Click here for spanish version: http://spotlightepnews.com/2010/08/19/la-tercera-revolucion-%c2%bfcuando-se-va-a-acabar-la-violencia-en-juarez/
By Rafael Navarro Barron
For reporters and others who cover the news in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, it’s the eternal question, something that’s asked of us every day.
When will the violence end? Although we try to cover the news as well as we can, it becomes increasingly difficult when your news day starts with car bombings, threats by delinquents, shots fired from guns with high potency, intimidation by governmental structures so that the public won’t become aware of their ineptitude and their corruption.
Daily statistics frighten even the bravest of reporters, and statistics don’t lie. We hear about statistics about murders being committed in the city, and, at the time that this analysis was written, the problems serve to electrify the populace in a negative way. Let’s see, on Thursday, there were seven killed; 17 met their doom on Friday, on Saturday, we suffered 11 executions. On Sunday, a day in which we felt the violence would cease somewhat, without our hearing the rat-a-tat-tat of bullets, there were six murders, all of them young people who were at a party. At the end of the day, there had been 21 people executed – which made the day the most violence of the year.
Those who witness or who hear about the non-stop bloody violence ask themselves, “when will this violence in Juarez come to an end?” Apparently, however, nobody has an answer. All the predictions that have been made, have been wrong. The cartels – the murderers – predict that the violence will end, that “deadly weapons will fall silent,” at the start of the new year – January, 2011. Chihuahua’s Governor-elect, Cesar Duarte of the PRI, also promised, mind you now, he promised that the violence would end at the start of the new year, 2011. What is it about this day that makes him so sure that people will awake to a peaceful Juarez? Should we believe him? No, because he’s a politician.
What have been some of the results of the on-going dread? Thousands of Juarenses have fled the city, 500 teachers, according to official data, have also left by asking for transfers to other, less deadly communities. Everyone, it seems, is leaving. Everytime someone leaves, those of us who remain behind feel deserted. Juarez has become a city of sadness, restaurants remain empty, two universities – schools of higher learning have shut their doors because there are no students to teach. Nobody believes politicians anymore, because the population believes that they are afraid of the hit squads that surround the city. To boot, a great majority of Juarenses believe that military personnel and law officers are in cahoots with the killers, that there is extortion, thievery, kidnappings in which innocent people are held, albeit, many politicians are corrupt and are working in conjunction with traffickers.
A CERTAIN PREDICTION:
At the beginning of 2009, Mexican intellectuals believed that our Mexican nation would meet the new year with a new social order. They based their prediction on disagreements with the social order that have been a part of Mexico’s history in 1810 (the fight for Independence); and in 1910 (the Mexican Revolution). Mexico’s past history have been enough inspiration for the currents that affect the nation today, and, that, in 2010, a new revolution would take place to continue the cycle of revolutionary change. They weren’t mistaken. The war has now hit the streets.
The same problems that fomented the revolutions of 1810 and 1910 are now forming what is being considered a Third Revolution. I am referring to the poor. These people have become what criminals need so that they can form their own government, so that these people can pur the squeeze on government. In three years, we have lost our nation because our political leaders didn’t have the strength fo avoid the current crisis either socially or economically. The question that is asked of us not only in Juarez proper, but, in El Paso as well, is: “When will the violence end and is there no solution to the problem?” The answer is, yes, there is a solution.
In a conversation with religious people, former professional athletes, former governmental employees, and others, the conversation becomes the same: “I haven’t been to Juarez, and I’m not going. I’m scared to death of crossing into Mexico.” They may feel sorry for Juarez, but, they don’t understand the problem. They’ve heard of streets being blasted with bullets and blood, they’ve heard of innocent children being killed in broad daylight, and, of course, they’ve heard of adults, women and others being murdered. At the sound of gunfire, everybody runs, and if the gunfire happens at a school, children immediately dive for cover.
In the minds of many Americans, the idea is that Juarez’s problem is focused on the battle between two cartels for supremacy. However, what they ignore is that drug trafficking is only one of the many problems that have infected Juarez. Other crimes include bank robberies, car-jacking, extortion, kidnappings, frauds, sexual violations – these crimes are not necessarily committed by organized crime. They are, all too often, committed by common criminals, and, in very few cases, by cartel members. The problem arises in that commissions, politically motivated people, and an irresponsible government don’t truly understand what is happening. What they don’t understand, or don’t want to believe is that the problem is social – that is the root of the evil happening in Juarez.
Can we end the violence in Juarez? Of course, we can! That is, we can end it when we attack the social problems, which is not something that happened overnight. The young people who have been recruited to join these nefarious gangs are not from another galaxy, they are young people made of flesh and blood, who have experienced misery and extreme poverty throughout their lives. These are young people who have dealt with a harsh reality – that children, teenagers, young adults, and others are without a solid education. They have been part of the extreme poverty that afflicts our nation.
The enormous differences between rich and poor in Mexico are part and parcel of the problem, part of the violence that has engulfed Mexico, and, in particular, the State of Chihuahua. Let’s look at some items that reflect on Juarez – Juarez is No. 1 in terms of poor transportation; first place in divorces; first place in the high cost of natural gas; first place in the cost of gasoline (in a one-year period, the cost of gas has been raised 8 times); we have the high cost of electricity, sometimes even more expensive than that in El Paso, Texas; Juarez leads the nation in houses being abandoned because the government placed those houses where flooding is a major problem; open canals carry disease and dead animals through these neighborhoods – is it any wonder that people have abandoned these homes constructed with state and federal money?
It’s an anger that has been building for many years. People feel helpless, they feel that past political leaders have made the situation as deplorable as it is today. It’s no secret that anyone who is “elected” to office will become wealthy, will own land that he takes from the poor. They have abused their position, knowing that there is no recourse for the populace. Every mayor of the City of Juarez has enriched himself, helping only his friends, or those who can make him even wealthier. Every mayor’s initial action is to raise his own salary. I know of one particular mayor who raised his monthly salary to $10,000 per month – that’s U.S. dollars. Is there any wonder at the anger that has permeated the society? To put things in perspective, a common worker in Juarez can expect to earn about 500 or two thousand pesos per month – that’s pesos, folks.
Extreme hunger has come to Ciudad Juarez and its colonias. This hunger has been joined by its co-hort, a great social anger. Children drop out of school because of the high cost of attaining higher education. So-called Parent-Teacher Organizations charge exceedingly high fees, money which is then divided between school officials and officers of each PTA. It’s an embarrassing situation, because millions of pesos are divided unevenly year after year – there is nothing to stop them from stealing. The vast majority of children and adolescents who drop out of school tend to fill the ranks of the military, where they are trained to become delinquents, rather than joining the ranks to protect the nation. For these delinquents, there is no education, there is no success plan. The government doesn’t care about these groups – for that matter, the government has never cared. These young people have been ignored for many years. The possibility that any of these young people can go on to university are practically nil. Those at university are basically from the middle class or from the higher classes – those with money. The high cost of education at the university level are also prohibitive. In addition, books, tuition, and other costs are way beyond the reach of the poor. Scholarships are practically non-existent, and those that do exist are not for the poor, they go to the rich.
Other problems that afflict the poor include hunger, no automobile for transportation, nor money enough to escape the poverty that engulfs him. These people don’t have access to the Internet, and don’t have access to even the most fundamental of educational opportunities. If this is the case, how, then, can they compete against others who have had the most advantages. The average grade level that any student can achieve is a lowly third-grade education. This is so embarrassing. Another situation is the lack of parks or recreational facilities. The few parks that do exist are beyond reach of the poor.
As if this weren’t enough, we must contend with the stupid decisions made by governmental bodies regarding social programs. To this date, it’s impossible to point at any one program to say that it was successful. It’s not unusual that the drug traffickers are well armed, and that they murder, or they allow themselves to be murdered. When the majority of them were children, nobody cared for them. Now, they are getting even with society and the government for what they lacked in their early lives. From childhood to today, they carry within their minds the words to that immortal Mexican song: “Si me han de matar manana, que me maten de una vez (If I’m going to be killed tomorrow, might as well kill me today.” From time immemorial, burgeoning criminal groups paid what they had to corrupt governments who, without getting their hands dirty allowed the derelict groups to take control of the city. It’s been a long time coming, and, it’s already here.
Although there are still major businesses flourishing in Juarez, including construction companies, have succeeded with drug money. We are paying an extremely high cost, a cost that was never anticipated, but, that we suspected. This so-called Third Revolution, or armed movement, that is destroying Mexico is a revolution that has been lost by the Mexican government. What the government didn’t invest in the past, is catching up to it. The government didn’t care, thus, it is suffering the consequences, as are the people who are trapped behind enemy lines, as it were. Millions of pesos are being invested in this Third Revolution. However, if the government wants to win this war, this revolution, it must re-invest its money to help the poor, the desperate, the unprotected. It’s urgent that Mexico do this.
It must modify its programs and make equality something attainable. Let go of unsuccessful programs, get rid of bodies that do nothing but encumber the people. Mexico must get rid of the monopolies that continue to enrich themselves at the peoples’ expense, i.e., gas, telephone, and cellular telephone companies. It must regulate gas prices, help people save money, provide clean drinking water for every citizen, and must provide other services with the people in mind, the poor people, that is. It must provide an equitable education to every child, so that ignorance is eliminated from the nation’s future. Not to take action will accelerate the social, economical and educational problems of the entire nation. It’s important to note that this movement is in its beginning stages. This Third Revolution must be a revolution that will benefit the greater good, and not just the hateful few. To do nothing in the Year 2010 will be devastating in the Year 2011.
To do nothing against delinquents is a road frightening for a government that is not sensitive and corrupt. The structure of this war begins at the top and ends at the bottom. We must become a nation of laws, and we must ensure that nobody may usurp the laws on which we all agree. This includes corrupt politicians and other criminal-minded individuals who are abundant in our nation.