CIUDAD JUÁREZ, México.- Nearly every day, news reports record at least two to three deaths in Juarez.
“In 2007 we counted 353 deaths, in 2008 1067, in 2009 2620 and in 2010 until Monday 19, 1611” says Fernando Quintana, a broadcast journalist with Channel 44 TV.
“El Norte, every night reports eight to fifteen deaths on its website” adds Ismael Ruvalcaba, a reporter with El Norte newspaper.
President Calderón arrived in Juárez on March 16, 2010, to attend a conference entitled Todos somos Juárez. Reconstruyamos nuestra ciudad.
During the conference Calderon stated that “the drug trafficking problem in Mexico and the United States is a bi-national problem, which originated in drug use in the U.S. and arms trafficking, as criminals are engaged in exporting weapons through El Paso, Texas.
Critics contended that the conference was a failure and that the president shouldn’t leave Juárez with the belief that all was well, but rather engaged in a deadly war.
That was the reaction after the president gave a mundane speech, never mentioning a specific strategy to stop the violence in the beleaguered city.
Juárez citizens are desperate and live in constant fear. It is not only the war between cartels; they also have to deal with armed robbery, kidnapping, threats, businesses burned, and, most recently, a car bomb.
“Citizens have become inured to violence. Some say “I prefer not to watch the news, in order to have a quieter life and a normal life.” “Or the people who have the possibility to leave town, have left,” Fernando Quintana says.
He adds that the cartels plan their highest level of executions during prime time television, for maximum broadcast exposure. This way each cartel can send a message to the others, he says.
Ironically since the Federal Police (PFP) took control over the Juarez news media, controlling newspapers, television and other media three months ago, much news concerning the violence has not been aired or published, Quintana says.
The Federal Police have also begun censoring the Municipal police radios, which was how the news media in the past had access to what was happening in the city.
While the PFP made this decision to stop the community from being exposed to the almost hourly violent episodes, reporters are still diligently doing their job, and its nearly impossible to stop the terrible tragedies from being covered by the news media, Quintana says.
Psychological Damage in Young Juarenzes
In February 21, 2010 El Universal published a story with the headline reading, “Alumnos imitan al narco en escuelas de Juárez” (Students imitated drug dealers in Juarez schools).
The report states there is a band in the school call “La Familia” in which 20 adolescences have taken over their school, asking for “cuota” (money) from other students, imitating the cartels.
Another example is in La Jornada. In April 19, 2010 they published a similar story. The newspaper gives examples of how the children imitate drug dealers at lunch time. Also, La Jornada explains how children talk about the delinquency as if they are experts in the topic.
Channel 44 TV reported that in an interview of a young girl, to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked by Fernando Quintana, her answer was that she wanted to be a “sicario” (a person who kills for money).
“Society is in a time of shock, by so much death, lost relatives, losing income and social morals” notes psychologist Ileana Rascón.
Rascón adds that rational society is getting consumed, because of so much pain and suffering.
Children are like a sponge, they absorb everything they watch, and for them violence is “normal,” she says.
Some of it is the parent’s fault, because there are little values and morals in families. Also, the media is reinforcing the normalcy of life in Juárez, by its failure to cover the violence news adequately, Rascón said.