Google executives visit Juarez, say technology can help Mexico overcome cartel war

A couple of months ago we visited Juarez, Mexico, a city right across our border — yet so far away.

The scene was almost surreal: We got off the plane and were met on the tarmac by a convoy of armored cars and open-back trucks swarming with police. The officers were "policía federal."

Like the ones you hear about, they carried machine guns and wore masks to hide their identities. They hung off the backs of their trucks, alert, constantly swiveling as they surveyed the landscape.

They were looking for violent criminals. Meanwhile, everyone we met with — civil society leaders, nonprofit activists, private-sector officials and young people — was looking around for answers.

Their city has been overwhelmed by crime, their lives overcome with fear. They felt defeated, disillusioned and a little helpless. They asked us: What can we do?

And to us, at least part of the answer was obvious: technology.

The cartels that roam Juarez are savvy. Smugglers wear GPS bracelets so they can be tracked — the same blue dots that help smartphone users get from A to B are blipping along in the service of kingpins and their associates.

Read the full Washington Post column by Google executives Eric Schmidt and and Jared Cohen by clicking here.

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