Thursday, September 16, 2010

Juarez Violence Changing Lives: UTEP Students Affected

In May, 2010, UTEP student Alejandro Ruiz Salazar, 19—also an employee of the Graduate School—was the first known UTEP student slain in Juarez since the beginning of the current drug war. The same day, former UTEP student Jorge Pedro Gonzalez Quintero, 21, was murdered. According to Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the situation in Mexico is worse now than the Colombian drug war of the 1980s and 1990s ever was. “Colombia was never threatened like the government of Mexico is with the level of violence,” McCraw stated at a Capitol hearing. “At first, we all saw the violence and murders as something that would never happen to us but now so many families have been torn apart, and a once prosperous, to some extent happy city, has been destroyed,” Acosta commented. As of July, 2010, a new record for fatalities has been reached in Juarez: 1,645 homicides in a seven-month period. Despite President Felipe Calderon’s war against organized crime, 6,022 crimes have taken place in Juarez from January 2008 to July 24th of this year. This deadly toll includes children, men, women, and even foreigners that have lost their lives in this dangerous city. Mexican federal authorities report that 25% of homicides related to organized crime in the country are committed in Juarez alone...more

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