Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Local Leaders in Juárez

Via the Mexico Institute, there's an interesting (though quite brief) piece at TheAtlantic.com about local business leaders trying to combat Juárez's decline:
Juárez is dying. The houses in the center of the city are abandoned; there are so few opportunities here," says Contreras from his office inside the cavernous furniture factory he owns. Most famously, there's the violence. In 2010 alone, more than 3,100 people were killed here. Unlike most Mexicans, Contreras doesn't immediately mention the American hunger for drugs as the reason for his city's--and his country's--woes. "The true origin of the insecurity is corruption," he says, blaming a toxic brew of political and socioeconomic problems for the deterioration of public safety.

Contreras is not alone in his exasperation. He leads and belongs to a number of groups: Juárenses for Peace, Security Roundtable, Economic Development for Juárez, among others. They are part of a hodgepodge force of civic groups old and new founded by angry businessmen, doctors, and other professionals--an encouraging, if still small, indication that civil society in Juárez, and Mexico more broadly, is experiencing a form of awakening.
Although as far as Mexicans typically blaming the US addiction first, that was not my experience; in everyday conversation, I always found people talked about corruption most readily.

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