Ciudad Juárez trembles again

10/29/16 The Economist

Ciudad JuárezIN PUERTO DE LA PAZ, a settlement of hardscrabble houses and shacks in the western suburbs of Ciudad Juárez, a new three-storey community centre offers taekwondo, five-a-side football and classes in baking and giving beauty treatments. It is one of 49 such centres in poorer parts of this sprawling industrial city jammed against Mexico’s border with Texas. Intended to offer young people alternatives to organised crime, they are a sign of change in a place that became known as “the world’s most dangerous city”.

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Human trafficking among Mexico’s lucrative crimes

08/07/16 El Paso Times 

human trafficking by Flikr user Brett JordanJUAREZ — After drug trafficking, human trafficking in México is the illicit activity that generates the most money for criminal groups, according to a high-ranked official of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

“It gives organized crime more revenue than human smuggling and gun trafficking,” said Mariana Alegret Cendejas, regional officer of International Cooperation of the UNODC, at a conference designed to prevent and combat human trafficking.

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Famed Mexico Drug Lord Challenging Sinaloa Cartel: Official

Insight Crime 07/06/16 

chihuahua-mapIntelligence reports suggest legendary drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero is seeking to expel the Sinaloa Cartel from Mexico‘s Chihuahua state, raising fears the city of Ciudad Juárez may experience yet another drug-fueled murder spike.

Chihuahua’s attorney general, Jorge Enrique González Nicolás, said on July 5 that military intelligence indicates Caro Quintero “hopes to dispute and occupy the Sinaloa Cartel‘s territory” in the state, reported Reforma. This includes the northern border city of Ciudad Juárez, once considered the murder capital of the world in part due to violence between warring drug cartels.

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Life looking across the US-Mexico border in El Paso: ‘You are glad you are here’

06/28/16 The Guardian 

El Paso and Juarez by Flickr user dherrera 96Efren Macias, 70, lives in a one-room rented apartment, only 1,000ft from a 15ft-high fence splitting El Paso from Mexico. His apartment is immaculately kept, the walls decorated with religious icons and pictures of his family, many of whose members live in Mexico.

Efren and his wife do not have a lot of money. They make about $1,000 a month from a small pension he receives and from her occasional home-care work. Yet they are content. “I am happy. I have a roof. I have food. I am safe. I see my family. I am not sure what more you need.”

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Mexico’s drug wars, rendered in art

06/17/2016 The Economist

ciudad juarezIN REACTION to the destruction of a city, Picasso painted “Guernica”, depicting the bombing of the Spanish town in 1937. Though the painting was widely celebrated, Jean-Paul Sartre later expressed scepticism that it had ever “won over a single heart to the Spanish cause”. For Sartre the painting sidestepped political reality by turning “cruelty into abstract figures”. This same question, of art’s usefulness in the face of massive human suffering, provides the animating force behind an exhibition by the Belgian-born artist Francis Alÿs, at the David Zwirner Gallery in London, about life in the once prosperous U.S.-Mexico border town of Ciudad Juárez.

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Juárez factory workers are protesting for their rights with an ‘Occupy-style’ sit-in

2/17/2016 The Guardian 

ciudad juarezIf Karl Marx could visit the freezing, rickety shack by Bulevar Independencia, he might reconsider the inevitability of labour trumping capital.

There is gravel underfoot, the tarpaulin roof flaps in the winter wind and frost dampens the cardboard walls. Traffic roars past, oblivious, and the handful of occupants inside subsist on donated beans and tortillas.

Tattered banners proclaiming “libertad sindical” (union freedom) and “justicia a la clase obrera” (justice for the working class) adorn the walls. This is the nerve centre of Ciudad Juárez’s worker rebellion.

Opposite the shack – behind security cameras, guards and gates – is the factory that fired them after they tried to form a union.

Lexmark, a Kentucky-based corporate leader in laser printers, is worth around $2bn and has the support of Mexico’s political establishment and apparently also its media and Catholic hierarchy, notwithstanding Pope Francis’s visit to Juárez on Wednesday.

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Women Journey to Mexico to Put Focus on Immigration during Pope Visit

2/17/16 NBC News

Border fence by couchlearnerFor Guillermina Castellanos, the Pope’s message on compassion for immigrants is personal. Though she and her nine children are U.S. citizens, the California resident said her husband has been living in the U.S. for about 20 years and has not been able to legalize his status. Every time her daughters see a police officer drive up behind them, they’re afraid that their father will get pulled over and get arrested for being undocumented.

I tell them, ‘Don’t be afraid. The cop won’t do anything to your dad,'” Castellanos said. “But they still live with that constant fear.”

The Pope’s trip to the city of Juárez, Mexico on Wednesday is drawing hundreds of thousands of faithful on both sides of the border. But as the eyes of the world descend on the Pontiff’s visit to the area, some U.S. families like Castellanos say they want to ensure that people focus on the Pope’s message of compassion and dignity for immigrants.

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