No. 2 Ciudad Juarez
Pervasive, shocking violence has catapulted Ciudad Juarez to the world’s attention and forced the Mexican military to intervene to shore up security. Whether these troops will be effective, or whether they’ll be subsumed in the wave of kidnappings, torture and rampant corruption and intimidation is a key concern to the U.S., as Ciudad Juarez is just across the border from El Paso, Texas. The city of 1.5 million has already experienced 1,800 murders since January and is the epicenter of a violent battle between rival drug cartels, smugglers, kidnappers and criminals. Among the city’s grim statistics, over 400 women have fallen prey to “sexual homicide” since 1999. Dismembered bodies and large “common graves” stuffed with corpses have inspired the CIA and Pentagon to begin contingency planning for a “failed state” on America’s southern border.