Tourists crossing the border from El Paso, Texas, to Ciudad Juarez used to have a frightening welcome—a steel sign with the words “NO MORE WEAPONS” fashioned out of firearms. It was a symbolic gesture of accusation, another facet of former president Felipe Calderon’s strategy of dealing with rampant murder by blaming it on the Americans. Now the sign is coming down, as crime has sharply declined—due to internal factors—and city leaders are itching for tourism dollars.
“This was the main diplomatic expression of its time …” said Juarez Mayor Enrique Serrano. “But it is a topic that should be addressed more politely.” Indeed, one suggestion for the new sign that will be erected in its place has an even simpler message: “Welcome.”