Investigative Report: The Dangers of Juarez

I hope you read this story in the New York Times about how Juarez is coming back. It’s good to see a story this time of year about how everything is great.

Likewise, I hope you missed this story in the El Paso Times about the U.S.Consulate issuing a travel warning for Juarez. (If the Times new paywall prevents you from reading the story, try anonymizing your browser.)

The two stories appeared a week apart. And things happen fast in Juarez. In the blink of an eye, chicken salad turns to chicken shit. (Really. Don’t order the chicken salad.)

But who are you going to believe? The New York Times, or the U.S. Government? I mean really, that’s not much of a choice. I wanted to give you a more reliable option, so I went over there to see it myself.

Obviously I was taking my life in my hands. The U.S. Consulate says that Juarez is Capital D Dangerous. On the other hand, Mexico has recently adopted universal health care, and I’m still struggling to understand the Affordable Care Act. So what the heck.

Feliz Viaje
Residents flee the city. Or maybe they’re just going shopping.

It’s just as bad as you could imagine. Hundreds of cars clogged the Santa Fe Street bridge, as terrified Mexicans fled to the relative safety of El Paso.

Sancho Claus
No one would shoot Santa. Would they?

Juarenses have even resorted to wearing disguises when they leave the house, so they’ll only be shot by accident.

with just the clothes on their backs
A steady stream of Juarez citizens flee the city in search of sanctuary in El Paso.

Those Juarenses too poor to drive to El Paso crossed the border with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Not all the Juarenses are abandoning the city. In a number of places that I went, the citizens resorted to strong drink to assuage their fears about the rampant insecurity. Elsewhere, brave citizens distracted themselves with shopping, or talking to friends. It was obvious to me, however, that they were only trying to ignore the reality of their impending doom, the sword of Damocles that hangs over their heads by a fraying thread.

I barely escaped. And I may not go back till next week.

One comment

  1. Careful out there Rich, you might get run over by the new high-speed bus line or fall into the traffic tunnel that’s turned Dieciseis into a pleasant peatonal. Dangers abound.

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