houston chronicle

How to end the slaughter in Juarez?

Sept 28--Some look to Medellin as a model, and others say decriminalizing drugs is the answer

Seemingly impervious to any treatment, murder has settled into the sinews of this border city like a pestilence.

The thousands of federal soldiers and police injected into Ciudad Juarez haven't proved a cure. Neither have the remedies of sociologists, economists, criminologists or psychologists. Nor have the prayers, potions and petitions of its haggard citizens.

Gunmen claim dozens, sometimes scores, of new souls each day, hundreds by the month. There's no end in sight.

Bolstered by U.S. encouragement and money, President Felipe Calderon has made Juarez a laboratory of his strategy to militarily end the bloodshed and the drug trade alike. But rather than a showcase of success, Juarez has become, by many accounts, the poster child of failure.

“We saw the army come in and not finish anything,” Hugo Almada, an economist who's written books on Juarez's haphazard growth, said of this year's military offensive to end the slaughter. “So the question is now what?”

Almada and some 2,600 other citizens last week packed a hall to hear the prescription of a former mayor of Medellin, the pacified Colombian city that half a decade ago was as famous for narcotics violence as Juarez is today.
Read more here.
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.