Pastor Jose Galvan’s paintings

“I found El Pastor when I was looking for a raped beauty queen. I expected him to be an evangelical fraud and that the asylum he kept in the desert outside Juarez was simply a ploy used in his fundraising.
I was wrong. He is an ex street addict, ex-convict and a full time healer in a city of pain. He sells love in a city of death, Ciudad Juarez, demonstrably the most violent city on earth. He expects to be murdered; he prays he will not be tortured first. He built the asylum with his own hands and his care is the only safety net for the severely mentally ill in this place of poverty.
I am not a religious person but I realize a simple fact: the border is becoming a bloodbath with thousands murdered and an entire generation doomed to gangs and early death. The only people I see doing anything are the religious. And El Pastor, Jose Antonio Galvan, is a prime example.” Charles Bowden, author of Murder City

galvan_new17galvan_paintings_2014_7galvan_paintings_2014_8

Project 380: Aid to Violence Related Mexican Political Asylum Seekers on Humanitarian Parole

Project 380: Aid to Violence Related Mexican Political Asylum Seekers on Humanitarian Parole

“Rita’s family and about 500 other individuals who, after staring death in the eyes,are legally present in the United States and they want to work.  They each need a minimum of $380.00 just to get the visa to allow them to work.  The 380 PROJECT was designed to assist in that specific need. All funds will go directly to the U.S. State Department for these work visa fees.”

Please consider contributing $3.80 or $38.00 or $380.00 or any amount to this project.

Project 380

Rita lived in a small town near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on the land that had been her family home for many generations. Officials in the United States and Mexico decided to put a new international bridge near Rita’s community. That meant that the price of Rita’s land was rapidly increasing in value and corrupt officials wanted Rita to leave. The cheapest way to accomplish that was through terror. And those acts of terror included killing Rita’s husband while she and her children huddled in the next room. Then, Rita happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and she witnessed a Mexican federal policeman murder a room full of people. She ran, but they hunted her. Her family – mother, brother’s family, and children – ran to the United States border with only the clothes on their backs.

After weeks of complex immigration processes, the family was granted humanitarian parole and they were admitted into the United States. They do not have official asylum, but they are legally residing here.  During the next four years, they will go through many more legal proceedings and finally an Immigration Judge will determine if their asylum will be granted, or if they will be forced to return to Mexico.

Meanwhile, the family has no financial support, and because of their status, they cannot take advantage of any U.S. entitlement programs.  A group of people who knew of their status and their financial need are providing funds to ensure that the family has a safe home and food temporarily.

Rita, her brother, and his wife want to work so they can provide for their family. However, their work visas take a long time to process, and it costs $380.00 each time they renew their work visas.  The visas are granted for random time spans – a few months up to a year.  Then, the applicants have to pay the $380.00 again and repeat the renewal process which takes 60 to 90 days.

Rita’s family and about 500 other individuals who, after staring death in the eyes, are legally present in the United States and they want to work.  They each need a minimum of $380.00 just to get the visa to allow them to work.  The 380 PROJECT was designed to assist in that specific need. All funds will go directly to the U.S. State Department for these work visa fees.

Please consider contributing $3.80 or $38.00 or $380.00 or any amount to this project. Click here to make an ONLINE DONATION.  At the drop down menu choose: 380 Project: Political Asylum

Checks can be made to Catholic Charities, c/o Deacon Tom Baca, 1280 MedPark Drive, Las Cruces, NM 88005.  For more information you may contact Crystal Massey at the law office of Carlos Spector, crystalatspector@gmail.com.

Please consider contributing $3.80 or $38.00 or $380.00 or any amount to this project.

Karla Castaneda now in the US seeking asylum..

Karla Jocabeth Castaneda is now in the United States. She fled Juarez last week with her other 4 children and on February 13, she crossed the border at San Isidro, CA.  Karla is an activist for many years–demanding that the state of Chihuahua do more to locate her missing daughter, Cinthia who disappeared in 2008 at age 13.
The article says that she was granted political asylum in the US, but (from what I know of other cases) she and her children were paroled into the US on humanitarian grounds because she established that she had a credible fear of persecution based on documents, photographs and other information she brought with her showing that the government (police and other officials) were persecuting her because of her activism.
She will have the opportunity to seek permanent asylum and will be able to remain in the US indefinitely.

Rick Perry: US immigration plan doesn’t alter state law…AP

In light of recent stories indicating that President Calderon may join the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin when he leaves office and that he says he rec’d death threats early in his term, it is nice to know that Gov. Perry of Texas is going to do everything in his power to deny legal status to Mexicans (and others) who might qualify for the Obama administration’s deferred deportation program because of their long-term residency in the US…  I assume President Calderon will quailfy for other visa programs. The positive side of this is that he may have to come face-to-face with hundreds or thousands of Mexicans-in-exile who have left their country due to dangers to their lives and who are now seeking asylum in the US. Many of these people are living in Texas.
I guess Gov. Perry does not want to be out-machoed by his counterpart, Janet Brewer of Arizona… It will be interesting to see what New Mexico governor Martinez does in this regard. molly

More Mexicans requesting asylum–report from Atlanta

An interesting article from Atlanta GA concerning an increase in asylum
claims from people not directly affected by the violence…This legal
tactic seems to have potential to make asylum more difficult for those
Mexicans with more serious claims.
“We [attorneys] are trying to create this new class of protected people,”
she said. “The more Americanized they are, the more tied they are to the
United States. We have to litigate this class into existence, because it
doesn’t exist.”

 

The Reyes-Salazar family flee Mexico seeking asylum as entire families flee Northern Mexico

TOMORROW AT THE LAW OFFICE OF CARLOS SPECTOR

LAST TWO MEMBERS OF THE REYES-SALAZAR FAMILY FLEE MEXICO AND SEEK ASYLUM IN THE U.S. AS ENTIRE FAMILIES IN NORTHERN MEXICO CONTINUE TO FLEE

Press release: 10 am – Thursday, June 28, 2012
at the Law Offices of Carlos Spector
1430 E. Yandell, El Paso, Texas 79902

Doña Sara Salazar the 78 year old matriarch of the politically active Reyes-Salazar family refused to leave Mexico as long as any of her loved ones were still living there. Last week, after receiving a death threat, her last grandson, Ismael Reyes-Reyes decided to leave Mexico and seek asylum in the U.S. The departure of 22 members of the Porras family from Villa Ahumada as well as the Mexican federal government’s inability and refusal to protect them convinced Ismael Reyes-Reyes to leave Mexico.

Doña Sara has lived every mother’s worst nightmare: first they killed her grandson; then her daughter; 7 months later her son; and then they threatened her with a gun while they kidnapped another daughter, son and daughter-in-law. Six days after the kidnapping they burned her home. Two weeks after the kidnapping they threw the tortured bodies of her children in the street.

According to AI, the Reyes family was “clearly being targeted in the most brutal way.” Six family members having been killed since November of 2008.
Julio César Reyes Reyes was shot and killed on November 16, 2008. – Grandson
Josefina Reyes Salazar was shot and killed on January 3, 2010. – Daughter
Rubén Reyes Salazar was shot down in the street on August 18, 2010. – Son
María Magdalena Reyes Salazar was kidnapped on February 7, 2011. Her body was dumped on the street on February 25, 2011. – Daughter
Elías Reyes Salazar was kidnapped on February 7, 2011. His body was dumped on the street on February 25, 2011. – Son
Luisa Ornelas was kidnapped on February 7, 2011. Her body was dumped on the street on February 25, 2011. – Daughter-in-law

Saul Reyes-Salazar and his immediate family were granted political asylum in early January 2012.

Law Offices of Carlos Spector, 1430 E. Yandell, El Paso, Texas 79902

For more information please call Alejandra Spector or Crystal Massey at mexenex@gmail.com or (915) 544-044

Mexico: Family of 20 Crosses into Texas Seeking Asylum after Drug Cartel Murders

This story has been reported in El Diario for the past several days…Two
members of the family–a father and son–were murdered. The son was at his
father’s grave in the Villa Ahumada cemetery when he was shot. Others
received death threats by phone. They left the town early in the week and
have been camped out in the offices of the federal Attorney General (PGR)
in Juarez. In a dramatic move, all 20 family members have crossed into the
US to seek asylum, although the latest Diario article said that the Mexican
Attorney General was going to meet in Juarez and discuss how to provide
protection for the family.
There have also been several recent articles in EL Diario on the lack of
any police protection in many of the towns and villages in northern
Chihuahua since 2008 when many police were killed, many fled and others
were dismissed. In 2009, a gun battle took place in Villa Ahumada in which
more than 22 people were killed. Earlier, in May 2008, the Army entered
Villa Ahumada and killed many more then…
Perhaps this case will bring attention to the ongoing and almost unreported
violence in the rural towns and villages surrounding Juarez…

UPDATE:
the Porras family from Villa Ahumada are all seeking political
asylum in the US.  Several houses and businesses in and around Villa
Ahumada owned by the family have been robbed, vandalized and burned
according to an article in El Diario.

Veracruz journalists–living in terror–Marcela Turati in PROCESO

A long article in Proceso on the situation of journalists, esp. in the
state of Veracruz, Mexico. A major point of the article is that while
Mexico has a lot of laws, state institutions and non-governmental groups
that say they exist to protect freedom of the press, they don’t do anything
to stop the killing and terrorizing of journalists. A google translation is
posted below. molly

GOOGLE TRANSLATION

In Veracruz is not strange that a journalist is threatened. Not be picked
up, tortured and murdered. Or, if it saves life, which means that hired him
to fire you … Being a journalist in the state is like bringing a target
painted on the back. Y-governmental bodies responsible for civil-union
protection to simply wallow in inaction. It is so serious and scandalous
state of Veracruz press is already known internationally and is the subject
of forums. In one reporter summed Veracruz: “We are living in terror.”

AUSTIN, TEXAS (Process). – Minutes before the end of the forum dedicated to
discuss the challenges of journalism in Latin America, a Mexican reporter
spoke: “In Veracruz we are living in fear. The journalists not only kill
us, torture us and we also cut up. There you stand, you’re stuck, you do
what they want. “

It was Miguel Ángel López Solana, who on June 20 last year survived the
murder of his father, the deputy director of Notiver, Miguel Angel López
Velasco-investigator of drug-trafficking and political corruption, his
mother and brother, photographer of the same daily. This fact opened the
spate of killings since then cripples the lives of journalists in the state.

“I just ran away, ran away, ran to where I could, to the darkness of the
night I reached, I was there,” he told journalists and officials of
organizations present at the forum. And, apparently, has not stopped
running for his life.

His testimony revealed that journalists in Veracruz that are known risk no
justification. Notiver accused, the local newspaper for which labored, to
have fired him. The House of Journalists Rights, created with public funds
to shelter journalists in difficult situations, gave less than a week’s
stay. The organizations he claims to have attended, the said house of the
journalist, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters
Without Borders, could not agree to help.

The many government institutions created to protect journalists, including
the National Commission on Human Rights, sinned away.

The reporter spent six months in the Federal District waiting for someone
to help him leave the country. Desperate, to be known without help, he
returned to Veracruz and then traveled to the border of Tamaulipas and the
United States where for a month asked for a visa. Since April is in this
country with his wife, seeking asylum. His only support, he said, has been
the newspaper La Jornada, which was a correspondent.

Some of his remarks were “a war zone Veracruz no worse than (…) There is
an immense impunity nurtures violence. From the time they killed my family
should have changed things and we would not be mourning the death of
others. No one did anything. Neither the newspaper did a follow-up note. “

Bore witness to the corruption of local government, in addition to not
protect reporters ‘leaked’ to the press the list of journalists
executables, which was fulfilling-the collusion between officials and drug
traffickers, the indifference of the media owners to local reporters
threatened or killed, the removal of government institutions and NGOs
should protect and institutionalized impunity that encourages new crimes.

He was saved but not the same fate his three colleagues Guillermo Luna,
Gabriel Rodriguez and Esteban Huge, although after the first killings left
journalism (or ran their means to distance himself from them), in some
cases fled the state or tried unsuccessfully to obtain a visa. In May were
killed. Their bodies were dismembered.

Less than a week earlier, on April 28, had been killed the correspondent of
process in that state, Regina Martinez, known for his work against the
powerful, in what appeared a hunt against journalists.

This period was called by the UN the “tragic week in the Mexican press.”

On Friday 1, Notiver-which has four journalists killed Lopez Solana replied
that the company itself has required
justice for the murder of his father, denies that the reporter was hired by
the newspaper, accusing him of “walking down the wrong path” and asks him
to tell the U.S. authorities “everything he knows” (“we are sure that if
anyone knowswho murdered his family and why you, “he said).

The Forum organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
were several things clear: No one understands what happens in Mexico, a
country with strong institutions and monetary resources and allows murder
and gagging their journalists. And that Veracruz is the state where
violence has been merciless with the guild.

Diluted Resources

Research Studies Center and Freedom of Expression (CELE) of Argentina said
the nonsense: In Mexico there is a proliferation of organizations dedicated
specifically to the protection of journalists and investigation of crimes,
and that is not reflected in results.

They include the Program Attacks against Journalists and Human Rights
Defenders of the National Commission of Human Rights, the Special
Prosecutor for the Investigation of Crimes against Freedom of Expression of
the PGR, the Special Committee to Monitor Attacks on Journalists and Media
in the House of Representatives and the Unit for Promotion of Human Rights
Department of the Interior.

Among the burdens that drag on the whole, the CELE detected operating with
a limited legal framework, depend on political decisions, their powers are
limited by jurisdiction, have a tight budget, small staff professionalized,
have serious difficulty in coordination, are hostages of jostling among the
parties and the government, which pays just-concluded-there is more to
impunity.

In Mexico, despite all the bureaucracy assigned to the case, only 3.7% of
crimes are solved and in 59% of cases, the PGR has been declared
incompetent to investigate.

“Unlike other countries in the region, Mexico has strong institutions and
there is clear evidence that when the Mexican government wants to take an
action on an issue, gives institutions the power to act. But as for
protection of journalists and investigation of crimes there is a
proliferation of overlapping institutions and not conducive to good
operation, “said Natalia Torres, lead researcher of the CELE.

Document institutional designs for the effectiveness of protection policies
and investigating crimes against journalists states that one of the most
emblematic of this inefficiency is that institutions have not even been
able to agree on how many assaults are committed each year against
communicators. Each institution has its own, and incomplete account.

“The study did not assess the mechanism of protection (recently approved),
perhaps the mechanism can turn it around and create a coordinated, open to
civil society participation and generate statistics, but until 2011 in this
way has been running,” said researcher in an interview with Proceso.

Meanwhile the annual report of Article 19 states that in 2011 were assigned
to the Interior Ministry 25 million pesos for measures to protect
journalists, which is unknown to what was used 24 million. We only know
that 22 thousand dollars were assigned to protect a journalist from Sinaloa.

Silence The report forced the state complicit in violence against the
press, the international organization said that the NHRC has poor
accountability and offers dubious figures that do not meet the emergency. If
true the little we have, then each trade that sent that cost 226 000 pesos
advocacy.

In the prosecution of the PGR agency calls it “no skills and no
achievements”, and notes that despite the seriousness of the situation has
presented a budget under-spending. A legislative committee is described as
“ornamental” because its members have dedicated themselves to go to forums
instead of adopting the necessary reforms.

Meanwhile, the rapporteurs of the UN and the OAS for Freedom of Expression,
Frank La Rue and Catalina Botero, respectively, present at the forum and in
2010 traveled to the country to know the reality, which issued
recommendations to the State Mexico, called for the end of impunity in the
investigation of crimes.

Process Botero says: “We worked with the UN rapporteur to try to understand
the situation in Mexico, which is complex, is one of the countries with the
highest rate of violence against journalists in the region and made a
series of recommendations believe urgent. The situation in Veracruz is
extremely serious. “

Botero also made an urgent appeal to the federal government to adopt all
the mechanisms of protection, it implements the newly adopted law on
protection and prevention and that independent and qualified authorities
investigate crimes committed in Veracruz.

“It is urgent that federal investigations take, take all the mechanisms at
its disposal to advance research and convicting those responsible for
crimes against journalists that all they were doing was fulfilling its duty
to inform. Each murder sends a message that can not speak of what happens
in Veracruz and Mexico are entitled to know the results of the
investigations that they, and especially Regina, being developed, “he says.

La Rue for his part said that the increase in violence against journalists
in the Americas, the most serious cases are Mexico and Honduras, and noted
that Veracruz lives at critical moments.

“The common phenomenon of these acts is that of impunity. The State’s
obligation to investigate each fact itself, where it comes from, who
executed it, investigate and establish a criminal trial. Every one that
remains unresolved but does not generate a lot of violence. Is a multiplier
effect because the message is that anyone can get away with it, “says
Guatemalan.

Guy Berger, head of the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media
Development UNESCO Process says that while Mexico appears to have
institutions that could curb impunity, require coordination to be effective.

“It’s great to have these mechanisms, now need to begin to work,” he says.

He also notes that if the media do not protect their own members or come to
their defense, journalists can not expect society to do.

At the forum, Heriberto Cantu, editor of El Manana newspaper in Nuevo
Laredo in May was attacked with explosives, reiterated the editorial
decision to cancel the coverage of drug violence.

“Four hours from now imagine a newspaper that has to work behind
bulletproof glass barricades or as a result of the bloody disputes,” the
newspaper editor beaten that he has lived a decade of attacks since the
murder of Roberto Mora, director editorial, strafing, verbal and written
threats, intimidating messages and attacks with explosives.

Entering Honduras

At the forum held from 20 to 22 May last in this city attended by more than
70 journalists and officials of organizations defending freedom of
expression representing Latin America and the Caribbean, who were given the
task of making a diagnosis of the challenges facing you and press to take
practical measures to reverse the crisis situation.

Knight Center director, Rosental Alves of Brazil, began the meeting called
Security and Protection for Journalists, Bloggers and citizen journalists
with the claim that “the serious problem of safety and security of
journalists has acquired unprecedented catastrophic proportions” and is fed
by the serious illness of impunity. If you do not care for journalists,
said, cut the chance of having informed societies and endangered democracy.

The cases of Mexico and Honduras were the most alarming about the growing
violence against its journalists. According to statistics from the
organization Artículo19, 47 journalists have been killed during the
presidency of Felipe Calderón and 14 were missing and at least 565 offenses
were committed against the press in 10 years.

Daniela Pastrana, executive director of Journalists Network of Foot, of
Mexico, told a story about the situation facing journalists Veracruz: the
week following the four murders came to that entity to provide a
professional training workshop and found colleagues desolate, without
support from organizations, government or business.

“I asked them what they need and one of them replied: ‘A gun, but not
because I want to do anything to anyone, is to not catch me alive.’ That is
the level of fear that have (…) They understand that there is persecution
and that they will pursue as journalists and wherever. Of the desolation
that level, “he said.

The forms of attacks on the press released or recrudecidas this
administration, the reporter mentioned the bombings, disappearances, exile,
self-censorship and infiltration in the newsroom, attacks against users of
social networks and torture after the murder .

He noted that vulnerability is accentuated by reporters in the provincial
media where, generally, these are little known in its day, earn an average
of 3 thousand 500 pesos per month charge for less than 100 pesos note, they
drawup to 10 per day and their means are in line with local governments.
“The journalist threatened, run. Threat is synonymous with unemployment,
“he said.

The forum which brought together the highest authorities in the protection
of journalists at the international level, the Mexican case was widely
discussed.Although in May, following the murder of Regina Martinez, were
approved mechanisms to protect journalists and a new law requiring the
federal government to attract and investigate crimes against journalists,
Benoit Hervieu, the head office the Americas to Reporters Without Borders,
expressed doubts about the extent of such modifications.

“The federalization of crimes to investigate the attacks are very late and
incomplete because it is accompanied by a substantial reform of the justice
system and the police investigation. The situation with Mexico is
desperate, and in other countries achieve results but in countries like
Mexico and Honduras all worse, “he complained.

In an interview with Proceso also referred to the murder of Regina Martinez
who said: “It’s hard not to imagine a relationship between what is revealed
Regina and her murder, one of his publications was an article about the
arrest of nine policemen allegedly linked to drug trafficking . He had also
been summoned to appear in court as a witness in Veracruz. “

 

 

Mexicanos en Exilio–Austin presentations

Many Mexicans need asylum to escape government persecution

Jorge Luis Reyes Salazar remembers when soldiers arrived in March 2008 in Guadalupe, a small Mexican farming community along the border in the Juárez Valley about 50 miles from Juárez.

They swept through the streets of his hometown, he said, terrorizing families and ransacking homes in what they said were searches for drugs, guns and money.

“A war began, but not against narco trafficking — against civil society,” Reyes, 19, told an audience of about 70 people Wednesday at a forum held by the Texas Observer. “The people — people like my family — began to protest.”

The young man was among four survivors of the drug war ravaging Mexico who were in Austin this week to share their stories and call attention to the struggle of thousands of families who have been forced to flee their country in a mass exodus. They have not come to the United States in search of the American dream, they said. They have been forced to abandon everything to save their lives.

To win an asylum case, a person must show a fear of persecution resulting from membership in a certain social, religious or political group, among other enumerated grounds…

Read more at Statesman.com

Justice in Exile

Mexico’s drug war is often presented in the Mexican and U.S. media as a battle among government forces and the drug cartels. Seldom do we hear about the deep and systemic corruption of Mexican officials that allows the violence to flourish. Four members of a recently formed nonprofit in El Paso called Mexicans in Exile said Wednesday night they were forced to flee their country because of government corruption.

The panelists—Saul and Jorge Reyes Salazar, Juan Fraire Escobedo and Cipriana Jurado—told their harrowing stories at The Texas Observer’s forum “Government Persecution, Human Rights and Mexico’s Drug War” on Wednesday night at the Texas Hillel Center in Austin. Their El Paso attorney Carlos Spector spoke about winning political asylum for the exiles and the nonprofit group’s goal to build civil society in Mexico and to seek justice for victims of the violence.

More than 100 people attended the event, including several human rights attorneys, immigration attorneys, members of the Mexican Diaspora and community activists…

Read more at TexasObserver.org

 

 

 

 

Mexicanos en Exilio–Asylum Project events in Austin, TX, March 26-29

A series of events will be held in Austin, March 26-29 regarding political
asylum for Mexicans fleeing the violence.
Details are available at the Mexicanos en Exilio Facebook page and in the
attached flyer. An outline of the scheduled events is below.

Mexicanos en el Exilio Facebook

Mexicanos en el Exilio Twitter

The Asilo/Asylum Project seeks to inform the University of Texas and
off‐‑campus communities about

the injustices and violence in Mexico by sponsoring a weeklong set of
activities around asylum cases

represented by *Mexicanos en el Exilio*. We also intend to build long-term
support in Austin for future

cases of asylum seekers from Mexico. Our asylum guests have faced
incredible life-threatening

violence and have been forced to leave their homes. We are offering them an
opportunity to voice

their concerns, fears, and hopes for themselves, their families, and their
nation.

*SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: MARCH 26‐‑29, 2012*

*Monday, March 26*

*Limited Space Available*

*Welcome dinner hosted by the*

*Project Asilo Committee at Takoba*

*Restaurant, 1411 E 7th Street, Austin,*

*78702 at*

*7:30 p.m. RSVP required at*

*alejandraspector@utexas.edu by*

*Monday, March 19.*

*Tuesday, March 27*

*Event Free & Open to the Public*

*Panel Discussion on Asylum for*

*Mexico*

*Chair: Carlos Spector*

*SAC 1.118*

*3:00—5:00 p.m.*

*Wednesday, March 28*

*Free & Open to the Public*

*Public Forum on Asylum for Mexico*

*Sponsored by The Texas Observer*

*UT-°©‐‑Austin Hillel Center*

*7—9 p.m.*

*Asylum Speakers: Cipriano Jurado,*

*Juan Escobedo, Jorge Reyes; Chair:*

*Carlos Spector and Melissa del Bosque.*

*RSVP required at:*

*nelson@TexasObserver.org*

*Thursday, March 29*

*Limited Space Available*

*Passover Seder*

*Aside from ceremony, special guests*

*and invited asylum speakers will speak.*

*For more information, please contact:*

Emilio Zamora, Professor, Department of History, University of Texas at
Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-0220 512 475-8706, 512 739-0168
E.zamora@mail.utexas.edu*
*