The Mexican Drug War: In the Eye of the Hurricane

On Thursday, the 21st of May, the IRC kicked off its spring lineup of guest speakers for its Academic Programming with Mr. José Reyes Ferriz (check on the accents), who served as ex-mayor of Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua, Mexico from 2007 to 2010. The event was held in Copley Formal Lounge, and lasted until approximately 8.45 pm in the evening. Mr. Ferriz candidly shared his experiences on combating the drug war in Ciudad Juarez, following up with a lively Q&A session with the audience.

The audience sat enraptured as Mr. Ferriz recounted the extreme challenges he faced during his term as mayor, with a combination of self-deprecating humor and seriousness. Despite having to face multiple death threats , resignations from senior members of his administration, and endemic corruption in the police force, Mr. Ferriz bravely soldiered on in his quest to tame the drug cartels and stem the gang violence plaguing Ciudad Juárez, which was once labeled the “most dangerous city in the world”. The Q&A session touched on a wide range of topics, from the role of gender equality in Ciudad Juárez, gun control in the USA, to even the use of torture. We were fortunate to have Mr. Ferriz offer his frank insights on the dilemmas and dangerous predicaments he had found himself in, and left the event with a renewed appreciation for the difficulties of government.

 Kudos to Director of Academic Programming, Jeff Caso, and his sub-board for organizing such a successful event!

— JJ Phang