Lifestyle & Belief

How to Survive the Drug War in Ciudad Juárez

Monica Ortiz Uribe, reporter with the public radio collaboration Fronteras, speaks with host Marco Werman about what it's like to report in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. She also describes how Juárez residents are starting to come out of their homes more, tired of living in fear.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

A video produced by a civic group called Nuestro Mexico del Futuro (Our Future Mexico) is causing a big controversy in our neighbor to the south. It shows a sort of worst-case "day in the life" of Mexico, highlighting all of the country's main problems, from pollution and petty crime to drug cartel violence and political corruption. And it does so with children playing all the roles: businessmen, corrupt politicians, cartel gunmen and victims.

The video is dubbed "Niños Incómodos," which can be translated as "Discomforting Kids." And it seems what many people find discomforting is the involvement of children. Some in Mexico say it's inappropriate and bordering on child abuse. The group that produced the video defends its choice of actors, saying that kids are the ones who will have to live with the consequences of today's problems in the country.

Others have criticized the video as a violation of the country's electoral laws. The group "Nuestro Mexico del Futuro" is a foundation supported by private companies and universities, and it denies having a political agenda. It says it's just trying to encourage Mexicans to share their vision for the kind of country they want to live in.

The last scene in the video is of a girl saying: "If this is the future that awaits me, I don't want it." Then the girl addresses the main candidates in Mexico's July 1 presidential election. "Enough of you (politicians) working for the benefit of your parties, and not for our benefit. Enough of fixing the country's problems just on the surface," she says. "Time's up. Mexico has already touched bottom. Are you just going for the (presidential) chair? Or are you going to change our country's future?"

All three of Mexico's main presidential candidates have reacted positively to the video. One called it "well done," another said "I hear the same message all the time, that time's running out." And the third said it represents a call for change "that can't be ignored."

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