Aug 31, 2010

Whack-a-mole: Suspected Drug Lord Is Arrested in Mexico

We shall see whether this "whack-a-mole" arrest, and other recent ones, lead to any change, not only in the intensity and violence of  the "drug war," but also in drug supply, demand and cost in the U.S.. No previous arrests have made any difference, including the disruption of the Columbian cartels. The latter "success" just led to the rise of the Mexican ones.

Suspected Drug Lord Is Arrested in Mexico : "An American-born man, (Edgar Valdez, also known as 'Barbie') accused of being one of Mexico’s most ruthless drug lords was captured Monday, federal officials said, at a time when President Felipe Calderon has redoubled efforts to convince the public that the government is winning the drug war." August 30, 2010, NY Times

Aug 30, 2010

Whack-a-mole: President Calderon's own party questions his drug strategy

Here is a translation of an article in El Universal describing the criticisms of President Calderon's "whack-a-mole" drug war strategy as put forward by a number of PAN politicians and former leaders.

It seems that debate of drug war policy within the President's party in Mexico is more open than it is in the Democratic Party in the United States.

President Calderon's own party questions his drug strategy:  Major criticisms have arisen from the President’s own party, PAN, against the anti-crime strategy that the President maintains. These voices question its effectiveness and results. August 30, 2010, El Universal

Original El Universal article in Spanish

Collateral Damage: Editorial - Massacre in Tamaulipas

Bravo! The New York Times makes the connection between the U.S. policies on drugs and immigration.

Editorial - Massacre in Tamaulipas - "The temptation may be to write this atrocity off as another ugly footnote in Mexico’s vicious drug war. But such things do not exist in isolation. Mexico’s drug cartels are nourished from outside, by American cash, heavy weapons and addiction; the northward pull of immigrants is fueled by our demand for low-wage labor. ... We have delegated to drug lords the job of managing our immigrant supply, just as they manage our supply of narcotics. The results are clear." August 29, 2010.

Whack-a-mole: Mexican Government Reveals Distribution of Drug Violence

Here is a clearer presentation of where the violence is actually occurring in Mexico. Among other things, one would hope that the U.S. Department of State will read this and clarify its travel warnings. For example, the State Department warns that the State of Michoacan, where this editor lives, is dangerous. However, this report clarifies that most of that violence is in the industrial port city of Lazaro Cardenas, where cocaine arrives from South America and amphetamine ingredients from China. Hence, it is a battle ground between cartels fighting for control of a strategic port. No tourists go there in the best of times. 

Mexican Government Reveals Distribution of Drug Violence: "On Friday, the Mexican government reported that 80% of the 28,000 drug killings from 2006 through July 31 have been concentrated in just 6% of the country’s 2,456 municipalities. These revelations constitute the first official mapping of Mexico’s drug war. Alejandro Poire, the technical secretary of the National Public Security Council, indicated that there currently are seven violent regional conflicts among Mexican drug cartels, with 22,701 officially documented killings concentrated in just 162 municipalities located in major drug-trafficking areas." August 28, 2010, Justice in Mexico Project. a research initiative sponsored by the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego.

Collateral Damage: Hitmen kill Mexican mayor in drug war state

Hitmen kill Mexican mayor in drug war state: Suspected drug hitmen killed the mayor of a small town in northern Mexico on Sunday in a region where two car bombs exploded last week and the bodies of 72 murdered migrant workers were found. Mayor Marco Antonio Leal was shot dead by gunmen in SUVs as he drove through his rural municipality of Hidalgo near the Gulf of Mexico in Tamaulipas state. August 29, 2010, Reuters

Collateral Damage: Mexico has fired 10 pct of federal police in 2010

The unlimited supply of money to the cartels feeds this corruption. The Mexican government recently estimated that the cartels spend $100 million dollars a month on police bribes. The government cannot compete with that largess. 

Mexico has fired 10 pct of federal police in 2010: "Mexico's federal police agency has fired nearly 10 percent of its force this year for failing lie detector tests or other checks designed to detect possible corruption, officials said Monday. Mexico's approximately 35,000 federal police are required to undergo periodic lie detector, psychological and drug examinations, and the government routinely investigates their finances and personal life. Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas said 3,200 officers have been dismissed this year for failing to meet the agency's standards. He did not give more details." August 30, 2010, AP

Legalization: In Mexico, a Call to Legalize Drugs

Businessweek joins the discussion on drug legalization. 

In Mexico, a Call to Legalize Drugs: "Mexico is publicly debating the idea of legalizing drug use to weaken the cartels. It would be an effective step only if the U.S. did the same." August 26, 2010, Bloomberg Businesseweek

Aug 28, 2010

Legalization: Wanted: Non-Punitive Approach to Drug Policy

Wanted: Non-Punitive Approach to Drug Policy: "Experts from 13 Latin American countries called for a shift in counter-drug policies from a punitive to a public health-based approach for users, in order to reduce drug-related violence, on the argument that the current 'war on drugs' has been lost in the region.

The Aug. 26-27 Second Latin American Conference on Drug Policy ... brought together public officials, academics and activists from around the region to debate drug policy (and) discuss questions like the decriminalisation of the possession and personal use of drugs." August 27, 2010, InterPress Service

Aug 27, 2010

Mexican Politics: Mass slaying of migrants spotlights a Mexican failing

Mexico migrants violence: Mass slaying of migrants spotlights a Mexican failing : "The Tamaulipas massacre underscores the failure of the Mexican government to provide vulnerable migrants with the protection and due process required by international law and the Mexican Constitution. Clearly, those who make this journey do so out of desperation, or they wouldn't take such risks.

In the view of this page, violence is one of the principal arguments for establishing a safe and legal avenue for migrants to seek work in the United States. Mexicans rightly complain about the new immigration law in Arizona and discrimination against undocumented workers in the United States, but they also must take responsibility for the violence and end impunity for the crimes against migrants in Mexico." August 27, 2010, LA Times editorial

Whack-a-mole: 2 cars explode in Tamaulipas where 72 bodies found & investigating prosecutor killed

2 cars explode in Tamaulipas: "Two cars exploded early Friday in a northern state where officials are investigating the killing of 72 Central and South American migrants, while a prosecutor investigating the massacre has disappeared. The prosecutor, Roberto Jaime Suarez, disappeared Wednesday in the town of San Fernando, where the bodies of the migrants were found, the Tamaulipas state attorney general's office said in a statement. ...

The two car explosions happened less than 45 minutes apart in Ciudad Victoria, the Tamulipas state capital, the Attorney General's Office said. The first exploded in front of the offices of the Televisa network and the second in front of transit-police offices. here were no injuries, though both caused some damage to buildings and knocked out the signal of the Televisa network for several hours." August 27, 2010, AP

Law enforcement official investigating massacre killed: "Infantrymen of the Navy found two lifeless bodies, one a public investigator, on a highway that leads to the municipality of San Fernando, where the killing of 72 immigrants occurred, according to an official statement made today. The cadaver of the agent, Roberto Javier Suarez Vazquez, in charge of the investigation of the killing of 72 immigrants at the ejido Huitzilac, was found along the side of the highway San Fernando-Mendez, in the state of Tamaulipas, added the source." August 27, 2010, Mexico Institute/El Unversal

Immigration Crackdown: Agency Cancels Some Deportations

Immigration Agency Cancels Some Deportations: "Immigration enforcement officials have started to cancel the deportations of thousands of immigrants they have detained, a policy they said would pare huge case backlogs in the immigration courts. .. the new approach ( (is) part of a broad shift in priorities at the agency, to focus its efforts on catching and deporting immigrants who have been convicted of crimes or pose a national security threat. ... (The cancellations) refers to a particular group of illegal immigrants: those who have been detained in ICE operations because they did not have legal status, but who have active applications in the system to become legal residents. " August 26, 2010, NY Times

Mexican Politics: reforms likely on ice until at least 2012

Mexican economic and political reforms likely on ice until at least 2012: "Political deadlock will likely sink President Felipe Calderon's bid for big economic reforms before 2012 polls, hobbling Mexico's efforts to revive a calcified economy and catch up with Latin American rivals. Mexico may be the region's No. 2 economy, but it is falling behind countries like Brazil and Chile in part because feuding politicians have failed to pass reforms to an unwieldy political system and outdated tax, energy and labor laws." August 26, 2010, Reuters

Aug 26, 2010

Laura's Blog: 72 migrants massacred, latest victims of drug war

A wounded man, blood-covered and frantic, approached a military checkpoint in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, 100 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, with a horrifying story. Reportedly shot in the neck himself, the Ecuadorian would-be migrant to the United States led members of the Mexican Naval Forces to an even more horrendous scene.

Seventy-two migrants from Central America, Brasil and Ecuador lay piled on each other in a large room, dead from gunshot wounds. 

From the man’s testimony it seems that the 58 men and 14 women murdered refused to comply with extortion demands from a drug cartel that President Calderón has identified as most likely being the Zetas. According to the “plata o plomo” (money or bullets) law of organized crime, the migrants got the bullets.

The migrants likely did die at the hands of Mexico’s most brutal drug gang. But they also died as a result of both U.S. and Mexican policies that foment violence and have led to a previously unimagined state of lawlessness and brutality south of the border. U.S. immigration and trade policies and Mexico’s U.S.-supported drug war and human rights crisis all played a role in their deaths.

The seventy-two migrants’ names will pass to the growing list of civilians who have become the casualities of a war entered into without thought to its consequences or a coherent strategy for success. 

That is, if we ever know their names. 

So far, only 15 of the 72 have been identified. Representatives from the countries of origin are working to identify the rest and have demanded a full investigation, calling the Mexican government’s information to date “insufficient.”

Preying on the most vulnerable

These latest victims come from the ranks of the human beings considered superfluous to an economic system that drives them from their homes and communities to seek work in the United States, despite the risks. Unprotected by the Mexican government--despite numerous reports of these kind of extortion kidnappings over the past few years--and criminalized by a U.S. society that welcomes their labor and rejects their humanity, they continue to travel north because they can´t find work in their countries. 

Imagine the trajectory of the 72 lives that were snuffed out on August 24. 

Each man and woman sold land, used savings or went into debt to make the trek to the United States. They have no legal channels to enter the U.S. despite the demand for their labor. The cost of rossing has skyrocketed and the risks increased because security measures on the U.S. border have forced them to use human smugglers where before they crossed with migrant guides. The women are particularly vulnerable as they face sexual abuse from criminal gangs and police along the route.

The global crisis is falling on the shoulders of the poor in developing countries. While the U.S. adopts stimulus and jobs programs, its free trade policies have led to imports that displace local production and cut back state subsidies and supports in southern countries.

But the U.S. immigration debate largely ignores the dire conditions they faced in their countries and during their journey, even though alternative policies and actions could help develop livelihoods at home and protect the basic human rights and safety that every human being deserves.

The migrant group found dead in Tamaulipas was reportedly kidnapped arriving in the border region. Typically, organized criminal gangs not only steal the money migrants carry to pay smugglers to take them across the border, but also demand that they contact family in the U.S. to send more money. Neither the Mexican or U.S. governments have done much to stem this transnational extortion ring, probably because both the migrant victims and often the families extorted are undocumented, placing them in a class that has been illegally stripped of state protection and humane concern.

Mexican authorities charged with the protection of people within its borders too often form part of the problem rather than the solution. Crimes against migrants have been rising, as criminals and corrupt police alike find them easy pickings.

Drug War Violence

Although the economic situation of their countries force thousands to seek jobs in the north, U.S. aid has been concentrated in military equipment and security and intelligence training, such as in the $1.5 billion-dollar aid package to Mexico known as the Merida Initiative. Throughout the Western Hemisphere, the drug war has become the latest pretext for militarization in a wide net that not only targets organized crime but also undocumented workers and political opposition.

In Mexico, the drug war strategy has set off a no-holds-barred battle for routes and markets among competing cartels that has broken through the boundaries of crime-on-crime and now affects daily life (and death) in border cities and other regions.

To get an idea of how violence begets violence, take a look at the Zetas? Briefly, they are a group of former Mexican military elite with U.S. training that crossed over into organized crime, taking with them their government-sponsored knowledge of counterinsurgency tactics and brutal repression. They are associated with the infamous Kaibiles in Guatemala who have a similar history. After acting as the armed forces for the Gulf Cartel, they split off and formed their own cartel. Their bid to take over lucrative trafficking routes is at the root of the drug-war violence in many points on the border. 

Weaker financially and with fewer political contacts, the Zetas work their one comparative advantage—their willingness to be absolutely ruthless. The massacre of the migrants could be a reaction of rage when the migrants refused to pay up, but it could also be an easy way for the Zetas to flaunt their ability and disposition to break all previous codes of behavior between the government and the cartels. 

Through the bodies of the migrants, the Zetas are sending yet another bloody message to the armed forces, and to the other cartels, which have unified against them in some border cities. 

As far as the Calderón administration is concerned, every act of increasing brutality on the part of the drug cartels is a sign of victory. Calderón issued a communiqué on the massacre saying, “The Zetas are resorting to extorsion and kidnapping of migrants as a mechanism of financing and recruitment due to the fact that they are facing a very adverse situation in attaining resources and people… This is the result of the activity of the State against them, which has significantly weakened the operating capacity of organized crime.”

Incredibly, Calderón publicly admits responsibility, albeit indirect, for the massacre of the migrants and further notes that their brutal assassination is a sign of success in the drug war. He went on to warn that there will be more violence to come. This is perhaps the one aspect of his campaign that no-one doubts.

The constant spin--where each act of greater violence is interpreted as an advance in the drug war—has left much of the Mexican population feeling nauseous. How much more violence can the nation take? And when will the increasing toll of civilians finally reach a point where leaders in Mexico and the United States admit that the drug-war strategy has dragged us into a downward spiral that must be reversed now before more innocent people die?

Whack-a-mole: Stepped-up efforts by U.S., Mexico fail to stem flow of drug money south

Yet another demonstration of the impossibiltiy of "winning the war on drugs" or "securing the border" with a "whack-a-mole" strategy.

Stepped-up efforts by U.S., Mexico fail to stem flow of drug money south: "Stashing cash in spare tires, engine transmissions and truckloads of baby diapers, couriers for Mexican drug cartels are moving tens of billions of dollars in profits south across the border each year, a river of dirty money that has overwhelmed U.S. and Mexican customs agents. ... Despite unprecedented efforts to thwart the traffickers, U.S. and Mexican authorities are seizing no more than 1 percent of the cash, according to an analysis by The Washington Post based on figures provided by the two governments." August 25, 2010, Washington Post

The failure of "Whack-a-mole:" Cooperative Mexican - U.S. Antinarcotics Efforts

Here is a lengthy (40 pages) and thorough review, by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, of the all the dimensions of "war against drugs" being waged by Mexico and the U.S.  It presents data and discussion on drug consumption, the Mexican cartels, gun trade and violence, Mexican public opinion, corruption of Mexican police and government, effects on Central American and Caribbean countries and the Merida Initiative. 

Cooperative Mexican - U.S. Antinarcotics Efforts

In summary, the report states, "The prevailing conclusion of  Mexicans and Americans who have studied antinarcotics policies is that they have failed in the United States, in Mexico, and in what is now the cooperative program between them  (i.e. the Merida Initiative) (our emphasis)  Indeed, many observers go further and argue that the policies have inflicted harm in both countries. Proceeding from these assessments, the logical follow-on is to examine policy alternatives that may have a better chance of succeeding - or at least of doing less harm."

The report then goes on to consider the possible pros and cons of decriminalization and legalization. It concludes that decriminalization might occur in the U.S., as it already has informally occurred with marijuana. It opines that legalization is unlikely for drugs other than marijuana, as there is lack of public and governmental support for this. 

August 2010, The Center for Strategic and International Studies

Immigration Crackdown: Migrants turn to the sea to enter US illegally

So when will we learn that the border cannot be "sealed?" Mexicans just laugh when they hear about such fruitless efforts of the U.S. to stop a human tide driven by desperation to survive.

Migrants turn to the sea to enter US illegally: "There is a new frontier for illegal immigrants entering the United States — a roughly 400-square-mile ocean expanse that stretches from a bullring on the shores of Tijuana, Mexico, to suburban Los Angeles. In growing numbers, migrants are gambling their lives at sea as land crossings become even more arduous and likely to end in arrest. Sea interdictions and arrests have spiked year-over-year for three years, as enforcement efforts ramp up to meet the challenge.

"While only a small fraction of border arrests are at sea, authorities say heightened enforcement on land, and a bigger fence, is making the offshore route more attractive.... "Your options are to go east through the mountains and the desert, or west through the ocean, or you tunnel underground," said Michael Carney, deputy special agent in charge of investigations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego. "I think they found that going west through the ocean is probably their best bet.""August 26, 2010, AP.

Mexican Politics: Mistreatment of Central American Migrants in Mexico Angers the World

Mistreatment of Central American Migrants in Mexico Angers the WorldFollowing the massacre of 72 undocumented migrants–58 men and 14 women–at a ranch in the municipality of San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexican civil society organizations issued a statement yesterday that this killing is not an isolated incident and that they have documented and reported the testimony of kidnapped migrants for more than two years. 

Municipal, state, and federal authorities have either ignored or permitted the growth of the business of kidnapping migrants in Mexico, stated Mauricio Farah, who was the official in charge of migration issues at the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) and who led the creation of the Special Report on the Kidnapping of Migrants. So far, he said, the state has not promoted an integral migration policy to stop the huge number of cases of extortion and kidnapping of Central Americans crossing through Mexico. August 26, 2010, El Universal 

The Failure of Whack-a-mole: How Can Domestic U.S. Drug Policy Help Mexico?

This report asks precisely the right question about U.S. drug policy in regard to its impact on Mexico. It comes to the conclusion that current policy, even with increased emphasis on prevention and treatment - such as President Obama's recently released National Anti-narcotics Strategy proposes - will have little beneficial effect. However, the report does not then take the next logical step and ask what would be the effect on Mexico of a change in U.S. policy to legalize the regulated sale of drugs.

How Can Domestic U.S. Drug Policy Help Mexico? "This report, from the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center, explores the potential benefits to Mexico of reducing the demand for illegal drugs in the United States. The author, Peter Reuter, argues that a significant reduction in U.S. consumption would have a profound impact on drug-related violence in Mexico. “If the U.S. (illegal drug) market disappeared, Mexico’s problems would diminish dramatically, even with its own domestic consumption remaining,” Reuter states.

Yet the potential for significantly reducing U.S. consumption in the near future is slight. Professor Reuter estimates that efforts to reduce U.S. demand will be modestly successful over the next five years, which will, in turn, have a limited impact in Mexico. “The evidence is that enforcement, prevention, or treatment programs cannot make a large difference in U.S. consumption in that time period,” according to Reuter."

Aug 25, 2010

Economics: Mexico's informal economy swells through recovery

Mexico's informal economy swells through recovery: The ranks of sidewalk vendors, house cleaners and street-corner cooks are swelling in Latin America's No. 2 economy as out-of-work Mexicans turn to uncertain jobs to survive through a slow economic recovery. ... While poorly-paid workers in the cash economy can count themselves as employed, analysts say Mexico will not attain full economic health while a large share of those workers remain shut out of factories, offices and large enterprises that offer stability and benefits that can fuel consumption. August 25, 2010, Reuters

Whack-a-mole: Drug war sends bullets whizzing across the border

The handwriting is on the wall. While the police acknowledge they can do nothing more than warn people, the Texas governor and attorney general continue to call  for more military "border security" from the federal government . As if that would stop the bullets from flying, bullets that probably come from weapons purchased in Texas. Neither the bullets nor a military responses from the U.S. will lead to anything good

Drug war sends bullets whizzing across the border: Shootouts in the drug war along the U.S.-Mexico border are sending bullets whizzing across the Rio Grande into one of the nation's safest cities, where authorities worry it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt or killed. At least eight bullets have been fired into El Paso in the last few weeks from the rising violence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, one of the world's most dangerous places. And all American police can do is shrug because they cannot legally intervene in a war in another country. The best they can do is warn people to stay inside. Officers say the types of bullets used in the drug war can travel more than a mile before falling to the ground. August 24, 2010, AP

A bullet across the Rio Grande: How fares the war on drug lords in Mexico? A stray bullet hit El Paso, Texas, from the Mexican side of the border Saturday. It was the latest spillover of a war on drug barons waged by President Felipe Calderón. After nearly four years, the war needs more than a military solution. August 24, 2010, editorial, Christian Science Monitor

Immigration Madness: Rhetoric on immigration does nothing but scare

Here is a wonderfully sane voice from Arizona, an editor of the student newspaper at the University of Arizona. It gives us hope for the future of our country.
Rhetoric on immigration does nothing but scare: "According to some politicians and pundits, our state has fallen victim to an inept federal government that allows violence to run wild and immigrants to easily cross our lawless borders. Whether it’s an ad for John McCain claiming that President Obama makes “securing the border incredibly difficult”, or Gov. Jan Brewer’s tales of beheadings in the desert, it would appear we’re in the midst of a bloody war nobody wants to do anything about. These claims, however, are baseless and only further polarize the political landscape, making any real, meaningful reform almost impossible to achieve." August 24, 2010, editorial, Arizona Daily Wildcat. Andrew Shepherd is a political science senior. He can be reached at

Aug 23, 2010

In Mexico, where the trouble isn’t

Here is some good news. The article provides data on where it is reasonably safe in Mexico, as well as where it is not. 

In Mexico, where the trouble isn’t: The Trans-Border Institute (of the University of San Diego) has issued its 2010 Mid-Year Report on Drug Violence in Mexico. One of its writers, Viridiana Rios, says, “Mexico is actually pretty peaceful, if we compare it to other countries.” (For a country-by-country ranking, which indicated that Mexico is safer than more than a dozen other Latin American countries, see the end of this post.) The institute’s interim director, Charles Pope, said that for all the miseries visited upon Mexico since the drug war began in late 2006, the number of tourists killed in Mexico by narco-violence seems to be zero or maybe one, depending on whom you consider to be a tourist. August 23, 2010, LA Times

Whack-a-mole vs. Collateral Damage: Mexico's drug war: The elephant in the room

An article on the pending State Department human rights evaluation of Mexico. (My Mexican friends ask me, "So when does Mexico get to evaluate the United States?" )

Mexico's drug war: The elephant in the room: " Under (the rules of the Merida Initiative), 15% of the money is to be withheld unless Mexico meets four human-rights requirements, related to improving police accountability; talking to civil society; investigating alleged abuses by the police and army; and enforcing the ban on torture. Congress decides whether the requirements are being met each year based on a report from the State Department.

It’s report time. The State Department is expected to publish its findings within the next week or so, and Mexico can expect a bumpy ride.this year’s State Department report must not only provide evidence on Mexico’s progress, but reach a firm conclusion on whether the requirements are being met. “Based on the State Department’s own findings, there is no way they should conclude Mexico is meeting the requirements, and the funds should be withheld,” says Nik Steinberg of Human Rights Watch, a pressure group. At the same time, recommending the withdrawal of help is more or less unimaginable. Expect great feats of diplomatic draftsmanship when the report comes out in the next few days." August 22, 2010, The Economist

Immigration Politics a Boon for Jan Brewer and John McCain

Ah, the politics of it all!

Immigration Politics a Boon for Jan Brewer and John McCain - Politics - The Atlantic: "For Brewer, signing Arizona's tough new immigration law in April set her star on the rise. Instantly, she was all over the TV networks and conservative blogs. Her heroism within conservative circles was cemented once the Obama administration took on the law. ...

By the time Brewer signed the law, McCain was already hard at work rebranding himself as tough on immigration. He knew the drill, having defended himself from an onslaught of conservative attacks during the 2008 Republican primary targeting his collaboration with Sen. Ted Kennedy on comprehensive immigration reform. This time around, McCain has focused on border security, supporting Brewer's law and running an ad demanding that the federal government "complete the danged fence." " August 23, 2010, The Atlantic

Drug Legalization: Mexico sees sense in war on drugs

Here is a point of view from the UK on the folly of drug prohibition and the U.S.-Mexico "whack-a-mole" strategy. 

Mexico sees sense in war on drugs "The folly of prohibition and violence to suppress the narcotics trade is as damaging and misguided a practice as it is mystifyingly popular with almost every government on the planet. And few have gone about it with so much vigour as Mexico under Felipe Calderon. ... While remaining bullish over the virtues of continuing to press the attack, to his credit Calderón has been able to drop his own ideologies in favour of pragmatism. ... There has been talk of legalisation across central and south America for years, mostly from former leaders, but it was only a matter of time before an incumbent would start the discussions – and it had to be Calderón who did it. It is – finally – a sensible approach. ... this is a sudden flash of inspired common sense by the Mexican government that needs to be given as much support as possible. It is the only option that offers a glimpse of a better future for Mexico. " August 23, 2010, Joseph Charles Luksza , The Guardian, UK:

Aug 21, 2010

Collateral Damage: Threats Against Mexican Journalists: "You're Vulnerable, and It's Hard to Accept"

MEXICO: Threats Against Journalists: "You're Vulnerable, and It's Hard to Accept" : "In the last 10 months, 64 journalists have been killed in Mexico and 12 more have gone missing, according to the governmental National Human Rights Commission. The government blames the murders on organised crime and the escalation of drug-related violence triggered by right-wing President Felipe Calderon's all-out offensive against drug cartels. But no conclusive investigations have been carried out to demonstrate that the attacks were the work of organised crime.

On the contrary, in its latest report, the Centre for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET), which has documented harassment of and attacks on journalists, stated that most of them were the work of municipal, state and central government employees.August 20, 2010, InterPress Service

Legalization: National Black Police Association Endorses Marijuana Legalization

National Black Police Association Endorses Marijuana Legalization (Press Release): "A national organization of African American law enforcement officers has announced its endorsement of Proposition 19, California's initiative to legalize marijuana.

The National Black Police Association (NBPA), which was founded in 1972 and is currently holding its 38th national conference in Sacramento, is urging a yes vote on legalization this November 2." August 19, 2010, press release of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Collateral Damage: Six Police Officers Held in Fatal Abduction of Mayor; Profits flow from cartels to US banks

The corruption of  the Mexican police system by the drug cartels not only claims another victim,  Mayor Cavazos, it further undermines Mexican civic society.  

In the second article, the New York Daily News adds its voice to the increasing questioning of the drug war strategy. It reviews the already known facts, but adds an emphasis on the profits earned by some US gun dealers and, more importantly, by US banks that participate in laundering billions of dollars of cartel profits.

Mexico - 6 Police Officers Held in Fatal Abduction of Mayor : "Five local police officers and a transit officer have been arrested in connection with this week’s kidnapping and killing of Mayor Edelmiro Cavazos of Santiago, a town about 20 miles south of Monterrey in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, state officials said on Friday. One suspect had been assigned as a guard to Mayor Cavazos, and the others are accused of acting as lookouts for a group of gunmen who took the mayor from his home on Sunday night." August 20, 2010, NY Times

Bloody Mexico drug war boosts U.S. gun shops, banks: The mayhem in Mexico has gotten so bad that President Felipe Calderon launched an unprecedented public debate and political summit on ways to end the war, possibly by legalizing drugs. ... The country's tourism is dying, its industry is suffering and thousands have fled violence-plagued border cities like Tijuana, Matamoros and Juarez. 

Meanwhile, two industries in the U.S. are flourishing from Mexico's tragedy. More than 7,000 gun shops have sprouted on the U.S. side of the border, and their owners seem not to care where the merchandise goes. Three-quarters of the 84,000 weapons, including high-powered assault rifles, that Mexican officials have seized since 2006, originated in the U.S. Then there are the banks. On March 12, federal prosecutors in Miami charged Wachovia Bank with repeatedly failing to report possible money-laundering activity by money-transfer firms from Mexico that used the bank. Some of the more than $370 billion wired to Wachovia from Mexico bought planes here that were used to transport drugs. August 21, 2010, NY Daily News

Aug 20, 2010

Whack-a-mole: In drug war, the beginning of the end?

More and more articles and columns questioning the continued waging of the drug war are appearing in recent weeks, since the announcement of 28,000 deaths in the Mexcio and President Calederon's opening the debate on legalization, along with the growing crisis in Monterrey. Here are two more. One is from Reuters, which has been reporting a lot and referring to the "faltering war." The other is from, of all places, the New American, the online paper of the John Birch Society! It appears that groups from the right, the left and the middle are moving towards a shared view that the forty-year old drug war is a failure. ¡Ojala! 

In drug war, the beginning of the end? : "America's longest war, which was meant to throttle drug production at home and abroad, cut supplies across the borders, and keep people from using drugs. The marathon effort has boosted the prison industry but failed so obviously to meet its objectives that there is a growing chorus of calls for the legalization of illicit drugs." August 20, 2010, Reuters opinion column by Bernd Debusmann

Who's Winning Mexico's Drug War? In the war against drugs, it looks as if the drugs are winning, or at least the drug syndicates are. An August 12 McClatchy news service article commented on the horrific toll of drug violence in Mexico as its government ponders the question, “What to do?” August 20, 2010, New American

Aug 19, 2010

Immigration Crackdown - or not: Unguarded border bridges could be route into US

We find this story to be ironically funny, but also it also shines a light on the insanity of U.S. efforts to "secure the border."

Unguarded border bridges could be route into US: "On each side of a towering West Texas stretch of the $2.4 billion border fence designed to block people from illegally entering the country, there are two metal footbridges, clear paths into the United States from Mexico." August 19, 2010, AP

Immigration Crackdown: Bait and Switch: NY Times editorial

Immigration Bait and Switch Secure Communities, an immigration enforcement program created under President George W. Bush and now being greatly expanded by President Obama, is billed as an effort to catch and deport “the worst of the worst,” the violent criminals, drug and gun smugglers, gang members and other dangerous aliens. That would be excellent, if true. It doesn’t seem to be. ...

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement records show that a vast majority, 79 percent, of people deported under Secure Communities had no criminal records or had been picked up for low-level offenses, like traffic violations and juvenile mischief. Of the approximately 47,000 people deported in that period only about 20 percent had been charged with or convicted of serious “Level 1” crimes, like assault and drug dealing. August 17, 2010, NY Times

Collateral Damage: Mexicans mourn mayor, government vows crackdown, business leaders plead for military help

"The growing violence in Monterrey, long one of Mexico's most modern and safe cities, is a sign that the country's war against drug gangs is spreading ever further from poorer battlegrounds along the border and into the country's wealthiest enclaves." 

This quote, from the second story below, states in a nut shell how, with each passing day, the Mexican drug war - precipitated by U.S. drug prohibition and supported by the U.S. government - is further and further undermining the stability of Mexican society. The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, agrees on the danger, but the Obama administration proposes no real change. (See Ambassador Pascual´s speech from the cited conference. Keynote address by U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual at Border Security Conference 

Mexicans mourn mayor, government vows crackdown: "Fear is growing in Monterrey, once a model city known for its close U.S. business ties and gleaming office towers. Now, it is being pulled toward the center of the drug war. Cartels have begun to target higher profile public figures, as they did in June in Tamaulipas state when a popular gubernatorial candidate was gunned down ahead of state polls. Such attacks may aim to ensure local politicians like Cavazos, a 38-year-old, U.S.-educated mayor who had been working to clean up police corruption, don't go after drug capos or the corrupt officials working with them. " August 19, 2010, Reuters

Business Heads Plead as Drug Gangs Terrorize Wealthy City MONTERREY, Mexico—A surge of drug violence in Mexico's business capital and richest city has prompted an outcry from business leaders who on Wednesday took out full-page ads asking President Felipe Calderón to send in more soldiers to stem the violence. The growing violence in Monterrey, long one of Mexico's most modern and safe cities, is a sign that the country's war against drug gangs is spreading ever further from poorer battlegrounds along the border and into the country's wealthiest enclaves. ... "The security environment in Monterrey has turned, in just a few months, from seeming benevolence to extreme violence," U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual said at a recent conference on drug trafficking in El Paso, Texas.August 19, 2010, Wall Street Journal

Whack-a-mole: Corrupt, insecure prisons undermine Mexico drug war

Corrupt, insecure prisons undermine Mexico drug war: "Experts say Calderon needs to get entrenched problems in the penal and judicial system under control if he is to have any chance of winning a war that has claimed more than 28,000 lives since late 2006 and sparked fears that the cartels could turn Mexico into a lawless narco state. At the heart of the problem is the river of bribes coursing through Mexican jails, from the few pesos inmates pay each day to get food and toilet paper to the fortunes that jailed drug lords pay to live in luxury or escape when they please." August 19, 2010, Reuters

Aug 18, 2010

Collateral Damage: Body of kidnapped mayor dumped in northern Mexico

Body of kidnapped mayor dumped in northern Mexico: "Security forces found the body of a slain mayor on Wednesday near Mexico's richest city, days after he was abducted by hitmen in the latest attack on a public official from increasingly bold drug cartels.

President Felipe Calderon, who has staked his presidency on a faltering drug war, condemned the 'cowardly assassination' of Edelmiro Cavazos, the mayor of a town on the outskirts of Monterrey, an industrial center with close U.S. business ties." August 18, 2010, Reuters

Immigration Politics: Educating illegal immigrants is costly

This OpEd, published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, on the cost of educating the children of  undocumented immigrants, is from a conservative think tank, the Pacific Research Institute. Its interpretation of the facts behind the costs leaves out the tax contributions of such immigrant families and the causes of the increase in immigration since 1990, including the impact of NAFTA and the resulting exports of U.S. government subsidized corn on the Mexican rural economy. However, it is important to be aware of this kind of economic argument against immigration and to be prepared to address it.  

Educating illegal immigrants is costly : "No one can deny that increasing numbers of children of illegal immigrants attend public schools in the United States and that U.S. taxpayers pay the costs. Those sympathetic to illegal immigration tend to remain silent about these costs, while illegal-immigration opponents often fall short on specifics. In the interest of more informed discourse, here are the numbers." August 17, 2010, Atlanta Journal Constitution, OpEd by Lance T. Izumi, Koret senior fellow and senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute. The Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy states, on its website, that its mission is to "promote the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility. The Institute believes these principles are best encouraged through policies that emphasize a free economy, private initiative, and limited government."

Immigration Legislation: Arizona shelves idea of changing immigration law

Arizona shelves idea of changing immigration law: Arizona legislators are setting aside Gov. Jan Brewer's suggestion that lawmakers consider changing parts of the state's controversial immigration law. Brewer, on July 30, floated the idea of making "tweaks" to the law shortly after a federal judge blocked implementation of numerous provisions. Legislative aides said Tuesday the idea has been shelved, at least temporarily, mainly because of the state's pending appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. August 17, 2010, AP.

Mexican Politics: Calderon Plans Steps to Boost Mexico's Trade, Attract Foreign Investment

Calderon Plans Steps to Boost Mexico's Trade, Attract Foreign Investment: Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced measures he said will cut red tape in the economy, increasing exports to Europe and Latin America and drawing more foreign investment. The measures will reduce the amount of information exporters must supply to the government to ship goods to Europe and Latin America, Calderon said, speaking to reporters today in Mexico City. He said he’d also slash the amount of time needed to acquire the certificate of origin, the document that shows that a product is made in Mexico.

“The government is firm in its commitment to deregulate the economy,” Calderon said. “We’re going to be able to spend less time and resources on paperwork.” Calderon said today he plans steps to encourage foreign direct investment, including allowing international companies to register electronically with the Economy Ministry instead of having to go to the ministry in person. August 17, 2010, Bloomberg

Aug 17, 2010

Collateral Damage from Whack-a-mole and Immigration Crackdown: Border Patrol sees spike in suicides

Another price being paid for the U.S. mania to "secure the border."

Border Patrol sees spike in suicides: "(an increasing frequency of) Suicides ... have set off alarm bells throughout the Border Patrol,.... After nearly four years without a single suicide in their ranks, border agents are killing themselves in greater numbers. Records obtained by The Associated Press show that at least 15 agents have taken their own lives since February 2008 — the largest spike in suicides the agency has seen in at least 20 years. It's unclear exactly why the men ended their lives. Few of them left notes. And the Border Patrol seems somewhat at odds with itself over the issue." August 16, 2010, AP

Collateral Damage: City’s Mayor Is Kidnapped

Security continues to deteriorate in the area around Monterrey, Mexico

City’s Mayor Is Kidnapped: "Gunmen kidnapped the mayor of a city on the outskirts of the northern industrial hub of Monterrey, Mexican authorities said Monday. It was unclear whether drug gangs were responsible for the kidnapping of the mayor, Edelmiro Cavazos, of the city of Santiago, in the state of Nuevo Leon. But a local prosecutor, Alejandro Garza, described the abducted mayor as “leading the front and showing his face in the fight against organized crime.” He said no ransom demand had yet been received." August 17, 2010, NY Times

Aug 15, 2010

Whack-a-mole: Mexico rethinks drug strategy as death toll soars

This article is an excellent review and analysis of the impossible position in which Calderon's drug war and US prohibition of drugs has placed Mexico and the crisis to which this is leading.

Mexico rethinks drug strategy as death toll soars: "The drug war in Mexico is at a crossroads. As the death toll climbs above 28,000, President Felipe Calderon confronts growing pressure to try a different strategy - perhaps radically different - to quell the violence unleashed by major drug syndicates." August 15, 2010, McClatchy Newspapers/Miami Herald

Aug 13, 2010

Mexican Politics: NGOs, Hard Up and Under Threat

The development of civil society organizations in Mexico has been, and continues to be, a critical issue in the country's transformation towards a real democracy. This article reports on a study that evaluated elements of civil society and the strength of NGO's. 

Mexican NGOs, Hard Up and Under Threat: "

Three hundred and fifty Mexican NGOs participated in a study on the state of Mexican civil society, presented Thursday, which reported an overall score of 40 on a scale ranging from zero, representing no civil society at all, to 100, representing a highly developed civil society. The score indicates that the present state of Mexican civil society is far from ideal.

The scoring system, an amalgam of several indicators, has been used in more than 55 countries since 2000, and is part of a project by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation -- an international network of trade unions, NGOs, professional associations, and philanthropic and donor foundations.

"The CIVICUS Civil Society Index for Mexico, developed by CEMEFI and the non-governmental Citizen Initiative for the Promotion of a Culture of Dialogue (ICPCD), assessed civic commitment, organisational level, democratic values and social and political impact of the non-governmental sector by means of surveys of NGOs, civil society actors and stakeholders and the general population. " August 13, 2010, InterPress Service

U.S.-Mexico Relations: Keynote address by U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual at Border Security Conference

In this speech, given on August 12, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, presents, in some detail, the "Beyond Merida" strategy and its rationale. Of course, he says nothing about questioning drug prohibition or the alternative of legalization. According to the speech, "The El Paso Border Security Conference, ...has become a premiere public forum for discussion between the public and private sectors at the national, state and community levels of both countries. The annual El Paso Border Security Conference explores ways to safeguard our common security while fostering the human interchange and cultural and economic growth between the United States and Mexico."

Keynote address by U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual at Border Security Conference "The problems of violence and social decay that are generated by the international drug trafficking organizations are complex and interconnected. To deal with problems of this magnitude, we need a combined strategy, from both the United States and Mexico, based on a full understanding of that complexity. The Four Pillars that go “Beyond Merida” is such a strategy. Our overriding task right now is aggressively and effectively to implement all elements of that strategy." August 12, 2010.

Aug 12, 2010

Whack-a-mole: Mexico's Drug War is Not Working

With the increasing deaths and anarchy of the drug war in Mexico and the widening debate on considering legalization that President Calderon opened last week and former President Vicente Fox joined this week, it seems that more and more of the media in the U.S. are taking a more critical look at the "whack-a-mole" U.S. policies that support the war (the Merida Initiative) and the prohibition laws that create the illegal drug trade. Here are two such assessments, one from the LA Times, the other from the Miami Herald. In our opinion, this increase in critical assessment is a good thing. 

Mexico's Drug War is Not Working Is the U.S.-backed drug war in Mexico working? By almost any account or any measure, the answer is no. Though high-ranking authorities on both sides of the border continue to support Mexico's military-led enforcement strategy against the country's powerful drug trafficking cartels, the facts remain stark, L.A. Times correspondents Tracy Wilkinson and Ken Ellingwood say in a special report published Sunday. (A summary of major facts outlining the failure is provided) August 11, 2010, LA Times

Mexico drug cartels thrive despite Calderon's offensive (This is the full report, a review of the drug war and its results.) August 8, 2010, LA Times

(I)t's clear that after four years of Calderón's U.S.-backed war on drugs, the cartels are smuggling more drugs, killing more people and becoming richer. Perhaps the time has come to take a step-by-step approach and start a serious debate about passing laws that would regulate legal production of marijuana, alongside massive education campaigns to discourage people from using it. Then, we could see who is right and consider what to do next. August 12, 2010, Miami Herald, editorial column

Aug 11, 2010

Immigration Reality: Unauthorized Immigrants and Their U.S.-Born Children -The facts

Unauthorized Immigrants and Their U.S.-Born Children: "An estimated 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the offspring of unauthorized immigrants, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Unauthorized immigrants comprise slightly more than 4% of the adult population of the U.S., but because they are relatively young and have high birthrates, their children make up a much larger share of both the newborn population (8%) and the child population (7% of those younger than age 18) in this country." August 11, 2010, Pew Hispanic Center

Whack-a-mole: Felipe Calderón reviews Mexico's drug-war strategy after scathing criticism

Felipe Calderón reviews Mexico's drug-war strategy after scathing criticism: President Felipe Calderón has said he is willing to change Mexico's drug-war strategy and promised a new offensive against money laundering after hearing blistering criticism from opposition leaders.
Calderón's drug-war talks, the latest session with leaders of the country's opposition political parties, comes as the government offensive against drug cartels draws more criticism. More than 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence since Calderón launched his offensive in late 2006, sending thousands of troops to drug hotspots.
"I know that the strategy has been questioned, and my administration is more than willing to revise, strengthen or change it if needed," Calderón said at the meeting. "What I ask, simply, is for clear ideas and precise proposals on how to improve this strategy." July 11, 2010, AP/The Guardian

Immigration Crackdown: Public evenly split on changing 14th amendment and the Case for Birthright Citizenship

Public evenly split on changing 14th amendment? just in from CNN:

As you may know, the Constitution says that all children born in the United States are automatically U.S. citizens regardless of their parents' status. Would you favor or oppose a Constitutional amendment to prevent children born here from becoming U.S. citizens unless their parents are also U.S. citizens?
Favor 49%
Oppose 51%
No opinion 1%
The public is just about evenly split on whether to repeal birthright citizenship. Hey, what's another Constitutional amendment between friends, anyway?
August 11, Washington Post, Opinion "The Plum Line"

The following OpEd article is an excellent review of the the Fourteenth Amendment and its interpretation by the Supreme Court.

The Case For Birthright CitizenshipProponents of repeal (of the 14th Amendment) argue that the 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War to guarantee citizenship to freed slaves, and that it was never intended to grant rights to the offspring of illegal aliens. But this argument is a non sequitur. At the time of the adoption of the amendment, there was no category of "illegal alien" because immigration was unrestricted and unregulated. If you secured passage to the United States, or simply walked across the open border with Mexico or Canada, you could stay permanently as a resident alien or apply to be naturalized after a certain number of years. And if you happened to give birth while still an alien, your child was automatically a citizen—a right dating back to English common law.

... In the case of U.S. v Wong, in 1898, regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1892, the Supreme Court ruled, 7 to 2, "The amendment, in clear words and in manifest intent, includes the children born within the territory of the United States of all other persons, of whatever race or color, domiciled within the United States." To hold otherwise, wrote Justice Horace Gray for the majority, would be to deny citizenship to the descendants of English, Irish, Germans and other aliens who had always been considered citizens even if their parents were citizens of other countries. For more than a 100 years, the court has consistently upheld this analysis. August 11, Wall Street Journal OpEd by Linda Chavez, chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity in Falls Church, Va. and director of public liaison in the Reagan White House.

Immigration Crackdown and the Border: today's news

U.S. House approves $600 million to improve security in Texas, other border states(This article gives details of where the money is going.)The U.S. House on Tuesday, Aug. 10, approved legislation authorizing $600 million in federal funding to beef up security along the U.S.-Mexico border, including an additional 1,000 U.S. Border Patrol officers. The bill goes back to the U.S. Senate for final approval. President Obama is expected to sign the measure. August 10, 2010, The Examiner

Secure Communities immigration program spreads at border and in Texas: "The Department of Homeland Security said today that its Secure Communities program is now in use at all 25 border counties (of Texas). The jail screening program links local government computers with two federal databases on criminal records and 'immigration encounters' with Homeland Security. ...

Today, three groups suing the federal government for more disclosure on how the program works said many of those picked up under the program don't have criminal records. As for those who have committed civil offenses under the federal Immigration and Naturalization Act, one attorney said usage of the program by local law enforcement agencies should be stopped because it poisons community relations for local police in immigrant communities." August 10, Dallas Morning News

'Arizona style' immigration law for Florida introduced:

"Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and State Rep. Bill Snyder, R-Stuart, today jointly introduced to the public the draft of an 'Arizona style' immigration enforcement law that they hope will be passed by the Florida legislature.

The bill would obligate Florida law enforcement agents to inquire about the immigration status of people they encounter in the pursuit of their duties when they have a 'reasonable suspicion' that those people may be in the country illegally. The law would require those law enforcement agents to detain anyone in the country illegally and that those not under arrest for some other crime be turned over to federal immigration agents for deportation." August 10, 2010, Palm Beach Post

Immigration Madness: The (not so new) nativism in the United States

Here is a Mexican point of view on proposals by Republicans that the Fourteenth Amendment be revised or repealed. It reviews U.S. history of nativist xenophobia and persecution of immigrants. 
The original Spanish version is available at Mileno.Epicenter.

El Milenio, 08/10/2010

Leon Krauze

As the November elections in the United States approach, it is painful to accept that anti-immigrant discourse has become increasingly intense. The Republican Party seems to have taken note of the polls and decided to radicalize their position to the point of buffoonery. The latest stupidity that they have proposed in search of the nativist vote is a rejection of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born in their land, regardless of the origin or status of their parents. The amendment, adopted after the Civil War, is one of the legal clauses that ennoble the American people: "Any person born or naturalized in the United States is protected by its laws (and) no State may suspend any privileges or immunities of citizens.” The amendment, which arose from the need to rebuild a divided nation, was created to make American society more generous, to recognize who was already there and give citizenship to whomever, from then on, joined the country by choice or birth.

The idea of denying citizenship to children of illegals is a vulgar attack against not only the more virtuous side of the American legal structure, but also the soul of the country itself. It would imply adopting the prejudices of an era when slavery and segregation still existed. It is an absolute disgrace that the Republicans dare even to mention the matter. Even so, it's worth putting into perspective what is happening. And I do not mean just the possible initiative on the Fourteenth Amendment; I am also thinking about the attacks on Mexicans in Long Island, New York, and the racist insults in Arizona. 

It serves no purpose to give in to the hysterical temptation to suggests that xenophobia is unheard-of in U.S. history. The reality is very clear: American history is filled with displays of nativist passion much more severe and dangerous than what our countrymen are going through. It is enough to consider the huge wave of attacks suffered by Irish immigrants during the nineteenth century. As Peter Schrag points out in his indispensable book, Not Fit for Our Society: Immigration and Nativism in America, the Irish suffered from discrimination almost identical to that which Hispanics endure more than 150 years later. They were accused of stealing jobs from “native” Americans. They were criticized for their customs and their apparent inability to be assimilated. It was said that "they present problems of housing, safety and education," as well as rejecting them as "drunkards, dissolute and hopelessly mired in poverty” and ignorance. Irish Catholic fervor aroused particularly intense repudiation. Groups sprang up that persecuted and abused the newcomers. There were lynchings and the publication of several books devoted to discredit not only the Irish but Catholicism in general, whose presence was seen as a real threat to the religious essence of the United States. This type of xenophobic reaction was repeated, with similar virulence, against Jews, Asians, Germans and several other groups in the following years of the country's history.

It is well worth the pain to remember these other episodes of nativism in the United States. It serves no purpose to fantasize that the assault on the rights of undocumented Latinos is a new trend or especially violent. The truth is otherwise. Moreover, this exercise in historical comparison does not imply some extenuating circumstance. It is precisely on the basis of American history that Mexican diplomacy and the organizations that defend the agenda of the "undocumented" must fight their battles. Just because this has always occurred does not mean that they don’t have to fight, with their soul, the nativism and xenophobia. History ought to serve, instead, as the best argument. Or, in the final outcome of American history, will someone be able to deny the contributions of all the communities who suffered, in their time, the attack of hysterical nativists?

Leon Krauze is a jounalist and columnist for El Milenio and El Diario. He is the host of a radio discussion show, The Second Broadcast, on W Radio. He is also on the editorial staff of the magazine, Letras Lilbres.