The dark side of Mexico the pope didn’t see

Arizona Republic – It’s not hard to tell when you are leaving the relative safety of Mexico City and entering this violence-torn, crime-ridden suburb of Ecatepec in the neighboring state of Mexico.

A metal cross marks the spot where the body of murdered woman was thrown on the side of the road leading into the sprawling-hillside slums, among the poorest, most densely populated and dangerous in Mexico. And then a second cross. And a third.

They are grim reminders of the killings, particularly of women, that have terrified residents here.

On Sunday, just hours before Pope Francis would celebrate Mass before hundreds of thousands of people in another part of the city, a layer of choking smog hung over the municipality at dawn.

“This is the gateway to hell,” said Manuel Amador, as he drove past the crosses.

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