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Mexico At A Crossroads - Up Close At Ground Zero Of Nation's Deadly Drug War

As Mexico goes to the polls to elect a new president, a visit to Xalapa, a city that once attracted cultural elites and foreign university students --until the country's bloody drug war brought it to its knees.

Signs of the death toll on the streets of Xalapa (fronkonsteen0)
Signs of the death toll on the streets of Xalapa (fronkonsteen0)
Emiliano Guanella
XALAPA - The "ruta 140" from Mexico City to Veracruz goes up across the foggy Cofre de Perote mountain and then down to the valley which leads to city of Xalapa. Locals warn against traveling by night, due to the dangerous bends of the mountain road, and most importantly, due to the daily assaults on travelers. It is another sign of the risk for Xalapa, known as the city of flowers, to be cut from the rest of the country. Today this cultural destination and university city is the center of Mexico's current plague of violence.

Drug dealers are in charge. Kidnapping, killing, extortion, assaults…all run rampant. Murders regularly go unpunished. Xalapa is the capital of the state of Veracruz, a strategic crossroads on the route to smuggle drugs into the United States.

Boss "Chapo" Guzman's cartel battled over the route with the Zetas paramilitary group, which consisted of former commandos of the Mexican army who learned anti-insurgency strategies from American and Israeli experts. The Zetas, though, decided to go on their own, using violence and co-opting corrupted officials who were previously tied to the traditional cartels.

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Society

Urban Indigenous: How Peru's Shipibo-Conibo Keep Amazon Culture Alive In The City

For four years, indigenous photographer David Díaz Gonzales has documented the lives and movements of his Shipibo-Conibo community, as many of them migrated from their native Peruvian Amazon to the city. A work of remembrance and resistance.

For Shipibo-Conibo women, sporting a fringe is usually a sign of celebration or ceremony.

Rosa Chávez Yacila

YARINACOCHA — It was decades ago when the Shipibo-Conibo left their settlements along the banks of the Ucayali River, in eastern Peru, to begin a great migration to the cities. Still among the largest Amazonian communities in Peru — 32,964 according to the Ministry of Culture — though most Shipibo-Conibo now live in the urban district of Yarinacocha.

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