popenot-epAs you likely know, the Pope was in Cd. Juárez yesterday. Because of the grandstanding by El Paso officials, you might have thought that the Pope crossed into the United States. If you thought so, I don’t blame you because El Paso officials are notorious for grandstanding national affairs as if they were the ones that orchestrated the whole spectacle. All of the politicos were out and about talking up the visit by the Pope. The news media was tripping all over itself to be the one to bring you the latest in the Popemania that took over the city yesterday.

You see, El Paso officials are so desperate for validation that they will hijack anything to make it their own. They ordered schools closed, public buildings closed and public streets off limits, all because the Pope was coming.

The fact is that the Pope went to Cd. Juárez. He did not enter the United States. However, most, if not all of the politicos, were jockeying for camera attention arguing the sister city mantra that is only used when convenient.

You see, the sister city label as trumped out when it is convenient for El Paso officials only to be quickly discarded when the differences in politics and economies hits them straight across the face.

Consider this. Around the 2006-2008 period, most El Paso officials, including law enforcement officials, were trumpeting up how El Paso and Cd. Juárez are two different cities in two different countries. The drug violence in Juárez had spun out of control and every El Paso official was telling anyone that would listen how “safe” El Paso was. “It’s the” third, fourth, or whatever, “safest city” in the nation was the mantra emanating from their mouths. The “violence in Juárez has not crossed the border” was their collective proclamations.

Never mind that the facts have shown that the violence did spill over into El Paso. Today, the El Paso politicos feign ignorance to the cartel kidnappings in El Paso, one of which happened only doors away from the police chief’s house, as well as the Barrio Aztecas killing on behalf of the Juárez drug traffickers. It is a Juárez thing they argue.

They are hoping you have forgotten those pesky little facts that get in the way of their rhetoric.

Today, they are all basking in the glow of the Pope’s visit to another country.

Today, it is good to proclaim the sisterhood between both cities because international eyes are upon the region and thus, today, Juárez isn’t the ugly step-sister but the sister all of El Paso loves because, well because, it makes political sense today.

However, tomorrow is another day and once the international news media is gone, some of the politicos will start decrying to you how those from Juárez abuse your streets, your healthcare system and your schools. But never mind that today, because today the national news media is talking about El Paso – not!

They are talking about the Pope, Cd. Juárez and Mexico.

El Paso was just a stop on the way to seeing the Pope in Mexico.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

13 replies on “Pope and Sister City Hypocrisy”

  1. So, you mention a couple of things in your post that makes me really question where you’re coming from.

    The City did not order schools to close and the politicians did not order roads closed. That was all pretty much coordinated by the Chief of Police, TxDOT, streets, the FBI, the Secret Service, etc. If anything the plan they came up with was definitely NOT what the politicians wanted since it didn’t allow people to congregate on the Border Highway. If you bothered to watch City Council (or if you knew anyone who was involved in the coordination efforts) you would know that the #1 priority was making sure that nothing bad happened on their watch. Chief Allen could not care less about what the politicians wanted. He cared about making sure that the residents were reasonably safe and that absolutely nothing came close to happening to the pope from North of the border.

    On the off chance that something did happen the plan also included having major corridors available as emergency vehicle routes (Border Highway, and Campbell for instance). Apparently there were 4 deaths reported in Philedelphia when the pope was there due to people people who weren’t in the greatest of health being overcome by the weather, stress, etc.

    As far as I can tell none of that was really secret so I wonder why you choose to spin this story the way you did. What do you get from making it sound like our dysfunctional City Council is even capable of orchestrating some sort of scheme to take credit for the pope being in town? All they’re capable of doing is sucking up to the residents so when those residents complained about not being allowed on the Border Highway, council was all over that demanding answers from the PD. As soon as Chief Allen pretty much told them off they shut up and dropped it because safety seems to trump everything (especially once they were told that opening the Border Highway would cost an additional $180k plus staff and equipment that the PD just did not have).

    So what’s the deal Martin? Why try to spin this story to be pretty much the opposite of what it was? Make your case about the Safest City thing, but don’t mislead people… Especially not in a situation where it’s fairly easy to learn what was actually going on.

  2. First the non-sense of building a bridge between El Paso and Juárez which seems the Pope was not interested in crossing that bridge. Also some are to ignorant and blind to see that the City forced those that could have gone to the close loop to watch were forced by the Mayor and the CC into the Sun Bowl at ten dollars a head or more for non-Catholics on the grounds they could not make the border highway safe and proving security was crossing the line between Church and State Then again more than a million was spent,that we know of, to provide security on the border and at the Sun Bowl. Nope the line separating church and state was passed when you spent over a million dollars for security for another country and forcing people to the Sun Bowl for the big pay off for the El Paso Catholic Diocese.
    My question is would our Catholic brothers and sisters be so open handed with the with the public tax dollars if it would have been a religious leader of another denomination. Bet not,bet there would have been screams of separation of church and state.
    To a degree I like Pope Franics but he is a little hypocritical in chastising the wealthy as he is kept in five stars accommodations and luxury which cost in the millions of dollars so he could come and say a few prayers.

    1. It would cost too much to keep the Pope in poverty. His bodyguards wouldn’t like staying in Motel 6 either.

  3. The Pope is considered a Head of State, thus money is spent to ensure safety. And Thomas is a good name for you, as in Doubting Thomas.

  4. Isnt it true that at the time the Diocese orcehestrated the Sun Bowl simulcast there was no plans to have the mass televised on any local station? In addition, it is untrue that only non-catholics were charged a fee to sun bowl tickets. That was for everyone and was designed cover the costs of the Sun Bowl which was not donated. There may have been discount if you bought the tickets from a parish as opposed to at the door but that is normal protocol for most events.

    It makes me sad that such a wonderful event took place with such opportunity for positives and this turns into political bickering.

  5. I remember when school districts in northern Wisconsin would close for the deer hunting season. They had their priorities right back then.

  6. Abel the Pope was a head of state visiting Mexico and his security was the Responsibility of the Mexican government not U.S. tax payers. Also maybe you need to check what Jesus told Thomas about questioning in addition Thomas was one of the very few allowed to touch Jesus after his resurrection. So at least in name I am in good company.
    The 15 dollar changer for non Catholics was reported by El Paso media. Do the math 28 thousand at the Sun Bowl time that by ten dollar which is 280 thousand dollars. Say 80 thousand dollars was not made because of discounted ticket still the El Paso Catholic Diocese walked with a nice chunk of change and the Sun Bowl did not cost 200 thousand dollars to rent for the event. Then there is a way to find these numbers out file an open records request with UTEP. The Sun Bowl had nothing to do with Safety and Security it was by design a money making event.

  7. Lets get some facts here. El Paso was Never the safest city. The bs from the local pols was a lie. Irving California had the title while El Paso was claiming it. The sister city program was abused by the cook administration. It is a program to promote culture and the economy. Not to interfre with the sovereignty of another county nor claim responsibility nor develop city policy based on another city. Alburq has 13 sister cities and they don’t claim, assume responsibility or develop city policy based on those cities. Btw, El Paso has a sister city in Israel, how come nothing is ever said about that ?!

    One of the reason, El Paso has had a difficult time is because we had politicians saying we are one and the same city one city with two mayors. Now if you live in another region and the news is reporting cartel business, murders, cross country kidnappings and corruption, the impression ?

    I don’t think El Paso was taking credit, more like they wanted to be included, to be a part of the ceremonies. What’s interesting, is that only the better areas were televised. Not the results of many years of corruption and neglect. But then does any city look like the post card ? The fence was mentioned one or twice and about people fleeing across the border. No mention of the southern Mexican and its fence/wall or the draconian immigration laws or the suffering of South Americans crossing that border. Why no mention of the 43 murdered students?

    El Paso has its own problems with corruption. Until our yard is clean why are we saying anything about another country, good or bad?

    1. sorry non contennderrrrr, irving was safest city UNDER 300k. El Paso was safest OVER 300k population. and i agree about the south americans suffering. mexico ushers them to our border so they dont have to deal with them and their problems. were the stupidest country on earth to accept everyones problems. maybe the pope should have admonished mexico for not fixing their problems and quit his yammering about accepting those who are in need and encouraging mexico to fix their own problems. didnt know we had a sister city in Israel.

  8. Oh just reported that UTEP is refusing to release how much was made and the El Paso Catholic Diocese does not want the information released either. Speaks volumes to the scam that went down. The best UTEP will say is it cost 50 to 60 thousand to rent the Sun Bowl. Also the El Paso Catholic Diocese is claiming they are in the hole. Maybe someone at the El Paso Catholic Diocese should take the words of Jesus to heart in being dishonest.

  9. Damaged, you’re wrong. The specific title, for Irving, was safest city during the three years El Paso was claiming the title. It wasn’t over or under any number.

  10. All of the local tv stations looked more foolish than Bozo the Clown! For a second I thought that Stephanie Valle was going to perform magic tricks along with Bob Harp!

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