Category Archives: Publications

Rio Santa Cruz: Saving A River Along The US-Mexico Border

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Flying over the village of San Lazaro, Sonora, Mexico

Just south of the US border, the Santa Cruz River is a dust bowl, a scarred ditch tapped dry by the booming twin cities of Nogales, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona. Not long ago, people waded in and held baptisms in the river. Today it looks like fire has destroyed the riverbed and the trees beside it. But it’s a very different story a couple of hours farther into Mexico. Lorne Matalon has the story.

San Lazaro, Mexico – population 600 – it’s on the floor of a remote valley crisscrossed by warrens of paths carved into the boundless Sonoran desert. It’s where the Santa Cruz starts wending its way north toward the U-S. And it’s where 20-year-old Arturo Alvarez leads a group of young people working on a restoration team. ‘We’re watching bird migration patterns,’ Alvarez says. The group is known as Los Halcones– the Hawks-and it’s also monitoring the river’s temperature, and the health of the vegetation lining its banks.

(Lorne Matalon)

Less than a decade ago, little took root here. The protective underbrush and cottonwood and mesquite saplings had been trampled by cattle and horses. But Los Halcones have fenced off two miles of the river and saplings are now abundant.

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Mexican Mennonites

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People get around by horse-drawn wagon at the Mennonite village of El Sabinal, Chihuahua, Mexico.

The northern Mexican state of Chihuahua is one of Mexico’s most violent. Rising drug-related crime has taken a heavy toll on the state – just south of the border from New Mexico and Texas. But amidst the violence, a pacifist community thrives. Mennonites have been living in Chihuahua for decades. They’re considered a part of the state’s tapestry now – famous around Mexico for their cheese and other farm products. The World’s Lorne Matalon traveled there to meet some of Chihuahua’s Mennonites.

Matalon: The village of El Sabinal in the remote Chihuahuan desert of northern Mexico looks like something out of another era. The houses are simple one-floor structures, vintage hand-made farm tools are still in use – and most people here get around in horse-drawn carriages.

(Lorne Matalon)

Matalon: El Sabinal is an orthodox Mennonite community – meaning its 600 people generally avoid modern contraptions like cars, electricity, modern music, and telephones. They also speak a German dialect to communicate with each other. But when it comes to speaking with outsiders — Spanish is the language of choice.

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Mexico’s Mix Of Politics And Drugs

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A mayoral candidate in Mexico has said publicly what just about every Mexican knows to be true — the drug cartels have thoroughly contaminated Mexican politics. But this candidate is caught on tape.

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Mexico Before The Election

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Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon will be watching his country’s upcoming local elections very carefully. That’s because his conservative party is trying to win Congressional seats and Calderon wants to make sure he has enough support to fight the country’s rampant drug problem.

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Collateral Damage In The Drug War

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Complaints about human rights abuses by the military are on the rise. Civilians are getting caught in the crossfire as the Mexican army battles drug lords.

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Mexico: Maquilladoras & The Drug War

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Mexico has deployed the Army to several cities along the US border where drug trafficking is a problem. One of those cities is Reynosa just south of McAllen, Texas. Both towns are growing thanks to free trade (NAFTA) and maquilladoras, the assembly-line factories in Mexico that manufacture goods for export. The World’s Lorne Matalon reports on Mexico’s drug war & its effect on the regional economy.

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Drug Cartels Still In Action

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Mexico’s violent drug cartels didn’t simply pack up and go home when the H1N1flu arrived. In fact, they’re just as active as before. The World’s Lorne Matalon reports that the government has once again stepped up its attempts to beat back the cartels.

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Flu Politics In Mexico

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Lorne Matalon reports on some of the political fallout from the swine flu outbreak in Mexico. Some opposition politicians are criticizing the government for not reacting fast enough to the outbreak, or for overreacting. President Felipe Calderon has defended his government’s actions as swift and appropriate.

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A Doctor’s Day In Mexico City

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The World’s Lorne Matalon profiles a pediatrician in one of Mexico City’s hospitals. The doctor is struggling to care for his young patients and protect his own health amidst the swine flu outbreak.

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Swine Flu Concern Grows

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Many parts of the world are concerned about the same thing: swine flu. The World’s Lorne Matalon has the latest from the hardest-hit country so far — Mexico.

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Drastic Measures In Mexico City

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Soldiers hand out surgical masks to passengers entering Mexico City’s metro (subway)

The World’s Lorne Matalon has the latest from Mexico City on the swine flu outbreak there. Mexico’s capital has essentially closed down, as authorities try to stop the spread of the swine flu virus.

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Outbreak Of Swine Flu

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At least 16 people in Mexico have died from what officials there say is a strain of influenza that originally came from pigs. Meanwhile, swine flu is also being reported in the southern United States. Anchor Katy Clark speaks with The World’s Lorne Matalon in Mexico City.

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Obama Visit To Mexico

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President Obama is visiting Mexico to meet with President Felipe Calderón before they both take off to attend the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago. The World’s Lorne Matalon reports.

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Audio Slideshow: Saint Of Death

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Mexico is experiencing a horrifying wave of violence. So it’s not surprising that the religious cult, Santa Muerte – or the Saint of Death – has gained a following. Narration and all photos by Lorne Matalon.

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Audio Slideshow: Buddhism In Mexico

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Lorne Matalon visits a touring display of ancient Tibetan relics in Mexico City and tells us how Buddhism is gaining popularity in mostly-Catholic Mexico. Narration and all photos: Lorne Matalon.

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Audio Slideshow: Mexico’s Thriving Art Scene

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Lorne Matalon explores Mexico’s thriving art scene, which has been attracting more and more foreign-born artists. Narration and all photos: Lorne Matalon.

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Audio Slideshow: Mexico Kidnapping

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With an escalating war between Mexico’s drug cartels and the government, security is the number one issue as Mexico prepares for midterm elections next year. But adding to fears expressed by many Mexicans is a recent surge in kidnapping with victims from all social classes. Narration and all photos: Lorne Matalon.

Update: In December 2008 the Mexican authorities told the family featured in this slideshow that they’ve positively identified remains found recently in the Mexico City area as those of abducted Silvia Vargas Escaleras.

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Shark Fishers Try to Reel in Cash, Turn to Conservation

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Israel Ritchie, known as Tolon, is a 37-year-old shark fisher from López Mateos, Mexico. His family has hunted sharks off the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula for generations, selling the meat these days for around U.S. 70 cents a kilogram (2.2 pounds) and the shark fins for 50 to 100 U.S. dollars a kilogram.

But relying on shark for an income puts Tolon in a precarious place.

“Our situation is drastic,” Tolon said. “The shark population has fallen sharply in the last ten years. Now I must travel farther offshore to find them.”

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Mexico’s Poor Seek Relief From Tortilla Shortage

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Part six of a special series that explores the local faces of the world’s worst food crisis in decades.

During a protest in México City in January 2008, 28-year-old secretary Anibel Ordonez was one of many chanting “Tortillas si, Pan no!” while waving some of the flat corn disks in the air.

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Patrolling The Border With Mexico

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Patrolling the border with Mexico

Last year the United States deported a record number of undocumented Mexicans, but authorities along the U.S. -Mexico border say Mexicans seeking jobs continue to cross into the United States every day. As well, people from other countries including Russia, Bangladesh and South Africa have also been caught trying to get into the U.S. From south Texas, The World’s Lorne Matalon reports.

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