CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – With daily murders and gruesome killings, the border town of Ciudad Juarez, in northern Mexico, has been hit in the last few months by a wave of violence not seen since 2010, when it became the most violent city in the world.
“Starting in 2017 we have experienced several months with very high homicide rates and mass executions, like the one that took place a few days ago. Every day, two or three people are murdered,” Imelda Marrufo, director of the non-governmental organization Red Mesa de Mujeres, told EFE.
“Is this a return to 2010? I think so,” Marrufo said.
From January to July, 715 murders took place in this city in the northern state of Chihuahua, across the border from El Paso, Texas, with half of those killings taking place in the last two months.
This figure is still far from the 3,100 murders that took place in 2010, when Ciudad Juarez had a homicide rate of 229 per 100,000 people, although it is still significant and has raised the alarm.
On Aug. 2, 11 people were found murdered and tortured in a house in Ciudad Juarez, as a result of an apparent revenge between rival gangs who work for the three main drug cartels that are vying for control over this strategic border town: the Juarez Cartel, the Sinaloa Cartel, and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
After that gruesome killing, residents of Ciudad Juarez, an industrial city of 1.5 million people, have become fearful that the new wave of violence could equal the one experienced in 2010.
“Violence has increased a lot. People have been killed throughout the city: children, innocent people,” Manuel Villalobos, a 60-year-old cook, told EFE.
A study carried out by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) revealed that 72.8 percent of Ciudad Juarez residents felt unsafe in their city in June.
According to Marrufo, the rise in violence in Ciudad Juarez is partly linked to the elimination of the National Program for the Social Prevention of Violence and Crime during the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which had helped wind down the violence experienced in 2010.
“If you don’t establish permanent, continuous and audited programs that generate preventive public policy actions, how do you expect to maintain security?” Marrufo said.