Ciudad Juárez (Spanish pronunciation: [sjuˈðað ˈxwaɾes]), abbreviated Cd. Juárez, also known as Juárez and formerly known as El Paso del Norte, is a city and seat of the
Ciudad Juárez is one of the fastest growing cities in the world in spite of the fact that it has been called "the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones." In 2001 the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas published a report stating that in Ciudad Juárez “the average annual growth over the 10-year period 1990-2000 was 5.3 percent. Juárez experienced much higher population growth than the state of Chihuahua and than Mexico as a whole.”
There are four international ports of entry connecting Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas, including the Bridge of the Americas, Ysleta International Bridge, Paso Del Norte Bridge, and Stanton Street Bridge, which combined were responsible for 22,958,472 crossings in 2008, making Ciudad Juarez a major point of entry and transportation for all of central northern Mexico. The city has a growing industrial center which is made up in large part by more than 300 maquiladoras (assembly plants) located in and around the city. According to a 2007 New York Times article, Ciudad Juárez "is now absorbing more new industrial real estate space than any other North American city." In 2008, FDi Magazine designated Ciudad Juárez "The City of the Future". However, the city is also the site of widespread poverty and violence, including an infamous series of unsolved murders of female factory workers. The violence generated by the drug war translated into more than 2,600 killings in 2008. More than 1,600 of them occurred in Juárez, three times more than the most murderous city in the United States. And that number of killings increased to 2,600 in 2009. In response, business groups in Juárez have called for UN intervention.
Ciudad Juárez was founded as El Paso del Norte ("North Pass") in 1659 by Spanish explorers seeking a route through the southern Rocky Mountains. The Mission de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was the first permanent Spanish development in the area. The Native America population was already located there. The Jesuit friars established a community that grew in importance as commerce between Santa Fe and Chihuahua passed through it. The wood for the bridge across the Rio Grande first came from Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 18th century. The original population of suma, jumano and immigrants brought by the Spanish as slaves from Central New Spain grew around the mission. In 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt, some members of the Tigua branch of the Pueblo became refugees from the conflict and a Mission was established for them in Ysleta del Paso del Norte. The population grew until around 1750, when the Apache attacked the other native towns around the missions. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the Rio Grande as the border between Mexico and the United States, separating the settlements on the north bank of the river from the rest of the town.
Such settlements were not adjoined to the town at that time, and as the military set up its buildings, the town grew around it. This would later become El Paso, Texas. From that time until around 1930 populations on both sides of the border could move freely across it. Ciudad Juárez and El Paso are one of the 14 pairs of Cross-border town naming along the U.S.–Mexico border. During the French intervention in Mexico (1862–1867), El Paso del Norte served as a temporary stop for Benito Juárez's republican forces until he established his government-in-exile in Chihuahua. In 1888, El Paso del Norte was renamed in honor of Juárez.
Juárez has grown substantially in recent decades due to a large influx of people moving into the city in search of jobs with the maquiladoras. Now more technological firms have been attracted into the city such as the Delphi Corporation Technical Center, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, which employs more than 2,000 engineers. Large slum housing communities called colonias have become extensive.
Juárez has gained further notoriety because of violence  and as a major center of narcotics trafficking linked to the powerful Juárez Cartel, and for more than 1000 unsolved murders of young women since 1993. Unfortunately, because of widely alleged police complicity (and perhaps even participation on the part of police and government officials and local elites), the serial murders continue and most of them remain unsolved despite the years that have gone by, though the number of homicides has fallen slightly since 2004 despite the increase of population. As a result of the murders, Juárez (along with the capital of the state, Chihuahua, Chih.) has become a center for protest against sexual violence throughout Mexico. Meanwhile, many continue working to maintain a positive image of Ciudad Juárez. Songs 'Juarez' by the music artist Tori Amos and 'Invalid Litter Dept.' by At the Drive-In refer to Ciudad Juárez and the murders of women therein. A giant Mexican flag, bandera monumental, was erected in Chamizal Park on June 26, 1997.
Ciudad Juárez has an arid climate because it is located in the Chihuahuan desert. Seasons are extremely well defined, hot summers, cold winters and cool springs and fall. Summer average high is 34 °C (93 °F) with lows of 22 °C (72 °F), on the other hand winter high is 14 °C (57 °F) with lows of 1 °C (34 °F). Because of the high altitude Ciudad Juárez is cooler than other desert cities in Mexico. Rainfall is very scarce but it is more prominent in the summer months. Snowfall is not a rare event—it normally snows once or twice every winter. The record high is 46 °C (115 °F) and the record low is −22 °C (−8 °F).
The average annual growth in population over a 10-year period [1990–2000] was 5.3%. According to the 2005 population census, the city had 1,301,452 inhabitants, while the municipality had 1,313,338 inhabitants. During the last decades the city has received migrants from Mexico's interior, some figures state that 32% of the city's population originate outside the state of Chihuahua, mainly from the states of Durango (9.9%), Coahuila (6.3%), Veracruz (3.7%) and Zacatecas (3.5%), as well as from Mexico City (1.7%). Though most new comers are Mexican, some also are immigrants from Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
However, a March 2009 Wall Street Journal article noted there has been a mass exodus of people who could afford to leave the city. The article quoted a city planning department estimate of over 116,000 abandoned homes, which could roughly be the equivalent of 400,000 people who have left the city due to the violence. An article in The Guardian in September 2010 says of Ciudad Juarez - "About 10,670 businesses - 40% of the total - have shut. A study by the city's university found that 116,000 houses have been abandoned and 230,000 people have left."
The city is governed by a municipal president and an eighteen seat council. The current president is Hector Murguia Lardizabal, an affiliate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Three national parties are represented on the council: the PRI, the National Action Party and the New Alliance Party. On February 6, 2010 the governor of Chihuahua, José Reyes Baeza announced that he wished to move Chihuahua's state seat of government to the city, as a temporary measure to reduce crime.
Crime and safety
Criminal activity in the domestic metropolitan area of Juárez has increased dramatically since the rise of maquiladoras and especially following the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, two factors which attracted both international commerce and many younger women and their families to Juárez in search of better economic opportunities. Violence towards women in the municipality has increased dramatically in the past twenty years; since the early nineties there have been approximately 600 femicides and at least 3000 missing women. Escalating turf wars between the rival Juárez and Sinaloa Cartels have led to increasingly brutal violence in the city since the mid-first decade of the 21st century.
The Juárez police department had a force of approximately 800 officers in September 2008, following the removal of a third of its human resources for various reasons. Recruitment goals set by the department called for the force to more than double. Juárez Citizens Command threatened to take action to attempt to put a stop to all the perpetrators of violence while government officials expressed concern that such vigilantism would contribute to further instability and violence. In response to the increasing violence in the city the military and Federal Police's presence had been increased almost twofold. As of March 2009 at least 4500 soldiers and federal police were in the city attempting to curtail mostly drug cartel related violence. By August 2009 there were more than 7500 federal troops augmented by an expanded and highly restaffed municipal force. In the year leading up to August 2009 Juárez's murder rate was the highest reported in the world, exceeding the holders of the second and third highest rates, Caracas and New Orleans respectively, by more than 25%. The rate of 130 murders per 100,000 inhabitants is the same as Caracas' 2008 statistic for same period. Journalist Charles Bowden, in an August 2008 GQ article, wrote that multiple factors, including drug violence, government corruption and poverty have led to a dispirited and disorderly atmosphere that now permeates the city.
Criminal hijacking of electronic media
PBS Newshour, Thursday, July 29, 2010, reports one Juarense social worker's analysis: young boys in Juarez are offered cell phones and money to monitor their own neighborhood street for the appearance of vehicles, and to report vehicular activity on a continuous basis. The boys are told to watch for vehicles of some given description, as detailed by the criminals. This tactic has allowed criminals to evade law enforcement efforts much more easily and flexibly.
A Mexican journalist, Angela Kocherga, reports that one Juarez channel was blackmailed into broadcasting a tape from a drug cartel in exchange for releasing its reporter from kidnapping.
Drug cartel violence
There were 1,400 murders in Ciudad Juárez in 2008 and more than 2,500 drug-related deaths over the same period in 2010. The population of Ciudad Juárez have had to change their daily routine and many try to stay home in the evening hours. Public life is almost paralyzed out of fear of being kidnapped or hit by a stray bullet. On February 20, 2009, the U.S. State Department announced in an updated travel alert that "Mexican authorities report that more than 1,800 people have been killed in the city since January 2008."  On 12 March 2009, police found "at least seven" partially buried bodies in the outskirts of the city, close to the US-Mexican border. Five severed heads were discovered in ice boxes, along with notes to rivals in the drug wars. Beheadings, attacks on police, and shootings are common in some regions.
In September 2009, eighteen patients at a drug rehabilitation clinic called El Aliviane were massacred in a turf battle; the victims were lined up in a corridor and gunned down. The authorities had no immediate suspects or information on the victims. Plagued by corruption and the assassination of many of its officers, the government is struggling to maintain Ciudad Juárez's police force, while other officers have quit the force out of fear of being targeted. In late 2008, one murder victim was found near a school hanging from a fence with a pig's mask on his face, and another one was found beheaded hanging from a bridge in one of the city's busier streets.
The El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation indicated that Ciudad Juárez is the metropolis absorbing “more new industrial real estate space than any other North American city.” The Financial Times Group through its publication The Foreign Direct Investment Magazine ranked Ciudad Juárez as the “City of the Future” for 2007–2008. The Ciudad Juárez-El Paso area is a major manufacturing center. ADC Telecommunications, Electrolux, Bosch, Foxconn, Flextronics, Lexmark, Delphi, Visteon, Johnson Controls, Lear, Boeing, Cardinal Health, Yazaki, Sumitomo, and Siemens are some of the foreign companies that have chosen Ciudad Juárez for their business operation. The Mexican state of Chihuahua is frequently among the top five states in Mexico with the most foreign investment.
According to the latest estimates, literacy rate in the city is in line with the national average in the country: 97.3% of people above 15 years old are able to read and write. Juárez has three public and two private universities. The Instituto Tecnológico de Ciudad Juárez (ITCJ), founded in 1964, became the first public institution of higher education in the city. The Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez (UACJ), founded in 1968, is the largest university in the city and has been ranked among the best universities in the country. It has several locations inside of the city including the Faculty of Biomedicine, the Social Sciences Center, the Arts and Engineering Center with spaces for Fine Arts and Sports. These latter services are considered among the best because they recluse nearly 30,000 participants in sports such as swimming, racquetball, basketball and gymnastics, and arts such as Classical Ballet, Drama, Modern Dance, Hawaiian and Polynesian Dances, Folk dance, Music and Flamenco. The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the Autonomous University of Chihuahua (Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, UACH) which has delivered 70% of the city's media and news crew, is located in the city. The local campuses of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and the Autonomous University of Durango (UAD) are private universities. The Monterrey Institute of Technology opened its campus in 1983 and it is preferred among the upper and middle classes of the city. It is ranked as "third best" among other campuses of the institution, after the Garza Sada campus in Monterrey and the Santa Fe campus in Mexico City.
Overall, the city offers a wide range of schools for every type of income and need. The city is widely recognized for its excellence in education, especially the one offered by the private sector. The main institutions in Ciudad Juárez are the Instituto Latinoamericano, a Catholic school directed from Spain, one of the colleges managed by the company founded by Spanish mystic Teresa de Avila, by direct order of the Pope to revert the effects of Protestantism in Spain; The Colegio Iberoamericano, The Middle School and High School of the ITESM, the Teresa de Avila, the Instituto Mexico. Despite this, many people choose to study in the neighbor city of El Paso, some for convenience.