I can't even buy a piece of candy without being reminded of the filthy, corrupt Mexican government.
I noticed that two of the store's biggest sellers, Le Grande Hat Box and the Aztec Collection donated 25% of its profits toward V-day, the international movement to end violence against women and girls.
When I struck up a conversation with the clerk, she told me that since Mexico is a major chocolate producer, Vosges' owner, Katrina Markoff, is particularly concerned about the violence perpetrated by Mexicans against young women on the border in Ciudad Juarez and in Chihuahua City.
So there I was sampling the best chocolate I have ever tasted—and instead of fully enjoying it, I was fuming about Mexico.
When I returned home, I read that Amnesty International had just revisited Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua City to follow up on its 2003 report, "Intolerable Deaths." The report chronicled the grisly, unsolved murders of young women in those two cities.
(Note: While I rarely agree with the AI's worldview of most issues, I always strive to see eye to eye on some things. AI's disgust at Mexican indifference to cold-blooded murder is at least one subject of mutual agreement. We at VDARE.COM view this as coalition building.)
According to the original AI report, over the last ten years in Juarez and Chihuahua at least 370 women were killed; 137 were sexually assaulted. An additional 70 women are still unaccounted for.
Now, two years later, AI found that despite the claim of former Chihuahua governor Patricio Martinez that the rapes and murders had ended during his administration, another 50 women and girls—at a minimum—have been murdered.
The good news, if you can call it that, is that the Mexican government is now at least willing to actually investigate the killings.
Will wonders never cease?
Wrote Kent Paterson, editor, Frontera Nortesur:
"The human rights group detected progress on several fronts, including a willingness on the part of authorities to actually investigate crimes. In the high-profile murder of 7-year-old Airis Estrella Enriquez Pando in Ciudad Juarez last May for instance, Chihuahua state law enforcement officials arrested several suspects. And for the first time, state and federal law enforcement appear to take seriously reports of missing women and girls." [Amnesty International Revisits Mexican Mass Femicide, August 17, 2005).
Paterson notes that violence against Mexican women is rampant and includes allegations of Mexican soldiers gang raping indigenous women, domestic violence, suspected narco-executions and multiple cases of sexual assault.
While the AI "progress" review was critical across the board, Mexican President Vicente Fox's administration caught the heaviest fire.
Fox, apparently hoping that the murders will end and that the killers will turn themselves in, is content to assign responsibility to the historically useless Chihuahua state government.
According to Paterson's article AI Secretary Irene Khan, aware that 2006 is a presidential election year, met with the leaders of the major Mexican political parties—PRD, PAN and PRI—and chastised them for their dismal human rights records.
"The democratic transition is at the point of moving to a new phase with the 2006 elections, but with respect to human rights—[this] central part of the democratic aspirations of all Mexicans is absent from the political agenda, or only is present in words without content. Political leaders should move from rhetoric to concrete actions if they hope to see Mexico experiencing a new era in human rights."
Khan reminded the leaders that in 2004 AI had sent an eight-point human rights platform that proposed reforms in dealing with gender violence and restructuring of law enforcement but never received a response.
Referring to the border crimes against women that reflect persistent injustices and inequalities, Kahn criticized the Mexican political and justice systems for
"…drowning in legalisms while allowing grave human rights violations to continue."
Brimelow cited the "Mark in Mexico" blog. "Mark", an American teacher who lives in Oaxaca, concluded that Mexicans do not understand the rule of law, that corruption is entrenched at the national, state and municipal level and that the country is "a basket case."
What most bewilders me, after analyzing the border murders, the AI report, "Mark in Mexico," the Allan Wall archive, Brenda Walker's Immigration's Human Cost website and all the other tens of thousands of words written by my VDARE.COM colleagues: why is the Bush administration so willfully blind to the disaster that is Mexico?
Even more confusing: why Bush actively embraces everything about Mexico, despite overwhelming evidence that the country is rudderless and in complete chaos.
How can Bush, a graduate of Yale and Harvard and a man smart enough to get elected twice as Governor of Texas and twice as president of the United States, make the statement—repeated multiple times during his five years in the White House—that "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande"? (Reply: but the U.S. does!)
Why should the U.S. bail out Mexico? In the words of another Brimelow—Peter—let them work out their own problems.
Thankfully, my questions about Bush didn't pop into my mind when I was devouring truffles in Las Vegas.
If they had, I might have choked.
Because Bush seems entirely content to let the worst of Mexico get a firm foothold in what was once the best country in the world.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.