Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Morning in Juarez

I spent the morning in Cd. Juarez. In spite of the arrival nearly three weeks ago of nearly 10,000 troops or federal police agents, There was today only a slight increase in the visible presence of military troops or police in the city compared to two weeks ago (see my blog for March 22). I suspect this presence increases dramatically at night. I only saw three military patrols (they work in pairs of humvees, with about 6-8 persons in each) and one of these was at Sam's (On Avenida del Ejercito, just off of Paseo del Triunfo) where the unit was purchasing provisions. There was an increase in the visibility of federal police, who patrol in pickups with personnel standing in the back. I went by the Aldama police station, where it is clear the federal police have taken over, and there appeared to be quite a bit of activity.

The wait line two weeks ago today was only about 20 minutes; today it looked like a wait-time of about an hour and a half at the Santa Fe bridge, so I decided to cross at Santa Teresa going through the newly opened road to San Jeronimo from downtown Juarez next to the recently constructed fence along the border. Although this is a gravel road most of the way until you get to the cattle crossing, it took me less than 20 minutes to get from the Santa Fe bridge to the Santa Teresa crossing, where I found only 5 cars in front of me. The road from downtown to Anapra(it used to be called the "road to nowhere" as I understand it because construction to Anapra was stopped after Governor Garrey Carruthers of New Mexico failed to convince officials in Mexico City to build a crossing in the late 1980s at Anapra after convincing local authorities to do so)is being improved, and development is booming along it. There is even a brand-new Rio convenience store near Anapra. Within a year this will be an extremely valuable place to have a business, and the energy and bustle along the road now is a welcome contrast to the quiet and fairly empty commercial establishments in downtown Juarez.

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