AL DÍA: Traveling the Texas-Mexico Border

2/24/2012 Eric Olson and Chris Wilson of the Mexico Institute are currently driving the entirety of the Texas-Mexico border, beginning in El Paso/Ciudad Juarez, ending in Brownsville/Matamoros, and blogging along the way.

Day four:We are just back from an interesting and intense couple of days in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  By some estimates, CJ has been the most violent city in the world 2 out of the last 3 years.  Drug related homicides declined roughly 30% between 2010 and 2011. For some this is cause for celebration.  For others, the decline is welcome news, but CJ is still experiencing the world’s second highest homicide rate at 148/100,000 just below San Pedro Sula, Honduras with 159/100,000.  Small consolation.

A recurring question the past two days as we interviewed Mexican and U.S. officials, the private sector and civil society organizations was, “Why did homicides decline in CJ during 2011?”…     Read more of Eric Olson’s post on security issues in Ciudad Juarez

The local economy of Ciudad Juarez appears divided. On the one hand, manufacturing in the Maquiladora industry has remained strong through the period of violence in the city, even growing as the economic recovery takes hold in the United States. While it isn’t entirely clear why, factories’ professional security systems, short shipping distances due to their close proximity to the border, and better access to law enforcement assistance seem to have largely protected maquilas from the all too common extortion rackets.

Small and medium sized businesses, on the other hand, were devastated by them. There are signs of new life in the restaurant and entertainment industries, but boarded up stores are still a common site…    Read more of Chris Wilson’s post on economic issues in Ciudad Juarez


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