Tag Archives: juarez

Charles Bowden, dead at 69

I didn’t love everything that Charles Bowden wrote, but I did love the spirit with which he wrote – very much out on his own ledge of the world.

I didn’t agree with some of what he said about the border and Mexico, but most of it came from a life steeped in both. He was no dilettante, this guy.

His book on Juarez was damn good.

He spent a long time writing about the border, about drugs, about Juarez and I’m sorry to hear he passed Saturday in his sleep in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Read an interview with Charles Bowden here. And an obit here.

Find his book on Juarez – Murder City, it’s called – and read that. Pretty fine piece of journalism, and reflective of the guy and his take on his craft and the world. With the rough-edged, opinionated, cranky prose that made him worth reading, and listening to. I met him once, at a conference at Cal State Northridge.

There aren’t too many out there like him any more.

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Filed under Border, Culture, Drugs, Writing

Mennonite Mob on Destination America tonight

Some of you may remember that I had a scary run-in with drug trafficking Mennonites years ago when I went down to their colonies in Chihuahua, south of Juarez, to write a story about the Narco-Menonita phenomenon.

To recap: humble Old World, German-Speaking Mennonite peasants have become major drug traffickers of marijuana and cocaine. They took unkindly to my presence and I had to leave with police escort.

Anyway, tonight on Destination America channel airs a documentary I was interviewed for about the drug trafficking ways of these folks. cover2big

It’s called The Mennonite Mob.

Airs 10 p.m. To find this smoking hot station in your area, click here.

You can read about my run-in with these folks in the last chapter of my second book, ANTONIO’S GUN AND DELFINO’S DREAM: True Tales of Mexican Migration.

Mostly, the Old Colony Mennonites are known around Mexico for their overalls, their one-room schoolhouses, their dairy farming, milk and cheese, and their supposedly simple way of life, close to God and earth. Not long ago they were all driving horses and buggies.

But there’s a whole other side to that community that I discovered when I went down there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs it happens, I don’t know how much of what I told the filmmakers they ended up using. HOWEVER. I did do a reenactment of my tense standoff with the narco-Mennonites. (Reenactment may be another word for `big fat idiot American reporter’).

Destination America’s website provides me with little encouragement. It features links like:

10 Fried Recipes That Will Make You Forget Vegetables Even Exist

and

Which State Has the Most Terrifying Monster?

so I’m not sure what to expect from tonight’s show and happy that I don’t have cable.network-default-still-v4

They even had me do a “hero shot,” which is me looking slowly into the camera as if I was the toughest stud in the desert that day.

Highly ironic, if you’d have seen me crumbling into the fetal position during the trying time while the Mennonites were pursuing me.

As I don’t have cable, I’m relying on you all to tell if this show’s any good, and if this reenactment is the most embarrassing moment on television, please try to find a way not to tell me. ­čÖé

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