Juarez mayor takes leave to run for Mexican congress

Border Report Tour

Armando Cabada effected aggressive streets program but watched city fall prey to drug dealers in recent years

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Juarez woke up with a new leader today, as Mayor Armando Cabada Alvidrez asked for a leave of absence late Thursday to run for the Mexican Congress.

“A few minutes ago, I asked the City Council’s approval to separate myself from my position as mayor,” Cabada posted on Facebook. “My decision is based on a legitimate political desire to continue working for our beloved city, as I have done for the past five years.”

The council granted Cabada leave by a unanimous vote and appointed Councilor Carlos Ponce Torres as mayor. This is the second time Ponce, a surgeon, will lead Juarez. A different council named him mayor in 1992 after Jesus Macias Delgado asked for leave to run for governor of Chihuahua.

Cabada, 53, was elected mayor of Juarez in 2016 as an independent candidate but did not serve a full term, as the state of Chihuahua modified its election codes so local voting would coincide with federal elections. Cabada was elected to a full three-year term in 2018.

Dr. Carlos Ponce Torres

He will be a candidate for the MORENA Party, which is President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s political party. Earlier, Cabada ran in the party’s 2021 gubernatorial primary but lost to Juan Carlos Loera, who has been Lopez Obrador’s representative in Chihuahua for the past few years.

“I am sure (Ponce) and the team of directors, councilors and municipal employees will continue meeting the goals we set out at the beginning of this administration,” Cabada said. “I leave happy because we made history in benefiting thousands of border families and with the will to continue working to improve the quality of life of Juarez residents.”

During his tenure, Cabada enacted an aggressive street paving and repair campaign. He was also hounded by a failed bid to award a multimillion-dollar contract to a private vendor to replace lighting in crime-ridden, working-class neighborhoods.

Juarez police investigate a drug-related murder in a Northwest Juarez neighborhood. (Border Report photo)

Illegal drug sales have also spread throughout the city in the past few years, with gangs fighting a bloody war for control of street corners, storefronts and homes where addicts consume crystal meth.

El Paso: Juarez mayor’s departure won’t affect binational relations

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said he doesn’t foresee a disruption in the strong relationship built over the years with its sister city across the border.

“We are a binational and bicultural community and have deep and longstanding relationships not only with Mayor Cabada, but with the Mexican Consul General, our partner NGO’s in Ciudad Juarez, as well as many in the private sector,” Leeser said.

The two cities work together to attract large manufacturing operations, boasting Juarez’s huge pool of young labor and universities on both sides of the border churning out engineers and other professionals year-in, year-out. El Paso and Juarez have also helped pull each other out of crises. One was the Aug. 3, 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart which claimed 23 lives — Americans and Mexicans alike. The other was the mass arrival of asylum seekers from all over the world in late 2018 and early 2019.

“Mayor Cabada has reinforced the excellent relationship we have always had with Ciudad Juárez, and that relationship will continue,” Leeser said. “We wish Mayor Cabada well and thank him for his friendship.”

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