Zona Pronaf, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

On my screen there is a ribbon of green parcels in the middle of the desert. The ribbon is cut through by a gray blob. I do a zoom-in, and distinguish the Rio Bravo/Grande, a couple of hills, dry land and the gray blob that is Ciudad Juárez. The river is in fact a fortified concrete canal. To the north, El Chamizal looks like an impacted wisdom tooth trying to grow out of the city. The park is dry. There is an abstract rounded monument sitting empty, baking under the sun (in the satellite view, the canal/river/border is also and abstract rounded monument of sorts). Ant-cars avoid the Chamizal like it was a big puddle of oil, bound for the South or the East. I follow them with my cursor. The Avenida Américas unwinds in bows and roundabouts. Empty lots, bus stops, parking spots. A 13ft-tall Abraham Lincoln stands alone in his tiny square. In the map, El Paso and Juárez are brought together by Francisco (Pancho) Villa and divided by Cuatro Siglos (Four Centuries). Further down, Pancho Villa becomes Juan Gabriel. (Here they’ve found a bunch of women’s bodies. The eje must be packed with pink crosses in real life.) On the other side of town, Av. Industrias becomes Jaime Bermúdez, in the middle you have Av. Panamericana, Lincoln and other more generic names:16 de Septiembre, Lic. Adolfo López Mateos… Back to the satellite view. Zoom-in. Eje Juan Gabriel is covered with white patches. So is Av. Bermúdez. The maquilas and warehouses. A little further down and to the right, the only real green patch in all of the city: the golf club where Don Jaime and his kids probably live. Zoom. A subdivision dotted with McMansions and swimming pools. Click to the left. I wonder where the Pueblo Amigo is. I can’t tell if there’s a shopping center that "resembles a traditional Mexican pueblo” or not. Another thing I don’t see are the “nuclear cemeteries”, or toxic waste dumps. I discover the Museum of Art and History, a fossil on the corner of the Plaza de las Américas’s parking lot, like some cheap, minor ornamental landscape feature. Under that gigantic white tank of a mall probably lie the remains of the Pronaf.

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