Bringing the story up-to-date--September 2009

Trip Start Nov 25, 2006
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Flag of United States  , Texas
Sunday, August 30, 2009

My posts here were becoming more and more political; too political, I thought, for a travel site. So I started my own blog on Blogger, and then began writing for internet news sites as a citizen journalist. Upshot: I didn't update this Border Explorer blog last year upon our return to El Paso. The situation on the border deteriorated severely, and it became prohibitive for us to venture into Juarez very much at all. It is bleak and grim.

I'm writing this post from Iowa now since Travelpod featured one of my entries on Juarez on their "10 Most Dangerous Cities on Earth" post. That's brought lots of extra traffic here. We still plan to return to El Paso. I blog about the situation other places now. We're committed to return, although honestly, right now, going back to a war zone doesn't sound all that attractive to me. But I love the border. We'll be back.

Here's a good short synopsis of the violence in Juarez entitled "The World's Most Violent City." I'm reprinting it from Offline, la notizia in altre parole:

Ciudad Juarez is a major Mexican city on the border with the United States, 1 and a half million inhabitants and a strong economic integration with neighbour El Paso, Texas. But unfortunately the city is known for his appalling crime rate that has made it the most violent city in the world.The Mexican president has sent 10,000 soldiers of the army to maintain order, but so far the results seem poor.

In the city nearly 3,000 people are killed each year, a number 4 times higher than in the whole Italy and ten times greater than our Mafia murders.Most of the killings are due to clashes between gangs for control of drug trafficking, but also the number of lawyers, judges, policemen and journalists killed is impressive. Add to that a series of vicious murders of young women who have long made investigators think of one or more serial killers, at least 400 girls killed during a dozen years. And the disappearances of young women still continue today, but almost take a back seat compared to the violent war on drugs.

Recently was killed a detective of the city prosecutor who was investigating the assassination of a journalist. Over the years, accusations of inefficiency and corruption against local police have multiplied, and there were indeed several cases in which some policemen were on the payroll of the drug cartels. The United States also have their responsibilities, the Free Trade Agreement NAFTA has impoverished the Mexican countryside and increase urbanization, with all the social problems that this entails.

Moreover, the large U.S. and international companies that have their factories in Ciudad Juarez have been accused in the case of murders of young women to have jeopardized the safety of their workers, such as shifts in the evening or at night, without any bus service running.

But another accusation that hit the United States is the very idea of the "war on drugs", another useless and losing war inherited from Bush. Already the UN, several South American politicians and many civil organizations have taken a stand against the excesses of Prohibition, which end up not getting any results. The Latin American Committee on Drugs and Democracy called on President Obama to decriminalize cannabis and treat drug abuse as a health issue and not a security one. The idea of decriminalization is making progress in Argentina and Mexico and it is time for the entire world to understand that such a war as well as being a waste of resources and lives, cannot be won. All the drug wars in fact do nothing but fragment the crime gangs and make them more violent.

But right now the immediate problem in Ciudad Juarez is to restore order and state control in the city. For the moment a growing number of Mexican citizens is buying a house in El Paso, to escape the most dangerous city in the world.Francesco Defferrari


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