2000 Federal Troops Patrol Juarez

Trip Start Nov 25, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Friday, March 28, 2008

If you know any twin cities like Buda/pest or St. Paul/Minneapolis, you know what Ciudad Juarez/El Paso is like: two cities that grew together. The only difference is that they're in different countries, so the access between them is more controlled.

So what happens when all the drugs that are moving north get stopped at the border? What happens when drug cartels vie for control of the corridor? Chaos happens. Today federal soldiers deployed to Juarez patrol the streets in 180 heavily armed military vehicles & three aircraft (including a helicopter gunship). Since Jan 1, 2008 drug violence has yielded almost 200 murders there--half of them in the pattern of a car ambush that ends in a shooting spree or a bulet-riddled body dumped in the street. El Paso fears the violence will spill over from its sister city.

I wasn't exaggerating when I called it a war zone. I feel safe here...while violence rages just 30 minutes away.

We hosted a poet houseguest recently, and I was flattered to have him dedicate a poem he wrote here to me. Relevant to our consideration of the twin city status, the haiku follows with his permission:

(for Billie)

el paso juarez
squeeze a handful of sunlight
two worlds one diamond
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