LA Times Presents | Border City
Border City · 2 minutes ·

LA Times Presents | Border City

Border City is a different kind of story about the U.S.-Mexico border, told by a reporter who has spent more than 25 years trying to understand the dynamics of Tijuana, Mexico, and its relationship to the United States.

In 1994 Sandra Dibble left a prestigious job in Washington D.C. for Tijuana, Mexico’s largest border city. A few days before she arrived, a major presidential candidate was assassinated there. She was still settling into her apartment when the city’s police chief and his bodyguard were gunned down.

In this eight-part podcast, Sandra introduces listeners to Tijuana the way she was introduced to it—through the news stories she covered but also through her personal connections in the city’s cultural community and her friendships with ordinary Tijuanenses.

When she arrives, Tijuana is Mexico’s largest and fastest growing border city, booming with migrants from across the county. Many plan to cross the border. But large numbers settle in the city, often taking low-paying jobs in the maquiladoras that manufacture goods for the U.S.

Sandra’s early guides to the city include a local journalist, an Argentinian refugee, a classical guitarist, the woman who cleans her house and becomes her friend, the people she meets when she joins the Tijuana opera chorus.

But she also begins to understand the darkness that hovers over this city, whose destiny is often shaped—for better or worse—by outside forces beyond its control: Global economic cycles. Shifts in U.S. immigration policies. The insatiable U.S. demand for illicit drugs.

Border City takes listeners with Sandra on her journey of discovery, as she chronicles the city’s evolution and searches for her own place in it. It also tells a larger story that reaches far beyond the U.S.-Mexico border---a universal story of migration and belonging and identity that touches us all.

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