Hour of Darkness |Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

In the early part of last year I read Alfredo Corchado’s new memoir “Midnight in Mexico” and it soon became a topic of conversation while I traveled through Tijuana, in Texas and in New York City.  The book’s storyline is built on Corchado’s investigation into a very possible hit on his life. In a review and q/a […]

Massacre and Government Search Operation Reveals Network Behind the ‘Z’

In early 2014, the Mexican government–state and federal– launched an operation to search for human remains in the northern state of Coahuila. The search was meant  to investigate a massacre, perhaps the largest in recent years, that involved some 300 victims. The operation quickly became a big media story in Mexico. But the operation, as it turns […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Border Security Winners

The Business of Border Security. I take a look at who stands to gain from tightening the border. Excerpt Another potential winner are organized crime groups such as the Los Zetas. From Mexicali to Brownsville, Texas smuggling costs have increased exponentially as border security has tightened becoming a revenue source for violent groups. “Organized crime […]

Myths of Mexico published in Columbia Journalism Review

Myths of Mexico/Columbia Journalism Review/Nov.-Dec. 2009 In 1891, my great-great-uncle, Catarino Garza, attempted to overthrow the Mexican dictator, Porfirio Díaz, by launching an armed revolution from my family’s south Texas ranch. One year into his campaign, Garza agreed to an interview with The New York Times to explain the reasons behind his insurrection. “The impression […]

Against Mexico featured on PBS Newshour

‘Against Mexico’ Documentary Explores Texas Secession Battle | PBS NewsHour Posted on Newshour May 2012 At first blush, a group reenactment of Texas’ 1836 battle to secede from Mexico has little to do with today’s political environment. But the notion of what it means to be an American is an issue that continues to stir […]

A Narco’s Case Against the U.S.-what Zambada’s case reveals about the violence and ‘war’ in Mexico-Salon.com

This piece appeared on Salon.com on November 14, 2011 CIUDAD MIER, Mexico — A Mexican army commander sent to protect a region of villages and ranches in northern Mexico from the Gulf Cartel and Zetas can describe, in detail, the profile of his assigned enemy, the country’s notorious drug cartels. “These guys are sick in […]

“Against Mexico_the making of heroes and enemies” on PBS

PBS.org has acquired Against Mexico-the making of heroes and enemies a short documentary film that I produced and directed. Against Mexico enters the world of historical reenactments of Texas’ ‘fight for freedom’ to explore the nexus of myth and history in creating images of heroes and enemies and its implication for who is entitled to […]