JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – The mayor of Juarez on Wednesday invited residents of El Paso and Southern New Mexico to visit his city’s annual arts and entertainment fair, which begins on Thursday night.
He also said “it’s not a priority” of his administration to censor the artists who will perform at the event nor fine them for singing songs alluding to drug traffickers. At least two performers face fines in Chihuahua City for performing the so-called narco-corridos at the recently concluded Santa Rita Fair, local media reported.
The ban is part of efforts by the Mexican government and the state of Chihuahua to reduce drug violence that has reached record levels south of the border in the past three years. But the songs about people of humble beginnings achieving status, getting even with past oppressors and flooding America with drugs have proven resilient. Juarez radio stations still air them and people dunk dollar bills into jukeboxes at bars to hear them.
“It’s not convenient, it’s not realistic to ban certain songs,” Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar said. “I know there are some laws and authorities at certain levels interested in applying them, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s not a priority.”
The mayor said his main concern is ensuring the safety of the Mexican and foreign visitors to Feria Juarez 2022, and he plans to do that by deploying 300 police and 200 traffic officers to the event that will run from June 9 through July 3.
“If banning these songs were the answer to end insecurity, great. But we want people to enjoy themselves, (we want) each artist to sing whatever they are known for,” Perez Cuellar said. “We respect if state authorities have their own vision on the subject, but it’s not a priority for us. […] We are free.”
Asked by Border Report if he could guarantee the safety of American residents who attend the event at the park with the big red “X” just south of the Bridge of the Americans, the mayor said he would do his best.
“Though we cannot guarantee anything 100 percent, we will commit police, traffic and civil protection officers so that everything goes well,” Perez Cuellar said. “We want to invite people from El Paso and Las Cruces, and the entire region to visit us. It’s going to be a great show.”
Pop artists like Gloria Trevi, Kumbia Kings and Afrojack are scheduled to perform. Most of the other artists are Mexican regional bands.
Roberto Briones, the city’s Civil Defense Office director, said free buses would run nightly from Juarez City Hall, just south and east of the Paso del Norte Bridge, to the fairgrounds. He encouraged people who want to drink to take those buses from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. because Chihuahua just passed a law limiting drivers’ blood-alcohol level to .025. That’s about two beers.
“You can bring a designated driver, you can ask your spouse to drive, because we don’t want to have accidents,” Briones said.
Juarez officials are asking fairgoers to bring a mask to the fair because, even though it’s not mandatory outdoors, the fair has some indoor attractions where it should be worn.
This year’s fair will have a circus and 43 mechanical games including a 45-meter tall (147 feet) Ferris wheel. More than 100 merchants and artisans will be selling their wares; at least 80 food vendors will be on hand.
Admission is $2.50 and parking is free, though rides and concerts are extra. Perez Cuellar said parking attendants would be on hand to guard the vehicles against vandalism. They can be tipped at the vehicle owner’s discretion.