During their speaking tour, authors John Gibler, and Diego Enrique Osorno gave a talk about an increasingly violent Mexico as they addressed the first event of a border activist summit at the University of Texas at El Paso. These two experts bring first hand perspectives from the regions of Mexico most affected by the drug war and discuss recent social mobilizations and possible avenues for change.

Diego Osorno’s best selling book on the origins and deeply entrenched power of the Cartel de Sinaloa speaks plainly about cartel infiltration of Mexico’s civil and military power structures and how to wrest the destiny of the country back from the criminal mafias empowered by drug prohibition, impunity, and easy access to guns.

Gibler’s work, To Die in Mexico takes the reader deep into the terrifying landscape of Mexico’s drug war where he exposes the hollow slogans and military “victories”  in the light of the searing pain and inhuman impact they bring to communities across Mexico.

The El Paso Times reported on the BASTA, the Border Activist Summit for Teaching and Action:

Gibler said two studies by Mexican universities found that 95 percent to 98 percent of homicides in the drug war were not investigated. The lack of investigation means that the deaths of human-rights activists, journalists and others also go unsolved….”All manner of violence is masked by this so-called drug war,” said Gibler, who pointed out that the arrival of federal forces in a locality often coincides with a rise in homicides.

Osorno said he knows 14 people (four women and 10 men) who have been killed and hopes for an end of the bloodshed in his country. “One day, this book of terror that we go to sleep with will close,” he said.

Speaking Tour Details

The speaking tour continues to Texas, Arizona, Mexico City, and various cities in California. Please check here for more information.

Next week, John Gibler will be celebrating the release of his new book To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War, a collection of stories about Mexico’s drug war, at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.

When: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 7:00 pm
Where: City Lights Bookstore
261 Columbus Avenue at Broadway, San Francisco

City Lights Publishers describes To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War–

Combining on the ground reporting and in-depth discussions with people on the frontlines of Mexico’s drug war, To Die in Mexico tells behind the scenes stories that address the causes and consequences of Mexico’s multibillion-dollar drug-trafficking business. Gibler tells the hair raising stories of a Mexican journalist kidnapped, interrogated and threatened with death by the Gulf Cartel before being miraculously released; family members of people killed in the conflict; survivors of assassination attempts and massacres; along with crime-beat photographers, funeral parlor workers, government officials, convicted traffickers, cab drivers and others who find themselves working against, with, or for the drug cartels. Gibler sees beyond the cops-and-robbers myths that pervade government and media portrayals of the unprecedented wave of violence and looks to the people of Mexico for solutions to the crisis now pushing Mexico to the breaking point.

John Gibler is a writer based in Mexico and California, the author of Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt (City Lights Books, 2009), and a contributor to País de muertos: Crónicas contra la impunidad (Random House Mondadori, 2011). He is a correspondent for KPFA in San Francisco and has published in magazines in the United States and Mexico, including Left Turn, Z Magazine, Earth Island Journal, ColorLines, Race, Poverty, and the Environment, Fifth Estate, New Politics, In These Times, Yes! Magazine, Contralínea, and Milenio Semanal.

I’ve known John for many years, and I’ll say this; he is one of the most ‘committed-to-the-cause’ people I have the pleasure of knowing. He is courageous, thoughtful and driven in his efforts to raise awareness about the violence, militarization, and corruption happening in Mexico.

You can read the table of contents and opening chapter from John Gibler’s To Die in Mexico by downloading the pdf here.

To find out about where and when John Gibler will be speaking next, go here.

Pictured l to r: Ted Lewis, Javier Sicilia, and John Gibler at the 2011 Global Exchange Human Rights Awards

P.S. Last week John translated for Javier Sicilia at the Human Rights Awards where Mr. Sicilia received the People’s Choice Award for his work in building a movement to free Mexico from the spiraling violence of the ‘war on drugs.’ Check out the event recap here.