Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Security Plan in Mexican Ciudad Juarez Is a “Failure”

Monday, January 31, 2011 |

By Luis Chaparro

Crime scene investigators stand next to the body of a young man that was killed by unknown gunmen at a soccer field in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, late Sunday Jan. 23, 2011. Gunmen spraying automatic weapons fire killed seven people. The message above the entry to the field reads, "Live Better." The field was built as an anti-violence measure in the besieged border city.

A year after the massacre of 15 young people in the Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood of Ciudad Juarez, grassroots groups on Sunday labeled the government’s plan for ending drug-related violence and promoting development in the northern border city “a failure.”

The federal government should overhaul its strategy because it does not address the extreme violence in Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, Citizens Council for Social Development spokesman Laurencio Barraza told Efe.

The government’s “Todos Somos Juarez” program, which was implemented last February, called for carrying out 160 projects dealing with business, jobs, health, education and social development within 100 days.

The projects were designed to rebuild the border city’s society and promote co-existence among residents.

The federal government has spent 3.38 billion pesos (about $277 million) in Ciudad Juarez, with the funds mostly going toward security, education, sports, health, social development and jobs, official figures show.

As the program approaches its one-year anniversary, community groups and residents say they have not seen much progress and that most projects are only half-completed.

“The strategy has some shortcomings that require immediate repair. The programs are being prepared in Mexico City and deal with other problems, not going far enough to eradicate the violence,” Barraza said.

Ciudad Juarez needs not just infrastructure but also dialogue and an end to the control of the streets by organized crime groups, Barraza said.

“For example, what good is it to build a park when you are afraid to go outside for fear of being murdered, as has happened,” Barraza said.

Since Jan. 31, 2010, when the birthday-party massacre occurred in Villas de Salvarcar, Juarez has been the scene of several other attacks targeting young people.

Gunmen killed 15 other teenagers on Oct. 23 at a house in the border city’s Horizontes del Sur neighborhood.

Seven young men were gunned down on Jan. 23 while playing soccer at a recently inaugurated park built as part of the Todos Somos Juarez program.

The federal initiative should not be viewed as a security model “that comes to solve all of the city’s problems,” Todos Somos Juarez program coordinator Humberto Uranga said.

The commitment from the local, state and federal governments was “honest and true,” but greater public participation was needed, especially from the media, Uranga said.

Even though most of the community groups in Ciudad Juarez labeled the federal program a failure, Chihuahua state Human Rights Commissioner Gustavo De la Rosa Hickerson said doing so was tantamount to admitting defeat.

“Acknowledging that it is a failure is very difficult because it means acknowledging that we have been defeated as a society,” the commissioner said.

“The Todos Somos Juarez strategy has been a process, it is a process that is still going on,” De la Rosa said, adding that “unfortunately, it was Ciudad Juarez’s turn to be a field for experimentation and this has been very painful for the city.”

Members of more than 50 community organizations gathered Saturday on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to mark the massacre anniversary.

The demonstrators called for peace and demanded an end to the drug-related violence that has already claimed the lives of more than 140 people in the border city this year.

The community groups are staging a series of events this weekend, including two days of fasting, presentations by relatives of the massacre victims and the binational gathering at the border fence, during their “Road to Justice” campaign.







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18 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

I think after Napolitiona and Obama spoke out today against the Cartels that you will see us soon send troops. Something has happened for them to come out to say something like that. I hope I don't get called up to go down there even though we could clean it up real fast , I am not so sure how the press in MX would view us when collateral damage started happening. Cartels are no better than Islamic terrorist in Iraq they will put innocent people in front of themselves so they wont get killed.

Layla2 said...

Citizens of Juarez and elsewhere have voiced the need for jobs, education, better infastructure, recreation facilities for young people, etc and these things are a necessary part of rebuilding this city.

But you cannot rebuild a building only to have it torn down over and over again. The question then becomes, how can you secure it first, and then build it to last? Is there any other country in the world that has had to do this, and done it successfuly?

What lessons can be learned and what new ideas can be shared?

Anonymous said...

@8:59pm I don't know how easy it would be for y'all to clean it up fast. Wouldn't be able to trust anybody, wouldn't know who's bought n who's not. Plus I wouldn't be surprised if cartels starting paying american soldiers to start crossing drugs if they see it might be easier. There's always somebody out there that's willing to try if money is involved....

Anonymous said...

@January 31, 2011 8:59 PM

"we could clean it up real fast" hahaha you made me laugh so hard im lmao haha...

If you knew anything it would be that to solve Mexico's problems doesn't require a military solution but rather a law enforcement solution. If the FBI or DEA would go down there then yeah I could agree with you somewhat but if you brought the Army and Marines I ask you what investigative experience do they have? They have none! Take criminal justice 101, a course I'm currently taking. Read and learn something in your life. Not everything is about who has the bigger gun..

Anonymous said...

In order to change the horrific crimes that are occurring is change the strategy from Calderon's "War on Drugs & Carteles" to "War on Corruption".
Any person in their right mind knows that in order to bring about change you have to start from within. Its hard to say what percentage of the govt is corrupt. My guess would be more than half. When you have politicians putting a price tag on "plazas" conflicts are bound to happen. Mexico has to understand that drugs is not the problem. Trying to stop the drug trade is like asking people to stop having sex. That will never happen. Greed and Impunity are their own personal demons and need be addressed before anything else. Mexico is rich in many ways including its culture. And it's a shame to see it go down in flames.

SahidMarquez said...

There is so many ignorant Americans here that watch too much mainstream news. Mexico doesn't need help with these cartels, every time Mexican soldiers confront Cartel gunmen they kill them. The organized crime groups in Mexico aren't trying to take over Mexico like Fox News keeps reporting, the organized crime groups in Mexico actually avoid confrontation with Mexican soldiers but sometimes they do clash when they get surrounded or when the local boss of that area needs to escape thus the narco-road blocks. Most of the fighting is between the cartels with each other and NOT to take over the Mexican government. The only to stop the violence in Latin America(Colombia, Mexico, Brazil etc) is to stop the war on drugs which hasn't accomplished nothing other than destabilize countries and incarcerated millions of people.

@8:59

These "Islamic terrorists" in Afghanistan and Iraq(which didn't exist before the invasion) are only trying to defend themselves from an invading force. Also "terrorists" are VERY different than organized crime groups like the Mexican Cartels are. It seems now a days Americans are labeling anyone that doesn't agree/follow American foreign policy a "terrorist".

Anonymous said...

"Mexico has to understand that drugs is not the problem. Trying to stop the drug trade is like asking people to stop having sex. "

Damn that like the smartest comment I've heard so far..I completely agree its just impossible...the war on drugs is lost!!

''lito'brito said...

@ anon January 31, 2011 10:11 PM

yeap you make a good point...clean up the government and that will strike a real blow to the crime ..not only drugs,,,but all the rest as well

''lito'brito said...

i beg to differ ...au contraire...these "gunmen" regularly attack the army and policia...

thats what adds the element of war to it ..they are not afraid to launch guerilla operations against them, even in broad daylight

stand ten soldiers or police on a corner alone , and see what happens...they don't travel in convoys and wear masks just to look cool

Anonymous said...

I still say that if Mexico knows where the "kingpins" live and frequently visit, have the US Air Force on a moments standby to drop the bomb to level the area. If this is done a few times on each new cartel leader they would soon be no one wanting to lead! Yes there might be collateral damage but there is a lot now and when fighting a way, unfortunately there is always some collateral damage. The cartels send messages with bodies, I think the Marines or whatever they are called, along with the help of the U.S. should do the same!

Anonymous said...

@Lito Brito

"stand ten soldiers or police on a corner alone , and see what happens."

Yeah the sicarios get killed that what happens...tell me one time where sicarios actually faced soldiers or police head on and they won a gun battle? Never..they ambush or kill you behind your back like the little cowards they are!

Right and Wrong said...

SahidMarquez is a fool. You are ignorant as to what is really happening in Mexico. The Cartels are fighting for power, money, greed. They have already taken over much of the government already. Do you not think of the police and soldiers as the government?? You are estupido. The Cartels have moved into so many other areas of crime besides the flow of drugs, they will not stop, they need the power and the money. If you solve the drug problem, you still have them and they are the problem. they will move on to something else. Don't be so ignorant. The Cartels MUST BE STOPPED, ALL OF THEM!!!!!

Obviously you do not know your history either, Islamic terrorist have been around for decades! They attacked so many places; Beirut, Russia, Chech, Iran, Norway, etc....

SahidMarquez said...

@ Right and Wrong

What is happening in Mexico also happened in Italy, Colombia and Russia. The reason these drug trafficking organizations are violent is because they are being persecuted by the Mexican federal government and the military aided by the U.S states. Mexican cartels like other organized crime avoid confrontation with the government, the reason they sometime clash with each other is many reasons:
1)The gunmen are being chased by military and they get surrounded/cornered then a shootout begins.
2)The local cell boss is cornered so he calls backup to escape the current situation thus the narco-road blocks/shootouts.
3)The federal police/state police or military clash with other groups on purpose because they have been bought by the dominant cartel in that city/town.(Corrupt police in other words)

The Mexican cartels actually want the economy to flourish and remain stable or gain so they can launder their money home, of course they don't put their eggs in one basket. Not all Mexican cartels have moved to other criminal activities such as human trafficking, sex trade, extortion, shakedowns, "cobro de pizo" etc. Like the Zetas are the ones the most diversified criminal organization in Mexico. Some cartels like La Familia and the splinter groups of Beltran Leyva cells have diversified themselves because they have been getting weaker, Sinaloa Cartel in the other hand gets most of it's income if not all from drug trafficking and whole sale distribution into the U.S and other countries.

Now for the Islamic "terrorist" thing. Places like Dagestan, Chechen(which is part of Russia btw), Iraq and Afghanistan etc. have "terrorist" or rebel forces like I like to call them is because of foreign invasion before that they didn't exist in those occupied/conquered countries. The reason Chechen rebels did the Moscow theater hostage take over and other "terrorist" attacks is because the people have not given in to Russia like the former existing Chechen government has. It's like if Mexico was taken over by the U.S and becomes the 52nd state of the U.S but the Mexican people are still fighting the invading force because they haven't given in to the U.S. like the Mexican government has. Then the U.S calls the rebel Mexicans "terrorists" because they blow a few buildings in the U.S that kills 10,000s meanwhile the U.S military has killed 100,000s of rebel Mexicans.

Anonymous said...

@ any mouse February 1, 2011 11:43 AM

ok buddy you know more about it than i do...you go stand on the corner with them..take a video camera with you so we can see yer last stand

"L"B

Ernest1 said...

Layla2 asked some real good questions here on the second post on this thread. How can a government provide security when in actuality it has failed to provide much of anything else as is the case with Ciudad Juarez?

I would suggest, Layla2, that it can be done and has been done in the past in many countries throughout the globe, but not where it was the government itself that failed to provide jobs, education, security, etc. in the first place.

ajulio said...

@ ernest uno

What? Once again, I didn't understand your answer, or suggestion. Another comment with no answers.

Juarez should ask for a little help from the United States in helping to protect Juarez. The mexican soldiers and policia federales could learn first hand from the american military and together we could control Juarez. There is no way the mexican cartels could handle the U.S. military and the Mexican military with the policia federales. NO F' WAY! and it would keep the local police in check as well. Fort Bliss is so close and yet so far to help our Mexican neighbors.

Who cares if El Diario or proud mexican citizens are against this. The violence is already spilling over to El Paso. In the last few months, there have already been more homicides than the entire year of 2010 in El Paso. There was also a juarez related shooting at an El Paso billiards place. Not to mention the spillover in Nuevo Laredo, Tx and Arizona.

Mexico needs to ask for the help of their BIG BROTHER....THE UNITED STATES OF EFIN AMERICA and together we can bring control to Mexico's border cities.

How do you like dem' apples Ernie boy?

Anonymous said...

Look at the 20 second mark. Miguel Macias has an Ademar Piguet watch. Wow, security work must pay well. really well.

Anonymous said...

Nothing works, the only thing that work is "FREE THE DRUGS" and all violence ill end.

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