Paddlefish 2014-2015 issue featuring Charles Bowden and Molly Molloy

The 2014-2015 issue of the Mount Marty College’s national literary journal, PADDLEFISH is now available. The current issue includes stories, letters, essays and poetry from award-winning authors such as Charles Bowden, Molly Molloy, Dante Di Stefano, Lori DeSanti and David Lee, amongst others.

PADDLEFISH is edited by Jim Reese and associate editor Dana DeWitt, along with selected Mount Marty College faculty and students. Students play a major role in the publication and gain hands-on editing and publishing experience through the process. Over 2,000 submissions were received for the 2014 issue.

This issue is dedicated to the late Charles “Chuck” Bowden who believed in our journal and mission.

To purchase a copy of the 2014 journal or to subscribe to PADDLEFISH send $14.00 to the following address:

Mount Marty College
c/o PADDLEFISH
1105 W 8th Street
Yankton, SD 57078

Please make checks payable to Mount Marty College.

Previous Issues of interest by Charles Bowden and Molly Molloy:  ($14.00 each)

1)      “That Time in Paris” by Charles Bowden, 2014 Issue

2)      “A Letter to Students from Molly Molloy and Charles Bowden” 2014 Issue

3)      Jericho by Charles Bowden (Illustrations by Alice Leora Briggs), 2013 Issue

4)      “Rhapsody/Dead Man’s Curve and the Wild Blue Yonder by Charles Bowden (Illustrations by Alice Leora Briggs), 2012 Issue

5)      “Give Us This Day Our Daily Massacre…” by Molly Molloy, 2010 Issue

For more information, click here

Jim Reese, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English, Mount Marty College

1105 West Eight St.

Yankton, SD 57078
EditorPADDLEFISH
Director: Great Plains Writers’ Tour
National Endowment for the Arts Writer-in-Residence,
Yankton Federal Prison Camp
605-668-1362
jimreese.org

Q & A with Frontera List’s Molly Molloy

What are the current stats and how do they compare to previous years?

There are two main sources of official Mexican government statistics on homicides. INEGI, Mexico’s National Statistics Institute, tallies numbers of murder victims based on data from medical examiners in morgues across the country. A death is counted as a homicide when a legal medical specialist determines that homicide was the cause of death. These statistics are cumulated and generally reported in July or August for the previous year. The INEGI report for 2013 came out in late July and provided the figure of 22,732 intentional homicides—an average of 1,894 homicides each month. This figure is down from the figure of 25,967 in 2013 and from the highest number of 27,213 in 2012—an average of more than 2,200 murders per month.

The national murder rate in Mexico in 2013 was 19 per 100,000, down from the highest point of about 24 in 2012.  When evaluating murder rates, we also have to consider that many cities, states or regions in Mexico have much higher rates than the national average. The state of Guerrero has a murder rate of 63—the highest in the country—and the city of Acapulco is at the top of the list of violent cities. Chihuahua state had a murder rate in 2013 of 59, about the same as the murder rate in Ciudad Juarez. This is a dramatic decrease from the highest murder rate in the world in 2010 (approaching 300 per 100,000) but still the second highest state murder rate in the country.

The other major source of crime statistics is the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), part of the Secretariat of Government (SEGOB). SESNSP provides data on homicides from crime scenes as reported on a monthly basis by the Fiscalias (the Attorneys General) in each state. These numbers are generally lower than the cumulative figures reported by INEGI and can probably be explained by the fact that those injured in violent crimes may die later and eventually be categorized as homicides. Also, SESNSP data reports a separate category of homicidios culposos (negligent or unintentional homicides) in an initial crime scene investigation, but some of these may also be determined to be intentional at a later stage of investigation.  A total of 9,303 homicidios dolosos (intentional homicides) are reported for January-July 2014, an average of about 1,300 homicides each month.  In comparison, there were a total of 18,388 intentional homicides in 2013—an average of about 1,500 per month—somewhat lower than the cumulative INEGI total. For more on the SESNSP data, see: http://www.secretariadoejecutivosnsp.gob.mx/es/SecretariadoEjecutivo/Incidencia_Delictiva_Nacional_fuero_comun

Adding the INEGI numbers for 2007-2013, and the SESNSP numbers for January-July 2014, there were a total of 153,648 murder victims in Mexico during the past 7.5 years. That averages to 1,688 homicides per month since the hyper-violence began in Mexico.

And, these numbers do not include the estimated 30,000 people who have been officially reported missing or disappeared.  Mexican government spokespeople have addressed the issue of the disappeared, most recently in a press conference yesterday resulting in a flurry of media coverage trying to explain the “disappearing disappeared.” See: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/08/22/politica/005n1pol

http://www.animalpolitico.com/2014/08/existen-22-mil-322-personas-localizadas-en-mexico-9-mil-790-fueron-reportadas-este-sexenio/#axzz3B8q3D4LM

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/08/21/world/americas/ap-lt-mexico-missing-people.html?ref=americas&_r=1

http://www.thepanamericanpost.com/2014/08/mexico-revises-number-of-disappeared.html

The reality is that there are no accurate or reliable numbers on people who have disappeared. The government never says how many were found alive and how many are confirmed dead. And it is certain than many of the dead are never found. One recent report by Michelle Garcia and Ignacio Alvarado Alvarez for Al Jazeera America concludes:

“People began to disappear in Mexico in large numbers after President Felipe Calderón launched his war against drug traffickers in 2006. By 2013, the Mexican government, under a new administration, pegged the number of disappeared at 26,121, adding that not all were criminally related.

Experts and several human rights groups, however, estimate that reported cases represent roughly 10 percent of the total, as most people are reluctant to appeal to authorities who were either involved in or suspected of having ties to organized crime groups. Based on their calculations, the actual number could be closer to 200,000 people.”

What is the most informative literary work to come out in the last year regarding the violence in Mexico? Why?

 The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail, by Salvadoran journalist Oscar Martinez.

Amnesty International estimates that as many as 70,000 Central American migrants have disappeared in Mexico in the past 10 years. Published in Spanish as Los migrantes que no importan…The Migrants who Don’t Matter, The Beast is by far the best account I have read of how criminal/government networks actually work and how and why the massive death toll in Mexico and in Central America keeps rising. The book not only helps us to understand Mexico, but it also is the skeleton key to understanding the recent crisis in child migration from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. At least 60,000 unaccompanied minors have made it to the United States border in the past year and we do not begin to know how many have been lost on the journey—not to mention the numbers of adult men and women who die in the migration. Here is one paragraph from Oscar Martinez’ interview below with the Texas Observer:

 “TO: What do you hope Americans will learn from your book?

OM: I believe the worst tragedies along the path—the rapes, the mass kidnappings, the torturing done by Los Zetas, the fee to cross the border—are things that the migrants who have suffered them, in my experience, dont even tell their own families. Im convinced that its something they dont tell their employers or their friends if they have any friends in the United States. I think people in the U.S. know that migrants have a long and hard journey. But Im convinced that the country in which they work—where they cut tomatoes and clean houses—has no idea at all that what the migrants are going through is actually a humanitarian crisis. In other words, its a humanitarian crisis where organized crime takes care of extracting the very last drop it can from people who are already leaving their country with practically nothing.”

What has been one of the most surprising news story you’ve read this year? why?

The rise of ISIS, or the Islamic State terrorist military force and its lightning take-over of much of Iraq and Syria. I know, it has nothing to do with Latin America. Or does it?  I think of the several trillion dollars and thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives lost since our invasion of that country in 2003 and even more deaths caused by massive destabilization in the region, in part sparked by our interventions. And for what? The result seems to be the creation of one of the most violent and dangerous threats the U.S. has faced, ever.

Then I look at the media storm in response to the massive numbers of children fleeing from intolerable violence in the small Central American countries. And I think about the illegal U.S. proxy wars against “the Communist threat” in those countries resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans in the 1970s and 1980s. Our policies and actions 30+ years ago sowed the seeds for the destruction of these societies and now we are reaping the crops.

What do you see happening with immigration in the U.S. and how will it affect Latin America?

I am appalled by the inhumane reaction of our government to the recent Central American migration. Instead of seeing the migration as a human rights crisis, our government is determined to detain and deport people as quickly as possible with not even lip-service to human rights, international law, or due process in our own courts.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2014/08/22/70696.htm

http://www.legalactioncenter.org/litigation/artesia-resource-page

The American immigration gulag is expanding and becoming more repressive at every turn. And the loudest protests call for more repression, not less.

While the administration and activists continue to talk about the president bypassing the stonewalled Congress to mandate immigration reform through executive action, I fear such action will result in more draconian border security measures and provide little if any benefit to the immigrants most in need of relief.

I hope my sad predictions are all wrong.

Molly Molloy Interview With Action on Armed Violence

Here’s an interview I had some months ago with Iain Overton from the Action on Armed Violence [(AOAV), which has a central mission: to carry out research, advocacy and field work in order to reduce the incidence and impact of global armed violence.  For more on the organization click here. -Molly

In focus: Molly Molloy, Border and Latin America Specialist at New Mexico State University

By AOAV on 19 May 2014

AOAV: [Would] you say that small arms and guns have been a constant backdrop to your view of Latin American politics and immigration?

Molly Molloy: I believe that, in terms of the numbers of guns in Mexico now, many of them have kind of an origin in the United States, but not a recent origin.  They come from the United States, going back 25 years to the Nicaraguan Contra war and to the military campaigns in El Salvador and Guatemala – mostly funded by the US. And I really believe that a lot of the guns that are on the black market these days that turn up in the hands of criminal organizations  all over the hemisphere, and certainly in El Salvador and in Mexico nowadays, are remnants of that period.  In other words, they’re guns that were shipped into these places legitimately and then got into the hands of criminal groups through military deserters and these illicit groups of fighters like the group of Guatemalan soldiers that supposedly became the Zetas…

Sources disagree on Juárez homicide figures–EPTimes

Here’s an article I missed in the El Paso Times (and yes, I was a source for some of the stuff in the article…) It is interesting that just today, El Diario has a story quoting a spokesman for the FGE (the Chihuahua State Attorney General) saying that organized crime related homicides were 60% of the total July homicides in the city…  See this link.

I would clarify this one statement in the article:

“But since only a small percentage of crimes in Mexico are investigated and resolved, Molloy said, it’s not possible to conclusively say which killings are related to organized crime.” 
It is not me saying that only a small percentage of crimes in Mexico are investigated or solved, but rather, the Mexican government itself that says this… Here is one link from 2010…Many more can be found hereNo investigan 95% de muertes en “guerra”
Also, the numbers that I have regularly posted here on the frontera list are numbers from various Mexican official sources…things that are available in the press or in open access web sources. It is very interesting to see the different numbers provided by individual spokesman for Mexican agencies when reporters ask for information directly…  
 

Mexicans Pay in Blood for America’s War on Drugs…Mexico’s Magical Homicides…New Times Online

Folks–Charles Bowden and I have articles coming out online in the “New Times” chain. A longer version should appear in print in Phoenix and Dallas and possibly in other papers in the chain. The first edition to come out online is in the Miami New Times. It features photographs by Miguel Angel Lopez Solana, the photo-journalist now seeking asylum in the US after his parents, brother and several colleagues in Veracruz were murdered. Just yesterday, Miguel sent me an email about another colleague in Veracruz who is missing. Go to the link to read the stories and if you live in a city with a New Times, look for it on the newsstand. molly

 

Mexico’s Magical Homicides

 

Mexicans Pay in Blood for America’s War on Drugs

El Sicario Room 164 showing at Fountain Theater, Mesilla, Saturday May 5

Film update: El Sicario at Fountain; PCFF forms film club, adds ‘Rocky
Horror’

The *Fountain Theatre* in Mesilla will screen *”El Sicario, Room 164″* the
El Paso-made documentary about a former Juarez cartel hit man, at 1 and
3:30 p.m. May 5.

Las Cruces’ *Molly Molloy*, co-author of the book “El Sicario,” will be on
hand, theater staff says.

Her co-author, *Charles Bowden*, may also appear. He’s written several
books on the border and is co-producer of the film.

“There are NO scenes of violence in the 85-minute film,” the theater’s *Jeff
Berg* said in a press release. “It is a fascinating monologue by the man in
the mask.”

*Variety* called the film, directed by Gianfranco Rosi, as “a minimalist
study in maximum violence.”

Tickets are $6, $5 for Mesilla Valley Film Society.

Theater officials suggest early arrival since the village will be having
Cinco de Mayo festivities nearby.

For more, click here

Murder Capital of the World opens in NY and LA this Friday, April 20th

Posting from documentary director Charlie Minn for those in New York and
Los Angeles who would like to see his new film:

**************************************************************************

“Murder Capital of the World” opens at the AMC in Times Square and Edwards
South Gate in Los Angeles on Friday, April 20th.
The 83 minute documentary will play for at least a week at both locations.

The film, starring Charles Bowden, Molly Molloy, Howard Campbell and others
in the border region, examines the major events from Juarez, MX. in 2011.

A preview of the 2012 Presidential election in Mexico is also examined.

Visit the website

Thank you.

Molly Molloy presents talk on ‘El Sicario’ at NM library conference…LCSunNews

you just can’t shut those librarians up….

Molly Molloy presents talk on ‘El Sicario’ at NM library conference

LAS CRUCES — It wasn’t your typical story hour Friday, as New Mexico State University research librarian Molly Molloy told the story, and answered questions, about the book she co-wrote with Charles Bowden.

Many of the librarians from across New Mexico who attended Molloy’s presentation, during the New Mexico Library Association annual conference, at the Las Cruces Convention Center, sat on the edge of their seats as she spoke about “El Sicario,” the autobiography of a repentant Mexican contract killer, who before turning his life to Christ, worked both sides of the drug war in Mexico, particularly in Juárez. Molloy talked about the former commandante of the Chihuahuan state police who also led a double life as a hitman who kidnapped, tortured and murdered people at the behest of Mexican drug cartels.

All who attended Molloy’s presentation listened intently.

to read more, visit Las Cruces Sun-News

 

 

Mexico judge orders probe into killings of women…via AP and a commentary

Thanks to Gordon for sending this one on attention to killings of women in
Mexico state.  Interestingly, during all the years that the murders of
women in Juarez was the main story (roughly 1993-2007), the percentage of
murder victims who were women was between 8 and 15 percent of the total
number of victims. During all of those years, the number of people killed
totaled about 3,500 and about 427 of those victims were women.  Also, the
study on homicide in Mexico, 1990-2007, by Fernando Escalante* compared
homicide statistics from all Mexican states and some cities. The ratio of
female to male victims was about the same in all regions. In fact, more
women were victimized in some fo the central Mexican states than in Juarez
and Chihuahua.

The characteristic that stood out in terms of Juarez victims
is that they were younger than those in other regions. I think this
probably correlates with the fact that Juarez (and other northern border
cities) at the time was an attractive place for young migrants in Mexico
due to the availability of factory jobs. That said, none of the existing
statistics indicate a significant increase in the numbers of female
homicides during those years. In 2008, when the hyperviolence began in
Juarez, more women were killed too, but the percentages went down–I
believe because by far the largest number of people involved in the gang
and drug-war-related violence were and are young men.

Averaged for all the years between 1993 and 2011, the percentage of women victims is about 9 percent in Juarez. It is probably on average a higher percentage in places where the drug violence is not so intense as the numbers of women killed in domestic and other “normal” kinds of violence will not be so out-numbered by the overwhelmingly male killings in other kinds of violent crime. When the killings of men increase, the killings of women increase also.++
FBI crime statistics for the US show that the percentage of murder victims
who are women is fairly constant at 20-22 percent. I looked at the
statistics from 1999-2009.

That said, any attention to the killings of women and all attempts to
change the reigning impunity for those who commit violent crimes against
women, children and men in Mexico is an improvement.

Below I posted a few references and also attached a graphic showing the
ratio of women’s homicides compared to total homicides in Juarez from
1993-2011.  molly molloy

Mexico Judge Orders Probe into Killings of Women

By Olga R. Rodriguez, AP

Statistics from the Attorney General of Chihuahua as reported in El Diario
and other sources:

YEAR TOTAL HOMICIDES FEMALE HOMICIDES PERCENT of TOTAL WHO ARE WOMEN
1993 123 19 15%  1994 234 19 8%  1995 294 36 12%  1996 253 37 15%  1997 260
32 12%  1998 242 36 15%  1999 176 18 10%  2000 250 32 13%  2001 247 37 15%
2002 276 36 13%  2003 205 28 14%  2004 202 19 9%  2005 207 33 16%  2006 253
20 8%  2007 316 25 8%  2008 1623 87 5%  2009 2754 164 6%  2010 3622 304 8%
2011 2086 196 9%  TOTALS 13623 1178 9%

A Statistical Evaluation of Femicide Rates in Mexican cities along the US-Mexico Border

by Pedro H. Albuquerque &  Prasad R. Vemala