By all means, let’s INCREASE military and security payouts to corrupt military and police in Central American countries. Remember that the murder rate in Ciudad Juarez exploded to nearly 300 homicides per 100,000 people AFTER the Plan Merida inspired military surge into the state of Chihuahua… Honduras already has a murder rate of 100… And the city of San Pedro Sula’s murder rate approaches 200. More guns, helicopters and training for police who already are experts at torture thanks to US military advisers and they may surpass Mexico in murderousness. The victims? Poor people. The result? An ever greater EXODUS of refugees showing up at the border. -molly
Excellent report from Cindy Carcamo in Honduras for the LATimes below. She also gave an interview on THE WORLD:
For those who have read Todd Miller’s book, Border Patrol Nation, this story about US trained and funded border police in Honduras will not be a surprise. I assume that the Obama funding request considers this kind of program in Central America a valuable contribution. There seems to be no awareness in US policy circles about the extreme levels of corruption in the military and police units we supply and train in Mexico and Central America. Expect more violence–robbery, rape, beatings, extortion–toward the desperate people trying to flee conditions in their countries. But do not expect to see much coverage of it in the US press. -molly
Below is another excellent report on the massacres in Allende, Coahuila…Yesterday I posted the piece from VICE.COM: How a Mexican Cartel Demolished a Town, Incinerated Hundreds of Victims, and Got Away, by Diego Enrique Osorno.
The July 5 report below by Michelle Garcia and Ignacio Alvarado at Al Jazeera America goes further in pointing out the actual involvement of Mexican government forces in the disappearance and killing of more than 300 people–activities that went on for months in 2011. Only after three years has a Coahuila state prosecutor begun to investigate and probably only now because of testimony provided by several people who left Mexico and are now protected witnesses in a Texas court proceeding.
A few excerpts:
“Missing from the official statements was any explanation as to how the Zetas — whose name means Z — were able to carry out days, if not months, of killings unimpeded by law enforcement. There was no indication that the military, which was posted at a base in Piedras Negras and operated a checkpoint outside of Allende, intervened.”
“… Questions about possible government complicity — directly or indirectly — generally dissipate when violence is branded as Zeta-related. Indeed, as violence in Mexico’s northern region continues unabated, in lieu of investigations and convictions, Zeta is the catchall explanation applied to criminality, one that has the effect of silencing further questions.”
…“Let’s suppose that there had existed a small, tenuous difference between the supposed legal and political system and the narco organizations, the cartels,” said Vera, who operates the Center for Human Rights Fray Juan de Larios, which defends migrants’ and prisoners’ rights. “That line is faded now because of the degree of corruption.”
The discovery of this latest atrocity can be added to years of similar events, some of which I tried to explain last summer here: The Mexican Undead: Toward a New History of the “Drug War” Killing Fields…
These questions remain: Which criminal element is actually the driving force–the cartels, or the government? And where in the mainstream US press can we find any reference to Merida Initiative billions of US taxpayer dollars going directly to corrupt and murderous Mexican police and military? And to what end? I think we need only look at the exodus of children and families from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to get a glimpse of how such policies play out on the ground. -molly
Listera Kathy Nicodemus sent this reflection (posted with permission) on the current border situation and below is an excellent article by David Bacon published in IN THESE TIMES with details on how US economic and security policies have exacerbated the situation that forces people to flee their homes in Central America. -molly
Border Reflection – Support Non-violent solutions in Central American Countries. My thoughts on the Central American immigrant-refugee situation at the moment.
We need to deal with the immediate need, however, if we don’t deal with the systemic issues, the situation will only continue. First we need to stop contributing our (US) part- Corporations that use the land, cheap labor (including Maquilas), our cheap products sold to these countries (taking away their ability to make a living). Need to stop-Selling weapons, supporting bad leaders, US need for drugs. I know there are many other issues. What might be of help–The US supporting these countries to be self-sustaining economically and non-violent.
PanAmerican Post has a brief analysis of the issues today with links to several good articles. And NPR Morning Ed. covered the Washington politics pretty well (also posted below). The irony (not quite the right word) of Obama’s proposal for more immigration court funding is that people will most certainly be processed and deported more quickly. I find it unlikely that the US will ever agree to treat these people as refugees. Even during the height of the Central American civil wars of the 1980s, only a tiny percentage of Guatemalans and Salvadorans were granted political asylum. The current refugees are less of a fit for the asylum criteria as they now stand. Eventually, some Central Americans rec’d Temporary Protected Status (TPS), but I don’t see the political will in Congress or the White House for this to happen now.
The environmental disaster of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 created another refugee crisis and it seems that the US responds better to natural disaster crises than to those involving war, drugs and gang violence. And hardly ever a mention of the economic disasters wrought by free trade policies.
I am not advocating for the way the administration is responding to the political hysteria drummed up by the right wing in Congress and in the country, simply trying to report. I have followed the politics of immigration, asylum and military/security involvement in Central America and Mexico for several decades and I think it is unlikely that there will be a positive policy outcome from this situation. What we can hope for is continued humanitarian response from people. I wish Pope Francis would weigh in. Wouldn’t it be amazing if he decided to visit the border? Right here, right now? -molly
There is more information about Julio Porras (the main ICE informant in the Daily Beast piece) in this 2012 article from Reporte Indigo. Apparently Julio Porras is also Ramiro Chavez and he worked as an informant for the PGR during the same time he was providing information on Juarez Cartel activities to ICE.
Mexico has the second most unequal income distribution in the 34 countries in the OECD–generally considered the most developed countries in the world. But, it is less unequal than Chile. And the US is #4 on the list. The measurement is the GINI Co-efficient. Below this Proceso article is an article from last month in USA Today with more explanation. My initial reaction after reading this: income inequality is only part of the explanation for the situation of extreme violence in Mexico. Mexico tied with Argentina as the most corrupt countries in Latin America according to another ranking: Transparency International, http://www.transparency.org/.
The reports show a trend toward growing inequality in the world most developed countries. -molly
Today on the front page of El Universal, the declaration of a protected witness in the federal (PGR) case against El Chapo Guzman says that the US Border Patrol escorted trucks of weapons to the border, abandoned the vehicles and assisted members of the Sinaloa Cartel who then took the guns into Mexico. The declarations come from documents in the case as the witness, Javier Sandoval Interial, was assassinated in Mexico City in 2012. The details are pretty clear below in a google translation…
Also, it is reported today in El Universal that a judge has denied the “amparo” against extradition for Caro Quintero. That story is also posted below.
Patrulla Fronteriza Apoyó A “El Chapo” (El Universal)
(Click here for Google translation)
Niegan Amparo Al Narcotraficante Caro Quintero (El Universal)
In an interview with Animal Politico, the former subprocurador for human rights in the office of the Mexican Attorney General, Ricardo Garcia Cervantes, says that the declarations from the Secretary of Government, Osorio Chong, regarding the numbers of disappeared people in Mexico are false.
Garcia Cervantes was appointed to head a special office to locate the 27,000+ disappeared people… He resigned yesterday.
In the interview, he says that the government never took the effort seriously and did not provide adequate personnel or resources to do the job.
Osorio Chong said last week that thousands of the missing persons had been recovered; Garcia Cervantes says actually only about 73 had been found alive… The numbers game continues… -Molly
Many of the Wikileaks revelations about Juarez were detailed in earlier reports (from 2012) in the Narco News Bulletin:
This current info is from the El Paso Times.
Drug addiction in Juárez represents a daily drug-trafficking market of about $2.3 million, according to files disclosed by online whistleblower WikiLeaks.
The leaked file cites a Mexican official who is referred to only as “MX-1.” During a meeting with U.S. and Mexican officials, the official identified as MX-1 said “that Juárez has a drug abuse problem which amounts to about 30 million pesos a day.”
“It’s a 30 million peso a day market for Juárez, with anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 individuals,” MX-1 said. “He (MX-1) added, for example, they know that most of the people that are participating in the kidnappings are addicts,” according to the leaked file…