Juggling for LifeCircus Performers Face the Violence of Juarez
JUAREZ, Mexico — Fire-eaters. Clowns. Tumblers. Jugglers. Amateur circus performers of every sort have long provided entertainment on the street corners and intersections of Mexican cities. But today, in Juarez, it is hard not to see the carnival act as a gaudy symbol of wasted youth and the valor of the Mexican poor in tragic times.
His name is Rene Colorado. He is 22 and best known in the streets as “Sinner.”
Colorado was born in Juarez, but has wandered across Mexico since his early adolescence, trying to survive like so many other young Mexican men.
According to government figures, there are now 7 million Mexicans ages 14 to 24, with neither a job nor prospects for adequate schooling or employment. In a country of nearly 112 million, that represents a bit more than six percent of the total population.
“Life is all screwed up,” Colorado says, sitting on a sidewalk in front of a convenience store shortly after finishing his round for the night. “Once you get into [gangs], you can’t get out alive.”
Colorado denies ever being completely affiliated with any of the many gangs that roam the city, recruiting pre-teenage boys and girls. However, he acknowledges an addiction to drugs.
“I began smoking marijuana when I was 12 years old, and then I went on to sell drugs so I could have some for myself and get high. But that was two years ago and I’ve been clean since,” says Colorado.
“I have a one-year-old daughter and would like to find a way to support her,’’ he adds, showing off a pen-and-pencil drawing he recently sketched of her.
Photo: Jose Luis Sierra
At the link there is a 5 photo slide show. And please read the rest, it’s short.