Tag Archives: Ciudad Juarez

Father of Migrants

Alice Driver | Longreads | June 2017 | 22 minutes (5,698 words)

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“What good is a border without a people willing to break it wide open?”
— Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, quote from live storytelling at California Sunday Popup in Austin, Texas on March 4, 2017

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On the edge of the promised land dust storms rise out of the desert, obscuring everything, even the migrants waiting at the gate in front of a complex surrounded by a chain-linked fence topped by barbed wire. But Father Javier Calvillo Salazar is from Juárez, Mexico and he is used to it all, and to those who arrive after what is sometimes thousands of miles and hundreds of days with a collection of scars, broken bones, and missing limbs to match the inhumanity encountered along the way. They arrive weeping, they arrive stony-faced, they arrive pregnant, they arrive with venereal diseases—sometimes they arrive telling García Márquez-esqe stories of witnessing a crocodile eat a newborn baby in one swift bite.

Nicole was delivered at a hospital into the arms of her mother, Ana Lizbeth Bonía, 28, who arrived at the shelter in Juárez after spending nine months traveling north from Comayagua, Honduras. She showed up at the migrant shelter Casa del Migrante Diócesis de Ciudad Juárez with her husband Luis Orlando Rubí, 23, and her underweight son, José Luis, 2, who had saucer-like eyes that glistened with emotion. Ana, who had grown up selling vegetables in the street since the age of 4, had never finished elementary school.

The migrant shelter in Juárez is so close to El Paso, Texas that migrants feel the bittersweet pull of land they can see but likely never legally inhabit. The shelter has 120 beds for men, 60 for women, 20 for families, and one separate area where transgender migrants can stay if they choose. Most migrants who arrive at the shelter are single men, and in interviews migrants mentioned that President Trump’s threat of separating women from their children had led to a decrease in migration by those groups. Each migrant is initially limited to a three-day stay, but they can extend that time depending on their condition, as in the case of Ana, who needed time to rest and recuperate after giving birth to Nicole. Read more…

El Padre de Los Migrantes

Alice Driver | Longreads | Junio ​​2017 | 22 minutos (5,698 palabras)

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“¿Qué tan buena es una frontera si no hay gente dispuesta a abrirla de par en par?”
— Hanif Willis Abdurraqib *cita del relato en vivo en el “California Sunday Popup” en Austin, Texas, 4 de marzo de 2017

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A la orilla de la tierra prometida se levantan tormentas de polvo provenientes del desierto obscureciéndolo todo, incluso los migrantes tienen que esperar frente a un complejo rodeado por una valla metálica coronada por alambre de púas. Pero el Padre Javier Calvillo Salazar es oriundo de Ciudad Juárez, México, y está acostumbrado a todo esto, así como a todos aquellos que llegan después de una jornada en la que bien pudieron haber transcurrido miles de kilómetros y cientos de días, casi todos llegan cubiertos de cicatrices, con huesos rotos o sin alguno de sus miembros, con heridas que dejan en evidencia la falta de humanidad que se encuentra a lo largo del camino. Son personas que llegan llorando, con rostros endurecidos, con embarazos, con enfermedades venéreas y hasta con historias que remiten a las de Gabriel García Márquez, en las que cuentan haber visto con sus propios ojos a un cocodrilo devorar a un recién nacido de una sola y tajante mordida.

Nicole fue entregada en los brazos de su madre, Ana Lizbeth Bonía de 28 años, en un hospital de la frontera norte de México. Después de una travesía de 9 meses, que inició en Comayagua, Honduras, Ana Lizbeth llegó al albergue de migrantes Casa del Migrante Diócesis de Juárez con su esposo Luis Orlando de 23 años, y su desnutrido hijo José Luis de 2 años, que tenía unos ojos redondos como platos que brillaban con emoción. Ana nunca terminó la primaria, y pasó su niñez en las calles, vendiendo verduras desde los 4 años.

El albergue para migrantes en Juárez está tan cerca de El Paso, Texas, que los migrantes sienten el agridulce llamado de una tierra que pueden ver pero en la que difícilmente pueden vivir de manera legal. El albergue cuenta con 120 camas para hombres, 60 para mujeres, 20 para familias, así como con un área aparte en donde los migrantes transgénero pueden quedarse si así lo desean. La mayoría de los migrantes que llegan son hombres solteros, y durante las entrevistas realizadas ellos mencionaron que la amenaza del presidente Trump de separar a los niños de sus madres ha provocado una caída en la migración de estos grupos. Inicialmente, cada migrante tiene permitida una estancia no mayor a tres días, pero pueden quedarse más tiempo dependiendo de su condición, como es el caso de Ana, que necesitaba tiempo para descansar y recuperarse después de haber dado a luz a Nicole. Read more…

Talking to Alice Driver About Violence Against Women in Juárez

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico was once known as the global murder capital. It’s no longer the world’s most dangerous city, but violence still haunts the town just over the border from El Paso, Texas. Alice Driver, a filmmaker, writer and photographer whose work focuses on human rights, feminism, and activism, has written extensively about Juárez.  Her searing 2015 book More or Less Dead: Feminicide, Haunting, and the Ethics of Representation in Mexico deals specifically with the disappearance and murder of women in Juárez. The work, which grew out of her dissertation, blends theory with stories and interviews to explore not just the violence against women in Juárez, but also how that violence has been represented in media and culture. As Driver writes:

“To talk about feminicide is to talk about violence against women in all its manifestations, and in Juárez one of the most visible of those is disappearance. When women are murdered, their bodies don’t always appear. Often they disappear, and so the violence becomes unregistered, unrecorded, and seemingly invisible. This book is about the ways in which those bodies, whether identified or nameless, have been represented in literature, film, and art.”

Read more…

The Story of Vicente, Who Murdered His Mother, His Father, and His Sister

Sandra Rodríguez Nieto | The Story of Vicente, Who Murdered His Mother, His Father, His Sister: Life and Death in Juárez | Verso Books | Nov. 2015 | 19 minutes (4,857 words)

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The following excerpt appears courtesy of Verso Books. The passage—the book’s opening chapter—details a single terrible crime, which Rodriguez Nieto uses as an inroad to discussing Juárez’s emergent culture of crime. Verso writes:

Sandra Rodríguez Nieto was an investigative reporter for the daily newspaper El Diario de Juárez for nearly a decade. Despite tremendous danger and the assassination of one of her closest colleagues, she persisted. She didn’t want the story of her city told solely by foreign reporters, because, in her words, “I know what is underneath the violence.” This book traces the rise of a national culture of murder and bloody retribution, and is a testament to the extraordinary bravery of its author. Among other things, The Story of Vicente is an account of how poverty, political corruption, failing government institutions and US meddling combined to create an explosion of violence in Juárez.

A warning: the excerpt below contains graphic violence. Read more…