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Teens bring message to murderers in Mexico.

ANGELS ARE NOT A COMMON SIGHT in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's most violent border city where the public cemetery is putrid and overflowing, and where a handful of churches worship the skeletal saint of death, Santa Muerte.

But at crime scenes and busy corners recently, more than a dozen angels have appeared--10 feet tall, with white robes and feathered wings. That these angels are mostly teenagers from a tiny evangelical church makes their presence no less striking: they carry signs to murder scenes that say "murderers repent."

"It's incredible, one of the most spectacular things I've seen," said Jesus Nunez, director of a local social service agency. "It's dangerous, but they keep doing it."

Marches against violence are more common here ... perhaps because this city has so much experience with tragedy. The killings of dozens of women who worked in factories here over a decade ago even predated the rash of drug-war violence that intensified in 2006.


The Messenger Angels got started last year, after conversations at a church on the city's outskirts, Psalm 100. Carlos Mayorga, 33, a leader of the group, said the church's young people had become frustrated with the violence and wanted to do something hard to miss. So they asked for donations of old curtains that became angelic robes, raised money for makeup and collected feathers for wings.

Then they made signs that speak to criminals and corrupted officials. "We wanted to prick the consciences of the people who have caused this city so much pain," said Mayorga.

Early on, the angels focused on busy intersections. Later, they started going to crime scenes, where their messages were often greeted with odd stares, and occasionally tears. They have also set up at prosecutors' offices and police stations.

Mayorga said he hopes that somehow, eventually, they will help bring peace. "The idea is to keep going," he said. "We have to."--Damien Cave, The New York Times
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Title Annotation:World News
Author:Cave, Damien
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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