Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dark Days in Juarez: Routineness of execution scenes is only first among the ills that criminal cartels have visited on city life

More on Juarez. Ainslie, author and UT professor, brings to light other issues besides just the drugs, though. He looks at how, "the cartels have diversified their business model to include kidnapping and extortion, in addition to retail drug sales..."

  The author
Psychologist-psychoanalyst Ricardo Ainslie is a professor in the educational psychology department at the University of Texas. His most recent works include the documentary films 'Ya Basta! Kidnapped in Mexico' (2007) and 'Long Dark Road: Bill King and Murder in Jasper, Texas' (2004). He is working on 'Calderón's War: Mexico at the Crossroads,' a book about Mexico's war against the drug cartels. Ainslie has made six visits to Juárez in the past year as part of his ongoing work on this project.

Updated: 1:27 a.m. Sunday, April 4, 2010
Published: 10:07 a.m. Saturday, April 3, 2010
Last year, approximately 2,660 people were murdered in the streets of Juárez. Most of the victims are linked to the war that is raging between the Juárez and Sinaloa drug cartels, but facts are elusive; in Juárez it is all but impossible to know the reasons why any particular person has been executed or who killed them.
Despite the presence of 10,000 army soldiers and federal police agents, the executions continue to run at a high pitch. And the cartels kill with near perfect impunity: Only a handful of the nearly 5,000 executions that have taken place in Juárez since December 2006 (when the current Mexican president, Felipe Calderón, took office and launched the war against the Mexican cartels) have been solved. This only fuels the sense of vulnerability, helplessness and anger that most Juarenzes are living with on a daily basis.
Two of the three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate in Juárez who were executed last month were murdered in broad daylight within yards of the ever-congested International Bridge. The killings take place all over the city, from forlorn, trash-strewn lots to upscale shopping malls. Everyone feels the violence, and most have witnessed it in one of its myriad manifestations, from highly choreographed, disciplined operations carried out by well-trained hit teams, to raw, chaotic AK-47 encounters on neighborhood street corners. They range from macabre, narcoterrorist beheadings to simple walk-up-to-the-car-and-blow-them-away murders. Whatever the form, the executions always translate into dozens of onlookers gazing warily past the yellow crime-scene tape at the victims (all too often in plain view) and their mourning families, not to mention the collection of army, federal police, municipal police, and forensics teams that form the ever-present backdrop to these sorrow-laden tableaus.

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