In light of current developments, maybe it’s time to revisit this post, which originally appeared on El Chuqueño on July 9, 2015.
Did you see this piece in last week’s El Paso Inc. about an advertisement in Fortune magazine for the San Jerónimo industrial community across the border from Santa Teresa?
Mexican businessman Eloy Vallina’s 47,000-acre San Jerónimo development has taken out an advertisement in Fortune magazine and launched a website, www.SanJeronimo.com.
“The Americas’ Smartest City,” declares the full-page ad in a special advertising section in the June 15 issue.
“Technologically ahead, 100%-sustainable and superbly connected, San Jerónimo is fast becoming the most interesting city in the Americas,” it continues.
But for now San Jerónimo, located in Mexico just south of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, consists of creosote bush and empty desert broken only by two factories. One, Foxconn, is among the largest on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Credible sources report that Eloy Vallina was a partner with one of the masterminds behind the Paso del Norte Group, whose plans to invigorate the El Paso/Juarez Mexoplex in the middle of the first decade of the century were shattered by the collapse of the world economy and rampant violence in Juarez. The Paso del Norte group has re-branded as the Borderplex Alliance, ostensibly under new management, but who knows what goes on in the Star Chamber?
“La Ciudad Más Interesante de Las Américas,” their website says, accompanied by a picture of sand dunes, presumably of Samalayuca, about forty minutes away. There are also stock pictures of solar panels and wind turbines. I haven’t seen any solar panels or wind turbines out there in San Jerónimo, but I’ve never been inside the the Foxconn plant, which, from the outside, looks like a medium-security prison, not exactly the kind of place I’m eager to get into.
In two completely unrelated news stories, eighteen workers at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China, attempted suicide in 2010, according to this story at www.theguardian.com. Mr. Vallina has been linked to the parent company of the Blueberry candy factory in Ciudad Juarez which exploded in 2013, killing at least eight workers, according to this distillation of Mexican news sources from the Frontera Norte Sur website.
The word on the street is that Juarez is getting a lot of money for infrastructure. Maybe you read about the rumored monorail. I bet a lot of that money is earmarked for San Jerónimo.
And maybe that explains the Borderplex Alliance’s monomaniacal focus on regional development.