CIUDAD JUÁREZ, México — Last January the state of Chihuahua claimed through a statewide press release with different statistics of seizures and arrests to be working hard to fight the “war against organized crime.”
Yet the 6,022 killings (645 this July, 2010 and rising) have led the people, the press and other media outlets to a different conclusion—that the Operativo Conjunto Chihuahua is a failure and the people have lost faith in the political and judiciary system in Mexico.
But even in these dire circumstances, there is still a sense of hope that lingers deep within the fibers of the Mexican population. To many, these extreme circumstances have been a vehicle in the search for truth and reason and understanding, and it has been a way to grow in faith and to reconnect with family and friends.
The people want to make things better from within the country, which usually means that the private sector steps in to help. For example, the Iniciativa México project is a joint effort between the private sector and the two biggest media outlets form México: Televisa and TV Azteca.
Through an open entry contest of the different social programs from the different ONG’S and associations from around the country, people can submit and vote on the Iniciativa México website to choose the best four proposals that fosters growth, education, arts, science or technology and the winner will promoted, funded and brought to fruition.
Juarez has a very similar movement that is emerging. There has been a burning desire, a massive outrage from the community that tries to reclaim a town and a culture that has been distraught and overwhelmed by violence, corruption, apathy and impotence.
“For a rain of bullets, a rainbow of peace” as better described by a Facebook post from the Juarez’n vivo project, a very positive and ambitious collective of different youth groups and ONG’S that tries to promote a more positive side of Juárez. The attempt to foster a better sense of identity and mental health with the participation of the local youth, through a free massive outdoor concert, art and culture shows from local artists and special guests.
On July 24th 2010 a massive outdoor concert took place at the Centro Cultural Paso del Norte and close to eight thousand people showed up to support the joint efforts and to enjoy a day of music, friends and art.
The outdoor stage glowed and radiated energy and enthusiasm while a sea of whirling teenagers danced and jumped ecstatically to the beats of the Panoptica Orchestra that fervently released the pent up frustrations and fears of a generation that knows not of parks and playgrounds.
It is a generation that has grown up under the choking foot of fear and cynicism, almost living trapped in their rooms and patios with TV and the Internet as their only constant companions.
“We are from Tijuana and we completely understand Ciudad Juárez!” shouted one of the band members as a human tempest of waving arms punched the air and the deafening roars and cheers of the crowd released their sorrows to the heavens for all to hear, and a sense of unity and emotion was finally all around.
Indeed the streets were reclaimed, at least on this cloudy and crowded night… now I’m beginning to think a photo will probably look better at nighttime.