Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Numbed by Ciudad Juarez’s endless killings, Mexico shrugs off teen party deaths

October 26, 2010

The people of Ciudad Juarez are starting to lose all hope. When gunmen burst into a birthday party on Friday and killed 14 people, the horrific act should have at least shocked Mexican authorities into action. But even the sight of blood running out of a suburban patio, the broken chairs and the party-goers’ bodies slumped on the concrete have become all too familiar in the desert city across from El Paso, Texas.MEXICO-SHOOTING/

It was at the start of 2010 that another, gruesomely similar shooting was warning enough that the city was spiraling toward criminal anarchy.

In January in a working class neighborhood just blocks away from Friday’s shooting, gunmen killed 15 people, again mainly teenagers, at a party. Back then, just like on Friday, a nearby federal police checkpoint seemed to turn a blind eye to what was going on and did nothing to stop the killers.

At the very least in January, the mother of one of the slain teenagers had the chance to vent her anger in person at Felipe Calderon, the conservative president who launched Mexico’s drug war four years ago. The Mexican leader was sufficiently moved by the January killings to fly to Ciudad Juarez and there, amMEXICO-DRUGS/id national outrage, he announced a plan to rebuild the broken, dirty mess of the city that was once lauded as a poster child for free trade, with its factories producing fridges and television for U.S. consumers.

Poverty, joblessness and a lack of a future for the young, it was rightly said, were the sources of much of the drug gang warfare that has broken out in Ciudad Juarez since 2008.

That reconstruction has included thousands of education grants, parks and community centers, hospital beds and giving almost 140,000 more people access to free medical care. There is even a sports field dedicated to the teenagers killed in January. But most of the streets of Ciudad Juarez are still folorn and many in the downtown that once catered to free-wheeling American tourists are filled with crumbling buildings. Childrens’ playgrounds lie abandoned, covered with graffiti. Killers are still at large.MEXICO-SHOOTING/

Residents say that after eight months, a new federal police operation to fight drug gangs, and hundreds more murders, Calderon’s plan has failed. It’s hard to disagree.

But what seems worse is the sense that authorities are becoming numbed by the killings, now at almost 7,000 in the city since January 2008. Calderon’s condemnation of Friday’s killing was limited to a few brief remarks on Twitter and a later statement. Police investigating the crime so far have only two basic sketches of a suspect.  Officials said on Monday they have no plans to investigate the former attorney general in Chihuahua, the state which includes Ciudad Juarez. Her kidnapped brother said in a video posted on the Internet this week that he worked for a drug cartel and ordered hits on her behalf. The new mayor’s only contribution has been to say that he is scared, just like everyone else.

Comments

I know this is an obvious answer that someone, somewhere down there has thought of. Why don’t they stop the flow of drugs TO THE DEALERS IN MEXICO, before they can smuggle it here? They would have nothing to smuggle, so why fight for routes with nothing to sell?

Posted by sthomas291 | Report as abusive
 

The real problem isn’t Mexican drug smugglers, but the American appetite for drugs. No demand, no criminal drug trade.

Posted by SirSquid | Report as abusive
 

These poor people in Juarez, and now in Tepic as well, pity such a pity…..

time to end Prohibition and this crazy war on drugs that can’t be won. stop militarizing this drug situation and deal with it like Portugal has, decriminalizing them all, strictly controlling the addictive ones, and putting the resources into education and rehabilitation.

Calderon’s war has totally failed, when is he going to wake up? how many peole have to be killed and why do these news articles and news blogs never talk about the one and only way out – decriminalization etc. and yet Calderon is much like Bush was and can’t admit that he’s been wrong all along, tragically starting this war. he needs to go, too bad they can’t impeach him; so the other members of the political and economic elites have better force him to change all his policies about drugs and end this fruitless and sad war. too many civilians are being killed. time to try something really new and that doesn’t mean more grants they have to get to the root causes it’s pretty simple, just like in Prohibition in the US, you make liquor legal and regulate production and sale and the mobs lost their power and most of the violence ended. geez

Posted by michael72 | Report as abusive
 

Dear friends,

I am trying to raise awareness about what is going on here in El Paso – Juarez area. I work as a professor at colleges on both sides of the border and I have met many persons affected by this sad situation. Just today, a young student was shot by Federal Police officers during a march.

If it serves your interests please share the links below; if not, please excuse my nerve and kindly disregard this message.

The inhabitants of Ciudad Juarez repudiate the violence that has plagued our city for the past 30 months.
Men and women of good; we have seen friends and relatives succumb to the bullets, we have seen our neighbors closing down their businesses and losing their means of living. We are afraid to drive through our streets. We feel constant fear, now we distrust each other.
We cannot resort to the authorities, throughout this time we have been victims of their greed and abuse. Our leaders are indifferent and incompetent. They only simulate a void interest and do little to remedy the situation. With empty words they present, as an official version, a picture outside our everyday reality, while making every effort to hide the shameful events that repeat day after day in this border town.
Our only recourse is to raise our voice to the international community. To submit our testimony and show to the world the extermination acts of which we are victims today.
We want men and women from all countries to know what is really happening in Ciudad Juarez.

I have spoken before students and professors; If you are interested, I can offer a presentation.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Guillermo Cervantes, Ph. D.
zxxvii@gmail.com

Ciudad Juárez, México. 2008-2010,

A photographic testimony of our pain: http://www.ciudadjuarez2008-2010.com

Un testimonio fotográfico de nuestro dolor: http://ciudadjuarez2008-2010esp.blogspot .com/

Posted by zxxvii | Report as abusive
 

The Mexican Government will never stop the drug business in their country; it contributes an estimated 40 billion dollars to their GDP. The number one contribution over their Pemex oil, tourism and agriculture. The Mexican Government knew drugs were passing through their country for over 45 years and did nothing to stop it because there was no violence associated with the trafficking and politicians were the recipients of the kick backs from the Cartels. I have traveled through Mexico for a number of years, when I first started my excursions, my very first impression was that it is a lawless country and now it is even worse. When this violence started between the Cartels, they blamed the U.S. for its demand for the drugs. As is now they are the recipients of kidnappings, extortion to businesses, corruption within their own government, police and armed services. What does this have to do with the U.S. demand? Absolutely nothing, this is the total result of a lawless 3rd world country blaming someone else for their own creation of violence within. This will never subside enough to call it under control. It is now the stigma image Mexico will have for a number of years. Although the above is a personal view point, the following is a stat that was published in April, 2010. Mexico prosecutes approximately 26% of the crimes committed in their country and only convicts 2%.

Posted by jaraus1966 | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •