Soccer Offers an Escape in Bloody Juárez

Mexicans fill stadium seats despite threats, drug cartel violence
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2009 9:31 AM CDT
Soccer Offers an Escape in Bloody Juárez
A soldier guards a police station in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on Monday.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Even as the drug war claimed nine more lives in Ciudad Juárez last weekend, Mexicans filled the local soccer stadium to cheer on their team, the Indios. It’s perhaps the remaining safe bastion in the ravaged town. In May, when the Indios clinched promotion to the Mexican League’s top division, thousands rejoiced and reclaimed the streets despite death threats, the New York Times reports.

But the players feel the toll. They remain in gated areas whenever possible, and some sent their families home after receiving threats. Several have refused to play for the Indios, and corporate sponsors have pulled out. Hundreds of police guard games to keep them violence-free. “This is our escape from reality, from the violence,” says the club president. (Read more drug cartel stories.)

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