First Central American Immigrants To Arrive Thursday In Las Cruces…Sun News

A friend and I went by yesterday to volunteer. It is gratifying to see Las Cruces respond this way…and in contrast to some of the media-grabbing protests other places. Las Cruces is not a wealthy town, but in terms of helping those who have a hard road, we seem to come together. As someone said to me yesterday: “We have to respond to the moral issue now…”

I also recommend NPR’s reports from California and Guatemala on Morning Edition today. -Molly

First Central American immigrants to arrive Thursday in Las Cruces (Las Cruces Sun News)

Why Are Kids From Central America Risking Solo Travel To The U.S.? (NPR)

Deadly Addiction–series in the Albuquerque Journal

 

This is the first installment of an Albuquerque Journal series on drug use in New Mexico… The thing that strikes me in my initial reading of this is how disconnected the problem is from the hysteria over Mexico and “fighting the drug war” there.  It makes the terrifying level of violence and death in Mexico all the more absurd when we realize that much of the drug abuse problem in New Mexico and in other areas of the US also, is a domestic issue–a family issue… Something that requires health care, education, job security, opportunities in society, etc.  Remembering the piece I posted this morning about a supposed US military plan to “kill or capture Chapo Guzman” — does anyone really think that such a thing would stop the abuse of drugs in the US or reduce the violence in Mexico? molly

Excerpts:

“We are, from an enforcement and prosecution viewpoint, designed to deal with drug trafficking organizations,” U.S. Attorney Gonzales said. “Prescription drugs present a different dynamic.” Keith Brown, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement office in Albuquerque, put it this way: “There is no prescription drug cartel to target.”

• Undercover agents bought grams of heroin for $100 — the same price as in 1977.• The purity of the heroin agents purchased was three to four times the purity level of heroin sold just 10 years ago.• The heroin was cheaper than prescription opiate painkillers on the street, which average $1 per milligram. That’s $10 for a 10-milligram hydrocodone pill.

 

 
 

 

Columbus, New Mexico- On the border: Guns, drugs — and a betrayal of trustvia CNN

A long CNN story on Columbus.  I don’t know exactly what to say since the
very premise seems a bit of a fabrication…that there is big cartel
corruption in the town and that is what is behind the Federal raid and
guilty pleas of town officials in the gun smuggling case… First, the
violence in Palomas did not begin in 2009 when mayor Tanis Garcia was
murdered. Some of the most violent incidents in Palomas occurred in late
2007 and early 2008. As far as the town being  “a lovely town that had
lived off some farm and ranch exports and tourism,” as described by Josiah
Heyman in the CNN piece, people who have been going to Palomas for years
and who venture off the main street, know that it is extremely poor, that
many children there are malnourished and that what little economy there was
from tourism basically stayed with a few businesses in the town.  And there
is an army garrison also just south of the town and for years soldiers have
harassed people in the town, as the incident in 2005 that led to the
threats against reporter Emilio Gutierrez who reported it. In 2004-2006,
the town was a staging area for immigrant smuggling–the outskirts south of
town are littered with abandoned hotels, or abandoned sites where hotel
construction began and then stopped when the immigrant smuggling moved west
to Arizona…At least 40 people were killed in the first few months of 2008
and many of the townspeople fled.  I attended the funeral of Tanis Garcia
in Palomas in October 2009 and there was not a single reporter there from
Las Cruces, Deming, El Paso or Juarez–much less from any more distant
media. And at least 500 townspeople were in attendance.
The politics in the town of Columbus has been dominated by the anglo
minority there for many years and in 2005 or 2006 when Eddie Espinoza was
first elected mayor (beating Martha Skinner I believe) it was seen as
something of a scandal.  I’ve always suspected that there was some element
of payback in terms of the big federal raid over the illegal purchase of
about 200 guns and the attempts to smuggle them into Mexico.  It is always
portrayed in national media as a huge contributor to the violence in Mexico
when in reality, it was a tiny fraction of the guns smuggled into the
country from the US and an even tinier fraction of the guns available to
criminals in Mexico… As far as I know, the Mexican military uses AR-15
rifles, not AK-47s. And many many of the guns used by organized crime
groups in Mexico come from the foreign gun market and from soldiers
deserting the Mexican army.
I also have not heard of any violence done to residents of Columbus or
other communities along the New Mexico border by “agents of cartels”
attacking in groups…(see last line of story).  And, for the record,
Columbus is not really near the NM boot heel region. Picky picky picky…
molly