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Midnight in Mexico by Alfredo Corchado
Alfredo Corchado is a leading Mexican-American reporter on issues of immigration,
corruption, and matters affecting national security such as drug violence, which threaten the
security of communities living along Mexicos border.
Question 1
In Chapter 1, Corchado uses the title Midnight in Mexico as a literal reference to a journalist
who explains about dangerous efforts in reporting about Mexicos drug wars. The chapter
pays attention to particular person and his deep love for his homeland. In the end of the book,
the author uses the title as a metaphor to represent the volatile relationship between Mexico
and United States by using the title to represent general Mexico. He uses the title not to show
a life a particular character, but that of the Mexicans who live in a country full of drug wars
and violence.
Question 2
The book focuses on three major events in Mexico. They include NAFTA, 2000 election,
cartelsrealizeand culture. Mexicans hoped that pushing of NAFTA would help the country
keep from migrating to U.S. It was aimed at keeping immigrants home and employing them
in Mexico. However, NAFTA led to poor competition as it brought subsidized corn from
Iowa, making it impossible for Mexicos corn farmer to compete. During the 2000 election,

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people were hoping that Mexico will counter the decades of cartel control. It put an
opposition party in power for the first time. People hoped to remove a PRI government,
which collaborated with drug cartels by sharing profits and allowing them to conduct their
drug trade peacefully. The cartels had a great control in Mexico. They had killed many
hundreds during their wars. According to Corchado, President Fox fight on cartels created
chaos. It led to the continuation of cultural violence in Mexico, which had existed due to
weakness and division of PRI party. the due to new PAN government. The cartels took the
rule of law and started running wild as they fought amongst each other.
Question 3
I think that the writers statement that Americans could not give a shit about anything to do
with Mexico unless it affects their beach time is not a valid criticism. First, Americans have
to care about Mexico since the two countries are neighbors. They have to be concerned about
violence in Mexico since the immigrants move to America where they create competition to
the Americans. In the book, it is an American soldier who warns Corchado about the threat he
is in. This symbolically show that Americans care about Mexicans. The conflict between the
two countries dates back to around 1840s during the time of President James Polk. The war
between the countries saw Mexico loose about one-third of its territories to U.S. Border
management and drug war has made the two countries to continue being in conflict even
today. Another reason for distrust is dishonesty, mainly by U.S soldiers sent to Mexico to help
end drug trade. This is evident in the book where Corchado learns from American soldier that
a gang is out to kill him (Corchado 80). This made the author to realize that soldiers and
cartels have a relationship, thus increasing the distrust between Mexico and America, as the
soldiers betray the trust put on them by Mexicans.
Question 4

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According to the author, Mexico saw an emergence of cartels during the time of long-ruling
party (PRI). The government shared profits with the cartels in exchange for safe and peaceful
drug trade. The cartel's ability to control the government made them flourish. PRI had also
grown older and divided. These divisions in government gave cartels an avenue to conduct
their drug trade. Further, there was a growing demand for the drugs in U.S, which gave
cartels a ready market. The government was also weak and decentralized, which allowed
cartels to take the rule of law. According to the book, Zetas Cartel is the number two drug
cartel. It utilizes intimidation tactics like they did to Corchado to conceal government
corruption activities, which would risk their ability to conduct work. According to the author,
Sinaloa cartel is the largest drug cartel operating mainly in Mexico and South America.
Question 5
President Vincent Foxs administration in Mexico saw many institutions eliminated. He
encouraged freedom of speech and transparency. He was uncooperative with drug cartels like
the ruler before him, President Felipe Calderon. Calderons administration was full of
corruption and tolerance for drug cartels. The government shared profits with the cartels.
Calderons administration was also full of violence with around 80,000 people losing their
lives. They both utilized militaristic approach. This leadership style by the two saw violence
in Mexico due wars between cartels and government. The current president of Mexico, Pena
Nieto has failed to remove drug violence, poverty, and corruption in Mexico. The country
faces human rights abuses with cartel massacres on the rise. He seems to lack the intelligence
of fighting cartels. This has seen kidnappings and murders of innocent civilians as cartel
violence spill onto public streets.

Poor governance by Nietos administration has seen

disappearance of students, increased corruption and scandals as police officials continue to


collude with drug trafficking gangs. Poverty continues to affect the Mexicans due to poor

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state welfare, as black market and difficulty in starting business has slowed down the fight
against poverty in the country.

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Work Cited
Corchado, Alfredo. Midnight in Mexico: A reporter's journey through a country's descent
into darkness. Penguin, 2013.