The World's 'Murder Capital' Hopes for Rebirth

War-torn Ciudad Juarez yearns for the return of 100,000 self-exiled residents, and a resurrection

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On the U.S. East Coast, retailers are hoping that huge storms won't interfere with Christmas sales. In Mexico's Ciudad Juarez, residents are hoping that the city--the center of Mexico's bloody drug war--will get some relief from the violence. With over 2,500 drug-related murders this year, Ciudad Juarez is reportedly the deadliest city in the world, with far more murders even than Baghdad. Making matters worse, the city is so choked by corruption that "facts, like people, simply disappear" as an Atlantic dispatch reports. Amid the state of violence, what are the city's people hoping for this year?

  • The Return of 100,000 "Juarenses" Though Forbes recently named El Paso, Texas, which sits directly across the border from Ciudad Juarez, one of the cities where Americans are getting rich, Sergio Conde Varela highlights that much of the credit should go to the 100,000 "Juarenses" who have relocated to El Paso since the drug war began. These citizens, he says, are part of an obligatory exodus to escape an atmosphere of danger. "All types of legitimate businesses and moral people have left Juarez, and it's lamentable that their efforts and money must be put to work abroad as a result of a lack of help and seriousness on the part of government bodies.
  • Death and Resurrection Alvaro Vargas Llosa recalls a time when Ciudad Juarez made front-page news for convincing scores of multi-national firms to set up their main production facilities in the city. That picture, though, has now been stained with blood. "Actually, one wishes Juarez could just die and eventually be born again. Unlike people, cities can endure almost anything for as long as necessary. Some call it resilience, but an entire generation of Mexicans who have done nothing wrong would appreciate a little less resilience and a little more life."
  • UN Peacekeepers Having the highest homicide rate in the world has begun to drive business and investment away from Ciudad Juarez. Daniel Murguia, president of the city's National Chamber of Commerce, makes the case for bringing in UN Peacekeepers to stem the violence. "We have seen UN peacekeepers enter other countries that have a lot fewer problems than we have. What we are asking for with the blue helmets [UN peacekeepers] is that we know they are the army of peace, so we could use not only the strategies they have developed in other countries ... but they also have technology."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.