Nearer by, though still in Juárez, was a sign in austere black letters, facing El Paso and imploring, in English, .
Drug violence took Claudia’s two cities, gutted one and sealed up the other.
In 2010, there were more than three thousand murders in Juárez alone, while in El Paso there were all of five.
Six years later, she was working there, distributing condoms; conducting HIV tests; providing counseling; and caring for addicts on the same streets where she used to score.
t the time, Claudia lived a few blocks away, in a squat baby-blue house on Estrella Street nestled right up against the border. I feel safe, and everyone knows me,” she told me when we first met, in August 2013.
After fifteen minutes, they returned an uneaten burrito she’d been carrying in her purse, and she was free to go.
It was the first time Claudia had gone to Juárez in more than a decade.Claudia’s trips used to be routine, practically second nature, but she stopped going around 2000, when the killings picked up.Women had been disappearing in Juárez throughout the Nineties in an epidemic of rapes and murders.She was forty-five, and began crossing into the city in her teens.El Paso and Juárez are sibling cities, joined together in a single metropolitan hub, with families, businesses, and communities enmeshed across both sides.Almost all of her old friends are dead, from AIDS, overdoses, or homicides.