Ciudad Juárez

Ciudad Juárez
—  City  —
Heroica Ciudad Juárez
Juarez City
Montage of Ciudad Juárez
Nickname(s): Gateway of Mexico, El Paso del Norte, Juaritos
Motto: Refugio de la libertad, custodia de la republica (Spanish for "Refuge of liberty, guard of the republic")
Ciudad Juárez is located in Mexico
Ciudad Juárez
Coordinates: 31°44′22″N 106°29′13″W / 31.73944°N 106.48694°W / 31.73944; -106.48694Coordinates: 31°44′22″N 106°29′13″W / 31.73944°N 106.48694°W / 31.73944; -106.48694
Country  Mexico
State Chihuahua
Municipality Juárez
Foundation 1659
 – Municipal president Hector Murguia Lardizabal
(PRI Party (Mexico).svg PRI)
 – City 188 km2 (72.6 sq mi)
Elevation 1,137 m (3,730 ft)
Population (2010)[1]
 – City 1,321,004
 – Density 374.4/km2 (19,290/sq mi)
 – Urban 1,321,004
 – Metro 1,457,955
 – Demonym Juarense
Time zone MST (UTC−7)
 – Summer (DST) MDT (UTC−6)
Area code(s) +52 656

Ciudad Juárez (Spanish pronunciation: [sjuˈðað ˈxwaɾes]), officially known today as Heroica Ciudad Juárez,[2] but abbreviated Juárez[3] and formerly known as El Paso del Norte,[4] is a city and seat of the municipality of Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Juárez's estimated population is 1.5 million people.[5] The city lies on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), south of El Paso, Texas. El Paso and Ciudad Juárez comprise one of the largest bi-national metropolitan areas in the world with a combined population of 2.4 million people.

Ciudad Juárez is one of the fastest growing cities in the world despite being called "the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones."[6] In 2001 the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas published a report stating that in Ciudad Juárez "the average annual growth over the 10-year period 1990–2000 was 5.3%. Juárez experienced much higher population growth than the state of Chihuahua and than Mexico as a whole."[7]

There are four international ports of entry connecting Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, Texas, including the Bridge of the Americas, Ysleta International Bridge, Paso del Norte Bridge, and Stanton Street Bridge. These combined allowed 22,958,472 crossings in 2008,[8] making Ciudad Juárez a major point of entry and transportation for all of central northern Mexico. The city has a growing industrial center which is made up in large part by more than 300 maquiladoras (assembly plants) located in and around the city. According to a 2007 New York Times article, Ciudad Juárez "is now absorbing more new industrial real estate space than any other North American city."[5] In 2008, FDi Magazine designated Ciudad Juárez "The City of the Future."[9] In 2011, the State of Chihuahua renamed the City of Juarez to Heroica Ciudad Juárez for promotional purposes. This year the "maquilas" has already generated 10,000 new jobs for a total of 19 factories located in Ciudad Juárez[10]



Satellite picture of Ciudad Juárez.
NAFTA office in Juarez.
Juárez mission and cathedral.

Ciudad Juárez was founded as El Paso del Norte ("North Pass") in 1659 by Spanish explorers seeking a route through the southern Rocky Mountains. The Mission de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was the first permanent Spanish development in the area. The Native America population was already located there. The Franciscan friars established a community that grew in importance as commerce between Santa Fe and Chihuahua passed through it. The wood for the bridge across the Rio Grande first came from Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 18th century. The original population of suma, jumano and immigrants brought by the Spanish as slaves from Central New Spain grew around the mission. In 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt, some members of the Tigua branch of the Pueblo became refugees from the conflict and a Mission was established for them in Ysleta del Paso del Norte. Other colonial era settlements included Senecú, Real de San Lorenzo, and the Presidio de San José. The population of the entire district reached some 5,000 around 1750, when the Apache attacked the other native towns around the missions. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the Rio Grande as the border between Mexico and the United States, separating the settlements on the north bank of the river from the rest of the town.

Such settlements were not part of the town at that time; as the military set up its buildings the town grew around it. This would later become El Paso, Texas. From that time until around 1930 populations on both sides of the border could move freely across it. Ciudad Juárez and El Paso are one of the 14 pairs of Cross-border town naming along the U.S.–Mexico border. During the French intervention in Mexico (1862–1867), El Paso del Norte served as a temporary stop for Benito Juárez's republican forces until he established his government-in-exile in Chihuahua. From 1882 on, the city grew with the arrival of the Mexican Central Railway. Banks, telegraph, telephone, and trams appeared, indicating the city's thriving commerce, in the firm control of the city's oligarchy of the Ochoa, Samaniego, Daguerre, Provencio, and Cuarón families. In 1888, El Paso del Norte was renamed in honor of Juárez. The city expanded significantly thanks to Díaz's free trade policy, creating a new retail and service sector along the old Calle del Comercio (now Vicente Guerrero) and 16 September Avenue. A bullring is opened in 1899. The Escobar brothers founded the city's first institution of higher education in 1906, the Escuela Particular de Agricultura. That same year, a series of public works are inaugurated, including the city's sewage and drainage system, as well as potable water. A public library, schools, new public market (the old Mercado Cuauhtémoc) and parks dotted the city, making it one of many Porfirian showcases. Modern hotels and restaurants catered to the increased international railroad traffic from the 1880s on.

The city was Mexico's largest border city by 1910—and as such, it held strategic importance during the Mexican Revolution. Villa and other revolutionaries struggled for its control (and income from the Federal Customs House), destroying much of the city during battles in 1911 and 1913. Much of the population abandoned the city between 1914 and 1917. Tourism, gambling, and light manufacturing drove the city's recovery from the 1920s until the 1940s. A series of mayors in the 1940s–1960s, like Carlos Villareal and René Mascareñas Miranda, ushered in a period of high growth and development predicated on the PRONAF border industrialization development program. A beautification program spruced up the city center, building a series of arched porticos around the main square, as well as neo-colonial facades for main public buildings such as the city health clinic, the central fire station, and city hall. The Cathedral, built in the 1950s, gave the city center the flavor of central Mexico, with its carved towers and elegant dome, but structural problems required its remodeling in the 1970s. The city's population reached some 400,000 by 1970.

Juárez has grown substantially in recent decades due to a large influx of people moving into the city in search of jobs with the maquiladoras. Now more technological firms have moved to the city, such as the Delphi Corporation Technical Center, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, which employs over 2,000 engineers. Large slum housing communities called colonias have become extensive.

Juárez has gained further notoriety because of violence [11] and as a major center of narcotics trafficking linked to the powerful Juárez Cartel, and for more than 1000 unsolved murders of young women since 1993. Unfortunately, because of widely alleged police complicity (and perhaps even participation on the part of police and government officials and local elites), the serial murders continue and most of them remain unsolved, though the number of homicides has fallen slightly since 2004 despite the increase of population. As a result of the murders, Juárez (along with the capital of the state, Chihuahua, Chih.) has become a center for protest against sexual violence throughout Mexico.[12] Meanwhile, many continue working to maintain a positive image of Ciudad Juárez. Songs 'Juarez' by the music artist Tori Amos and 'Invalid Litter Dept.' by At the Drive-In refer to Ciudad Juárez and its murdered women. A giant Mexican flag, bandera monumental, was erected in Chamizal Park on June 26, 1997.


Due to its location in the Chihuahuan Desert, Ciudad Juárez has an arid climate. Seasons are distinct, with hot summers, cold winters and cool springs and fall. Summer average high is 35 °C (95 °F) with lows of 21 °C (70 °F). Winter highs average 14 °C (57 °F) with lows of 0 °C (32 °F). Because of the high altitude Ciudad Juárez is cooler than other desert cities in Mexico. Rainfall is scarce greater in summer. Snowfalls occur once or twice every winter. The record high is 49 °C (120 °F) and the record low is −23 °C (−9 °F).

Climate data for Ciudad Juárez — 1,135 metres (3,724 ft)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 28.0
Average high °C (°F) 13.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.8
Average low °C (°F) −1.9
Record low °C (°F) −23
Precipitation mm (inches) 7.7
Avg. rainy days 2.07 2.42 2.4 0.46 1.14 2.26 6.85 4.78 3.92 2.71 1.78 1.78 32.57
Avg. snowy days 0.72 0.69 0.57 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 0.41 2.89
Source no. 1: Colegio de Postgraduados: Normales climatológicas para el Estado de Chihuahua (Spanish)
Source no. 2: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional. Normales Ciudad Juarez 1971–2001 (Spanish)


The average annual growth in population over a 10-year period [1990–2000] was 5.3%.[13] According to the 2010 population census, the city had 1,321,004 inhabitants, while the municipality had 1,332,131 inhabitants. During the last decades the city has received migrants from Mexico's interior, some figures state that 32% of the city's population originate outside the state of Chihuahua, mainly from the states of Durango (9.9%), Coahuila (6.3%), Veracruz (3.7%) and Zacatecas (3.5%), as well as from Mexico City (1.7%).[13] Though most new residents are Mexican, some also immigrate from Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.[citation needed]

However, a March 2009 article noted there has been a mass exodus of people who could afford to leave the city due to the ongoing violence from the Mexican Drug War. The article quoted a city planning department estimate of over 116,000 abandoned homes, which could roughly be the equivalent of 400,000 people who have left the city due to the violence.[14] An article in The Guardian in September 2010 says of Ciudad Juárez – "About 10,670 businesses – 40% of the total – have shut. A study by the city's university found that 116,000 houses have been abandoned and 230,000 people have left."[15]


Neighborhoods of Ciudad Juárez include:

  • Campestre
  • Rivera del Bravo
  • Anapra
  • San Agustin
  • Chaveña
  • Anahuac
  • Lindavista
  • Altavista
  • Guadalajara
  • Galeana
  • Industrial
  • Flores Magon
  • Mariano Escobedo
  • Azteca
  • Independencia
  • Los Nogales


The city is governed by a municipal president and an eighteen seat council. The current president is Hector Murguia Lardizabal, an affiliate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Three national parties are represented on the council: the PRI, the National Action Party and the New Alliance Party.[16] On February 6, 2010 the governor of Chihuahua, José Reyes Baeza announced that he wished to move Chihuahua's state seat of government to the city, as a temporary measure to reduce crime.[17]

Crime and safety

Criminal activity in the domestic metropolitan area of Juárez has increased dramatically since the rise of maquiladoras. Violence towards women in the municipality has increased dramatically in the past twenty years;[18] since the early 1990s there have been approximately 600 femicides[19] and at least 3000 missing women.[18] Escalating turf wars between the rival Juárez and Sinaloa Cartels have led to increasingly brutal violence in the city since 2005.

The Juárez police department had a force of approximately 800 officers in September 2008, following the removal of a third of its staff for various reasons. Recruitment goals set by the department called for the force to more than double.[20] Juárez Citizens Command threatened to take action to attempt to put a stop to all the perpetrators of violence while government officials expressed concern that such vigilantism would contribute to further instability and violence.[21]

In response to the increasing violence in the city the military and Federal Police's presence had almost doubled. As of March 2009 at least 4500 soldiers and federal police were in the city to curtail mostly drug cartel related violence.[22] By August 2009 there were more than 7500 federal troops augmented by an expanded and highly restaffed municipal police force.[23]

In the year before August 2009, Juárez's murder rate was the highest reported in the world, exceeding the holders of the second and third highest rates by more than 25%. The rate of 130 murders per 100,000 inhabitants is the same as Caracas' 2008 statistic for same period.[24] Journalist Charles Bowden, in an August 2008 GQ article, wrote that multiple factors, including drug violence, government corruption and poverty have led to a dispirited and disorderly atmosphere that now permeates the city.[11][25]

Criminal hijacking of electronic media

PBS Newshour in July 2010, reported one Juarense social worker's analysis that young boys in Juarez are given cell phones and money to monitor their own neighborhood street for the appearance of vehicles, and to continually report vehicular activity. The boys are told by the criminals to watch for vehicles of some given description. This has allowed criminals to evade law enforcement efforts much more easily and flexibly.[26]

Angela Kocherga, an American reporter who covers U.S.-Mexico border issues, reports that one Juarez channel was blackmailed into broadcasting a tape from a drug cartel in exchange for releasing its reporter from kidnapping.[26]

Drug cartel violence

The city is also the site of widespread poverty and violence, including an infamous series of unsolved murders of female factory workers.[27] The violence generated by the drug war translated into more than 2,600 killings in 2008. More than 1,600 of them occurred in Juárez, three times more than the most murderous city in the United States.[28] And that number of killings increased to 2,600 in 2009.[29] In 2010, 3,075 homicides took place in Juárez. This has led to a homicide rate of 229 killings per 100,000 inhabitants.[30] In response, business groups in Juárez have called for UN intervention.[31][32]

There were 1,400 murders in Ciudad Juárez in 2008.[33] In 2010, the number of homicides in the city reached 3,075.[34] The population of Ciudad Juárez has had to change their daily routine and many try to stay home in the evening hours. Public life is limited by fear of kidnapping or random violence. In February 2009, the U.S. State Department announced in an updated travel alert that "Mexican authorities report that more than 1,800 people have been killed in the city since January 2008." [35] On 12 March 2009, police found "at least seven" partially buried bodies in the outskirts of the city, close to the US-Mexican border. Five severed heads were discovered in ice boxes, along with notes to rivals in the drug wars. Beheadings, attacks on police, and shootings are common in some regions.[36]

In September 2009, eighteen patients at a drug rehabilitation clinic called El Aliviane were massacred in a turf battle; the victims were lined up in a corridor and gunned down.[37] The authorities had no immediate suspects or information on the victims.

Plagued by corruption and the assassination of many of its officers, the government is struggling to maintain Ciudad Juárez's police force, while other officers have quit the force out of fear of being targeted.[38] In late 2008, one murder victim was found near a school hanging from a fence with a pig's mask on his face, and another one was found beheaded hanging from a bridge in one of the city's busier streets.[39]

Between February 17–19, 2011, 53 people were killed, including four police officers. State attorney general's office spokesman Arturo Sandoval was quoted as saying, "This is the worst violence we've seen this year." The increase in violence left city morgues overwhelmed, causing trouble for storing bodies. As of February 20, 2011, Juárez averages eight homicides per day.[40]

Female sexual homicides

Crosses erected as a monument to victims of the Juárez homicides.

Over the past 10 years in Juárez there have been over 4000 feminicides which have attracted wide attention. Bodies are often dumped in ditches or vacant lots.[27] Grassroots organizations in the region report an additional 400 women as missing. Despite pressure to catch the killers and a roundup of some suspects, few believe the true culprits have been found[citation needed]. A 2007 book called The Daughters of Juárez, by Teresa Rodriguez,[41] implicates high-level police and prominent Juárez citizens in the crimes. This topic is also discussed in the 2006 book "The Harvest of Women" by journalist Diana Washington Valdez,[42] and in the novel 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, in which Ciudad Juárez is fictionalized as "Santa Teresa", a border city in Sonora.


Mercado Reforma.
Bussines zone mainly hotels, malls, restaurants and hospitals.

The El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation indicated that Ciudad Juárez is the metropolis absorbing "more new industrial real estate space than any other North American city."[43] The Financial Times Group through its publication The Foreign Direct Investment Magazine ranked Ciudad Juárez as the "City of the Future" for 2007–2008.[44] The Ciudad Juárez-El Paso area is a major manufacturing center. ADC Telecommunications, Electrolux, Bosch, Foxconn, Flextronics, Lexmark, Delphi, Visteon, Johnson Controls, Lear, Boeing, Cardinal Health, Yazaki, Sumitomo, and Siemens are some of the foreign companies that have chosen Ciudad Juárez for their business operation.[45]

The Mexican state of Chihuahua is frequently among the top five states in Mexico with the most foreign investment.[46]

Many foreign retail, banking, and fast-food businesses have locations within Juarez, with examples including Sears, Starbucks, Wendy's, Denny's, McDonald's, Scotiabank, Burger King, Walmart and HSBC.


Mercedes built Juarez City buses.

The city is served by Abraham Gonzalez International Airport, with flights to several Mexican cities. Nearby El Paso Airport handles flights to cities within the United States.


According to the latest estimates, literacy rate in the city is in line with the national average in the country: 97.3% of people above 15 years old are able to read and write.[13]

Juárez has three public and two private universities. The Instituto Tecnológico de Ciudad Juárez (ITCJ), founded in 1964, became the first public institution of higher education in the city. The Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez (UACJ), founded in 1968, is the largest university in the city and has been ranked among the best universities in the country[citation needed]. It has several locations inside of the city including the Faculty of Biomedicine, the Social Sciences Center, the Arts and Engineering Center with spaces for Fine Arts and Sports. These latter services are considered among the best because they recluse nearly 30,000 participants in sports such as swimming, racquetball, basketball and gymnastics, and arts such as Classical Ballet, Drama, Modern Dance, Hawaiian and Polynesian Dances, Folk dance, Music and Flamenco. The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the Autonomous University of Chihuahua (Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, UACH) which has delivered 70% of the city's media and news crew, is located in the city. The local campuses of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and the Autonomous University of Durango (UAD) are private universities. The Monterrey Institute of Technology opened its campus in 1983 and it is preferred among the upper and middle classes of the city[citation needed]. It is ranked as "third best" among other campuses of the institution, after the Garza Sada campus in Monterrey and the Santa Fe campus in Mexico City.

Overall, the city offers a wide range of schools for every type of income and need[citation needed]. The city is widely recognized[citation needed] for its excellence in education, especially the one offered by the private sector. The main institutions in Ciudad Juárez are the Instituto Latinoamericano, a Catholic school directed from Spain, one of the colleges managed by the company founded by Spanish mystic Teresa de Avila, by direct order of the Pope to revert the effects of Protestantism in Spain; The Colegio Iberoamericano, The Middle School and High School of the ITESM, the Teresa de Avila, the Instituto Mexico. Despite this, many people choose to study in the neighbor city of El Paso, some for convenience.



Juárez has five local newspapers: El Diario, El Norte, El Mexicano, El PM and Hoy.


There are 16 over the air TV channel signals in the city:[47]

Channel Name Affiliate Country Language Local National
2 Televisa Regional XEPM  Mexico Spanish Green tickY Green tickY
4 CBS KDBC  United States English Green tickY Green tickY
5 Galavisión XEJ-TV  Mexico Spanish Green tickY Green tickY
7 ABC KVIA  United States English Green tickY Green tickY
9 NBC KTSM  United States English Green tickY Green tickY
11 Azteca 13 XHCJE-TV  Mexico Spanish Green tickY Green tickY
13 PBS KCOS  United States English Green tickY Green tickY
14 Fox KFOX-TV  United States English Green tickY Green tickY
20 Azteca 7 XHCJH-TV  Mexico Spanish Red XN Green tickY
26 Univision KINT-TV  United States Spanish Green tickY Green tickY
32 Canal de las Estrellas XHJCI-TV  Mexico Spanish Red XN Green tickY
40 Multimedios K40FW  Mexico Spanish Green tickY Green tickY
44 cadenatres XHIJ-TV  Mexico Spanish Green tickY Green tickY
48 Telemundo KTDO  United States Spanish Green tickY Green tickY
56 Canal 5 XHJUB-TV  Mexico Spanish Red XN Green tickY
65 TeleFutura KTFN  United States Spanish Red XN Green tickY

There are three paid television signals available and 24 radio station signals in AM and 21 in FM.



football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Juárez[citation needed]. The local football team is Indios de Ciudad Juárez, which entered the Mexican First Division for the first time in 2008. Baseball, basketball, tennis, and American football are also popular, most of which are played at the high schools and university level. The Indios rent the stadium Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez. Juárez has 2 large stadiums: Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez and Estadio 20 de Noviembre, and smaller ones for baseball and different activities. Mountain biking is also popular, with the Chupacabras 100 km race held annually in Juárez.

Near the Cordova International Bridge is a large combination bmx and skatepark, Parque Extremo. This park features a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) concrete area with multiple ramps, rails, boxes, etc., and a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) dirt area with ramps and tracks for bmx riding. It is much larger than the skate parks in nearby cities El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Ciudad Juárez served as host to the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 2008.

In film and other media

Songs about Ciudad Juárez

Songs that mention Ciudad Juárez

  • "Cocaine Blues" performed by Johnny Cash
  • "Looking for the Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" performed by Living with Hermits
  • "CUMBIA DEL PUENTE NEGRO" performed by Fuga
  • "Avenida Revolucion" performed by Chickenfoot.

Places of interest

Monument to Benito Juárez.
Rio Grande
  • Antigua Presidencia Municipal: (Old City Hall) The present facade dates from the 1940s, features carved chiluca stone and red volcanic tezontle, with originally fine woods. Site of many historic events. The older adobe building beneath the facade dates from the 18th c., and was known as the casas consistoriales.
  • Misión de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe: The oldest standing building in Juárez, from the 17th century. Continuously used by the Catholic Church, restored in 1970s.
  • Chaveña Fountain: rustic carved stone fountain built in the nineteenth century in the Chaveña district, catalogued by the INAH. Built in 1895.
  • Benito Juárez Monument: Carrara marble pediment, chiluca stone column, and Italian and Mexican bronzes, commissioned by national subscription in 1906, restored in 1930 after the revolution, with fountains and flower beds. Elegant Porfirian structure.
  • Federal Customs House: At the intersection of Juárez and 16 September, built during the Porfiriato, site of the Díaz-Taft 1909 Summit. Houses INAH museum of local and regional history.
  • Centro Escolar Revolución: Designed by Mexico City architect Obregón y Santacilia, commissioned by President Lázaro Cárdenas, this elegant art déco structure in the Chaveña neighborhood features beautiful stained glass windows, inlaid floors, and a bust of Cárdenas in its interior. Completed in 1939.
  • Auditorio Civico Benito Juárez: The local theater for the arts.
  • Auditorio Municipal: The new state of the art theater built behind the UACJ Med School.
  • Zona Pronaf: Bars, museums, shops, restaurants, entertainment. In the Zona Pronaf, one can find bars such as La Mulata, Cafe Dali, Don Quintin, San Martin, The News, Ole Bar Chamucos, among others.
  • Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez: Home of the local soccer team Los Indios (The Indians).
  • Avenida Juárez: Bars and shops.
  • Parque Chamizal: Green area of the city, that consist of a park of over 40 acres (16 ha) with jogging trails, swings and recreational areas, which was once shared by El Paso and Juárez, was given back to Mexico by J.F.K in the early 1960s.
  • Museo del Concorde: A place to see original parts of the airliner.
  • Centro Cívico Paso del Norte (Opened on December 2006 and has been home of the Festival Internacional Chihuahua since).
  • Misiones, Galerias Tec, Plaza Juárez and Rio Grande shopping malls.
  • Parque Central: (Central Park) A family-oriented recreational area located 10 miles (20 km) south of the US-Mexico border.
  • Parque Xtremo: The largest extreme park in Latin America.
  • Cibeles: Convention Center
  • Museo Regional de San Agustin: Museum in the town of San Agustin in the Valle de Juarez, where pieces are very old , for example fossils, remains of mammoth, as well as antique pieces from several decades ago.

Notable natives and residents


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