Crossing The Border: A Case For Legalizing Drugs


Austin Bay
NPR
November 4, 2011

On the U.S.-Mexico border, officials are dealing with the war on drugs. Towns there have been plagued with violence. Commentator Austin Bay is a retired military intelligence expert and a Texas native with his own memories of the area. He has a proposal to reduce the drug-related brutality.

Mexico’s border cities weren’t always war zones. At one time, Matamoros was a fine place to get a steak. The orphanage in Nuevo Laredo, where my friend Fred volunteered, was lively and the kids delightful.

Back in 1982, Dad and I, on a trip to Big Bend, drove up to Presidio then crossed into Ojinaga, ostensibly to buy a bottle of Oso Negro Gin. Dad really wanted to show me what he thought was the most Mexican of the Texas-Mexico border towns.

As for Ciudad Juarez, the rank stench of Juarez’s old smelter polluting the air it shares with El Paso, Texas, literally taints my memories of that great city. But I also remember my Uncle Gene telling me, when we were there in the late ’80s, that Juarez’s manufacturing plants paid comparatively higher wages than Mexico’s interior. Juarez and El Paso are a double city, he said, and Juarez knows how El Paso works.

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