Photo by Timothy Fadek, from his excellent photo essay on Ciudad Juárez
The arguments over immigration and Arizona’s new crack down on brown skinned people has gotten me to think about the novel by Roberto Bolaño 2666, I read the book two years ago and was dumb struck by it’s power and vividness of the characters and situations. The dark core of this terrible and apocalyptic novel is Santa Teresa, a stand in for Ciudad Juárez. Since the mid 90’s and the era of NAFTA a series (weak word) of murders had infested the city and its surrounding barrios, these murders came before the drug wars we read about today. The murders grew out of a fatal combination of intense capitalization and bleak poverty. Before the drug wars there was the war against women, young women in particular. 2666 tries to grapple with these murders, Bolaño paints a terrifing painting in 2666, it is art in the same viien as Guernica, Hieronymus Bosch and other depiction of human cruelty and degradation. If you have the courage it is worth reading.
Below is a quote from Marcela Valde’s article in the Nation November 19, 2008, the article is a good introduction to Roberto Bolaño
Alone Among the Ghosts: Roberto Bolano’s ‘2666’…Worth reading both the article and the novel 2666
Once a watering hole for Americans during Prohibition, Juárez grew rapidly after NAFTA was implemented in the 1990s. Hundreds of assembly plants sprang up, luring hundreds of thousands of destitute residents from all over Mexico to take jobs that often paid as little as 50 cents an hour. The same traits that made Juárez appealing to NAFTA manufacturers—good roads, proximity to a large consumer market, an abundance of unorganized labor—also made it an ideal hub fornarcotraficantes. By 1996, some 42 million people and 17 million vehicles were traveling through the city every year, making it one of the busiest transit points on the US-Mexico border and a favorite for illegal crossings. The town transformed itself into a crossroads for cheap and illicit commerce; as it did, poor, hardworking women began turning up dead.