The city of Juárez is ground zero for the drug war that is raging across Mexico and has claimed close to 60,000 lives since 2007. Almost a quarter of the federal forces that former President Felipe Calderón deployed in the war were sent to Juárez, and nearly 20 percent of the country’s drug-related executions have taken place in the city, a city that can be as unforgiving as the hardest places on earth. It is here that the Mexican government came to turn the tide. Whatever happens in Juárez will have lasting repercussions for both Mexico and the United States. Ricardo Ainslie went to Juárez to try to understand what was taking place behind the headlines of cartel executions and other acts of horrific brutality. In The Fight to Save Juárez, he takes us into the heart of Mexico’s bloodiest city through the lives of four people who experienced the drug war from very different perspectives—Mayor José Reyes Ferriz, a mid-level cartel player’s mistress, a human rights activist, and a photojournalist. Ainslie also interviewed top Mexican government strategists, including members of Calderón’s security cabinet, as well as individuals within U.S. law enforcement. The dual perspective of life on the ground in the drug war and the “big picture” views of officials who are responsible for the war’s strategy, creates a powerful, intimate portrait of an embattled city, its people, and the efforts to rescue Juárez from the abyss.
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