Drug trafficking leaves 10,000 orphans in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

[Translation of an article from TeleSUR for May 25.]

More than one percent of the children in the northern city of Ciudad Juárez are orphans. According to official figures, the Mexican city has the highest percentage of narcotics use, especially among adolescents.

At least 10,000 children are orphans as a result of the drug trafficking and violence that has plagued the northern city of Ciudad Juárez, on the border with the United States, considered the most violent in the country, several non-governmental organizations reported on Tuesday.

“We are living in a state of war and the children are adrift,” said Aurelio Páez, director of the Vino, Trigo y Aceite home for orphans.

The 10,000 orphans in Ciudad Juárez represent 1.2 percent of the total population of minors, who number some 795,000. Nevertheless, there are no official figures, a fact considered tragic by Lourdes Almada, technical secretary of the Mesa de Infancia [Childhood Board] of the Consejo Ciudadano por el Desarrollo Social [Citizen Council for Social Development].

“It is tragic that there is not even an official approximation of how many children live as orphans because of violence,” Almada declares.

“The boys and girls who have experienced violence in their families, or among those close to them, are not being taken care of by anyone,” the representative of the Mesa de Infancia remarks.

The Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (DIF) indicates that the numbers could be even greater. Organizations concerned with human rights base their calculations on the assumption that 94 percent of the more than 5,000 killed between December, 2006, and April, 2010, were between 25 and 35 years of age and had on average three children.

The northern city has a higher percentage with a propensity to use narcotics, especially among youths between 12 and 17 years of age, according to research conducted by the Consejo Nacional contra las Adicciones (CONADIC – National Council against Addiction).

CONADIC found 12 percent with such a propensity compared to six percent in the rest of Mexico.

“There is a social depression among youths in Juárez in general because they know that what they are living through should not be happening and not only should they not be orphans but they are angry about how they lost their parents,” states the director of ONADIC, Armando Patrón…

The view from Vino, Trigo y Aceite is part of the reality the children and the other 1.3 million inhabitants of Ciudad Juárez are exposed to, “before the rusty border wall that separates Mexico and the US is a warehouse that used to cover a gigantic tunnel through which drug trafficker Amado Carrillo, ‘El Señor de los Cielos,’ carried drugs in powerful vehicles,” according to the website Impresiones Latinas…