Ciudad Juárez (2010 population: 1.3 million) is regularly in the news for all the wrong reasons. Many factors have combined to increase the insecurity (economic and social) of the city in recent years. They include:
- the 2008-2010 recession in the USA
- the ready availability of guns, mainly introduced illegally into Mexico from the USA
- violence associated with the Juárez cartel in its efforts to control this international drug-smuggling gateway
- “fund-raising” by the Juárez cartel, which includes the payment of protection money by local businesses, as many as 50% of which are thought to comply with cartel demands
- violence between members of competing drug gangs
One particular commercial zone has been particularly badly hit. The Pronaf (Programa Nacional de la Frontera) zone is a commercial area in the northern part of Ciudad Juárez, centered on the Plaza de las Americas shopping center, immediately south of the Córdova-Américas International Bridge. The zone offers a mix of restaurants, stores, nightclubs, money exchange outlets, pharmacies and dental offices and even a museum. The customers for the businesses in this area are mainly US tourists and the many daily commuters across the border.
The result of increased levels of violence and unrest is that an estimated 60% of the 400 or so businesses that were open prior to 2008 in the Pronaf zone have now closed. This has caused a large number of job losses, exacerbating the economic difficulties already faced by hundreds of families.
Related post about drug cartels in Mexico
- The background to Mexico’s fight against drug cartels
- The geography of drug trafficking in Mexico
- Mexico’s export trade in drugs
- The economic benefits to Mexico of the drugs trade
Chapters 21 and 22 of Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico analyze Mexico’s 500-year transition to an urban society and the internal geography of Mexico’s cities. Chapter 23 looks at urban issues, problems and trends. An overview of the geography of drug trafficking in Mexico forms part of chapter 20. To preview more parts of the book, click here and use amazon.com’s “Look Inside” feature; buy your copy today!