Saturday, July 31, 2010

U.S. Consulate Closed Due to Bomb Threat: Businesses Near Consulate Will Suffer: The Fear Factor Has Just Escalated To a New Level

Yesterday the delegate of the Mexican Foreign Office, Eduardo Rodriguez, confirmed that the closing of the U.S. Consulate was due to the threat of a car bomb. On Thursday morning the Consulate was evacuated after it received a bomb threat, and a decision was made later to close the Consulate indefinitely. For story in Diario, click here. The U.S. State Department at first simply stated they had closed the Consulate for a "security review" without stating the cause, perhaps not wishing to cause undue alarm. However, this morning citizens have been warned to stay away from the immediate area surrounding the building.

The U.S. Consulate is located in an area known as the Zona Dorada (Golden Zone), a newly developed, wealthy sector in Cd. Juarez, just East of Triunfo de la Republica, a major artery which continues to the airport. The Consulate is the major economic engine for this sector of town, inasmuch as every citizen in Mexico who wishes to obtain a permanent resident visa to the U.S. must interview in person there, and many thousands of persons visit the Consulate each year for other kinds of visas. Nearly 2000 applications of one kind or another are processed there daily and it is estimated that one million persons enter the building each year. It is the largest U.S. Consulate in the world.

Given the escalating violence over the past two years, the Consulate was one of the few places left in Juarez drawing large daily concentrations of people, and the area is surrounded by ten hotels, at least 20 restaurants, a major shopping mall (Las Misiones, with about 50 businesses and a movie complex), bars, and other establishments that cater to Mexicans from out of town who have business at the Consulate. As long as the Consulate remains closed, these businesses are likely to suffer huge losses, and hundreds of jobs are in jeopardy.

Perhaps even more important, if one wanted to do something that would emphasize the lack of normality in Juarez, that would underscore the relative impotence of law enforcement to provide security, and that would stimulate even more widespread fear in the city, it is hard to imagine an act more efficient at doing so than this one.

This morning the municipal government announced it would begin inspecting all vehicles entering the parking lot of the municipal building and other high-profile facilities in the city. Yesterday El Norte, a daily newspaper, received a false bomb threat which disrupted business there. The threat of car bombings has now engulfed Cd. Juarez, placing it for the moment in the same category as Bogota, Colombia, some years back, Beirut, Lebanon, for many years, Baghdad, and other notorious places. Until now most Juarenses continued to believe if they weren't involved in drug trafficking or the victim of extortion, the violence was highly unlikely to strike them, except as a lightning stroke of bad luck. The threat of car bombing, which can kill dozens of bystanders, has just changed the equation of fear in Cd. Juarez.

Meanwhile seven persons were killed Friday afternoon; four in a barbershop in Col. San Felipe del Real; and three in front of a residential home in Col. Postal.


Anonymous said...

Dr Garcia, Is there any thruth to the rumors in the US press that Pres Obama will name Gov Richardson to a position as special advisor to Mexico enlight of these new developments?

Jose Z. Garcia said...

It would be a disastrous mistake to send Governor Richardson to Mexico. With new scandals, excesses, and failures from his administration still surfacing, it would hardly be a sign to Mexico that we take their problems seriously enough to send our very best. And if he's too crooked to be in the cabinet, isn't he too crooked to be appointed to represent the President in Mexico? Even worse, Richardson insulted the people of Juarez in his early days as governor, when he sided with Patricio Martinez, PRI governor of Chihuahua, in a land deal cooked up with powerful families from Chihuahua allied with the Verde Group, which had acquired the Santa Teresa land once owned by Charlie Crowder. At that time there was a PAN mayor in Juarez, and the PAN over many years had carefully laid out land development plans that were suddenly disrupted by the Martinez deal. Richardson, in effect, interfered in partisan affairs in Chihuahua. His presence in Mexico as an envoy of the President would not likely sit well with much of Mexico.

Anonymous said...

"It would be a disastrous mistake to send Governor Richardson to Mexico. With new scandals, excesses, and failures from his administration still surfacing"
And folk from southern NM want another 4 years of a Richardson like state with denish?

Anonymous said...

Dr Garcia, You are right on with your comments on all the bad actions that Gov Richardson has done for the state of New Mexico. I wish you would post your top ten list of bad things Richardson has done while in office. I hope that your list includes the Spaceport project and the NM Region VII Housing authority, based in Las Cruces.

Anonymous said...

Yes I wish you would post an expose on all the shady and misuse things that Richardson has done while he has been in office.