Drug Violence in Mexico.’
A book by war
photographer Teun Voeten.
At the end of 2006, newly elected president Felipe Calderon declared
the war against the powerful cartels that smuggle Colombian cocaine
and domestically produced crystal meth and marihuana into the USA.
Approximately 50.000 people, according to conservative estimates,
have died in the ensuing drug violence, more casualties as the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
The cycle of violence has
spun out of control, since the cartels are involved in a war on two
fronts: One against the authorities, the other amongst themselves
about lucrative smuggling routes. The last battle is even more ruthless.
Torture, beheadings, mass killings, public executions and drive-by
shootings have become normal. Cartels try to compete with each other
in sadism and fierceness. Glorification of extreme violence penetrates
popular culture. People who can afford it, try to escape the violence
by fleeing to the USA. Corruption has infiltrated all levels of society,
from the lowest ranking police cop till the highest circles in the
Ciudad Juarez, with four
bordercrossings into the USA of crucial strategic importance, has
become Ground Zero in the Drugs War. With 3600 murders in 2010, Juarez
was the most dangerous city in the world. 98 % of the killings are
never resolved. Police and forensic services rush from one crime scene
to the next and often do no more as make a brief report. On top of
this, small criminals and wanna-be gangsters operate in this vacuum
of lawlessness and impunity.
Teun Voeten studied Cultural
Anthropology in the Netherlands. He covered the conflicts in Ex-Yugoslavia,
Colombia, Rwanda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Afghanistan, Iraq,
Lebanon, Gaza, Honduras, DR Congo and Libya for magazine such as Vanity
Fair, Newsweek, The New Yorker and National Geographic. He also works
for the International Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and the UNHCR.
He wrote two books: 'Tunnel People', an anthropological-journalistic
account of 5 months living with an underground homeless community
in New York and 'How de Body' Hope and Horror in Sierra Leone', describing
Voeten's trip to this country that nearly ended in disaster when he
was hunted down by rebels.
In 2011 Voeten organized
a photo-exhibition, "10 years after 9/11" as a guest curator
for ‘GEMAK, a dependance from the Den Haag Fotomuseum Currently,
he is writing a PhD thesis at Leiden University on extreme drug violence