In the middle of a drug cartel war, the inhabitants of the state of Chihuahua live in fear of violence that permeates the region. A record of more 2,400 executions took place in 2008. In just the first months of this year, approximately seventy-five police officers have lost their lives in the fight.
Chihuahua, the largest state in the country, has many problems: an unemployment rate of 30%, the highest pregnancy rate in the country, and a record of violence. 67.7% of women over 15 years (almost seven in 10) have been victims of violence in their lifetimes. Almost a million and half Chihuahuans, 49.18% of the population, live in extreme poverty.
The state of Chihuahua was in the internationally news recently over the disappearances and murders of women and girls that started in the 90’s in Juarez City but have extended to other cities of the state. It’s estimated that over 400 disappearances still have not been solved.
On June 16, 2008, in the town of Creel, an unprecedented massacre occurred. In this tourist community that is known as the entrance to the world of the Tarahumara ethnic group as well as the region known as “Barrancas del Cobre”, 14 people were killed and 12 injured. No authorities intervened to stop the attack.
Even the tranquil communities of Mennonites have seen the effects. More than 6000 Mennonites live in the state, most of them dedicated to agriculture. Given their austere way of living, they would not seem likely targets of organized crime, but there have been 6 cases of abductions so far. Their success in agriculture has forced them to be careful of kidnappings. This community now breathes air of tension and fear.