REUTERS- The daily killings have become so normal they have almost ceased to shock. Unless Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, bucks all previous indicators and undergoes a dramatic security turnaround, the death toll from the drug war raging in the city since January 2008 will reach 6,000 people this month.
That is more than all the dead serving in the U.S.military in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. It is also a tragic milestone reached with the killings of mostly teenage hitmen, police, drug addicts, dealers and people who failed to cough up extortion money and kidnap ransoms.
The grim tally underlines a harsh decline for Ciudad Juarez, which was hailed in the 1990s as the poster child for free trade, the city that through the North American Free Trade Agreement was meant to bring prosperity and stability via its border factories exporting dishwashers and televisions to the United States. The Ciudad Juarez-El Paso region did handle $50 billion in trade in 2008, but little of that wealth stayed in Ciudad Juarez.
Federal police told Reuters last month that drug killings had fallen since they took over security in the city in April. But nothing seems to be further from the truth. According to tallies at the respected Ciudad Juarez daily El Diario, June was the bloodiest month yet with 306 deaths and July could surpass that total, with more than 130 deaths over the past 13 days.
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