Mexico: The Cartels rule
Juárez, the fifth-biggest city in Mexico, is considered as a critical point by cartels due to its direct connection to the United-States. Indeed El Paso is the neighboring Texan city and perfect access to the American freight.
Back in the 1990’s the North American Free-Trade Agreement turned Juárez into a flourishing industrial city. Unskilled jobs were abundant encouraging the youth to join the workforce. Many factory workers were women living their children to fend for themselves during the day.
The progressive American recession caused a drastic increase of the unemployment rate.
”About 80,000 people in Juárez neither study or work” says Guillermo Dowel of the city government in 2009.
Juárez is undergoing a bloody ‘’war’’ on drug. Two years ago the Sinealoa, Mexico’s largest gang, began an aggressive take over against the Juárez, the local gang, turning the city into a battlefield. Mass-killings, drive-bys, kidnappings, extortions, and blazes became daily bread.
Despite government’s actions, the official death toll has reached 2,660 in 2009 ranking Juárez the world’s deadliest city outside a war zone. These events are not only harming the people, but also jeopardizing the city itself. At least 100,000 fled in the United States and 30% elsewhere in Mexico, cutting the number of businesses and jobs radically.
Mr. Calderón, current President of Mexico, recognized that bigger actions must be taken to tackle the spread of the cartels. He plans to increase public investment in education, health, childcare, and sports thereupon. However a recent poll revealed skepticism about his ability to significantly bring change.
The state and local police are widely viewed as either corrupt or powerless. Critics of the war on drug have alleged the government biased in favour of particular cartels. These types of accusations have been around since the 1970’s but recent evidences shows that the government focused on the weakest organized crime groups at the advantage of the strongest.
The Economist: A dying city protests
Al Jazeera: Bias claims dog Mexico’s drug war