Thursday, January 3, 2013



Note: Pax Sinaloa? Tough, mean old police chief? Combo?
BTW, Cd. Juarez has always been a tough town, always had to be
careful where and when you go somewhere and what you do.
As to the experts?
Think our Mexican neighbors far more resilient than the people to the
north of them.

Juárez enters 2013 with sense of safety
By Lorena Figueroa \ El Paso Times
Posted: 01/02/2013 12:00:00 AM MST

Less military can be found throughout Ciudad Juarez, or other areas
of the city. Some of remaining soldiers are at the foot of the Santa
Fe Bridge, inspecting incoming cars. (Times file photo)

2012 ended differently for Juárez than in the previous four years.
Once an unsafe city because of the drug war and violence, Juárez has
transformed into a place where people can walk again in the streets
without feeling they will become victims of crimes.
"You just don't feel the heaviness of death that it felt in the last
years," said Marcela Hernández, a Juárez maquiladora accountant who
until 2012 left her house only to go to work or do "essential" things.
For many others like Hernández, Juárez has begun to feel safer.

In 2012, there was a dramatic decrease in homicides that was
reflected in the reopening of businesses and the establishing of new
ones. Foreign investments
returned to the maquiladora industry and more jobs opened, giving
work to thousands of people.

Although tougher policing had much to do with crime reduction and the
sense of security for many Juarenses, there is corruption within the
police that Juárez has yet to address, experts said.
The city still has a long way to go to heal from the violence and
return to the way that it was before the narco war, experts said.
In 2012, the violence in Juárez dropped dramatically, prompting
authorities to hold up the city as a symbol of progress.
"The reality is that Juárez has normal indexes of a good city,"
Juárez Mayor Héctor Murguía said in a written statement last month.
He said that Juárez broke the city's record with only 28 homicides
in November, the fewest violent deaths in a month since last January,
according to Chihuahua attorney general's office.
By the first weekend of December, when President Enrique Peña Nieto
took office, there were no homicides, something that wasn't seen in
the past five years, he said.
"I feel very proud of all of the efforts made because Ciudad Juárez,
in less of two years, has reduced the violence that occurred over 10
years in
Juarez drug war
places such as Palermo, Medellín, Chicago and New York," Murguía added.
According to statistics from the attorney general's office, homicides
have declined drastically since 2010. That year there were 3,084
homicides; in 2011 there were 1,940. In 2012, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 26,
the count had dropped to 746.
Kidnappings and extortions have also declined, authorities said.
From Oct. 1, 2010, to Nov. 26, 2012, 328 people were arrested and 79
gangs were dismantled, according to statistics from the attorney
general's office website.
Despite a decline in homicides and other crimes, the U.S. government
in November warned again its citizens about the risks of traveling to
In a new travel warning, the U.S. Department of State described
Juárez and Chihuahua City as places of "special concern" and
cautioned against nonessential travel to the area.
Chihuahua Gov. César Duarte responded to the warning, considering it
a "tourist strategy from Texas."
"It is part of the promotion that Texas is doing to disqualify its
competitors, like Chihuahua in this case," he said.
Economic growth
Juárez economic growth revived in 2012, mostly as a result of the
reduction of crime, according to the National Chamber of Commerce, or
Between 2008 and 2010 1,304 businesses were closed, abandoned or
burned out when they didn't pay the cuota, or the extortion,
according to statistics from the Mexican Social Security Institute.
In 2011, 346 businesses closed down, the data show.
But in 2012, especially by the first half of the year, there was a
"boom" of businesses in the city, said Guillermo Gutiérrez, Canaco's
executive director.
"Some business owners that left the city to El Paso returned to
Juárez to reopen their businesses or new ones. Others that had
changed their location to a safer one have returned to busy avenues
to open new businesses," he said. "People had trust again in Juárez."
Gutiérrez said that dozens of restaurants, bars, cafés and other
businesses opened along major avenues such as Gómez Morin, Tomás
Fernandez and Paseo Triunfo de la República and in the Pronaf area.
Also, he added, "we now have reports of 100 percent of occupancy in
shopping malls."
He did not have statistics immediately available on how many
businesses opened in 2012, but he said that the membership of Canaco
grew to 12,000 business owners from fewer than 8,500 in 2010.
Also, about 500 neighborhood groceries stores, which were more
affected by extortions and armed robberies, reopened, according to
The maquiladora industry, which accounts for up to 60 percent of jobs
in the city, had a positive year, according to the Juárez Maquiladora
Association, or AMAC.
Statistics from AMAC say that by the end of November there were
215,331 maquila jobs, up from 193,416 a year earlier.
"This is a clear sign of continuous growth and economic recovery in
our city," AMAC President José Luis Armen dáriz Bailón said recently.
AMAC expects that there will be more foreign investments in the city,
and with that, more jobs.
In November, Wistron Mexico company in Juárez announced the expansion
of its operations in cellphone manufacturing. The company, based in
Taiwan, did not reveal the brand or the number of cellphones that it
will produce.
The announcement said 1,000 employees were hired in December. An
additional 2,000 people are to be employed in the first months of 2013.
Wistron, which has operated since 1998, employs about 5,500 people.'
Feeling safe
Better crime investigations and prosecution of criminals as a result
of an improved coordination of local, state and federal police
corporations have contributed to the reduction of crime and the sense
of safety in Juárez, according to some experts.
Psychotherapist Hugo Almada, a member of the security panel Todos
Somos Juárez program, said the withdrawal of the army and federal
police by the end of 2011 also played a major role in people feeling
safe in 2012.
The program, made up of local officials and civilians, was
established in 2010 by former President Felipe Calderón's government
to reconstruct Juárez's social fabric.
"There is no doubt that Juárez is much better now. There is a sense
of safety, and we have to recognize police for that. However, that
same police, especially the local police, still has corruption
problems," added Almada, who also teaches at the Autonomous
University of Ciudad Juárez.

In November, the security panel documented more than 20 citizens'
complaints against Juárez police. All of the complaints were related
to misuse of authority, and at least four of them were cases in which
police allegedly planted drugs or guns to innocent people as a way to
try to extort them.

Recently, the Chihuahua attorney general's office announced the
arrest of three Juárez police officers on charges of torture,
aggravated sexual abuse and misuse of authority, all in connection
with the alleged mistreatment of two men in their custody March 6.
One of the police officers allegedly forced one of the men to swallow
several bullets, according to state officials.
"Now people are more afraid of police than of criminals," said
Leticia Chavarría, a member of the security panel of the Civilian
Medical Committee, a nongovernmental organization established four
years by doctors affected by kidnappings.
The psychotherapist Almada said that poor people have been the most
affected by abuses of police.
"I try not to get in their path," said Arcelia Rodriguez, of Morelos
neighborhood, who lives in a one-bedroom house with two of her adult
children and grandchild.
The 40-year-old said that in April local police beat her brother for
no reason and in the summer her son was almost arrested for not
having identification with him.
Juárez police Chief Julián Leyzaola admitted in an interview last
month that officers were abusing their power. "I have to recognize
that I have a police force that needs to be watched all the time."
"We had fired 800 officers that were not meeting the professional
standards. And when I said that, I'm talking not just about officers
who were working with organized crime. I'm also talking about corrupt
officers that were stealing people's money and belongings or were
just arresting people for misdemeanors."
He also said police have received an average of five to seven
complaints alleging arbitrary or illegal detentions.
"What did I do? I reviewed all the proceedings and I realized that
the officers were abusing their power and we started addressing the
problems," he said.
Although Juárez addressed its main problem of poor security this
year, it still lacked of ways to heal from violence, experts said.
"You have to remember that Juárez lived a war, and Juarenses are
suffering from post-traumatic stress caused by that war," Chavarría
Almada added that it will take years for victims and their families
to heal from the emotional scars left by violence and for the rest of
the public to re-establish trust in police and in authorities to
guarantee human rights.
"Of course, there is less fear today than in the past, but stress and
tension continues for victims of violence and some members of the
general population," he said.
Experts said that government authorities have forgotten not only to
put attention and resources in programs to help victims of violence
heal, but also to restore the culture of nonviolence in the city.
"I'm optimistic that will happen," Almada said. "If we continue
advancing in the reduction of crime and violence in 2013, we can
advance in reconstructing the social fabric in the near future."
Lorena Figueroa may be reached at; 546-6129.

No comments:

Post a Comment