Juarez Notebook: The Vultures Come To Roost
Alexandra Garcia has lived in El Paso all of her life. A gifted clairvoyant, she has been giving readings to a woman in hiding who crossed illegally from Mexico with her two children, after her father and husband were murdered by violent gangs. Her mother had been kidnapped and raped, but later released after the family paid a ransom.
Every day, along the El Paso landscape Alexandra Garcia notices 30 to 50 vultures gathering. "In the past, you'd see maybe two or three. It's the first time I've seen so many."
On the phone, Alexandra's voice resounds with empathy. "The woman's father owned a machine shop in Juarez and was killed because he refused to pay the gang a bribe," she said. Later, the woman's husband was shot point blank in front of her and the children. A semi-automatic weapon was pointed at her, but did not go off, allowing the woman to flee to a neighbor's house with her children. "What are the odds?" Alexandra questions, referring to the weapon not going off at all. In the distance, the woman could hear a voice shouting: "I'm coming back for you!" The neighbor was so traumatized, he fled his home and has not returned.
In El Paso, Alexandra meets many families who had no choice but to join the exodus. Approximately, 30,000 have become refugees as a result of rising violence among military, government, and street gangs. The news reports focus on the drug cartels, but fail to disclose the whole scenario, Alexandra explains. She asserts there are 500 gangs, and that the Aztecas are one of the most violent. Alexandra affirms the Aztecas were responsible for the death of two US consulate employees in Ciudad Juarez: Arthur Redelfs, 34, and Lesley Enriquez. "The gangs are taking over," Alexandra said. Daniel Borunda writing for the El Paso Times asserted, "The Mexican army arrested five reputed members of the Aztecas gang in connection with the killings of a U.S. Consulate employee and her husband in Juárez last month, officials said. Mexican federal authorities said the five heavily tattooed men were arrested Tuesday in Chihuahua City, the state capital south of Juárez."
In Juarez, there are 116,000 empty homes, and more and more people seek political asylum in the United States. Political asylum seekers are held in jails until their hearings. Andrew Becker, and Patrick J. McDonnell writing for the Los Angeles Times noted, "It is unclear whether any asylum requests have been granted in cases based on fear of drug violence. Most of the recent cases are still working their way through the system. Some refugees from the narco-wars are hiding on the U.S. side of the border, uncertain whether to apply for asylum—and risk being deported if their petitions are denied."
At one time, Alexandra assisted the police in Juarez in locating the bodies of the femicide victims. She was successful in leading the polcie to several places where bodies were buried, but after receiving threats from violent gang members, she stopped her activity in Juarez. She and her husband were followed from Juarez to their El Paso home by an SUV with tinted windows. Her husband took down the license plate and later learned it was a stolen vehicle.
"I was also helping to locate the bodies of police officers killed in Juarez," she said.
Tags: Juarez , Juarez Violence , El Paso , Aztecas , Ciudad Juarez , US Consulate In Juarez , El Paso Times , Los Angeles Times
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