Sunday, May 2, 2010

Down By the River

All of this talk about immigration has prompted me to pull this book off the shelf which is a book about the drug trade,

When you read it you feel like you're talking blows to the stomach page after page.

Here's an overview on the sleeve:

"Lionel Bruno Jordan was murdered on January 20, 1995, in an El Paso parking lot, but he keeps coming back as the skeleton key to a multibillion-dollar drug industry, two corrupt governments - one called the United States and the other Mexico - and a self-styled War on Drugs that is a fraud.

Phil Jordan runs DEA intelligence, but when his brother Bruno is killed, he is powerless. Amado Carillo Fuentes runs the most successful drug business in the history of the world, but when his usefulness to the government ceases, he mysteriously dies in a hospital. Carlos Salinas runs Mexico, but as soon as he leaves office, his brother is jailed for murder and Salinas flees into exile. Sal Martinez, DEA agent and Bruno's cousin, does the secret work of the U.S. government in Mexico, but when he seeks revenge for his cousin's murder, he is sentenced to a term in federal prison.

Beneath all the policy statements and bluster of politicians is a real world of lies, pain, and money.

Down by the River is the tale of how murder led one American family into this world and how it all but destroyed them. Of how one Mexican drug leader outfought and outthought the U.S. government. Of how major financial institutions fattened on the drug industry. nd how the government of the United States and Mexico buried everything that happened.

All this comes together down by the river, a place where the fiction finally end and the facts read like fiction. This is an unforgettable American story about drugs, money, murder, and family."

On page 2:

"I can't even produce a metaphor for the drug world anymore. I don't even like the phrase the drug world since the phrase implies that it is a separate world. And drugs are as basic and American as, say, Citibank. Mexico's three leading official sources of foreign exchange are oil, tourism, and the money sent home by Mexicans in the United States. Drugs bring Mexico more money than these three sources combined. The United States and Mexico share a common border more than 1,800 miles long. Its official, licit, World Bank-type economy is piddling - 4.5 percent that of the United States. Both nations, along with Canada, are officially partners in a common market under the umbrella of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. But Mexico and the United States are partners in an unofficial economy called the drug business.

When the drug industry gets mentioned, it gets dismissed by Mexicans blaming the United States for creating the drug market because of its vile habits and the United States blaming Mexico for permitting the drug industry because of its corrupt practices. I disagree with both positions. Drugs are a business, one of the largest on the surface of the earth, and this business exists for two reasons: the products are so very, very good and the profits are so very, very high: Nothing that creates hundreds of billions of dollars of income annually and is desired by millions of people will be stopped by any nation on this earth. A Mexican study by the nation's internal security agency, CISEN (Centro de Investigacion y Seguridad Nacional), that has been leaked to the press speculates that if the drug business vanished, the U.S economy would shrink 19 to 22 percent, the Mexican 63 percent. I stare at these numbers and have no idea if they are sound or accurate. No one can really grapple with the numbers because illegal enterprises can be glimpsed but not measured. In 1995, one Mexican drug-trafficking expert guessed that half the hotel room revenues in his country were frauds, meaning empty rooms counted as sold in order to launder drug money."


H said...

Yeesh, you and Sara really get into some good books... books I want to borrow, when you are done.

tempe turley said...


You can borrow this book any time, I read it I think in 2004? I'm just pulling it out again in response to the immigration debate...