Mexico's Deadliest City

 Bang, Bang. You're dead. Welcome to Ciudad Juarez.

For the past two years, there has been a war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels for the city of Juarez, just across the US border near the Rio Grande. Juarez is a seedy, dirty, hole called a city. Dead bodies, riddled with bullet holes, literally hang from highway overpasses, children stumble over dead bodies going to school.

A city of 100,000, so far this year it has had 2250 murders. The deadliest American city is Baltimore, a city of 500,000. It had 37.

The battle between the cartels is over the drug routes that they use to share, but in 2008, the war turned personal and the two groups are doing each other in. To combat this, the Mexican army sent 7000 troops to Juarez in May 2008. The violence continued unabated as the drug cartels turned to kidnapping, bank robberies and carjackings. El Paso is just across the border and many Americans  use to patronage the Juarez nightclubs, that is no more.  Nowhere is safe. Shootouts have occurred in shopping malls, hospitals,schools etc. The only booming businesses are the funeral homes that are having a banner year! The city has lost over 6000 businesses, and the mayor requested UN troops. President Calderon quickly stepped in stating that Mexico could handle its own problems. 

Night is the worse. Drivers would rather run a red light than to stop and face a SUV drive by and open fire, or someone approaches to carjack your car. Many innocents are simply caught in the crossfire- the wrong place at the right time. Hundreds of women were killed and their bodies dumped in the desert back in the 90s. Even the police are frequently ambushed and killed by roving cartel death squads driving in black SUVs with no license plates.

Of the cases that do reach the Mexican courts, many are tossed out by a crooked judge or a judge that finds the witness was coerced and tortured for the testimony or lack of evidence. The amount of death in this city over the years has made the young ones there callous and indifferent about the killings. As one 17 yr old said, "I've seen bodies near my house, on the way to school, outside of my work. It's no longer weird to see bodies.

Avoid going to Juarez. Avoid traveling by car into Mexico. Once you arrive at your resort or destination, do not venture out much alone. Between the cartel drug wars and corrupt police that stop you and demand money, Mexico should be avoided.

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