Warning – be aware of dangers when visiting Juárez

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EL PASO — With an increasing number of drug-war killings in Ciudad Juárez, shootouts in broad daylight and random acts of violence such as the burning down of a nightclub, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) administration has warned students and faculty to be extra careful when travelling in Mexico.

Mexican flag at El Chamizal (Omr Lms/Borderzine.com)

Mexican flag at El Chamizal (Omr Lms/Borderzine.com)

According to the U.S. Department of State, “incidents that have occurred are of great concern to the border town of El Paso because a large percentage of residents are international students and/or have family that lives in Ciudad Juárez.”

“It is a very dangerous city. It’s horrible, sometimes it’s very, very horrible,” said Francisco Pallares, an international student at UTEP.

Although Pallares said the situation is horrible he also said, “It’s just how life is. It’s normal to see those kinds of things over there; you get to appreciate life actually.”

Pallares has lived in Ciudad Juárez all his life and now resides in his family’s home alone. Pallares says that he does not expect anything to happen to him.

“I think in some sense I have a moral obligation to stay with those who cannot get out of there and are still fighting in the peaceful sense,” Pallares said.

Although there have been some 3,000 killings in the past two years, many believe that the victims are not killed at random.

“I think that people who travel to Ciudad Juárez should exercise caution and a common sense, but when I look at the numbers I also realize that the violence is not entirely random. It continues to have very strong patterns,” said Tony Payan, UTEP Political Science professor and frequent traveler to Juárez.

Payan said that whoever goes to Ciudad Juárez should learn those patterns because they will help with decision making when visiting family, circulating around the city, or paying a visit to dentists, doctors, or shopping.

The Department of State advises that the situation in northern Mexico remains fluid, especially because the location and timing of future armed engagements cannot be predicted. U.S. citizens visiting Mexico are urged to take extreme safety precautions. Assailants have been known to dress like military personnel and police officers and also use similar vehicles.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs said that the U.S. Mission in Mexico currently restricts non-essential travel within the state of Durango, which is located southeast of Ciudad Juárez. The alert specifically warned individuals traveling to and from Mexico to only do the necessary traveling. The alert also said, “Travelers should leave their itinerary with a friend or family member not traveling with them, avoid traveling alone, and check with their cellular provider prior to departure to confirm that their cell phone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G international networks.”

Another point the travel alert touched on is that the ordinary every day look is safer for travelers. They warned, “Do not display expensive-looking jewelry, large amounts of money, or other valuable items.” Wearing high quality items may make travelers a target of violence.

Additional information concerning travel safety and updated travel alerts can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website, http://travel.state.gov.

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  1. DEDICADO A LOS QUE ESTROPEAN LA IMAGEN DE CD. JUAREZ: Ati que as de venir cada semana a disfrutar y a ocasionar violencia y desmanes en esta ciudad, ya que en tu GRAN NACION no te lo permiten, a gente como tu le debemos que esta hermosa ciudad este cada dia deteriorando su imagen, porque los que somos de aqui te aseguro que no generamos esta inseguridad, esto es en gran parte a la gente que viene de fuera, a ocasionar desmadres, ya que en la suya no tienen libertad como aqui en juarez. Por eso vienen aqui a convertir y estropiar a la ciudad, que con gusto acepta la visita diaria o semanal.

    JUAREZ NO ES UNA CIUDAD INSEGURA NI VIOLENTA, esto que sucede, es ocasionada por gente que viene a hacer lo que en la suya no puede, aprevechandose de que aqui las autoridades no saben hacer bien su trabajo, deja de poner en mal a esta ciudad, o acaso el paso texas es mejor? es igual con la diferencia de que las autoridades de estados unidos no evidencian lo malo que ocurre en la ¨gran nacion¨ el que nada debe nada teme y si vienes a juarez a ocasionar desmadres no andes divulgando lo que tu vienes a hacer porque esto es lo que los fuereños vienen hacer,somos tu patio trasero, el cual dejas lo que no quieres y lo ensucias y te vale, asi dejas parado a juarez, si cruzas a la frontera dedicate a hacer el bien o mejor quedate en tu nacion, haber si es lo mismo que cuando cruzas, haber si puedes disfrutar en las discos como aqui y cometer faltas al reglamento de transito, DEJA DE HABLAR PENDEJADAS DE JUAREZ. QUE DE AQUI TE SIRVES… As de ser de aqui y hoy que estas del otro lado ya se te olvido. JUAREZ NO ORIGINA LA VIOLENCIA, LA VIOLENCIA LA ORIGINAN LOS QUE VIENE DE FUERA……

  2. I just wanted to thank you very much for this ensightful article. I have already bookmarked your site, when I have more free time I am going to have to do some further reading. Well back to my dreaming of Panama or back to the books – I wonder which one is going to win out. 🙂

  3. I just think that not everything happens on the other side of the border I have been in pretty bad places in the US, like LA or DC where gangs are smoking pot or selling drugs at a daylight but the US goverment is cautious enough not to let that information get in to the news.
    Things can happen everywhere if you expose yourself to it how about El Paso?? as far as I know I have been warned a couple of times not to hang out downtown when gets dark and there’s a lot of drive by’s in the central area so I think we shouldn’t point the finger in to other countries when we can control our own problems and we pretend that nothing happens in here(the US)

  4. Thanks much for warning. Reading this all, its really horrible. But as a matter of fact, people may face such type of situations also in some other places. This is an eye opener and an advice to watch you backs.

  5. Mariana hit the nail on the head. It’s dangerous in the US as well. In fact I would rather be in Juarez than in Detroit or LA. Plenty of stuff going on here. We have a house over there and mind our own business. Don’t mess with anybody else and don’t break the law and you’ll be okay. I know there have been cases of mistaken identity but that’s normally a long shot. A car is spotted like the one that the assassins are looking for and they kill all in the car or in the house where the car is parked. That happens in the U.S. also.
    Mexico is a much better place to live if you ask me. It’s not restricted like the U.S. with all their stupid laws. You want something in a pharmacy there you just go buy it. They don’t play games and send you to a doctor and pay out the ass like here in the US. Most things can be bought over the counter but if not there’s usually a doctor there that can write you a script for a reasonable fee. That’s just one of the perks of living there. Nobody bothers you and you can pretty much do what you want to. Much more freedom there to me. The U.S. is turning into control freaks. I bought a house in Juarez and am getting to go live there and tell the U.S. Bye! Bye! I don’t work on the US. side or own any property so that will be it with my taxes. Hasta la vista! Look at who is running this country before you start ragging mexico !

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