Book Review: A Masterful New History Explores the Contradictions and Complexities of Ciudad Juárez

Aerial shot of Cuidad Juárez.  Photo thanks to FECHAC

Aerial shot of Cuidad Juárez.  Photo thanks to FECHAC

Written by Kent Paterson in the Texas Observer:  "Oscar J. Martínez’s new book pushes back against the historical amnesia, toxic politics and stereotyping that have shrouded the city for decades." 

"A visit to Ciudad Juárez this spring quickly revealed the swirling contradictions in this turbulent city across the Rio Grande from El Paso. I saw crowded restaurants, new businesses, strolling families and street performers entertaining crowds.

I also met a man who was anguished over his brother’s murder, and I saw two young women putting up a missing poster for an uncle who vanished two months prior. He’s now a police file among hundreds of others containing the grainy, black-and-white portraits of men and women lost to the world. Meanwhile, amid the clatter of Avenida Juárez, flyers soliciting low-paid factory workers were plastered on a phone booth, featuring the smiles of three workers beckoning new hires to “come and form part of our great family.”

As a journalist who’s covered Juárez for more than 30 years, I’ve come to appreciate the complexities of this place. It’s a sprawling border city that stands as a beacon for a better life to countless migrants, but is also littered with tragic outcomes, usually with some connection to forces on this side of the line."  Continue reading