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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Journalists to hold talk on drug wars

The UA’s Latin American Studies Student Organization will be hosting a talk today lead by two investigative journalists who have reported on the Mexican drug war.

The discussion, which is free to the public, is taking place at 5 p.m. in Saguaro Hall Room 202. Journalists John Gibler and Diego Osorno will be lecturing and facilitating a talk aimed to touch on a variety of topics including violence, social movements and efforts being made in Mexico to stop the drug war.

Gibler, who is from Texas, has been reporting in Mexico for the last six years and published a book on his experiences. Osorno is a reporter for the Melenio, a daily newspaper in Mexico and is also an author of a book titled “El Cartel de Sinaloa,” where he explains the issues and implications of drug cartels.

“I want students to not only get a sense of the scale of the social humanitarian disaster happening in Mexico, but also the fact that this is a disaster that is very intimately connected with the United States,” said Murphy Woodhouse, a graduate student in Latin American studies and one of the organizers of the event. “We need to take stock in our responsibility in this and also think about what we can do to end this disaster of violence.”

The Binational Migration Institute, Graduate and Professional Student Council and the Office of Western Hemispheric Programs have provided assistance in getting the two journalists to come to Arizona after Woodhouse had expressed interest in Gibler’s book, “To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War,” and called the author on a whim to see if he was available to visit the UA campus.

“Folks really came out of the woodwork and made things happen in a quick and impressive way,” Woodhouse said.

Gibler started living in Mexico beginning the summer of 2005 to cover social and political issues in the country. He said he was inspired to write his book as a way to have readers understand what is happening in the Mexican dug war.

“Living in Mexico throughout 2007, throughout 2008, watching the headlines with the constant barrage of execution stories and the very theatrical nature of the violence, it was shocking,” Gibler said. “To find a way to report on it and try to understand what was happening and contribute stories and information, that could, I think, make some of the most sensational hits that surround the issue of drugs and so-called drug war.”

Osorno, who speaks Spanish, will have an interpreter from the Spanish and Portuguese department assisting him in translating responses and questions from the audience.

By the end of the lecture, Gibler wants to provide students with a better idea of what people are doing to help stop the drug war, including journalists.

“People believe in the importance of both stories and information for a citizen or a community as a way to try and change an unacceptable situation,” Gibler said. “People don’t want to give up. They do not want to surrender to the law of violence.”

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