Title

Full Collapse: How Ciudad Juarez Became the Most Dangerous City in the World

Presenter Information

Coleman Pape

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Ciudad Juarez, a border city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, is home to one of the fastest growing economies in Mexico, with workers flocking to jobs in the maquiladoras - factories along the border where companies take advantage of cheap labor to make things like pants or purses. But the true beating heart of Juarez, one estimated to rake in $50 billion a year, is the drug trade. Fueled by demand in America, Mexican cartels battle for dominance in a city that greed has turned into a war zone. The middle class, around 250,000 of Juarez’s 1.3 million, have fled the city, seeking refuge across the border in one of the safest cities in America - El Paso, abandoning 116,000 homes and taking with them 40% of all local businesses. What remains looks like bullet-ridden ghost town where people don’t leave their houses unless they have to - the risk of getting shot is too high.

The conditions of Juarez today are baffling - more Mexicans have died there than Americans have died in the entire war on Afghanistan and the city of Baghdad combined, making Ciudad Juarez the most dangerous city in the world. So the lingering question is how did things get so bad? In an essay, I will examine the origins of the turf war between two rival cartels, the Juarez Cartel and the aggressively expanding Sinaloa, and how the legitimate maquiladora economy fuels that war by providing armies of the poor and disillusioned, ready for opportunity at any cost. I will also address the way the cartels have been forced to change the way they operate by the Mexican government’s ambitious War on Drugs - a war that, at least for now, is lost in Cuidad Juarez.

Category

Humanities

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Apr 13th, 1:40 PM Apr 13th, 2:00 PM

Full Collapse: How Ciudad Juarez Became the Most Dangerous City in the World

UC 332

Ciudad Juarez, a border city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, is home to one of the fastest growing economies in Mexico, with workers flocking to jobs in the maquiladoras - factories along the border where companies take advantage of cheap labor to make things like pants or purses. But the true beating heart of Juarez, one estimated to rake in $50 billion a year, is the drug trade. Fueled by demand in America, Mexican cartels battle for dominance in a city that greed has turned into a war zone. The middle class, around 250,000 of Juarez’s 1.3 million, have fled the city, seeking refuge across the border in one of the safest cities in America - El Paso, abandoning 116,000 homes and taking with them 40% of all local businesses. What remains looks like bullet-ridden ghost town where people don’t leave their houses unless they have to - the risk of getting shot is too high.

The conditions of Juarez today are baffling - more Mexicans have died there than Americans have died in the entire war on Afghanistan and the city of Baghdad combined, making Ciudad Juarez the most dangerous city in the world. So the lingering question is how did things get so bad? In an essay, I will examine the origins of the turf war between two rival cartels, the Juarez Cartel and the aggressively expanding Sinaloa, and how the legitimate maquiladora economy fuels that war by providing armies of the poor and disillusioned, ready for opportunity at any cost. I will also address the way the cartels have been forced to change the way they operate by the Mexican government’s ambitious War on Drugs - a war that, at least for now, is lost in Cuidad Juarez.