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Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez calls for U.N. to help quell violence

November 13, 2009

From the NY Daily News

Having the highest homicide rate in the world does not make for good advertising, and businesses in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez are tired of the bad rep.

Local business groups announced today that they will ask the United Nations for help in quelling the violence, reports The Associated Press.

Representatives from businesses like assembly plants and retailers plan to submit an official request for UN aid to the Mexican government and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

“This is a proposal … for international forces to come here to help out the domestic [security] forces,” said Daniel Murguia, president of the Ciudad Juarez group of the National Chamber of Commerce, Services and Tourism. “There are a lot of extortions and robberies of businesses. Many businesses are closing.”

The U.S. government has sent more than 5,000 soldiers from El Paso, Tex., but the killings and extortion have not abated.

Ciudad Juarez, population 1.5 million, has an average of seven homicides a day, with the total at 1,986 for this year through mid-October.

“We have seen the UN peacekeepers enter other countries that have a lot fewer problems than we have,” Murguia said. “What we are asking for with the blue helmets [UN peacekeepers] is that we know they are the army of peace, so we could use not only the strategies they have developed in other countries … but they also have technology.”

Mexican troops have trained local police and joined in patrolling the city, but to no avail. Rival drug gangs remain at war, and thieves have taken advantage of the atmosphere to target businesses. Thousands of stores and firms reportedly have moved or shut down as a result.

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