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Monday, May 09, 2011

Borderland Residents Speak Out Against Violence in Mesilla

Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with more on-the-ground coverage from Southern New Mexico.

A large and emotional gathering of people from the borderland community joined together on Sunday at the Mesilla Community Center to show solidarity with marches scheduled for this week in Mexico against the drug war and violence south of the border. The event was sponsored by the Comite Amigos de Emilio, a borderlands community organization that supports granting asylum in the United States for exiled journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto.

Ella Nelson

Ella Nelson of Las Cruces, the organizer, said the event and the committee's goal was to bring greater attention to the case of Gutiérrez and other victims of Mexico's bloodshed. The committee aims to put pressure on U.S. immigration authorities and Mexican officials, and demand action on Gutiérrez's and other asylum-seekers' human rights complaints.

Gutierrez_002 Chavez_aldana_001
Emilio Gutiérrez, Ricardo Chavez Aldana

The emotionally charged gathering was keynoted by Mexican journalists Emilio Gutiérrez and Ricardo Chavez Aldana. Both men have been victims of the violence in Mexico and are seeking political asylum in the United States. Gutiérrez fled his town of Ascención, Chihuahua, in 2008 after writing a series of articles criticizing the Mexican army and receiving death threats from the military. Ricardo Chavez Aldana is a radio reporter from Juarez who received death threats and lost several family members who were murdered after he spoke out against the violence on the air in Mexico.

Emilio Gutiérrez

Calling for peace and justice for Mexico, Gutiérrez laid the blame for the violence south of the border on the complicity of the Mexican military and the Calderon government, which he termed "illegitimate," rather than just on any outlaw cartel. "Because of the government policies, over 45,000 innocent people have died," Gutiérrez said. "There are at least 15,000 'disappeared' people, among them 68 journalists."

"How many mother's have lost their children? How many children have been left orphaned? How many more are living in exile?" he asked. "It's a huge pain that we carry inside of us every day. The most painful thing about all this, for me, is the loss of my home and country," Gutiérrez said, "more sorrowful for me than the loss of my parents."

Gutiérrez, Nelson

Gutiérrez fled Mexico after receiving death threats from the military. A month earlier, more than fifty military personnel overran and illegally ransacked his home after he spoke out in the press against the violence. After fleeing Mexico with his son, Gutiérrez was detained for seven months by U.S. Immigration when he arrived at the border seeking asylum last June. He is currently staying in Las Cruces while his case is pending in the courts.

Ricardo Chavez Aldana

Ricardo Chavez Aldana, a radio newsman who is also living in exile, also addressed the rally. Chavez Aldana's nephews were murdered after he spoke out on the radio against the violence in Juarez and criticized the military. "Juarez is a dead city," he said. "Four of every five businesses have closed down, and we see blood everywhere."

Ruben Garcia

Ruben Garcia, the Director of Annunciation House, a shelter in El Paso, recounted the stories of some of those who have sought refuge in his facility, including a mother who has lost four of her five children. "There is a mistaken idea in most of America, promoted by politicians, that one place end and another one begins at a certain line. We need to be mindful of role that the drug trade in America is having on Mexico" Garcia said. "I've heard these stories many times. Im sorry for being emotional" said a tearful Ella Nelson, "but on this Mother's Day, I hope we will take a moment to think about the mothers who have lost their families in this crisis."

For more posts by Stephen Jones, visit our archive.

May 9, 2011 at 10:54 AM in Border Issues, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Crime, Drugs, Alcohol, Hispanic Issues, International Relations | Permalink


"death threats from the military"

"blame for the violence south of the border on the complicity of the Mexican military and the Calderon government"

"government policies, over 45,000 innocent people have died," Gutiérrez said. "There are at least 15,000 'disappeared' people, among them 68 journalists."

"fifty military personnel overran and illegally ransacked his home "

Does anyone else see a pattern here? Does it sound like the Mexican government and U.S. backed military has gone to war with the Mexican people? In all press releases and blogs from the most liberal to the most right wing all we see is that the violence is perpetrated by the drug cartels only. This sounds like a Neo-Con project (Neo-Liberal for the rest of the world, weird, I know).
Why is the U.S. spending borrowed money on the endless War on Drugs creating more and more human suffering? What could possibly be the long term objective for destabilizing Mexico right on our border?

Posted by: qofdisks | May 9, 2011 2:17:44 PM

Drug use north of the border is the main reason for the violence. Everyone who has puffed on a marijuana joint ownes a piece of every death there.

Posted by: Preciliano Martin | May 10, 2011 8:20:39 AM

Preciliano Martin you are brainwashed and that argument, simplistic beyond belief, is intended to stop the deeper discussion.
The death and disruption is being caused by the millions of U.S. taxpayers dollars for the militarization of Mexico. The drugs are just an excuse for war and illegal drug profiteering. The drugs and guns paradigm has been around since Reagan who used it to further Neo-Con (Neoliberalism)objectives globally. Drugs and guns become interchangeable currency. The last thing the criminals and war makers (Neoliberals) want is legalization.
People have been indulging in drugs and the plant,marijuana, for ever, and now this. Now you want to blame the pot heads? Stop handing those bastards propagandistic ammunition. You need a bit of perspective.
As a matter of fact, everyone that carries a mobile phone or wears a diamond owns a piece of death because they are conflict minerals. The Niger delta has suffered a "Gulf Oil Spill" over and over so you can drive your vehicle and carry home your purchases in plastic. Oil is also a conflict mineral causing untold suffering and permanent environmental degradation.
Everyone that eats fast food, owns cafo cruelty and unsustainable agriculture. So, where do you draw the line on moral consumption?
Stop pinning death on the consumption unless you are personally vegan, eat within a 100 mile range, ride a bike, catch all your rain water and use a composting toilet. ETC.
Why examine the splinter in potheads' eye while ignoring the beam in your own eye?

Posted by: qofdisks | May 10, 2011 9:18:25 AM

gofdisks speaks the truth.

Posted by: Old Dem | May 10, 2011 11:21:56 AM