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Ms. Cunningham Hidalgo points to the new strip of nightclubs in Juarez’s Pronaf neighborhood as an example.

She is the owner of one of the clubs, Kaos, which opened in December with an elevated DJ booth and a signature turquoise-colored bar lit from below to resemble a glowing sheath of ice.

The first few months of business were so strong that Quinto Elemento and a third club, Aura, soon opened next door.

Kaos is now expanding to feature a rooftop terrace.

“There’s no narco-money here in these clubs,” said Ms. Cunningham Hidalgo. “It’s all clean investments. We’re working on making things better. That’s the point.”

Later, as she drove past a pickup truck carrying heavily armed Mexican army soldiers in downtown Juarez, she reflected: “Things are improving, but to go the next step, to really bring the city back, the citizens now need to come forward.”