Many parents and churches have long advocated that unwed couples avoid living together before marriage. Now even secular research has shown that it can have severe drawbacks. The New York Times chimed in on the subject April 14 with an opinion piece entitled, “The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage.”
The Organization of American States (OAS) calls itself the “world’s oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to 1890.” There were several interim organizations like the “International Union of American Republics” and then the “Pan American Union” before the current OAS organization was formed on April 30, 1948, with the signing of the Charter of the Organization of American States in Bogotá, Columbia, with the organization coming into force in December 1951. There have been subsequent amendments to the protocols of the organization a number of times since then. The membership of the organization has grown as well and currently there are 35 members.
The April 24 Washington Post reported an update of the findings of Mexican mass graves, revealing a shocking level of butchery employed by the killers. The body count has climbed to 177 (and is expected to rise) recovered from graves found near ranches close to San Fernando in Mexico’s northern state of Tamaulipas. Most of the civilian victims were abducted from passenger busses, and authorities say that few bullet casings and little evidence have been recovered that would indicate the victims died from gunshot wounds. The cause of death for most was blunt force trauma to the head.
The grim litany of gang murders, tortures, and outright butchery by drug cartel members in Mexico has rendered the region near the international border almost untenable, and the latest discovery of 145 bodies in mass graves near San Fernando has precipitated a crisis in the logistics of dealing with death. The Houston Chronicle reported on Friday that the Mexican morgues were overwhelmed, and 70 of the bodies had been moved to Mexico City on Thursday.
The almost unrestrained drug trafficking in Mexico has pushed violent drug wars deeper into Central America, as drugs are funneled through small countries ill-equipped to handle the squeeze of traffickers using their shores, ports, and jungles for smuggling. The New York Times reported on March 23 that, even though traffickers have used Central American points for stopovers since the 70’s, “crackdowns on criminal organizations in Mexico and Colombia [and the Caribbean] have increasingly brought the powerful drug syndicates here [Honduras].” The seven tiny countries are now no longer just “stopovers” but territory coveted by cartels, and the scenes of escalating drug violence.
According to the Daily Mail Reporter online, one of Mexico’s most wanted, “The Condor,” was killed February 26 in a gun battle with police in a busy Chihuahua street. Three alleged accomplices were also arrested and taken to Mexico City for questioning.
On Friday, Feb. 25, CNSNews.com reported figures that show that 3,111 civilians were murdered in Ciudad Juarez in 2010, compared to 2,421 civilians killed in all of Afghanistan in 2010, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report of Feb. 3.
CNSNews.com reported on February 25 that Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón, in an exclusive interview February 22 with the Mexican newspaper El Universal, criticized U.S. cooperation in his war on the drug cartels. According to Calderón, "I found cooperation in this [counter-narcotics] matter with both President Bush and President Obama, but obviously the cooperation ends up being notoriously insufficient."
According to Borderland Beat (BB) Jan. 5, Mexican drug cartels have formed elaborate and strategic alliances with Middle Eastern drug traffickers, and those supply chains are also being used for arms trade and money laundering. BB obtained the report from El Universal, a major Mexican newspaper, and added that Mexican groups are also making inroads into European Union markets.
Violence in Juarez, Mexico — arguably the world’s deadliest city — is now costing not only lives, but livelihoods, as residents flee, abandoning homes and businesses to save themselves. The highest unofficial estimates of the exodus, compiled by social organizations, a local university, and a municipal group, could exceed 230,000, according to CBS News.