Jul 18, 2011

The Border: Peaceful U.S. side is torn by Mexican strife

On border, peaceful U.S. side is torn by Mexican strife - USATODAY.com: "... unrelenting violence, though confined largely to Mexico, is unmistakably altering a unique culture that has bound generations on both sides of the vast southwestern border.

From Matamoros, near the Gulf of Mexico, to Tijuana, on the Pacific Ocean, Mexican produce markets, restaurants, nightclubs, tile makers, pharmacies and medical practices thrived before the cartel violence erupted. Every day, the lure of cheap goods, services and entertainment drew thousands of U.S. customers who regarded Mexico as little more than a colorful extension of their own border towns.

But even in sleepy places such as Del Rio and Eagle Pass, Texas, and Nogales, Ariz., visiting Mexico is no longer an option.

So few people now visit Ciudad Acuna, Del Rio's Mexican sister city, that the town's near century-old institution, Ma Crosby's Restaurant and Bar, has been shuttered. ...

Nowhere are the cultural changes more apparent than in El Paso. ...

"You know, the cultural experience was something that always felt very comfortable here," El Paso Mayor John Cook says, recalling the vibrant relationship El Paso and its sister city, Juárez, have enjoyed for decades. "For all of that to suddenly disappear, well, we've lost something about life.""

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