Bruce Berman Bruce Berman

The Entrepreneurial Shoe Man


Juárez Shoe Man

Man in the Plaza Reforma, Juárez. 2014

Text and pho­to­graph by Bruce Berman

This man is a shoe dec­o­ra­tor. He paints designs on shoes and then the shoes are sold in nearby stores, The faster he can paint the more money he can earn. The fumes from the per­ma­nent paint are toxic and the shoe man swigs from his Coca Cola constantly.

The econ­omy of Juárez is purely entre­pre­neur­ial cap­i­tal­ism and there are many one-man “busi­ness­men” in the Plaza Reforma which has become the new heart of El Cen­tro. The recent Car­tel War saw the exo­dus of much of Juárez’ mid­dle class and along with them the busi­nesses they owned and main­tained. Much of Juárez that butts against the bor­der south of the Cordova/Paso del Norte bridge has now been razed in antic­i­pa­tion of a mas­sive redevelopment.

As the new Juárez rises so has the need to cre­ate one’s own business.


Digiprove sealCopy­right secured by Digiprove
Be Socia­ble, Share!

The Old New Juarez

Juarez Loteria

Lote­ria de Juarez, ©Jan­u­ary 2013 by Bruce Berman

The New Juarez.

Every­one is talk­ing about it. A new day, full of new promise. Many acquain­tances tell me about all the new bars and can­ti­nas. That Juarez will rise again.

This morn­ing, Easter morn­ing, two bod­ies were found hang­ing from a bridge in cen­tral Juarez. The vic­tims were young, scruffy, boys with no names.

Hang­ing, like cru­ci­fix­ion, is a pub­lic and humil­i­at­ing death. A death after death, the per­son shamed, ren­dered help­less, pub­licly. This is death with a mes­sage. Read more…

Digiprove sealCopy­right secured by Digiprove
Be Socia­ble, Share!

Whiffs: I Can See Tomorrow

El Mari­achi (the real one), Juarez, 1999
©Bruce Berman


There was a day when you could think of Juarez and think in color. I get whiffs of it lately, but one is so cog­nizant that under that shiny sur­face is a black and white heart that has been ripped open for all to see and it will take a long time fill with the energy and joy that was –and will be again– the hall­mark of Ciu­dad Juarez. It will hap­pen. It is hap­pen­ing now. A gen­er­a­tion has now come that learned to live abajo, and care­fully. There has been dam­age. No one can live under that cloud forever.

It’s nice to look back, now and again. But here, on the bor­der, it has been years since peo­ple have allowed them­selves to look forward.

There are “whiffs.”

Digiprove sealCopy­right secured by Digiprove
Be Socia­ble, Share!

Unhappy Crowd With Tarot Cards

Unhappy Crowd With Taro

Unhappy crowd get­ting their Tarot Cards read, Juárez. Sept. 2014


The streets of Juárez abound with life again.

The “Car­tel War” is over.

The war for jus­tice and integrity in gov­ern­ment, the war to develop a coun­try that doesn’t need a drug trans­port­ing busi­ness as it’s sec­ond most impor­tant econ­omy (after petro­leum), is not over and won’t be for the fore­see­able future.

On the streets of Juárez, there is a strange mix: Old peo­ple who couldn’t get out, the poor that couldn’t get out, the young that didn’t know there was any­where to go to and babies!

There are a lot of babies in their teenage par­ents’ arms these days. In the streets in from of the Mer­cado Reforma there is this strange blend of young par­ents weigh­ing babies in their arms, inter­spersed with the very old, inter­spersed with pros­ti­tutes, inter­spersed with an econ­omy that is not longer threat­ened by the incur­sion of “the fran­chises.” Fran­chises bailed out of Juárez years ago, when the war began, in 2011.

This isn’t the Juárez of the glam­our 1950s or the boom boom 1960s and their inter­na­tional fac­to­ries, or of the up and down 1970s and 1980s with the rise of the licen­ci­ado mid­dle class, nor of the “we are almost first world” Juárez of the 1990s and beyond. Read more…

Digiprove sealCopy­right secured by Digiprove
Be Socia­ble, Share!

Three Generations In Juárez


There Generations in Juárez, listening to a Spiritualist

Three Gen­er­a­tions in Juárez, lis­ten­ing to a Spir­i­tu­al­ist. Sept. 5, 2014

Digiprove sealCopy­right secured by Digiprove
Be Socia­ble, Share!