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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Another Black Record: 2,657 Murders

Ciudad Juarez, Chih - The fateful statistic of homicides in Ciudad Juarez has amounted to a total of 2,657 victims during 2009, a figure that exceeds by 63 percent the homicides that were registered in 2008, when they murdered 1,623 people, reported the newspaper sources through their archives and based on official data provided by the Attorney General Office of the Northern Zone.

The phenomenon of violence grew despite the fact that in March of last year the federal government, in conjunction with state and municipal police reinforced Joint Operation Chihuahua, who eventually had 7,500 military soldiers and 2,300 federal police to guard the streets of Juarez.

But that was not enough to stop the war waged by members of organized crime in the streets.

During the year of 2009 that just ended saw 163 females killed and 2,494 males killed, among the victims that make up the statistics were teenagers and children who lost their lives while getting caught in the cross fire of the sicarios or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Also 66 police officers from various police agencies were killed. This is the only number where there was a very slight decline, as in 2008 there were 71 police officers killed.

"It's something totally horrible, of what is being talked about there is so much crime because of all the levels of impunity that exists in the city," said Juan Hernán Ortiz Quintana, director of Citizens for Better Government (CIMAP).

Here, he said, a crime is committed and nobody gets punished, and while this is happening the crimes continue.

He said that, for example, yesterday when he took a public bus a group of people who spoke English were drinking beer in the bus without any interference.

"They were not from the city, they seemed to be visiting, but they feel comfortable breaking the law, which perhaps does not occur in other places. From the outside there is an image that in Ciudad Juarez anyone can commit any crime and nothing happens," he added.

He said that is the same with the murders, rapes, with the scammers, it is even easier to adapt the law to make what is legal, illegal, as it happened with the adaptation of the Urban Development Plan to meet the requirements of the owners of the land of Jerónimo-Santa Teresa.

I consider the killings to be just the "tip of the iceberg." "I've been saying this for years, when the slayings of all the women happened we said it, that this social phenomenon was the root of all the problems that plagues the city, they take priority and hurt other social problems like health care services, transportation, recreation, education and problems with the urban environment," he said.

"At that time, government officials kept telling us not to worry, but now that situation has exceeded all the worst expectations, so that the public is just waiting for what they are going to say is going to happen for the future, but all we do is wait without any reassuring official response.

Sadly, he said, the violent conflicts have exploded on the face of the citizens, which now forces the citizenship to organize protests against the government who are more preoccupied with the next election than actually solving the problem," he added.

For Cipriana Jurado, director of the Labor Movement, the number amount of homicides committed in the city during 2009 reflects a situation she described as critical.

"I think what is really needed is a job of coordination, prevention, investigation and intelligence, we do not know what plans are being implemented by the authorities who have so many secrets that we no longer know how they are going to end the bloodbath that is lived by the people Juarenses," she said.

In addition she added that the other conflicts parallel the murders, such as more attention to orphan care, or the stress that people live every day and especially the children, besides she said, the OCCH "Joint Operation Chihuahua" is not serving the people well and is costing many millions of pesos.

"Anyone in the private sector would have already fired them all and would have forced them to return the money because they have only provided zero results. Hopefully the new year will bring a little bit of tranquility because it's not possible to live under these circumstances for too long," she said.

She wondered what the government is waiting for before they start acting an effective way, because it will not be long before the city becomes a ghost town. She said many people are fleeing the city for fear of the violence that prevails in Juarez.

She said it is also disturbing to see the number of women killed during the year 2009, since there is a Deputy District Attorney of Justice in the northern zone that has a past history of lacking in investigations.

He also questioned why the state delegation of the Attorney General's Office (PGR) was placed in the city if it does not work for the benefit of the community.

She recalled the warnings given by the U.S. Agency DEA on the possible attacks against police and civilians target by organize crime. While the police agencies do everything to protect themselves, the citizens are left on their own.

"Enough is enough of this situation that we are living, we need to say enough is enough to the criminal elements who commit these crimes. They are fighting for a piece of turf in the plaza but the plaza will soon be without people. I do not know what goes through their minds or that of the government. What are they thinking? One thing they are not doing is enforcing the law," she said.

Meanwhile, the president of the Chihuahua State Organization (OECH), Ernesto Chávez Nápoles, mentioned that 2009 left the community stressed out and practically sick. "The system of government we have has not worked, although they say that war is between the cartels, the Government has failed to protected us, it has not been too concerned that families are in the middle of the slaughter," he said.

He said that it is a fact that in another country a single murder has caused the resignation of presidents, while here in Mexico Felipe Calderón Hinojosa "closes his eyes" and says it's only the narcos who are killing each other.

"It leaves us indefendless, because the military and other police agencies treat us like criminals, that is what is the most dangerous and painful," he said.

The worse, he added, is that the world is realizing that the Mexican government does not care about the lives of Mexican families living in this city.

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