Courts & Crime

Ciudad Juarez cancels Independence Day celebrations over drug violence

MEXICO CITY — How bad is it in Ciudad Juarez, the murder capital of the world on the northern border with Texas?

Bad enough that they are canceling the Sept. 16 Independence Day celebrations. Juarez residents will have to celebrate in the safety of their own homes.

"Because of threats, because of criminal activities that exist in Juarez, we don't want to take any risks," Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz told the El Paso Times.

“Right now Ciudad Juarez should not be celebrating,” adds Dr. Arturo Valenzuela Zorrilla, head of the volunteer committee of public safety.

This isn't any ordinary Independence Day coming up next month either. It’s the bicentennial of Mexico’s 1810 declaration of freedom from the Spanish crown. In the capital and Mexico's other major cities, large celebrations are planned.

But Ciudad Juarez is a killing field in Mexico’s drug wars. So far this year, at least 2,006 have been killed. Since 2008, the death toll in the Juarez area tops 6,380 people, according to a tally kept by Molly Molloy, a researcher at the New Mexico State University at Las Cruces and maven of Frontera-List, an e-information group on Mexico.

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