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Mexico: Risking Life for Truth

Dozens of reporters have been killed in Mexico over the last 12 years by drug traffickers, and very little has been done to investigate their deaths and bring the murderers to justice:

"Let us say that you are a Mexican reporter working for peanuts at a local television station somewhere in the provinces—the state of Durango, for example—and that one day you get a friendly invitation from a powerful drug-trafficking group. Imagine that it is the Zetas, and that thanks to their efforts in your city several dozen people have recently perished in various unspeakable ways, while justice turned a blind eye. Among the dead is one of your colleagues. Now consider the invitation, which is to a press conference to be held punctually on the following Friday, at a not particularly out of the way spot just outside of town. You were, perhaps, considering going instead to a movie? Keep in mind, the invitation notes, that attendance will be taken by the Zetas.

"Imagine now that you arrive on the appointed day at the stated location, and that you are greeted by several expensively dressed, highly amiable men. Once the greetings are over, they have something to say, and the tone changes. We would like you, they say, to be considerate of us in your coverage. We have seen or heard certain articles or news reports that are unfair and, dare we say, displeasing to us. Displeasing. We have our eye on you. We would like you to consider the consequences of offending us further. We know you would not look forward to the result. We give warning, but we give no quarter. You are dismissed."
PUBLISHED: Nov. 13, 2012
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4079 words)

In the New Gangland of El Salvador

As US immigration policy has focused on deporting the greatest possible number of undocumented migrants, no matter what their situation, a great many Salvadoran deportees, some of whom grew up in the United States and hardly speak Spanish, have found themselves back in their country of birth. A number of these unwilling returnees are mareros, who either join the local branch of their organization or try to flee back home (that is, to the United States), joining a migrant trail across Mexico used by hundreds of thousands of would-be US immigrants every year. Along the way, the mareros are often recruited by Mexican drug traffickers, who have developed highly lucrative sidelines in white slavery, child prostitution, and migrant extortion. Assault, robbery, and rape are now an expected part of the migrant journey through Mexico.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 21, 2011
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4194 words)

The High Art of the Tamale

Diana Kennedy was born in England some several decades ago (she does not like to be precise about such things) and grew up high-spirited, feisty, and no-nonsense. In 1957 she came to Mexico with her soon-to-be husband, Paul Kennedy, who was a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, and then she really fell in love—with her new life and with a universe of flavors, colors, textures, shapes, and aromas several light-years removed from her own. How could she have resisted? She was coming from the drab kitchens of postwar England, and in Mexico City just a short walk through any neighborhood market was enough to make her swoon.
PUBLISHED: April 10, 2011
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3093 words)

The Murderers of Mexico

How to write about Mexico’s drug war? There are only a limited number of ways that readers can be reminded of the desperate acts of human sacrifice that go on every day in this country, or of the by now calamitous statistics: the nearly 28,000 people who have been killed in drug-related battles or assassinations since President Felipe Calderón took power almost four years ago, the thousands of kidnappings, the wanton acts of rape and torture, the growing number of orphaned children.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 28, 2010
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4689 words)

Longreads Member Exclusive: A Visit to Havana

(Subscribe to Longreads to receive this and other weekly exclusives.) This week, we're proud to feature a  Member Exclusive from Alma Guillermoprieto and The New York Review of Books. Born in Mexico City, Guillermoprieto has covered Latin America for NYRB since 1994, and she has also written for The New Yorker, The Guardian and the Washington Post. Her books include Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution and Looking for History: Dispatches from Latin America, which includes the below story, "A Visit to Havana," about her return to Cuba for Pope John Paul II's arrival in 1998.
PUBLISHED: March 26, 1998
LENGTH: 35 minutes (8874 words)