fighter and loyal friend Elaine Rivera

It must have been February. The streets were deserted, a freezing rain came down hard and I was standing outside of some warehouse in Brooklyn waiting for a union guy to show up and talk to me about the cleanup at the World Trade Center and asbestos. I wasn’t even sure he would show up. […]

The Road Home| Military veterans and homelessness

Ten years ago, I produced a feature story for public radio about Army Reservists as they prepared to deploy for Afghanistan.The piece was built around the drafting of their a last will and testament and centered on the singular question: “what was the most precious thing in their lives?” Over the summer I reported on […]

Mexico’s City of Dogs–Al Jazeera America

The dogs of Ciudad Juarez as a metaphor for the ambitions, corruption and failure of people. Published September 4 by Al Jazeera America. Excerpt: Imagine, then, the upheaval that upended this imperfect but functioning system when a manageable 20,000 street dogs morphed into a teeming population of 200,000 mutts, German Shepherds, Labs, and the favored […]

Drugs and Democracy–a look at Uruguay and Mexico published in the Boston Review

Uruguay makes international headlines news as marijuana legislation moves ahead. In the July/Aug 2013 issue of the Boston Review I compare Uruguay and Mexico’s drug strategy through the lens of democratic values. Excerpt: The scale of the problem differs between the countries: Uruguay lacks Mexico’s entrenched, politically connected organized crime apparatus, and Uruguay doesn’t play […]