The Mexican Border, Then and Now

978-0-8223-4702-6_pr Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, border cities in Mexico, used to be places Americans could slip over to for some cheap tequila, some gambling, perhaps even a taste of illicit sex. There was always a hint of danger to the visit, the Sunday New York Times reports, quoting a 1930 article about the Mexican resort of Agua Caliente: "The spice of danger adds a zest to the pleasure of thousands who visit them from this side of the frontier." Paul Vanderwood writes about Agua Caliente in his book Satan's Playground, which chronicles the rise and fall of the glitzy casinos, cabarets, and horse racing tracks that grew up on the Mexican side of the border during Prohibition. There was plenty of crime associated with the resorts, Vanderwood writes. In particular, he describes a bank heist gone wrong and the sensational trial that followed it. But, as the Times reports, the danger in the border towns today is far more sinister. Reporter Marc Lacey writes, "The naughtiness that used to give
978-0-8223-4681-4_pr the border its flair seems innocent
now. The prostitutes, hustlers and con men who once had free rein are,
like everyone else, scared out of their wits." Drug and human traffickers have taken over, and tacky and illicit business that used to cater to American tourists are all boarded up. It's dangerous to be an American in the border towns but it's especially dangerous to be a Mexican woman, argue the contributors to Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Americas. More than 600 women and girls have been murdered and more than 1,000 disappeared in the Mexican state of Chihuahua since 1993. The book, edited by Rosa-Linda Fregoso and Cythina Bejarano, argues that the violence in Mexico goes far beyond the drug trade. It is structural violence rooted in social, political, economic, and cultural inequalities.

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