I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Drug trafficking to U.S. brought a grisly year to citizens of Juarez
As 2009 draws to a close, senior Mexican officials have concluded that the deployment of 10,000 soldiers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico this year has failed to control the violence and crime that has stricken the city over the past two years, says a Washington Post report this week. Mexican drug cartels have been fighting over the lucrative drug trade including critical entry points into the United States drug market, which puts Juarez—located across the border from El Paso, Texas—at the center of the violence. In 2009, over 2600 people were killed, according to the El Paso Times on the last day of the year.
The murders in Juarez account for more than one third of the 6,000 deaths throughout Mexico in 2009 that are attributed to the drug trade violence. There are eight to ten murders a day in the city, with more than 7,000 orphans and 100,000 displaced people, according to the Washington Post. The city is feared by many to be descending into lawlessness, with many of the business and political elite either dead or fleeing to El Paso:
… Most of the members of the business and political elite of Juarez, including the mayor, now either sleep or maintain a second home in El Paso. The chief human rights advocate also retreated across the river.
Well-known prosecutors, professors, attorneys, doctors, executives and journalists have been assassinated. Victims also include a growing number of small-shop owners because extortion is rampant; earlier this week an elderly woman selling burritos at a busy intersection near the tourist zone was shot dead. Police counted 36 shell casings at the scene.
The deployment of troops to Juarez was bolstered by U.S. aid of $1.4 billion in 2007. Now, the Mexican government is reassessing its strategy. Mexican President Felipe Calderon has been resisting backing away from the military approach, saying it would be tantamount to surrender. But civic leaders are urging a shift in focus to the roots of drug trafficking instead:
Calderón has resisted calls to alter his military strategy, saying it would be tantamount to surrender. But a growing chorus of civic leaders and lawmakers here has urged the government to focus on the roots of drug trafficking rather than efforts to eradicate the cartel leaders, who draw their power from billions of dollars in drug sales in the United States.