The Times podcast: Tijuana in the time of opera and cartels


In the late 1990s, a turf war between the Arellano-Felix and Sinaloa cartels in Tijuana led to mayhem and corruption. But as the cartel-fueled violence continued, residents in the city lived their lives.


Sandra Dibble was a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune at the time, and she treated her visiting mom to handmade corn tortillas, Cafe de la olla, and eggs drenched in mole in Tijuana’s upscale neighborhood. She took her brother to Tijuana’s famous Mercado Miguel Hidalgo to buy tamales. And she got onstage to play a noblewoman in a Tijuana Opera performance of “Romeo and Juliet.”

During the day, though, she reported on the mayhem. She talks about this dichotomy in Episode 5 of “Border City.” Read the transcript here.

Host: Sandra Dibble

More reading:

The collapse of Mexico’s ‘invincible’ drug cartel

Los Tucanes de Tijuana: Banned in their namesake border city

Arts are beginning to blossom in Tijuana

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra, Shannon Lin and Kasia Broussalian and producers David Toledo, Ashlea Brown and Angel Carreras. Our engineers are Mario Diaz and Mark Nieto. Our editor is Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmín Aguilera and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.