Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Early Ciudad Juarez Drama

We wanted to wait until we were out of Ciudad Juarez to talk about this.

Our second day in Ciudad Juarez, two cartel men were murdered across the street from the house we stayed in. It was during the afternoon, and a man in a car drove by and fired about 6 shots at a car parked on the street. Two men were in the car, and one was killed instantly. The other man started to get out of the car, but the shooter returned and fired another 6 shots at him. The woman we were staying with, Olivia, went outside after the first shots, and saw the second man killed. The shooter just walked back to his car and drove away normally. He was never in any hurry, because he knew that he would not be caught. Olivia called the police, and 15 minutes later armed police officers flooded the street and closed off the block.

Jose was at the consulate picking up his medical exam results. I was upstairs on the computer when the shots were fired. I was not sure if they were gunshots, but they sounded how I imagined a gunshot would sound. I sat for a few minutes, scared to go downstairs. When I did go downstairs, Olivia and Eva were sitting on the couches with their babies. We sat and waited, scared, for about an hour, before Jose, Ruben, Osiel, and his daughter Maria Fernanda returned. I was so shocked, and worried about Jose being out. I wanted him to get home, but I also did not want him being outside, not knowing what usually happens after a murder.

Jose saw the bodies on the street when they came back. Blood was covering the street, but the rest of the time we were there, it was never cleaned up. That night, the murders were on the news. They showed both the bodies, in the car and on the street. It had been easier for me to deal with, because I did not have any image to put with what I had heard. Once I saw the scene on the TV, it was much harder because I knew what happened while I heard the shots. I could not believe that I had been so close to something so awful.

In the middle of that night, more gun shots were fired. No one was hurt, and we were told it was the cartel men warning the neighborhood not to talk to the police. No one did.

We did not hear any more gunshots or violence the rest of the time we were in Ciudad Juarez. Olivia and Ruben were constantly worried about us. There had never been any violence in their neighborhood, and they felt bad that it happened when we were visiting. They offered to take us to a hotel, but we decided that we would rather be with a family in a good neighborhood, according to Juarez standards, that knows the city. Everything was fine after that, and we are still so glad that we were able to stay with them. We do feel like we experienced the "real Ciudad Juarez."


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