|Points of Interest|
Theme / RP Hooks
Straddling what used to be the border between the pre-Fall Mexico and the USA is the city of Tijuana. Even before the Fall, it was a colorful city full of equal parts joy and danger, all of it doused heavily in tequila. Nowadays, Tijuana is LATMA's grungiest Dark refuge (though Lynwood residents will happily sit you down and debate which is the more dangerous).
After the Fall, Tijuana's slave trade went from underground to above ground, and now constitutes that city's largest form of business.
The dusty streets are populated by the poorest of the poor, struggling to make ends meet any way they can. They subsist in crushing poverty alongside true monsters who haunt Tijuana's darkest lairs, preying on the crushing mass of trembling humanity without mercy.
None -- individuals must supply their own security.
Old School DM
The southernmost city of LATMA has grown rapidly since the Fall, becoming a home to both the disenchanted from the northern cities, as well as those fleeing the oppression and brutality of the NAE. Without the support of the LATMA corporations, however, it has grown haphazardly and without proper infrastructure. While the central city of Tijuana is still considered to be modern and fairly well maintained, the outskirts are split into huge, sprawling ghettos called "ciudades perdidas" or "Lost Cities". Tijuana has four such ciudades, one to the south and three to the east. All told, the Tijuana metropolitan area covers nearly 400 square miles, including large swaths of the San Diego area.
Tijuana is a mishmash of different cultures. The presence of many Native American cultural icons, such as the Temple of the Sun, has drawn many followers of Teotlan divinity - that is to say, the NAE's pseudo-Native religion and culture. It is thought that a significant portion of the population follows the religion of the NAE. The majority of the papers, radio, and television stations are broadcast from the Empire, with a minority being LATMA influenced.
The inclusion of Tijuana in LATMA also draws a great deal of influence from the northern areas of the city-state, creating a true melting pot. Cutting edge technology invariably makes it onto the Tijuana black market whereas many of the older areas of the city and those along the outskirts often lack even running water. This mixture of old and new often sees the rise of neo-Aztecan gangs as well as those groups that are fiercely independent, desiring nothing more to be left alone.
The mix also creates tension between the NAE and LATMA, as both cultures vie for dominance. Unfortunately for LATMA, the Empire is winning the culture war.
Tijuana's economy thrives on the slave trade and black market. The docks are not nearly as strictly controlled as Northern LATMA and the corporations are loathe to split their attention to protect a harbor where they have little business interest. Therefore, black marketeers from the far east, trade and slave ships from the NAE, as well as pirates and local slavers operate with impunity. Some corporations, particularly smaller and less ethical ones, also dock in Tijuana from time to time when it would not be convenient for their shipments to be scrutinized by the authorities.
Honest work is sometimes hard to find, and it is estimated that the unemployment rate hovers at roughly 40 percent, causing widespread starvation and desperation. Many youths turn towards gangs and crime to provide for themselves or their families, or end up in the employ - or the victims - of slave traders and gun runners. Many attempt to turn north in an effort to find work, but corporate sponsorship is difficult to obtain, and those unlucky individuals that turn to the east invariably end up in the hands of slavers or the NAE and are rarely heard from again.
Despite the NAE's brutal treatment of refugees - both leaving and entering the country - there exists a certain amount of trade. Above the table, cheap manufactured goods and textiles flow into the NAE from Tijuana sweat shops, and in return the Aztec Empire sends food and raw goods from the vast slave farms in the south, typically over the water. Of course, the slave trade sells most of its acquisitions to the NAE, and those high tech goods on the black market are often purchased to supply the Empire's military.
The Fall was particularly harsh on Tijuana. The city of San Diego quickly moved to close itself off from outside influence, shedding hundreds of thousands of citizens and vast areas of the city itself while it's southern neighbor found itself suddenly cut off from any support as Mexico City erupted into massive riots and the federal government of Mexico quickly fell into disarray.
Tijuana's local and regional governments attempted to keep order, sometimes brutally, but were quickly overwhelmed by the drug cartels. Assassinations, bombings, and riots quickly took down any semblance of government. Droves of refugees from both the north and the east flooded into the city, many moving to the port to try to find refuge anywhere but where they came from.
The drug cartels, now running out of goods from Central America, began to capture and enslave many of the refugees. Cannibalism was rampant, many of the slaves sold piecemeal as 'long pork'. There are tales of drugged men and women being fed pieces of their own bodies as entertainment. To this day, cannibal gangs, claiming lineage to Hopi man eaters or Texan tribes, still practice ritual cannibalism to instill fear in their enemies, though their claims of blood relation are dubious at best.
Vast plantations soon sprang up under control of the cartels, producing everything from various drugs to food crops. Most of these plantations failed and the owners turned to slave trading as a more lucrative business. Along the docks, the more savvy businessmen began brisk black market trade, while the more desperate and lucky took control of ships and turned to piracy.
Tijuana, theoretically within the confines of LATMA, started trading goods with the northern cities and formed a symbiotic relationship. The corporations attempted, with limited success, to break into the black market, both to test their wares and make extra money. The cartels soon formed into guilds and, with corporate funding, set up a council to administer the city. The attempt was only modestly successful and though they are more than willing to take corporate money, the Council viciously defends its interests.
Tijuana is now arguably the largest of the LATMA boroughs, and easily the poorest and most desperate. Nearly all of the population is Dark and live in the vast ghettos surrounding the downtown area. Constant pressure from the northern LATMA cities and the NAE to the southeast make it a a powder keg, anger and desperation fuelling constant riots that are only contained by slavers looking for easy victims and brutal gangs protecting the outskirts of their own neighborhoods.
The only law in Tijuana is maintained by those warlords and gangsters seeking dominance over the people and their rivals, as well as the brutal and ruthless slave traders. The council pretends to maintain order, but in truth only look for the newest way to maintain power and destroy each other and all outside influence. Loose alliances are constantly formed and broken and loyalty is bought and sold almost as often as the slaves in the markets.
The corporations hold sway only under the table and only by being as ruthless as the Dark traders they battle, and with rather limited success. Pirates roam the coastal waters, black marketeers control the docks, slavers deal in human flesh, and the gangs viciously dominate their territory. Tijuana is all that is rotten below the glittering towers of LATMA's corporate districts, dealing in all vices and operating with impunity.
The government of Tijuana is run by a traders, elected every four years to a council of twelve, of which one is the elected to the head of the organization. The definition of trader is fairly loose, however. The corporations struggle to impose their own law on the restless southern city, while the slavers and black marketeers struggle equally hard to gain dominance. Invariably, this ends up in a stalemate with roughly half of the council members being backed by corporations and half by the underground markets. All members of the council are invariably corrupt and even corporate sponsored men and women are usually on the outs with their parent organization or are particularly ruthless or ambitious.
Because of this, the infighting within the council is legendary. Highly corrupt and vicious, it is not uncommon for councilors to be assassinated in spectacular and creative ways while the residents of the city either cheer or get caught in the crossfire. The assassinations are often rebroadcast on pirate television stations across the metropolis.
Head councilmen are often the targets of these assassination attempts. The current leader, a wealthy slave trader named Miguel Rosas Fernandez has been re-elected twice to the position and has come under attack no less than eight times in his ten years of leadership. The most recent attempt, a car bombing near the slave quarter, is rumored to have left him crippled. He has not been seen in public for over a year and theorists within the population speak in whispers that he was killed during the attack. Many also feel that the corporations were behind the attack, tired of his constant stonewalling against corporate investment in the city and friendliness to the NAE.
Tijuana is now under the auspice of the New Aztec Empire.