Skip to comments.Drug war has Juárez, Mexico, on verge of humanitarian crisis
Posted on 03/08/2009 11:11:27 AM PDT by AuntB
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- Few Americans enter this border city anymore.
Crossing south on the right side of the bridges is lonely, with only a smattering of people, mostly Mexicans living in El Paso. The army base has banned soldiers from crossing, and few if any kids come looking for a good time -- most of the bars have closed anyway.
The reason: Juárez is at war. The city is fighting drug cartels, and the cartels are fighting each other.
In 2008, more than 1,600 people were killed in Juárez in drug-related violence, often assassinations carried out in daylight. Some 6,000 people died in drug-related violence across Mexico last year. More than 100 people have been killed so far this year in Juárez, including at least six policemen kidnapped from their police post, their heads showing up a few days later dropped off at the police station.
Last month, the city's police chief was forced to step down after criminal gangs threatened to kill at least one officer every 48 hours unless Chief Roberto Orduña left his post. To prove their point, gunmen left signs on the slain bodies of a police officer and a jail guard. Days later, gunmen in two cars fired high-powered weapons at a convoy carrying Gov. José Reyes Baeza, killing a body guard and injuring two agents.
Amid the spiraling violence, few suspects are detained, as less than 2 percent of the murders are prosecuted. Eyewitnesses rarely come forward, as it is usually a death sentence; even the emergency medical technicians stopped responding to calls, as the drug gangs let it be known that they would be victims if they attempted to aid someone marked for death.
On the surface, the city functions normally: Starbucks continues to serve coffee, McDonald's is crowded at lunch, and shoppers flock to Walmart and Costco -- although Costco had to use the exit door recently after a drug-related assassination blocked the entry door for a few hours. The police and military responded, blocking off the area as shoppers continued to fill their carts while avoiding the reality of a bloody body lying there.
In an effort to stem the violence spinning out of control, the Mexican Army deployed about 2,500 soldiers in Juárez last spring. Another 5,000 soldiers were deployed last month to take charge of the police department.
At first, the soldiers were welcomed and the heavily armed patrols seemed to calm the city, but they didn't necessarily stop the violence. History has shown that soldiers make poor police officers -- military training is based on achieving an objective, while the police are taught to enforce and respect the law.
Recent events in Juárez seem to show that the military, or at least some of the military, is impatient with the lawmaking and judicial systems, which seem to have failed the citizens of Juárez. The evidence appears to show that military-style death squads are picking up where the justice system has failed.
Two incidents earlier this year point to this likelihood.
The first was the disappearance of Jaime Irigoyen, a pitcher for the local semi-pro baseball team the Juárez Indios and a law student at the local university. Jaime, by all accounts, was a hard-working student, a good ballplayer and the kind of kid cities everywhere need. Asleep at home on a Monday, Jaime was dragged from bed by uniformed soldiers after they knocked down the front door. Soldiers blindfolded Jaime and took him away in the middle of the night with his mother and other family members screaming.
The family held a protest outside the military base the following day, demanding to know what had happened to their son. They found out while protesting: The body -- blindfolded and gagged -- showed up dumped on the street, executed.
By all appearances, Jaime seems to have been abducted by mistake, the result of bad information obtained through torturing low-level informants detained by the military. Of course, no one will ever know, as there is little information and the government and military have offered no comment on the incident.
A more startling incident was a daylight execution I witnessed during morning rush hour on Avenida Tecnológico. Driving to a morning interview with a friend, we heard gunshots as we approached an intersection in a busy section of the city. As we entered the intersection, we saw three heavily armed men dressed in unmarked navy-colored combat fatigues deployed in fighting position with a green pickup truck blocking traffic.
The men were firing automatic weapons into a red Honda Civic stopped at the traffic light. The event was precise and over within a few seconds. By the time we stopped the car, the armed men had already fled the scene, leaving behind the sole passenger of the vehicle slumped over the steering wheel.
The victim turned out to be a former policeman known as ''Rambo'' who had become involved with the drug cartels. Within moments, two military vehicles loaded with soldiers drove past while on patrol, at first noticing me with my cameras more than the scene I was photographing. After passing, they suddenly turned around and began unloading into the street as stunned commuters still in their cars sat, as if waiting for the light to change.
Soon, all those who had witnessed the attack drove off before attracting attention and before the police arrived to close the area and conduct what investigation they could, given that all of their eyewitnesses had left the scene.
The attack was precise, quickly executed and efficient. Not a single bullet missed the mark, a wall less than five feet from the shooting showed no scars, and only 12 shell casings were found left behind. That's quite a contrast to the executions of a year ago, in which drug gangs would routinely expend 200 or more rounds to hit their targets. The assassinations are either getting more efficient, or a better brand of assassin is in town.
HOW U.S. IS AFFECTED
America needs to be worried about Juárez.
The drugs destroying the city are destined for the U.S. market to feed our addictions. Imagine if 1,600 people were killed in a drug war on our northern border in a city such as Toronto or Vancouver?
The border crossing from Juárez to El Paso is jammed daily with Mexican citizens trying to flee the violence. The United States had to open a new, expanded consulate this year in Juárez, partly to accommodate the influx of immigration applications. If the situation in Juárez continues to spin out of control, the potential number of refugees entering El Paso -- with a metropolitan population of about 750,000 -- would be overwhelming. It is impossible to secure a border with 1.3 million people trying to flee violence.
Juárez is on the verge of becoming a humanitarian crisis, an undeclared war being fought on our border -- and threatening to spill onto U.S. soil.
Soon after the police chief's resignation, anonymous signs were posted around Ciudad Juárez applauding the move while naming another potential target: Mayor José Reyes Ferriz and his family. Without offering specific information, the signs threatened beheadings, even if it meant crossing the border to reach family members in El Paso if the mayor continued ``helping you know who.''
Richard Ellis is a three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee photographer, a former war photographer and creator of Getty Images News Photos. His photographs have been published worldwide for the past 25 years. He traveled to Juárez, Mexico, to tell the story of the drug violence in the country
"Amid the spiraling violence, few suspects are detained, as less than 2 percent of the murders are prosecuted. Eyewitnesses rarely come forward, as it is usually a death sentence; even the emergency medical technicians stopped responding to calls, as the drug gangs let it be known that they would be victims if they attempted to aid someone marked for death."
Juárez is on the verge of becoming a humanitarian crisis, an undeclared war being fought on our border -- and threatening to spill onto U.S. soil."
“The first was the disappearance of Jaime Irigoyen, a pitcher for the local semi-pro baseball team the Juárez Indios and a law student at the local university. Jaime, by all accounts, was a hard-working student, a good ballplayer and the kind of kid cities everywhere need. Asleep at home on a Monday, Jaime was dragged from bed by uniformed soldiers after they knocked down the front door. Soldiers blindfolded Jaime and took him away in the middle of the night with his mother and other family members screaming.
The family held a protest outside the military base the following day, demanding to know what had happened to their son. They found out while protesting: The body — blindfolded and gagged — showed up dumped on the street, executed. “
WTF??? This is Mexico’s idea of handling the problem?
And apparently Obama is too under his pay grade to bother handling an invasion of a guerilla army invading our country???
That sounds about right for Jerry Rivers. He reminds me of the guy in the audience of Carlos Mencia. Mencia was chiding them for coming here and trying to turn the US into the mess they left....Mencia kept saying, “C’mon you can do it...say it...Mexico sucks!”
Sub-prime mortages are more important. Move along.
Those of us in Texas know a lot of this but we’re having to dig like crazy just to get accurate NEWS, our “media” is a disgrace so I go online to Mexican newspapers, now that’s pathetic.
San Antonio Tx TV news is like watching the local tourist bureau propaganda, except for the daily drive-by shooting reports.
The drug cartels' militia routinely wear offical uniforms, drive government official vehicles and carry state of the art military hardware. This is probably the drug cartel's idea of handling the problem.
Of course, the distinction between the state and the cartels is becoming very ambiguous.
“Those of us in Texas know a lot of this but were having to dig like crazy just to get accurate NEWS, our media is a disgrace so I go online to Mexican newspapers, now thats pathetic.”
I hear ya. Much of our news about Mexico comes from foreign news sources. Most of the reporters have been assassinated down there. There is a video on the net of one reporter on a freeway trying to dodge bullets from both sides.
Nah, we don’t need a border fence. Everything is cool.
I see this morning that the maquilidoras along the border are shutting down and running back to the USA out of fear. Do you think those workers will be the first influx of ‘refugees’? It’s closer to the USA than it is to their homes far away in southern Mexico.
A few years back there were some cattle rustled and taken across the border. It became an international incident and our brand inspector was sent south to investigate. He was met by a group of military guys with guns slung over their shoulder, they drove throughout the countryside kicking in doors and intimidating innocent people just because they could and still look like they were doing something. The brand inspector was pretty sure they knew who had actually done the deed but were too afraid to go after them.
He said he was terrified and kissed the ground when he got back across the border.
Look at 'em---buncha drugged-up war profiteers salivating to get their hands on US monies. These sob stories are so bogus.....the espanola con artists have been planning this for a long time.
The con game is clear-----they whine as they sneak over our borders, just "god's children looking for a better life." Doing menial jobs cheap is part of the con.
Now they are in high gear-----using scare tactics to alarm the US into getting involved in Third World problems---of their own making. WHO'S KIDDING WHO? The Third World deliberately foments social unrest---manipulating drug activities and gang warfare on US soil for a targeted goal. THE STORY THUS FAR America ends up subsidizing illegal Third World undesirables who rape and kill, molest our kids, rob our businesses, and cause multiple deadly car wrecks.
They are salivating to get their hands on trillions of US tax dollars. Echos of Mideast greed resound south of the border.
Conniving Third World governments are pepetrating a con to get US dollars flowing into the pockets of greedy federales and drug lords. All under the guise of "stopping" the drug wars. BIG CLUE they are now using children as foils.
The espanolas are using the same playbook as Mideast connivers----the well-worn chapter entititled "How To Dupe the US Into Pouring Trillions Into Your Country."
The con job entails faking that they can't govern....that they are "helpless victims." Sure worked good in the Mideast---some of those lowlifes have been operating for years and are STILL too stupid to govern themselves.....UNLESS US tax dollars are pouring in.
CON ALERT Now watch the espanolas assay these tried and true Mideast cons to get the US tax dollars flowing:
1. Victimization----always works.
2. Baiting "enemies" of the US to attack their Third World hellholes (or, more precisely, people THEY claim are US enemies) in order to dupe the US to step in, and step up the dollar flow.
3. Sending espanola government agents masquerading as drug lords into the countryside to foment unrest.
4. Populating the US with espanola government agents to agitate for US govt involvement to trigger the flow of US tax dollars.
We get our news from an employee whose home is in Juarez and who, himself, has lost one grandson and another one was stabbed 58 times but lived.
It is crazy down there and getting crazier because what law enforcement there is is concerned with the drug wars and the other crooks and murderers know it and go about doing their deeds blatantly.
I saw that AuntB, it was on one of your posts which I’m grateful for. You’re always up early scouting the news about Mexico, much appreciated. If you have a ping list, add me to it. When I see your handle tagged to the article, I read it. Thanks you!
i no longer stop for gas or motels in el paso, tx.
I go online to Mexican news as well.
I am assuming it is safe to put the news online but a lot of the stories have bylines, which is dangerous.
“bad information obtained through torturing low-level informants...”
How does he know that?
It is just as likely the uniformed soliders could have been drug guys with bad information in the first place.
Foreign invaders and not friends of ours!
Wake Up America!
Amnesty. Now for the 20-40 million already here. Shortly thereafter for the war refugees and then the rest of Mexico and Central America. I can see here a possible military adventure for Hussein. It might well get even Conservative and Republican support at first as it is touted as a move to "fix the border."
” a humanitarian crisis” = REFUGEES
at least that’s my guess. i suppose we should forget any notion of the border being secured...I can hear it now...”it wouldn’t be “humanitarian” to prevent those in “crisis” from coming into the USA.”
guess I didn’t read down far enough....do you know if this means they are ALREADY GETTING refugee status?
“The border crossing from Juárez to El Paso is jammed daily with Mexican citizens trying to flee the violence. The United States had to open a new, expanded consulate this year in Juárez, partly to accommodate the influx of immigration applications. If the situation in Juárez continues to spin out of control, the potential number of refugees entering El Paso — with a metropolitan population of about 750,000 — would be overwhelming. It is impossible to secure a border with 1.3 million people trying to flee violence.”
An update on the fence...http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_11862456
Mexico is reverting to pre-Colombian pagan savagery same as was in the movie Apocalypto
Except the guys in Apocalypto dressed better.
When they run out of bullets they’ll fight each other with macquahuitl and machetes
Every year my Lutheran Church in Ottawa Kansas sends a group down to Mexico during spring break to build houses in Mexico. This year they were told they can not come do to the violence. They are going to do something stateside, like help repair a mission.
Except the guys in Apocalypto dressed better.......
LOL right on that!
There are some VERY old missions near El Paso that could probably use some help. They were in pretty bad shape when I left the area 8 years ago.
I have never been to Mexico. I cannot understand how anyone could want too go to Mexico.
I understand that 30 years ago, it may have been a nice vacation spot, but now, I’d rather go to Afghanistan than Mexico. Even Haiti is looking like a safer, more enjoyable place.
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If there is a “humanitarian crisis” going on in Mexico, can we expect Sean Penn to go(with his cameraman..er..cameraperson, excuse me, my bad!)anytime soon?
“Mexico is reverting to pre-Colombian pagan savagery same as was in the movie Apocalypto”
I recently saw that movie. Very interesting.
“guess I didnt read down far enough....do you know if this means they are ALREADY GETTING refugee status?”
Well, technically I guess they’re illegal aliens.....until someone gives ‘em amnesty that is.
I can see Nobama publicly acknowledging that Mexico is a war zone - getting many of the wary cheering for coming out with something truthful. The next day or so he talks about how we have a moral responsibility to take in the war refugees. Of course, all the illegals who’ve been here twenty plus years are retroactive refugees.
Bammo...30 million new Democrats in one swoop riding in on misplaced white guilt and the tyranny of Political Correctness. And the RINOs will finally be able to drop any pretense of conservatism to freely worship at the One’s feet.
The U.S. can secure anything it wants to, when it comes to actual human beings. Our government has stood by as the cartel gangs have entrenched inside the United States. It won’t be a year or two before we’ll have a full blow war on the streets of our nation, with these gangs causing severe problems from one end of the nation to the other.
We already have some places where police are reluctant to go. Watch those areas expand. You and the rest of us have tried to tell our government what was going to happen. They flipped us off and did what they wanted anyway.
Heaven help us with regard to what is just ahead, because our own government never will.
Apocalypto mashes the Aztecs and Mayan together but is mostly set in Mayan land and was filmed where the Mayans live today...... I may be wrong on that. It was filmed in Veracruz where the Aztecs dominated and where Cortez landed and then proceeded to conquer Tenochtitlan toady’s Mexico City
It sure is.