New America NYC

The Case of Agent Zapata: The U.S., Mexico, and the Drug War

In Collaboration with The Atavist

The war on drugs has reached a turning point, but which way, exactly, is it turning? In November, Washington and Colorado residents voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana, and more than half of Americans are in favor of the entire country doing the same — a dramatic shift in opinion from even a decade ago. At the same time, Mexico’s drug cartels—the leading supplier for American consumers—and the country’s government are descending into ever-more-alarming conflict. The Zetas, Mexico’s most feared drug cartel, now enjoy influence in much of the country. In 2011, alleged Zeta gunmen killed Jaime Zapata, the first U.S. federal agent to die in the line of duty in Mexico in more than a quarter century.

Join New America NYC and The Atavist for a wide-ranging conversation on the state of the drug war, featuring the journalists who have watched it most closely. Mary Cuddehe, author of The Atavist story Agent Zapata, will speak with Patrick Radden Keefe, Ben Wallace-Wells and The Atavist’s Charles Homans about the future of America’s longest-running and most vexing conflict.


Mary Cuddehe

Author, Agent Zapata
Freelance writer appearing in Rolling Stone, Poder, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, and The New Republic

Patrick Radden Keefe

Staff Writer, The New Yorker; Fellow, Century Foundation
Author, The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream

Ben Wallace-Wells

Contributing Editor, New York Magazine; Rolling Stone

Charles Homans

Executive Editor, The Atavist

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