Ambassador of Mexico Arturo Sarukhan, left, and Carlos Chavira, president of the new initiative “Juarez Competitiva” introduce the project in Washington on Monday. They hope to unite the border region against drug wars and improve the economy.(Danya Hernandez/SHFWire)

Border leaders unveil plan to restore reputation of Ciudad Juarez

WASHINGTON – The violence and crime that have stained the name of the U.S.-Mexico border region is uniting its residents, who want to regain a clean status. The innumerable reports of murder, kidnappings and extortions brought by drug trafficking to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, are the main factor contributing to the exodus of about 230,000 middle class families and more than 10,000 businesses since 2006. Residents of the region created a new initiative called “Juárez Competitiva” to advertize the city’s assets and cultural value to create economic growth. Officials at the Embassy of Mexico announced the project’s launch at a news conference Monday. “It’s an effort to understand that not only by confronting organized crime will you be able to push back.

(Raymundo Aguirre/

Texas Blind Salamanders found in El Paso’s City Hall

EL PASO – The Texas Blind Salamander, an endangered species getting closer to oblivion because of the drought that descended on our state, appears to be alive, well and indeed thriving in the swamp-cooled hollows and dark passageways of El Paso’s City Hall. The wily diehards have mutated to achieve some degree of communication skills despite their small size and terrible handicap.  Although they remain sightless, they have been given public relations assignments by the city manager. Their first major assignment hit the top spot on the front page of the printed edition El Paso Times Wednesday under the headline. “Survey asks if El Paso should drop ‘sister city’ relationship with Juárez.”

Way to go salamanders!  With 15 years of international public experience under my belt, I can tell you that rookie flacks don’t usually make the front page in 72-point type!