Heroic City of Juarez: Nice New Name, But What About the Violence?

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Mon, May 23, 2011 at 2:32 PM
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You know what was missing from the image of the city of Juarez, Mexico?

A commemoration of violence. Something to apprise would-be visitors of the border town's long, bloody history. A reminder to pack the Kevlar as well as the sunscreen.

In honor of that glaring omission, Chihuahua state legislators -- charged with safeguarding the city's image -- got together and christened the city after a century-old revolution during which an estimated 2 million people died.

Welcome to the all new Heroica Ciudad Juarez, or Heroic City of Juarez.

Over the weekend, Mexican officials officially changed the name of the war-torn northern border town, where more than 9,000 people have died since 2008 in drug-related violence.

According to the Latin American Herald Tribune:

The state legislature held a session Saturday to mark the centennial of the signing of the Treaties of Ciudad Juarez, which marked the triumph of the Mexican Revolution in 1911 and opened the way for dictator Porfirio Diaz to go into exile.

In recent times, more than 230,000 citizens of Juarez have fled the city for safer surroundings.

Reports Reuters:

The past glories contrast with the forlorn, desert city's image not just for the drug war but for the unresolved murders of hundreds of young, poor women since 1993. Ciudad Juarez's desolate streets and prison-like houses are a world away from the glittering shopping malls of El Paso, Texas, visible through the through the wire fence marking the border between the world's richest nation and its struggling southern neighbor.

"This is an alternative to the defamatory way the city has been treated," state lawmaker Enrique Serrano, who voted for the name change, told reporters this month.

While we can appreciate wanting to move past the recent violence and celebrate the good ol' days, perhaps it would have been better to get rid of the word "Juarez" altogether?

After all, according to the Urban Dictionary, in today's world the word "Juarez" means: "the place where bored teenagers used to go to to get drunk, high and "dance" on weekends .... Juarez is currently one of the murder capitals of the world, so even teenagers are scared of crossing the border."

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