Houston Chronicle, 10/30/11
Eleazar glanced up from the toy cars he pushed across a threadbare carpet, flashing back to the moment when the men gunned down and killed his father. “They were in a black pickup,” the 10-year-old whispered as a younger brother and sister listened with averted eyes. “The windows were dark. I couldn’t see them.”
Eleazar’s father had brought him and a brother along to an appointment. Their father parked, told his sons to stay put and walked across the street for the meeting. Loud bangs jolted the boys seconds later. Eleazar watched the killers drive away, then ran to his dad’s side as he lay facedown in the street, dead. “He was involved in bad things,” Eleazar’s grandmother, Beatriz Ramirez, 47, said of her 30-year-old son-in-law. “He died three days after his sister also was killed.”
Legions of children like Eleazar – some say as many as 15,000 – have lost one parent or both to the drug-fed malevolence devouring Ciudad Juarez. Fragile seedlings, these children have lives sullied by blood, blackened with loss, gnarled in rage.