Juárez, a Mexican border city with about 1.5 million inhabitants, is known as the most violent city in the world with over three thousand murders a year and no arrests. Just across the border in El Paso, Texas just five murders were reported in 2012. How can this be?
The slaughterhouse that is Juárez is the result of an experiment in free market economics. A market that embraces and even celebrates a social cleansing of the poor through cheap labour and finances a mutually dependent war for drugs and arms. Juárez is not over there. It’s here, wherever you are, only more diluted but spreading like a contagion, as economists keep warning us.
Juárez is our blueprint for a globalized economy where even fear is commodified and outsourced. Where the police are the last people you call when in need because simply being a witness to a crime could mean that you already know too much.
During the second shoot of Dead when I got here in April 2012 police corruption took on a new twist when it became clear that the force had aligned itself with the wrong criminals. A new cartel was moving in on Juárez. Police could either stay with the old guard and die or work with new bosses. As a result, they were too afraid to patrol the streets or deliver untouchables to the asylum.
Eight officers were murdered in a house during a barbecue the day this was filmed. Pastor Galvan from the asylum elaborates…