Monday, January 3, 2011

South of the border, down Mejico way

The mother of four raised a finger, pointing out abandoned and stripped concrete homes and counting how many families have fled the Western Hemisphere's deadliest city on her street alone.

"One, two, three, four, here, and two more back there on the next block," said Laura Longoria.

The 36-year-old ran a convenience store in her working-class neighborhood in south Juarez until the owners closed shop, fed up with the tribute they were forced to pay to drug gangsters to stay in business.

Her family vowed to stick it out. But then came the kidnapping of a teen from a stationery shop across the street. After that, Longoria's husband, Enrique Mondragon, requested a transfer from the bus company where he works.

"They asked, 'where to,'" he recalled. "I said, 'Anywhere.'"

No one knows how many residents have left the city of 1.4 million since a turf battle over border drug corridors unleashed an unprecedented wave of cartel murders and mayhem. Business leaders, citing government tax information, say the exodus could number 110,000, while a municipal group and local university say it's closer to 230,000 and estimates by social organizations are even higher.

The tally is especially hard to track because Juarez is by nature transitory, attracting thousands of workers to high-turnover jobs in manufacturing, or who use the city across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, as a waystation before they slip north illegally.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40844625/

Only a fool believes this violence will not eventually cross our open border with Mexico.