(Reuters) - Law and order is on the brink of collapse in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican border city where a war between rival drug gangs has killed more than 2,000 people in the last year. Here are some facts about the border city.
- Situated in the desert on the Rio Grande river across from El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez has expanded quickly since the 1990s, with hundreds of “maquiladora” assembly plants opening to supply manufactured goods to the United States.
- Long associated with crime and corrupt police, Ciudad Juarez has seen the murders of some 400 women and girls since 1993. The killings sparked talk of a wave of “feminicide” aimed specifically at women. Despite international pressure to solve the murders, including support from writers, singers and Amnesty International, most cases remain mysteries. Theories of motives for the murders range from the presence of one or more serial killers to systematic domestic violence, organ trafficking or even the making of “snuff” movies.
- Ciudad Juarez and El Paso were once the same town, El Paso del Norte or “North Pass”, until the Rio Grande river flowing through it became the national border in 1848 at the end of the U.S.-Mexican war. The Mexican half of the city was renamed after Benito Juarez, Mexico’s first indigenous president and one of the country’s most revered leaders.
- Ciudad Juarez is a major battleground in Mexico’s drug war, as gangs from the Pacific state of Sinaloa, led by Mexico’s most wanted fugitive, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, fight to take control of lucrative cocaine smuggling routes from local drug lord Vicente Carrillo.
- Residents fleeing the violence in Ciudad Juarez have been buying homes across the border in El Paso, helping keep the Texan city’s property market afloat despite the worst U.S. housing crisis in decades. Many are small business owners, putting their children in schools in El Paso while they cross back into Ciudad Juarez each day to go to work. Ciudad Juarez’s mayor also lives in El Paso.
Compiled by Noel Randewich; Editing by Kieran Murray
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