In Ciudad Juárez, a military response is being given to a social problem

LATIN AMERICA AND THE ATLANTIC SPACE - Jun 19, 2009

The policy of abandonment is the main cause of the absence of government in Ciudad Juárez.


The policy of abandonment is the main cause of the absence of government in Ciudad Juárez.

On 17 June at the headquarters of the CIDOB Foundation, Luis Alfonso Herrera Robles, lecturer-researcher at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez (Mexico), presented his book “Absence of government, violence and policy of abandonment in the north of Mexico”. The author claims that Mexico's northern border has become a focus for drug trafficking, feminicide, militarisation and mass deportations, all of which has led to a culture of violence and a “lack of government in the city”.

In his comments on the book, Servando Pineda (Autonomous University of Ciudad Juàrez) highlighted its importance in that the work introduces concepts such as the “policy of abandonment” and reflects on the city through the disciplines of political science and sociology. Pineda also pointed to some of the problems that are making the situation of Ciudad Juárez worse, such as the shortage of public spaces, the low dissemination of culture and public infrastructure, and the absence of any long-term policy.

Meanwhile, Joan Subirats (Institute of Government and Public Policy, UAB) made the point that the book seeks to explain the reality of Ciudad Juárez to the lay reader by reflecting on the deep roots of the problem and its links with globalisation. He placed emphasis on the global dimension of the problem, and warned that we should not make the mistake of analysing the case as a local anomaly, and instead stressed the need to identify the political subjects of the change. Jaume Curbet (Open University of Catalonia) agreed that the volume is an invitation to rethink violence and to provide a response to the great challenge of investigating the areas in which it has not yet broken out.

María Jesús Izquierdo (Autonomous University of Barcelona) based her comments on a reflection on the link between drug trafficking and manufacturing and gender issues, by presenting a duality between the masculinisation of drug trafficking and the feminisation of manufacturing. Anna Ayuso (CIDOB) closed the debate by invoking the example of Medellín in Colombia in order to encourage efforts to find ways of solving the dramatic current situation of Ciudad Juárez.

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