Next week the officials comprising all three branches of state government will move from Chihuahua to Juárez, as a gesture of solidarity with the citizens of that city. The announcement was made Saturday afternoon at about 3 p.m. at a press conference in the palace of government in Chihuahua by Governor José Reyes Baeza Terrazas, who was accompanied by Rodolfo Acosta Muñoz, president of the Chihuahua State Supreme Court, by Fernando Rodríguez Moreno, leader of the caucus of PRI legislators, and by Sergio Granados Pineda, Secretary General of the state government.
This move doesn't mean that the state capital will move to Cd. Juárez. The governor indicated that in practical terms it meant state officials would remain in Cd. Juárez for three or four days a week, and spend the rest of their time attending to the needs of the state in Chihuahua. The move will be made for "an indefinite" period of time.
At the same press conference the governor indicated he would seek $3 billion (about $230 million US) in additional revenues from the federal government for Cd. Juárez to be used for education, day care centers, urban infrastructure, and social development. He indicated he would not insist that these funds be channeled through the state, but suggested the creation of a citizen's council to determine the best use of the funds.
He also said officials of all three branches of government would respectfully ask for President Calderon to visit Cd. Juárez, because "his presence is needed." Pointedly referring to President Calderon's recent visit to flood zones in the state of Mexico and in Michoacan, Governor Reyes Baeza said "there are many families hurting here, not from a natural disaster like a flood, but from an expression of violence that began here two years ago in Chihuahua, after the president asked us to join with him" in fighting organized crime.
Readers should remember that this is an election year that will decide the governorship for the next six years as well as all the mayors. Governor Reyes Baeza belongs to the PRI party, as does Mayor Reyes Ferriz. President Calderon is a member of the PAN party.
In a pointed question the governor was asked whether he would ask Juárez mayor Reyes Ferriz to return to live in Juárez. The mayor has been criticized in some quarters for his recent move from El Paso to a new residence in Las Cruces, New Mexico, forty miles away, apparently for security reasons. The governor's response was that it was up to the people of Juarez to make this request, but in his own case he will reside in Juarez and not in a neighboring city.
Compiled from stories in Norte and Diario.