Across the Fence Essay

Submitted By Paolaaa12
Words: 1855
Pages: 8

Across the Fence
At my twelve years of age, my wise self thought I had been through it all, having I had been in a car wreck, I already spoke two languages, I had been to a decent amount of funerals, and I had gained and lost friendships. That year I realized life was only beginning and while I was calling my experiences “life experiences,” God was clearly laughing at me. In 2007, at twelve young years of age I found myself in the middle of a cartel war. The war between the cartels and the government began in 2006 when the Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party) candidate Felipe Calderon won the presidency. When any Mexican thinks of the Mexican government the first thing that automatically jumps into everyone’s head is “corrupt”. The government has a reputation for being the absolute worst democracy in the world. Mexico has reached a point were if you have money you can buy your way out of anything, these agreements are known as “quotas” a set price the government establishes. For example if you are speeding and you have already paid your quota you simply give the police officer a set of numbers given to you by the police department and you are free to continue, no ticket, no hassle, just move along. As I grow up I realized these arrangements could even be made in court systems for the use of murders, or rapes, or corruption charges. Basically if you had money and were in the loop with federals you could do as you please within Mexico. Felipe Calderon was one of the first to want to make a legitimate change. He chose to combat the cartel violence in Mexico but indirectly did the complete opposite. Cartels that ran Mexico and the United States borders were outraged when they realized they no longer had the direct power of the president by their side. By 2012 at the end of Calderon’s second presidential term, Mexico had more than 60,000 dead citizens and more than 40,000 allegedly reported missing. Being across the fence I got to a first class view into the war, I saw what it was like before the war broke out, I got to experience the actual war, and six years later in 2012 I was able to finally go back to Mexico, a place I used to call home. Growing up I felt I always had two homes, one in El Paso Texas in the United States and another in Chihuahua, Mexico. It was completely normal for me to wake up and go to school in El Paso and later on in the day cross the border to eat at my aunt’s house in Juarez (El Paso’s border city). I spent weekends with my cousins at their house; I could direct any one around Juarez as if I had lived there my whole life. Not only was my Aunts house across the border both of my parent’s immediate families both lived four hours away in Chihuahua, Chihuahua. Traveling four hours on a Friday afternoon to my grandmas in Chihuahua and coming back to El Paso on a Sunday night was completely normal and something we always did. During the summers I would beg my mom to let me spend months at a time with my godmother and cousins. I would work the cash register at her and my godfather’s hardware store and knew all of their customers by first and last name. For lunchtime my favorite employee Ernesto always brought me tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and I would sit outside with a Mexican Coca-Cola and my cousin Pepe on the curb and enjoy our lunch. For desert my aunt would give us a couple of pesos, Mexican currency, and we walk over to the corner store and buy the newest chips that Bimbo had made for the week. On weekends we would have huge sleepovers with all my cousins and we always had the best ice cream from Coldy. At such a young age the Mexican culture had completely infiltrated my life. Spanish was my first language, and up to this day is the language I am most comfortable speaking. The food, the mannerisms and all the traditions all felt mandatory even if I was in my El Paso house. Being in Mexico for such huge periods of times I had always heard the conversations that went on amongst the…