The Burned Pharaoh
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Ciudad Juárez (Spanish pronunciation: [sjuˈðað ˈxwaɾes]), officially known today as Heroica Ciudad Juárez,2 but abbreviated Juárez3 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 Juarez.