Life in Juarez
One du Nord reader from El Paso TX writes about life in Juarez Mexico as he knows it, in correlation to how the city was recently depicted in the book This Love Is Not For Cowards by Robert Andrew Powell. These are the words of Victor. Unedited.
Last month Paul Demko reviewed This Love Is Not For Cowards for du Nord.
My name is Victor 25 years of age, a super soccer fan of the Mexican league, MLS, and of course the EPL La Liga and others. I have lived in El Paso for 25 years and currently attending college at UTEP.
I’m from El Paso, Texas and have visited Juarez for their Juarez Indios soccer games (even before they were the Indios) and of course for family who lives there. Mr. Robert Andrew Powell who has visited and I believe he has followed the Juarez Indios soccer team by living in Juarez, and he is giving the wrong idea to the readers from all over the world about Juarez "violence.' How can I start? do people even know where Juarez is located. I’m not defending Juarez city or nothing but Juarez in reality has always gotten the wrong side of the story. Yes, the violence WAS UP the last 3 years, but not as high as the national news make it seem. Like I said before, I'm 25 years of age born 1987, and between late 2008 and late 2010 you can say it was an ugly period, but not to a point like Monterrey City, Mexico city, Torreon City and some other major cities who have Division 1 Mexican soccer.
So ask yourself again, where is Juarez located in the country of Mexico? Juarez is located super far away from all the MAJOR CITIES of Mexico and that makes a difference with it comes to politics, funds coming from the state and country, security and tourism. Juarez is the sister city of El Paso, Texas and Juarez is the armpit of the north of Mexico. Tijuana is probably at Juarez level of violence but they have San Diego to lean on because of tourism and even politics, which politics gives you extra comfort to support your city.
Also, which border city would you like to visit based on their city violence, Tijuana-San Diego or Juarez-El Paso. Of course, you would select the Tijuana-San Diego side due to its "SAFER," national news concept but the reality of the sad truth Tijuana, Juarez, Monterrey, Mexico City, Puebla, Torreon and many major cities of Mexico have worse problems than Juarez.
Another point of view, if you visit Chicago as a tourist, would you visit the "ghetto areas" where the lower class live, I suspect no as an answer because of safety issues. Same thing goes for the city of Juarez, you are going to visit the tourist attractions, the fun and games of Juarez, but the national news and local news have killed Juarez to a point where the drug cartels took advantage of it and Juarez started to break down day by day where the tourist money was not coming in or basically the people from El Paso were not spending their money in Juarez. Now let me explain the "drug cartels" story, since I have family who live in Juarez who know the real story and I actually got tired of the news reporting just crisis but not stating the truth. The drug cartels love border cities such as Brownsville, Tijuana, and Laredo but when they found out about El Paso and Juarez years ago, which in reality is one of the toughest borders to cross drugs, the drug cartels started to stupidly fight for the Juarez territory. Believe it or not, it was not only Juarez who was being invaded due to the fact the drug cartels were all coming from the south of Mexico, and you can say Tijuana too but Tijuana is politically own with drug trafficking, not like Juarez whose politics did not know which cartel to select and "help" the city with safety and economically wise.
Therefore during those years of tough violence, just like every big city in Mexico have up to this day, different big name cartels started to fight for the Juarez territory, not land but territory. Imagine the bloods and cribs and other American thug groups fighting for territory in a American city, similar to that. Adding to the drug cartel violence in Juarez, since Juarez was a safe innocent city but so innocent since drugs are everywhere, Juarez in reality was not ready for the drug cartel invasion of the south. Juarez never thought the BIG cartels would come up north and pursue the Juarez territory since it has always been safe, because of El Paso, Texas but the cartels had in mind to occupy Juarez no matter what.
So the drug cartel invasion started around late 2008 and ended around late 2010. But what happen those 3 years, speaking about national news from CNN and even El Paso, Texas local news put more pain into the open wounds of the people of Juarez. Yes, violence and corruption increased but cities like Monterrey, Torreon, Mexico City and other cities had it worse, but they all blamed the armpit city of Juarez for their city violence because everybody thinks only POOR people live in Juarez and POOR people provoke violence and remember Juarez is located away from any major city of the country of Mexico, which only made matters worse for Juarez.
So good so far.
Then as every other major city in Mexico blame Juarez for any bullshit, so they could keep THEIR CITY CLEAN, the drug cartels realized Juarez was open for invasion and more invasion since the government could not fight back. In reality the government was lost, the people were brainwashed locally and nationally with news and only the middle class and top class knew what was happening due to their economic advantage. Then the worse started happening which again, the drug cartels took advantage of the news coverage since everything was being blame on Juarez throughout Mexico. I can say about 3 to 4 major cartels and I mean heavy drug cartels started to invade territory of Juarez, which meant "WAR" against each other and NOT civilians at first. Remember I said civilians were not being targeted or killed AT FIRST due the fact it was only cartel versus cartel in the nights, in poor areas of Juarez, ghetto areas of the city, ghetto clubs but no innocent civilians YET.
Then one cartel decided to invade more territory, as the others noticed, they tried to stop the expansion, but technically is was a set of chain reactions which involve 3 to 4 major cartels against each other. Meanwhile, the local authority had an idea what was happening but they thought a big gun cartel was going to win sooner or later, but they were wrong. The drug cartels noticed they could do anything they wanted since local authority were given them the space of Juarez to ended once for all, but again these 4 major cartels had a passion for the Juarez territory and it got worse.
So far remember, Juarez violence was increasing with corruption as other big cities of Mexico already had it and were taking advantage of the Juarez invasion in order to make their city look clean and happy.
Back to Juarez, the local authority never imagined the cartels would not give up, so then Juarez calls for military help which some of them were recruited by the cartels in Juarez to help gain territory of Juarez. So you have the military recruited by cartels to help their cartel, which provokes more corruption within the military and adding to that, wannabe cartels started popping around the city.
In other words Juarez city was becoming a new Monterrey, a new Torreon from the north in which the government had no idea which cartel to support, because in reality Mexican cities support a cartel in their city to help it keep it safe and running with money laundry. (Maybe one day Juarez will make up their mind and select a big daddy cartel to help the city, because in reality that is how Mexican cities are run, especially the major ones. For example, Puebla FC where DaMarcus Beasley plays is run probably run 50% clean and 50% dirty.) Why is DaMarcus Beasley in Puebla? Ask a politician, a business person from Puebla, behind doors and the answer is simple; he is living life like because in Mexico either you are poor or rich, and he has the money to avoid the drug problems and live a rock star life.
Again back to Juarez, so the military is being recruited by drug cartels and wannabe drug cartels start popping up around the city, who supposedly represent the top four cartels. Therefore the wannabe drug cartels that ARE SUPPOSEDLY representing the top four cartels started provoking more violence and anger, towards the big cartels. Therefore the big daddy cartels started to extinguish the wannabe cartels DURING DAYLIGHT in order to show the city of Juarez, there is only true cartels and no BS.
So now you have the wannabe cartels fighting back who are young lower class men who need money and are stealing money from the big true cartels in daylight and that is where all the news people nationally and locally got their wrong IDEOLOGY of what was happening in Juarez. Consequently the true cartels started a real territory war against each other. At first there was trust within a cartel, at the end even cartels were killing their own people just because of the wannabe cartels. Per se, you can say if the fake cartels would not have started to pop out, maybe it would have been a faster battle for the true cartels, but no.
In the other side, the big daddy cartels had no trust in their cartel due to the fake young men trying to steal from the true cartels territory and suppliers. So now the major cartels had no option but to go during daylight and attack their enemies and at the same time attack the FAKE cartels.
Believe it or not, most of the time the fake cartels were lowers class who needed money and were not educated to stay away but you never saw a rich young person from Juarez recruited or involved with a fake cartel or true cartel. Which that leads me to the innocent being killed. As another example, which the news never got their facts straight since the beginning since I believe they just wanted high ratings and would just show blood and informed the public with deadly news to increased their ratings.
So how was an innocent person killed, sometimes was luck of being at the wrong time at the wrong spot because everybody new about the major cartels and fake cartels controversy. Adding to that, so if your friend lied to you about NOT being involved by a fake or real cartel and he or she was, consequently common sense if you are a nightclub or restaurant, both of you would go down. It is simple as that and everybody knew that the night killing spread to daylight killings due to the fake cartels were trying to make money and sabotage the true cartels territory.
Meanwhile the middle class and high class had no problems, since Juarez is a city of whether you are poor or not poor, like the countries of Russia and Mexico, or the continent of Africa. So when there was Indios soccer games, 50% capacity were money heads from Juarez and 50% from El Paso, Texas which in reality El Paso could have easily sold out the 22,000 stadium by itself. As a matter fact, there were ZERO murders outside the stadium during soccer seasons or even up to this point. There was some close class but nothing alarming since we all knew what was happening, and the only worse part of this cartel drama, if was a thing of who to trust and to know you were your true friends, because at the end, your friend would be using you for safety but at the end the two of you would be going down in daylight or moonlight.
As a matter of fact and I have low, middle and high class friends and family in Juarez but none of them were never involve or killed. My cousin was threatened but not killed and that is because his family has a little grocery business but he knew they were wannabe cartel people. If you were smart, you actually knew who deal with and party with, because at the end you had a choice, good or bad. But again I repeat, in Juarez you are rich or poor, middles class does not really exist and there is a lot of clean rich people in Juarez who never got killed because only the lower class got involved and the cartels knew their business.
I can elaborate more on the drug cartel situation but I would need to take more time out of my studies but since the beginning of 2011 it has calm down in Juarez. As for soccer in Juarez and El Paso, we love(!!!!!!!!!) soccer-futbol. I was a season ticket holder along with my crazy soccer parents, sister, brother, girlfriend for every season when they were in the top division. When the Indios were in the 2nd division, I would buy the tickets at the stadium for school and work situations. But in reality, Juarez has one of the best fan bases in Mexico, I say top 4 because their ticket prices were high and every game was 95% packed and if you add the El Paso fans, it’s crazy.
Unfortunately the Club Futbol Indios had no state support in the top division. The owner was threatened to move the soccer team to the capital of Chihuahua for money reasons and state politics. Basically they told him, come over here and will give you a new SSS stadium no matter what. Luckily the owner which my cousin knew in Juarez and I would see him party in El Paso, told El Paso and Juarez, "Juarez Indios are never going to move, if we are relegated, then we will be relegated in Juarez with no money or no new stadium, but we will never leave our people of Juarez." And in reality the Juarez Indios never left Jaurez, but they basically bankrupt and the owner sold the team. The owner never got support from the state for the new stadium, for stadium renovations, for nothing. He did stadium renovations with his own money, could not attract big money players or coaches due to MONEY issues but not because of the violence, in reality the players would live in private housing in Juarez or El Paso.
Now the question is, will El Paso have an NASL or MLS team before Juarez, because Juarez has no option but to wait until a deep pocket owner comes back. By the way, Juarez ex owner of Indios made a promise to come back sooner or later with a more ambitious plan and deeper pockets.