Border violence impacting Mexico Independence Day celebrations

On Mexican Independence Day, some people don't feel like they're so independent living in fear of drug cartels.

Instead, people who usually venture south for celebrations this time of year, opted to stay on this side of the border.

It's a celebration heard all over the world.

September 16 marks Mexico's independence from Spain, and Mexicans all over the world historically celebrate the occasion, but people on this side of the border are a little apprehensive about the holiday this year.

"I probably would have gone over there to celebrate, but no, I can't," said Erik Martinez.

Martinez is from Mexico City, and he said if the country wasn't so violent, he would have liked to celebrate the day in Mexico.

Instead, his family from there came here to celebrate.

"My dad and my parents just don't feel easy going through," he said.

Martinez said he can imagine people living in Mexico might not have too much to celebrate living in fear of drug cartels, and as a Valley resident, he doesn't feel safe to head down south.

"A couple years ago when everything was fine over there, it was safe to go to Mexico back then just to cross and have fun or whatever," said Martinez. "But now, you just can't go there at all."

Doctor George Vincentnathan is the chairman and professor of the department of criminal justice at The University of Texas Pan-American.

He said he fears going to Mexico.

"Drug cartels have taken over," he said.

He said drug cartels constantly fighting over territory has caused a lot of bloodshed at the border, and as long as America has such a huge demand for drugs, the possibility of eliminating drug cartels is very slim.

"It should be in our interest that Mexico is given all the support for the development of the economy and controlling the drug problem," said Vincentnathan.

He said the only hope is for America to help fight the war on drugs here in the U.S. as well.

The University of Texas Pan-American Global Security Studies will host a speaker series highlighting Mexico's government September 17 at noon in the Engineering building Room 1.300.

It will feature Dr. George W. Grayson, professor of government at the College of William & Mary and a well-known expert on Latin American politics, with a particular interest in Mexico.

His presentation is "The Challenges Facing Caldern During his Remaining Two Years in Government."