Juarez to set up Indigenous peoples’ market

The mayor hopes the open space near the Paso del Norte international bridge will bring tourism

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – The city of Juarez has taken the first steps to make its Downtown area more welcoming to visitors.

It started last week with the banning of street vendors in the area near the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Plaza de Armas park. The changes will continue in the coming months with the development of an Indigenous Peoples Market a few blocks away from the Paso del Norte International Bridge. The City Council has already allocated about 1 million dollars for the last project.

“We plan to give (indigenous people) a great place where they can come in their native clothes, sell their arts and crafts, food from different parts of the country. We want to have all the diversity of Mexico,” Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar said Monday. “Those visitors who cross the (Paso del Norte) bridge from El Paso will be within walking distance of Mazahuas, Purepechas and Raramuris (trade).

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The market will be located along Juan Gabriel Plaza on Calle Mariscal, which starts behind the Kentucky Club and ends in front of the Neri Santos Gym, city officials said.

A local textile artist is working on her next creation. (Border Report Image)

Juarez Tourism Director Jacqueline Armendariz said the market has the potential to expand the visitor footprint in Downtown and turn local vendors into entrepreneurs.

“The idea is that people know where to find them and that (vendors) establish working relationships,” she said. For example, a customer might buy a leather belt from them one day and come back another time to order 10 for friends and relatives or for resale overseas.

Business groups expressed concern earlier this month that the highly publicized outbreak of violence in Juarez could discourage tourism and investment. Perez Cuellar said he met with business leaders early Monday to reassure them that overall crime is down and that “80 to 90 percent” of violence is not random, but the result of conflicts between drug dealers.

“A very high percentage of murders are related to the sale of drugs. The importance of drugs affects us, as it affects the whole world. If you do not prevent drugs, you cannot defeat the sale of drugs,” he said, adding that the city’s health department is increasing its drug prevention efforts.

Juarez police told Border Report the main drugs they find at homicide scenes are crystal meth, heroin and marijuana.

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