How Ciudad Juarez Transformed Itself For Pope Francis’s Visit

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Long known as one of the most violent cities on earth, Ciudad Juarez, has been undergoing a surprising turnaround over the past few years. In fact, it is considered to be much safer than Baltimore, or New Orleans. All of this is because of the work of one man, Prosecutor Jorge Gonzalez.

Jorge Gonzalez was on the verge of resigning from his office, because of the deaths of 3 colleagues who he sent out on a mission. At a funeral, he mentioned to someone that he was planning on quitting. Hearing that, the father of the murdered officer told him not to, or else the other side would have won. That strengthened his resolve, and he went back to work

Gonzalez’s first step was to fire over 400 police officers for corruption. Satisfied with the results he set about reforming the prisons, by transferring the gang leaders out. He also instituted mandatory life sentences for certain murders such as that of police officers and journalists.

Gonzalez was greatly helped by, Cesar Munõz, the city’s police chief, and over 700 city police officers were dismissed for corruption. The new police officers were better qualified, by instituting a secondary school education requirement, and offering better training for police positions and many were trained in the United States and Colombia. Lastly, in order to keep gangs from getting new members, over 195 new schools were built.

The change is so visible, that many parents are comfortable letting their kids out at night, in stark contrast to 3 or 4 years ago, when that would have been suicidal. Many people feel that in these next few years, Ciudad Jaurez will regain it’s old glory back, and re-become the center of trade and commerce, that in safer times it was.