tv Fault Lines Al Jazeera October 2, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT
a valley, divided by the border. on one side, el paso - on the other, ciudad juarez. >> el paso reaps tremendous benefit from the activities going on in juarez, and vice versa. this is the largest border city in the world. >> el paso has the lowest crime rate in the united states. juarez, once known as a booming industrial city and a model of economic progress in mexico, has become infamous as the murder capital of the world. >> since i came here there was something really heavy moving in
the city. it was a chaotic collapsing of forces. >> the official story is that the sinaloa and juarez cartels are battling for the city and the access it provides to the us drug market only a few hundred meters away. >> now there's an estimated 100-200 thousand addicts in the city. that means every street corner is worth killing for. cause every street corner is a point of sale now. every little tienda is a point of sale. >> more than 8,000 people have been killed here since 2008, the year mexican president calderon sent in the army to carry out his offensive against the cartels. 3951 people were recorded murdered in 2010 alone. we traveled to juarez try to understand how human life here came to be worth so much less than the drugs being trafficked through. >> my question was, at the beginning, okay the whole country is in a fight, why has juarez been the bloodiest?
this must be related to just the story of this city. >>the first game on juarez's newest football field. it's being played to mark a year since 16 people, some of them young members of the home team, were gunned down by a juarez cartel street gang in this neighborhood of villa salvarcar. president calderon provoked the city's anger when he dismissed the massacre as a fight between rival drug gangs. luz maria davila, the mother of two of the young men killed, became the voice of that indignation in pictures that flashed around the world. today, mexico's education minister, the governor of chihuahua and the mayor of juarez are here to show they're serious about fighting crime,
giving juarez's teenagers an alternative to gangs and low-level street selling. and though 5 people have been arrested and charged with the murder of her sons marcos and jose luis, she has little faith that the government will bring those guilty to justice - even though it's a high-profile case. the salvarcar massacre undermined the mexican government's claim that over 90 percent of the almost 40,000 casualties in calderon's war on drugs are involved in the narco-trade. that those who die are dirty. >> the fact is the mexican government admits only 5% of the murders have ever been investigated so it is absolutely
a lie that 90% are dirty. no one knows who they are. but if you go to the morgue - which the secretary of state hillary clinton doesn't do, and which the president of mexico filipe calderon doesn't do, which the president of the united states doesn't do-ou find on the slabs you'll find a bunch of god damned poor people. >> more than a decade ago, author charles bowden dubbed juarez the laboratory of our future. now that future has arrived, more dystopian than he could have predicted. >> what i thought was there was going to be an explosion. but i never thought we'd go from 2 - 300 murders a year to 3000 a year. it was beyond my imagination. >> but the dimension the violence has taken is undeniably real. in juarez, there's a trail of blood that journalists can follow day by day, hour by hour. it's a saturday morning, and three men have been shot. two were in a car that is now
empty and riddled with bullets. a third, a bystander, was caught in the cross fire and fell here. >> so there's a body covered by a blanket right there about 50 feet away, this shooting happened about thirty minutes ago, right in the middle of this neighborhood. the amazing thing is how little this has really changed life in this neighborhood. i mean a block down you have kids playing soccer, you have kids walking around the street here. i mean we're fifty feet from the body, and we're the only ones standing here even paying attention to what's going on. >> just around the corner, we find olga valadez, the mother of 23 year old carlos ivan de anda. her son was one of the men in the car. he tried to escape his attackers, and ran home. he made it as far as the front step.
>> later that afternoon, the death toll climbs. on this saturday, it will reach 16. three young men have been gunned down at a car dealership. later, we learn that two are us citizens and have been attending private high schools in el paso, where their families have moved to safety. so when we got here, this is a really busy road, 7-8 lanes across right through downtown, and traffic was going by.
now they've blocked off all traffic completely - and the media was here, there was local media. now the media have all left. the speculation at the scene here is that this is a very unsafe place to be because it seems like this was a very powerful family that this happened to. >> let's go... >> yet another execution, here in the middle of a major intersection. a municipal police officer who had just finished his shift, is slumped over the wheel of his truck. we watch as the evidence is carefully catalogued and collected. but according to the mexican government's own figures, 95% of murders presumed to involve organized crime are never investigated at all. only one or two percent ever result in a sentence. >> what you're seeing when you go to the crime scene is just a charade. the people picking up the
bullets, the cartridges, and measuring everything are absolutely doing it, but they know absolutely that nothing will be done with it. we're not the only ones taking in this grim spectacle. some observers might be paid by drug gangs to keep watch at the scene of a crime. others are just watching life unfold, and death grip their city - avoiding clear sight of anything that might make them the next target. here selective vision is a product of a justice system that seems to operate blindly. >> impunity is creating killers, a generation of people willing to kill. ok there's the problem we can have a solution. but without any investigation, any clarification of what is going on, how can you solve the problem? >> the lack of genuine investigation and prosecution frustrates sandra rodriguez nieto. an investigative reporter for el diario newspaper, she's writing a book about impunity. >> the violence in juarez didn't
start 3 years ago, it started many years ago. there's like a culture deep in the city, a culture of violence and impunity. that was the case before the war started. everybody knew in the city that you could kill and nobody is going to punish you. >> sandra has read her share of investigation files from the state prosecutor's office - many, she says, incomplete, lacking interviews with crime scene witnesses. she says she's been told that under previous governments, the prosecutor's office sent evidence to chihuahua for archiving - leaving investigators in juarez with nothing to work from. >> so the system was designed to not find the murderers? >> yes >> to protect the murders in a way? >> what is the other explanation if you don't ask questions? if you don't ask anybody, "did you see a car? how many people shoot?" i mean there is no questions.
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like doctor sergio and his wife guadalupe, more than half have fled to the united states. dr. sergio had a successful medical practice - he ran a private clinic, a nursing school, and did charity work. then, in may of 2009, he was kidnapped. he was released after his family paid a ransom. a year and a half later, extortionists sent him a message, demanding he pay what is known in juarez as "the quota" - a fee to protect his clinic.
back across the border, jesus juarez and his family are packing up too, and moving - to a different part of town. rows of homes lie abandoned, stripped by looters. entire neighborhoods like this one lie empty - vacated by maquila workers like jesus, many because they had been laid off and could no longer afford to pay the government-backed mortgages on houses they'd been encouraged to buy. for more than 40 years, the city's primary legal economy had revolved around the maquilas - assembly plants which offered foreign manufacturers cheap labor and proximity to us markets. mexicans moved to the border town lured by the promise of work. the city became the blue print for the north american free trade agreement implemented in 1994. as nafta reshaped mexico's land-ownership laws, slashed
tariffs on us imports and allowed subsidized us corn to flood the country, mexico's agricultural sector was devastated. hundreds of thousands were forced to migrate to the united states in search of income - many more moved to juarez. the city grew. maria lopez is a labor organizer. for her security, we can't use her real name or show her face. to maria, the fall out from the economic crisis have made nafta's false promises clear. in 2008, as us manufacturers
faltered or failed, some 80 to 100,000 workers in juarez lost their jobs. now many scour the industrial parks for temp contracts meted out by agencies - jobs with few benefits and no security, some as short as 15 days. but back across the border, we find a more optimistic outlook. >> if you're sending something to your mexican factory, this is the address you send it to.... you don't send it to mexico. >> alan russell is the president and co-founder of tecma, an el paso-headquartered company that has provided workers and facilities in juarez to us manufacturers since 1986. >> we were nafta before there was nafta. we were able to move products across the border and have it transformed into a finished product and bring it back again without duty on the material only paying duty on the value added. so it was exactly what nafta
turned out to be. >> russell says the end of the recession in the united states is bringing business back to the maquila zones, in spite of the violence in juarez. and tecma is hiring again. >> certainly by the end of this year i think we'll be back equivalent to where we were before the recession started in mexico. with the end of this recession, we now have 8 million square feet of empty manufacturing space right here in juarez ready to go - lights are on. we have 60,000 employees that were laid off during the recession that are ready to go back to work. so if you want your product manufactured turned quickly short lead time, you're going to chose juarez now than you would chose china. >> a recovery means more people will be working, many for minimum wage: 59 pesos or just under 5 us dollars a day. the average maquila worker takes home about 50 dollars a week.
at tecma, entry level workers make slightly more than that - one young woman we spoke to said she made 54 dollars, another 58. but more jobs will not change the disparity on which the maquila industry is founded, and which has shaped the city. >> these people that came to work in the maquiladoras, they just came to work but they didn't find houses they didn't find schools. they didn't find where to take the kids while they were in the maquiladoras so there was a heavy social problem years ago.
>> and suddenly these people get into a war dynamic. and these people just recruit these kids in the streets for 200 dollars and they easily get into the fight. >> their parents have never gotten ahead, their parents are slaves. they're working 5 1/2 days a week for low wages. the kids join gangs. they join gangs because they're rational. it's better to have some money in your teens and be killed by the age of 20 than be a slave all your life and never have money. >> slave labor? without the maquilas imagine what would be going on in mexico right now. without these jobs that are paying these people and providing them a safe haven and a career path and a goal and a dream, where would mexico be now? >> could a company be competitive in the us and pay a good living wage in mexico to
have all their stuff assembled? >> no. they would get run over by the competition. >> beyond juarez's sprawling industrial parks, twenty five miles into the desert, lies a shelter. >> we're heading out to the desert, outside of juarez- going to a mental hospital of sorts, although it's not really a hospital. from what i understand it's really just a place in the desert where el pastor, pastor galvan, has taken people off of the streets, or the police have brought him people that have mental illness or fried from drugs or fried from all the abuse that they've taken in jaurez and he takes them in and they just live out in the desert. matter of fact, this is it.
fifteen years ago, pastor jose galvan began gathering people he found walking the streets of juarez and bringing them here. >> he gets to wear the us army uniform? >> well, he like to be, we call him commandant. >> now he looks after more than a hundred people. until now, he's received almost no funding from the mexican government, just barely scraping by each month on private donations to meet their needs. >> let me show you the clinic in here. twice a week the doctors come to check out the sick, tuesday and thursday. this is the medication we have, so we need a lot of medication. we got medication only for 20 persons, the rest 80 persons, we can't afford it.
>> twenty five years ago, galvan wasn't much different from many of the people he cares for now. a drug addict, he was arrested in the us, went to jail and got deported - and then was dumped in juarez. >> i was walking on the streets like one of them. naked, dirty, eating out of the trash cans but the lord changed my life. in 1987 i started a new life. i had it on my heart to be helping these people. >> the shelter is the final refuge for those whom mexico's public health care system has failed entirely, and left with nowhere else to go. do you think you'd have these people in any city or does jaurez have a lot of people who need help? >> we got some 15000 persons who suffer from mental illness, plus the violence, the bloody city. juarez is the biggest mental institution in the world.
it's the biggest. >> and as the drug war escalates, crime spirals and addictions take their toll, pastor galvan's shelter in the desert has grown to accommodate the city's living casualties. >> this is like a trash place, but this is a human place. all the trash people they came to here. because the lord is into recycling human beings. see all the people, i don't care what they did, it's not my concern. probably they got into drugs, killed people, i don't know what they did. but they lost their minds and they need help. millions who need assistance now. we appreciate you spending time with us tonight. up next is the golden age of hollywood going golden but elsewhere.
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