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Exploring the causes of violence on the U.S.-Mexico border

Many people attribute the escalating violence in Mexico to turf wars between drug cartels, but Macrina Cárdenas Alarcón believes there's more to it, including international arms traffic, U.S. military aid, free trade agreements and the rise and fall of political parties. She will discuss her theories and more in a talk titled "On the Edge of Reason: Border Dynamics and the Spread of Violence," on Friday, Nov. 4, at 11:50 a.m. in Blaustein Humanities Center Room 210.

Alarcón is a former legislative coordinator for the nonprofit Mexico Solidarity Network and a community activist and educator in Tijuana with the Casa del Migrante, a mission supporting migrants deported from the U.S. She says the reliance on maquiladoras (manufacturing and assembly businesses) in border towns such as Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez have left them in precarious economic situations. And she believes that through the U.S. government's Merida Initiative - intended to provide equipment and training in support of law enforcement operations in Mexico and other countries - U.S. taxpayers are supporting a Mexican military fraught with corruption and human rights abuses while at the same time undermining the military by allowing cartels access to U.S-made arms and cutting deals with high-level narcotraffickers.

Leo Garofalo, associate professor of history and a fellow in Connecticut College's Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE), said, "This talk is an example of one of the hallmarks of our College: a truly internationalized curriculum that takes students many places, places off the beaten path and places where they will truly be challenged to learn."

The talk is sponsored by CCSRE, the Department of History and the Study Away Teach Away (SATA) Oaxaca program. It is free and open to the public.

November 3, 2011