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World View - Have/Have Not

MEXICO | Monday, 15 November 2010 | Views [727]

Why Mexico's border towns are so dangerous.

Ciudad Juarez (Mexico) was recently named the most dangerous city in the world. There’s a drug war raging that claimed 350 lives in October 2010. The bloodiest month in a bloody year – 2666 homicides, and when that figure was published it was only November 1.

While I was researching one of those incidents, a shootout at a shopping mall, I looked at a Google map of Juarez. I knew it was a border town, and you can call me naïve, but I didn’t realize just how close it is to the US border. Americans will laugh at me, but for others who are unfamiliar with the geography, Juarez is across the Rio Grande from the Texas town of El Paso…. And it’s not a wide river.

So why is one side a perfectly respectable, normal community, and the other side is a drug and crime riddled mess? The answer of course is poverty, and here’s a simple way to illustrate that.

Map of 2 Worlds

This is El Paso/Ciudad Juarez. The border is marked in blue. I’ve picked two points, just about at random, on either side of the border.


This is the US side of the border: neat streets, comfortable houses with swimming pools and a lovely community park.

Across the border, it’s tin roofs, dry river gullies and dumped auto bodies.

These two vastly different worlds are less than 3 miles, and 2666 murders, apart. Poverty has a lot to answer for.

That's my View of the World.


Tags: mexico, poverty, usa


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