Father Alejandro Solalinde–El Alberque showing…Austin May 8

Free Screening of the documentary El Albergue followed by

Q & A with Father Alejandro Solalinde, Mexico’s 2012 National Human Rights Award recipient

 When: Wednesday, May 8, from 7 – 9 p.m.

 Where: Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

(600 River St, Austin TX 78701, Tel: (512) 974-3772)

MAY 1, 2013 – AUSTIN, TX. Father Alejandro Solalinde, a Mexican Priest and winner of Mexico’s 2012 National Human Right’s Award is leading an “Interfaith Caravan of Hope for Immigration Reform Beyond Borders.” The aim of the caravan is to address the violence and injustices that migrants face on their trek from Latin America into the United States. With violence in Mexico and deportations from the US at a record high, migrants are especially vulnerable and facing a humanitarian crisis which calls for immediate action. The caravan departs from San Diego on April 29 and arrives in Washington D.C. on May 31. The caravan includes priests, pastors, and relatives of Central Americans who have been kidnapped, murdered or disappeared while traveling through Mexico on their way to the United States.

 Austin Tan Cerca, Cine las Americas, The Texas Observer, Mexicanos en Exilio and the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center are honored to host the caravan on its stop in Austin, Texas, on May 8th at 7 p.m.  at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center for a film screening of EL ALBERGUE a documentary about Hermanos en el Camino,a shelter for migrants in Oaxaca, Mexico run by Father Solalinde. Following the screening there will be a Q & A with Solalinde and members of the Caravan. Donations are accepted and will be used to cover costs of hosting; the remaining funds will be donated to the caravan. Donations can be made to the nonprofit Austin Tan Cerca and are tax deductible.

 

Presented by the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, in collaboration with Mexicanos en Exilio, Cine Las Americas, Austin Tan Cerca and The Texas Observer

Contact: Alejandra Spector (915) 204-6511 mexenex@gmail.com

Alejandra Spector

Mexicanos en el exilio

Twitter: @mexenex

ABOUT THE FILM

 El albergue

A film by Alejandra Islas

2012, Mexico, Documentary

86 min. Digital, Color

Along the railroad tracks in Ixtepec Oaxaca, Father Alejandro Solalinde founded and built a shelter in 2007 to provide refuge to Central American migrants who ride on top of the trains on their way to the United States. Solalinde’s struggle intersects with the changing lives of dozens of women and men, who compelled by hope for a better life, wait for the moment when they will embark on their perilous journeys north.

En español:

Frente a las vías del tren, el sacerdote Alejandro Solalinde funda y construye un albergue en Ixtepec, Oaxaca, para dar refugio y alivio espiritual a migrantes centroamericanos. La lucha de Solalinde se entrecruza con las cambiantes vidas de mujeres y hombres, que movidos por la fe y la necesidad de trabajo digno, aguardan el momento de desafiar los peligros de su viaje al norte.

Sponsors: Austin Tan Cerca, Cine Las Americas, Mexicanos en Exilio, and the Texas Observer

Special Thanks: Austin Food Recovery Network

45 murder victims in Juarez in April

The Fiscalia and El Diario report this morning that a total of 45 people were murdered in Juarez in April. There is no breakdown by age or gender reported here.

At least two people were murdered on April 30, though I did not see these in El Diario. I got the information from the Fiscalia communiques that I receive via email. I will assume these are included in the total, but I am not certain of that. The Fiscal paints it in a positive light—even though the past two months have shown an increase, the numbers are still far below what they were in 2008-2012. Below are the cumulative figures for 2013 that I have. molly
JUAREZ HOMICIDES 2013
TOTAL WOMEN
January 30 1 Diario reported 25, but my count was 30  

 

February 29 5 Diario reported 25, 2 of them women; but there were 4 bodies found in narcofosas, 1 male and 3 female
March 45 2
April
TOTAL
45
149

at least 6 people victims of homicide since Saturday night in Juarez…2 injured are state police

At least 6 people have been murdered in Juarez since last night.  At about 10 pm last night, a group of armed men stormed into a children’s’ party on Salvador Dali street in the Parajes del Sol neighborhood. Three men at the party were killed and another was injured. As of this afternoon when the Fiscalia reported the incident, the men have not been identified. Early morning yesterday, 2 young men were shot to death in the village of El Papalote in the Valle de Juarez. The news account says the victims (aged 18 and 19) were dragged out of a house and shot. Yesterday afternoon at about 3:00 pm, two ministerial police were attacked at a gasoline station on the west side of the city. The police (a man and woman) were reported to be injured while a woman working at the gasoline station was murdered. El Diario also reports that the leader of a gang of extortionists known as “El Miguelito” who was wounded about 11 days ago has died in the hospital. molly

Alfredo Corchado to speak at UTEP Centennial Lecture, May 9 2013

“Midnight in Mexico – A Reporter’s Journey Through A Country’s Descent into Darkness”
Alfredo Corchado

Mexico Bureau Chief

Dallas Morning News

Thursday, May 9, 2013, 5 p.m.

Undergraduate Learning Center, Room 126, UTEP Campus

Our Centennial offers not only an occasion to celebrate our distinguished history, but also a window through which we can begin contemplating our bright future as the first national research university with a 21st century student demographic. The Centennial Lecture Series invites noteworthy speakers to the UTEP campus to share their perspectives on a broad range of contemporary issues that are likely to impact our society, culture, and lives in the years ahead. We invite you to join us in exploring important and timely topics and in expanding our thinking about how they may help shape UTEP’s next 100 years.

Upcoming Lectures

Alfredo Corchado, “Midnight in Mexico – A Reporter’s Journey Through A Country’s Descent into Darkness”
Mexico Bureau Chief, Dallas Morning News
May 9, 2013

In 2014, The University of Texas at El Paso will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1914 as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. Our Centennial offers not only an occasion to celebrate our distinguished history, but also a window through which we can begin contemplating our bright future as the first national research university with a 21st century student demographic. The Centennial Lecture Series invites noteworthy speakers to the UTEP campus to share their perspectives on a broad range of contemporary issues that are likely to impact our society, culture, and lives in the years ahead. We invite you to join us in exploring important and timely topics and in expanding our thinking about how they may help shape UTEP’s next 100 years. 

President Diana Natalicio

The College of Liberal Arts
and
The Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies

cordially invite you to attend a UTEP Centennial Lecture
“Midnight in Mexico – A Reporter’s Journey
Through A Country’s Descent into Darkness”
Alfredo Corchado
Mexico Bureau Chief
Dallas Morning News

Thursday, May 9, 2013, 5 p.m.
Undergraduate Learning Center, Room 126, UTEP Campus

Reception to follow presentation



Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, is a noted expert on immigration, drug violence, and foreign policy between the U.S. and Mexico. He has reported on everything from the disappearance of women in Juarez to the exodus of Mexico’s middle class to the United States. Over the years Mr. Corchado has exposed government corruption and the reach of Mexican drug traffickers into U.S. communities. He has described the perils that journalists face and the disturbing result: an increasingly silent Mexican press. Born in Durango, Mexico, Mr. Corchado grew up in California and Texas, working alongside his parents, who were members of the United Farm Workers, the union led by Cesar Chavez. Mr. Corchado’s father was a Bracero, part of a generation of Mexican workers who helped transform the United States and Mexico. As a reporter for U.S. newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, he has written about the plight of immigrants and their perilous journey to the United States. As a result of his reporting on the drug violence, Mr. Corchado has received numerous death threats that have forced him to leave Mexico for periods of time. He is a 1984 graduate of El Paso Community College and a 1987 graduate of The University of Texas at El Paso. Mr. Corchado has reported from Mexico, the United States and Cuba and has lived on both sides of the border, in El Paso, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Cambridge. He currently resides in Mexico City, but calls the border home. A 2009 Nieman Fellow at Harvard and a 2010 Rockefeller Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Scholar, Corchado won the Maria Moors Cabot award from Columbia Journalism School in 2007 for extraordinary bravery and enterprise. In 2010 he was awarded Colby College’s Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism.

Navy troops remain in charge of security in Veracruz

With this comment from a person who sent me this story:  ” As far as I remember, Mando Único was meant to have ended in late 2011…!!! Amazing that this is not taken as a sign that Duarte does not have control of his state.”

I would add as a general comment, in all of the areas that have been under military rule (martial law, invasion, police takeovers, etc.) the violence explodes. After the first few months of 2008 had passed in Juarez and the military was brought in to “control the violence” people very quickly realized that the military were the perpetrators of much of the violence. And the levels of killings went up and up thru the first quarter of 2011… The violence did not even begin to recede in Juarez until the military and federal police began to be withdrawn from the city in late 2011.  Is there anyone in Mexico who believes that the military and federal police do anything other than kill?

 

494,000 Juarez residents live in poverty or extreme poverty

A study from the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) has found that Juarez now has nearly 500,000 residents living in poverty or extreme poverty.

The figures from the study show 432,000 poor and 62,000 extremely poor. This represents at least 37 percent of the population of the city who are unable to meet their basic needs. The poorest sector of the city is the southwest (el surponiente). These figures are based on the population of the city estimated at 1,335,000. Cesar Fuentes, the economist who conducted the study, said that since 2000, the levels of people living in poverty in the city have increased.
For a long time, Ciudad Juarez was not considered a zone of poverty due to the high levels of employment, even though most of the jobs in the city pay very low wages. The majority of the workers are in factory production lines and they earn only 700 to 800 pesos per week (between $57 and $66).

Violence in Michoacan, Guerrero, Juarez…

I have been less than systematic in reporting deaths from homicide in Ciudad Juarez and I also find myself relying on (and doubting) these new reports from the Mexican government. Several people I trust who live in Mexico have responded to me privately that they believe the government is purposefully under-reporting homicide numbers.  So, the evidence we have from the press is sporadic and partial, as are my efforts to find this evidence and share it with the list.  I was away from the computer most of the day yesterday as I sat for hours in a waiting room at the ICE Detention Center in El Paso, waiting to testify about the violence in Juarez and in Mexico generally as background information in an asylum case.

During the course of the day, I received several reports from list members about confrontations with large numbers of deaths. The first report was from Guerrero where shootings in several different places left 7 people dead.

Bloody morning in Guerrero… From Proceso Online…5 people were killed in the capital of Chipancingo despite (or because of?) the fact that some 3000 federal agents had been sent to the city to keep order during a demonstration by members of the Movimiento Popular de Guerrero. Also, in Acapulco, another two people were killed. 

When I got home last night, I saw an article in El Diario (from El Universal) of confrontations in Michoacan that left at least 17 people dead. The Guardian also reported these killings, contrasting the events with the government’s announcement of a 14% decrease in killings since the same period last year (Dec-March)…  

And in Juarez yesterday there were 2 separate killings reported and today, two men were shot in an electrical shop and another person injured.

Border Residents Stand United Against the Asarco Demolition- April 6th

Media Advisory: International Press Conference and International Day of Action  
Border Residents Stand United Against the Asarco Demolition!
El Paso, TX and Cd. Juarez, MX – Residents of El Paso and Cd. Juarez call for a halt to the demolition of the Asarco smokestacks scheduled for April 13th until more information related to environmental testing and monitoring is achieved and made available to the public. Additionally, residents call for a more transparent process and community outreach on the plans for demolition. A Joint Press Conference will take place on Thursday, April 4th at 11:00am to protest the plans for demolition of the stacks and an International Day of Action will take place on Saturday, April 6th at 4:00pm. Both events will take place at the International Park off of Paisano (directions below).
 
Residents from both sides of the border are calling for an immediate delay in the ongoing site cleanup, citing the absence of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Assessment (EA), insufficient and incomplete testing of the stacks, and concerns regarding the proposed burial of unknown hazardous waste residues on the site that pose threats to our community’s groundwater and surface water resources and directly impact the Rio Grande River.
The level of testing that has been done thus far on the stacks is inadequate. The range of testing has not included testing for PCBs or Dioxins. PCBs and Dioxins are linked to cancer. The Trustee for the ongoing Asarco remediation, Roberto Puga, has at least twice promised citizens of El Paso that a “Supplemental Remediation Investigation” report (SRI) would be released in early 2013 and provide a review and analysis of the hazardous chemicals received and incinerated in the Asarco chimneys. With a demolition date set for less than two weeks from now, no such report has been received.
With regard to community outreach and engagement, no public comment period on the Draft Demolition Plan was announced when the plan was released on 3/21/13, no PSAs have run regarding the demolition, and no hard copies of the plan for people without access to the internet were made available in public libraries. No information on the demolition has been released in Spanish. It was only on Tuesday, April 2nd that documents in Spanish were released on the Trust’s website — less than 2 weeks before the planned demolition!
“The stack sits about 70 yards to the American Canal and about 400 yards to the Rio Grande River,” said Carlos Rodriguez, an Asarco ex-worker and member of El Paso A.W.A.R.E. “The direction these stacks are falling per the demolition plan is towards the area where the production buildings use to sit. This is where the reverb furnace and converter furnaces sat and where most of the incineration took place at Asarco. The smaller stack is falling toward the bedding building where the toxic chemicals were being stored. When the stacks are imploded, this will shake the ground and who knows what and how this will affect the chemicals already in the ground let alone the questionable material that remains in the stacks.”
From 1991 to 1998, the Asarco El Paso smelter illegally received and incinerated hazardous waste from the U.S. Department of Defense weapons facilities in Utah and Colorado. Documented violations resulted in a $5.5 million fine from the US Department of Justice. More than 80 ex-Asarco workers have been unable to determine the cause of their oncoming illnesses, and are asking for medical evaluations to determine if their blood disorders, cancers, and nerve problems are related to the handling and incineration of these identified, but untested hazardous materials.
Stop the Asarco demolition now!
 Why:         Our Water, Our Air, Our Soil, & Our Health Are Threatened
What:         Press Conference on Thursday, April 4th at 11:00 am
                    & International Day of Action on Saturday, April 6th at 4:00 pm
Where:       International Park at Border Marker No. 1, near Paisano & Executive Blvd
 Who:         Concerned Residents of El Paso and Cd. Juarez
 
Directions to International Park:
Route 1:  Head west on W. Paisano Dr. Take the NM-273 exit toward Sunland Park/Mt. Cristo Rey. Turn left toward McNutt Rd. & continue straight onto McNutt Rd. for 1.1. miles. Turn right and follow the dirt road to International Boundary Marker #1.
Route 2:  From I-10, exit Executive Blvd. Head west towards the Rio Grande River. Turn left on Paisano and stay in the far right lane.  Be ready to turn right on Ewald Kipp Way immediately after you pass the bridge.  This street is just after the “Yield” sign. You will see an “American Eagle Brick Company” sign at the base of the bridge. Cross the narrow bridge. Turn left after you cross the bridge and travel approximately ¼ mile down the dirt road to International Park.
For Additional Information contact:
Carlos Rodriguez (El Paso)
El Paso A.W.A.R.E. & Ex-Asarco Workers United

5 out of 10 minors in Mexico live in poverty…UNICEF

I was struck by this paragraph in the Foreign Affairs piece I posted by Shannon O’Niell:

“As a result, modern Mexico is a middle-class country. The World Bank estimates that some 95 percent of Mexico’s population is in the middle or the upper class. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also puts most of Mexico’s population on the upper rungs, estimating that 50 percent of Mexicans are middle class and another 35 percent are upper class. Even the most stringent measurement, comparing incomes alongside access to health care, education, social security, housing, and food, finds that just over 45 percent of Mexicans are considered poor — meaning that almost 55 percent are not.”

Many studies I have seen from Mexican agencies such as CONEVAL in recent years say that 50%+ of the Mexican people are “poor or very poor.” So how is it possible for 95 percent to be middle or upper class?? In any case a new study from the UNICEF says that 5 out of 10 children in Mexico live in poverty.

The figure of 90% in the middle class in Mexico is just preposterous. INEGI figures, corroborated by various secretariats put the number living in poverty at 54 million. The report mentioned here by the World Bank from Nov. of last year is very detailed but this news account highlights Mexico as being one of the countries of Latin America with the LEAST upward mobility since 2000. See the chart depicting movers and read the last paragraph. “Just two other countries — Guatemala and Nicaragua — had less economic mobility than Mexico.”

Also, the World Bank uses a figure of $10 US/day as its lower threshold for measuring membership in the middle class. This is about 130 Mex pesos/day. If you know anyone who works in the informal sector here, ask them how much they make on a good day, think about that figure and ask them if they consider themselves middle class.

45 murder victims in Juarez in March; 1,025 in Mexico…reports from El Diario and Milenio

El Diario reports that 45 people were victims of homicide in March.  This is the highest number in the past 5 months. Two of these victims were women, 2 were minors and 2 were Federal policemen shot in an ambush on March 19.  The report says that another body was discovered in a clandestine grave in the Valle de Juarez and this case is being investigated by the special prosecutor for crimes against women, but this one is not included in the count–apparently because it cannot be said for certain when she was murdered. In all since the beginning of the year, 97 people have been victims of homicide. In January, there were 26 murders, the majority related to gang fights and not “organized crime.” In February, the state Fiscalia reported 26 murders, and in addition, the discovery of 3 bodies in hidden graves and one decapitated person. I would count this as a total of 30, since it is unlikely these other dead will show up in another tally.

The problem of how the deaths are classified by the different government agencies is illustrated in the other article  from MILENIO. This national report says that there were 1,025 murders “related to organized crime” in March–an increase from January and February.  There are no criteria provided as to how these murders are classified as “organized crime related” as opposed to other homicides.  The article reports that the state of Chihuahua is still at the top of the list for murders with 186 homicides. [The article doesn't give a figure for the city of Juarez, but if we take the number from the Fiscalia of 45, that would mean there were 141 homicides elsewhere in Chihuahua state in March]. The other most violent states are: Sinaloa with 108 homicides in March; Estado de Mexico — 86; Guerrero — 68.

It is worth noting that the article does not report anything for Tamualipas–a state where numerous very violent incidents were reported during March, but no official tallies of the number of victims seems to exist. The Milenio article does not give a source for its data.