Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz; “I’m not thinking about the threats. I think about what needs to be done in my city and I do it.”
Juarez, Mexico, a stone’s throw from El Paso, Texas represents an important business center for the United States, supplying dozens of U.S. companies with auto parts, electronics and other manufactured goods. But the city is under siege, a fact acknowledged by the Obama Administration, which is crafting contingency plans to send the National Guard to the border if conditions deteriorate further.
Homeland Security’s Operations Director told Congress last week that National Guard troops will be sent to the border only as a “last resort” to combat threats from Mexico’s drug cartels. The cartels have publicly targeted politicians and police from the federal to the local level.
Take Juárez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz. He now travels in an armed convoy whenever he leaves City Hall.
The border area between the United States and Mexico has become so violent that the State Department issued a travel alert last month. The warning says, “A war between criminal organizations for control of the lucrative narcotics trade continues along the border. Foreign visitors, including Americans, have been among the victims.” It’s one thing for visitors to avoid the border cities or at least to be alert to their surroundings. It’s another thing for the folks who live there. The World’s Lorne Matalon has our story.
Matalon: I’m walking across a pedestrian bridge from El Paso, Texas into Juárez, Mexico. The two cities are for all intents and purposes one entity with separate governments sharing the same problems. Right now the overriding problem is the influence of the Mexican drug cartels, principally here the Juárez Cartel which is involved in a horrific fight between it, the Juárez Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel.
Matalon: Juárez today is a sprawling cauldron of chaos and violence one of the cartels’ preferred routes to “el otro lad,o” the other side, the U.S. The Mexican Army arrived 3 weeks ago after the latest spike in murders included the execution of a police commander who refused to protect the Juárez Cartel. At the same time, the editor of the daily ‘Norte de Ciudad de Juárez’ has pulled his reporters from further cartel investigations after 2 reporters were killed and others threatened. Alfredo Quijano says his paper now only publishes gov’t reports of arrests and deaths.