If you drink the water in Ciudad Juárez, there you’ll stay, goes the saying – Se toma agua de Juárez, allí se queda. It’s not a reference to the quality of drinking water (about which polemic abounds because it is so dirty) but to the beguiling lure of this dusty and dangerous yet strong and charismatic city. It’s a dictum that might be applied to the whole 2,000-mile Mexico-US borderland of which Juárez and its sister city on the US side, El Paso, form the fulcrum. Ten years ago, I returned from several months’ immersion along that frontier, reporting on a narco-cartel war for this newspaper and eventually writing a book, Amexica, about the terrain astride the border, land that has a single identity – that belongs to both countries and yet to neither. A frontier at once porous and harsh: across which communities live and a million people traverse every day, legally, as do hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of goods … [Read more...] about Back to the border of misery: Amexica revisited 10 years on
Border wall with mexico
When she announced last month that tens of thousands of asylum seekers would be returned to Mexico while their cases are considered, the homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, described the move as a “historic” overhaul of US immigration policy. But more than two weeks later, the new strategy has yet to begin and it remains unclear how the plan would work – or even if Mexico is willing to enforce it. The measure would be the Trump administration’s most significant move so far to dissuade people from seeking asylum. It would relieve pressure on US immigration authorities – and transfer it to Mexico. But Mexican officials who would in theory implement the policy say they have been kept in the dark over the change – and some have explicitly opposed it. “I had heard rumors, but I was not consulted,” said Tonatiuh Guillén, head of Mexico’s national immigration authority, told the Guardian. “The US can’t just dump … [Read more...] about ‘The US can’t dump people in Mexico’: Trump asylum policy in doubt
Over nearly 30 years at the head of one of the most powerful crime organisations in the world, the jailed drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is reputed to have built up a fortune worth at least $1bn. But according to Mexico’s attorney general, US authorities investigating the kingpin have still not been able to trace a single dollar’s worth of Guzmán’s ill-gotten gains. “As of today, US authorities have not found not even one dollar of El Chapo’s assets,” Raul Cervantes told the broadcaster Televisa on Wednesday. “His money hasn’t been found because he didn’t use the financial system.” Guzmán, who entered the realms of criminal folklore by twice escaping maximum security prisons, was captured for the third time in January 2016 and extradited a year later to the US on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration. He faces a string of charges in a New York court and prosecutors are seeking the … [Read more...] about Authorities haven’t found ‘even a dollar’ of El Chapo’s $1bn drug fortune
Inside the Tijuana migrant shelter that has become a home for thousands of Central American migrants, 55-year-old Carlos Gómez approached some strangers asking if they knew where he could find a job. Gómez was one of thousands who fled Honduras with the migrant caravan that arrived in Tijuana one month ago. He would still like to seek asylum in the US, but with thousands of people ahead of him in the line to submit an application, he would be content to stay in Mexico, he says. “I need the work, I don’t want to go back to Honduras,” said Gómez in El Barretal’s enormous open courtyard, where the few spaces not occupied by tents are filled with lines of people waiting to receive donated sandwiches and piles of warm winter clothes. Despite the open hostility of Donald Trump, most members of the recent migrant caravans headed north in the belief – fed by rumors and often bolstered by their deep Christian faith – that they would quickly be … [Read more...] about ‘I don’t want to go back’: what’s next for the Central American migrant caravan?
Reviews of Uno Astrolodge, a boutique new age-style hotel on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, lean heavily on words such as “magic”, “paradise” and “peace”. When it opened in 2001, Uno Astrolodge was one of the first upscale hotels in the beach town of Tulum. Over the past decade, the once-sleepy town, 75 miles south of Cancún, has become the kind of spiritual oasis particularly favoured by the fashion industry and wealthy New Yorkers. Until recently, guests at Uno Astrolodge, set on an exclusive stretch of white sandy beach, paid up to $300 per night for a room in a candlelit bungalow with a view of the ocean. They showered under the trees in private outdoor bathrooms and ate fresh bread baked on site every morning. They could spend their time detoxing in Native American sweat lodge ceremonies or getting their Mayan astrology charts read. Wednesdays at the Astrolodge featured sound healing ceremonies; a “women’s circle” … [Read more...] about How rich hippies and developers went to war over Instagram’s favourite beach