AWCheney’s Forum On Immigration

The City of Lost Girls: Femicide In Latin America

One of the videos that I featured on my last post, The Merida Intitiative, was “The City of Lost Girls,” a shocking indictment of not only Mexican law enforcement, but a deadly culture of corruption which is re-created in many forms throughout Mexico, and runs up through the highest levels of government…and tends to prey upon the Mexican citizens, particularly the poor, with impunity. No one, however, is totally immune. Because few people have viewed that particular post, I decided to repeat it here and give the subject greater coverage:

This film was shot in November of 2003 in and around the city of Juarez, Mexico in the Mexican State of Chihuahau, formerly known as El Paso del Norte. The estimated numbers of dead girls/women, most between the ages of 16 to 23 (although an average age of 16 has been cited) has ranged from 380 to 550 since 1993…and there are still an estimated 4000 girls and young women missing in this area (Amnesty International’s estimates are far lower than those of the local citizens). A great deal of attention has focused on the problem in Juarez, given its proximity to El Paso, Texas, as well as the large number of “NAFTA” factories which have located there. As a matter of fact, the draw of these factories for young women seeking work is often attributed as a major reason that this area provides such a fertile hunting ground for the predators who are perpetrating these crimes.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/women/pdf/Juarez_Guatemala_Action_kit.pdf

Excerpt from Amnesty International report from 2006:

“Since 1993, almost 400 women and girls have been murdered and more than 70 remain missing in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico. All the evidence seems to indicate that these young women are chosen by their killers because they are women who have no power within Chihuahuan society, itself characterized by high crime rates and public insecurity due to the fact that drug trafficking and organized crime operate in the area. The women are often workers from the maquilas, or export factories, set up by the multinational companies that control the economy of Ciudad Juárez as well as waitresses, workers in the informal economy, or students. Many of them live in poverty, often with children to support. They are women who have few options but to travel alone on the long bus journeys that take them from the poor suburbs surrounding Ciudad Juárez to their place of work or study.”

The greatest difficulty in attempting to determine the TRUE numbers of dead and missing girls is a direct result of the corruption of the state authorities in Juarez and Chihuahua, who are believed by most to actually be complicit in not only the cover-up, but the crimes themselves.

Continue reading

August 23, 2008 10:14 pm Posted by | Latin America | , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

The Merida Initiative

The Merida Initiative, as is the case with most of the negotiations between Mexico and the United States, is again one of those deals which was struck behind closed doors between President Bush and President Calderon, so it is unlikely that a great many of you are familiar with it, or have even heard of it. Even its first year funding was tacked onto a funding bill for the war in Iraq in order to expedite, and essentially sneak through, its implementation. This lack of transparency has been the case with this Initiative from the beginning:

An excellent source for information on various aspects of the Initiative is to be found at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars website, Merida Initiative Portal:

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=5949&fuseaction=topics.item&news_id=407349

For instance, according to the overview of the Initiative…

“Congress is currently considering a proposal to provide $1.4 billion in equipment, software, and technical assistance to Mexico over three years as well as a smaller but still unspecified amount to Central America over the same period. The first year of the initiative is part of the Iraq Supplemental, while the second and third years will be discussed as part of the regular FY09 and FY10 appropriations process.

The Merida Initiative is actually more than an assistance package—rather it is one element in a broader strategy of growing cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico to address a shared threat presented by organized crime involved in drug trafficking. The U.S. and Mexican governments have increased joint efforts significantly in recent years in order to protect communities on both sides of the border. Moreover, both countries recognize the need to engage Central America in broader regional efforts.”

…which confirms those “rumors” mentioned by Glenn Beck of CNN in the previous video.

Continue reading

August 18, 2008 6:04 am Posted by | Mexico | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NAFTA, Part 1: Free Trade Agreements

I had originally planned to do my first NAFTA post on the impact upon Mexico, however, one of my sources required permission for publication, to which I applied but have not yet heard back. Therefore, I thought I would start with an examination of Free Trade Agreements in general and NAFTA in particular so that we may form a foundation for what is to come.

As a long-time advocate of Free Market economics, I am not totally averse to the concept of Free Trade Agreements. On the contrary, I can see where, if properly negotiated with countries with whom we share similar economies and cultures, bilateral agreements of that sort could be highly beneficial to both trading partners. However, an examination of our growing list of Free Trade partners shows a serious lack of economic common sense…and NAFTA is the worst of them.

Probably the least informative government site to utilize for an investigation of Free Trade Agreements is the very site which would most likely be the first traversed for information on these agreements:

The International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce

http://trade.gov/index.asp

This site is largely devoted to the promotion of FTA’s, and tends to skew the facts toward its own end. As an example, their front page actually heralds a SURPLUS in the trade balance between the U.S. and those trading partners with whom we have implemented agreements:

For this release, manufacturing products are defined as all products that fall under NAICS classifications 31-33.  This data will differ from other sources that use a manufacturing definition based on an SITC standard.
For this release, manufacturing products are defined as all products that fall under NAICS classifications 31-33. This data will differ from other sources that use a manufacturing definition based on an SITC standard.

This couldn’t be further from the truth! Let’s take a look at the reality. Continue reading

August 16, 2008 7:10 am Posted by | NAFTA | , , , , | 6 Comments

Blackwater, Part 1: An Army For Hire?

This may seem to be a strange post for a blog dedicated to illegal aliens and immigration reform, but consider this: if the governments and corporations involved in the North American Union have to depend on the official armed forces of their country to protect them, they cannot order them to protect private property or patrol borders to control entry of illegal people with complete disregard to the laws of the country in which they operate.

Officially, Blackwater International is a company that provides training, equipment and personnel to anyone, be it government or corporation, that is officially sanctioned by the U.S. State Department anywhere in the world. If you take a close look at their history and current contracts you will notice that while they started out mainly providing training they have expanded into an army for hire for anyone that can afford their price. It should be noted that Blackwater is not the only company that is operating this way, just the one with the highest profile due to several questionable incidences that have occured in Iraq. For a list of companies involved see here: PMCs

During their time in Iraq they have proven that they believe that they are above all laws as they have been hired to perform a mission of protection. They will perform this mission no matter what and do whatever they think they need to do to satisfy this mission.

Many of the personnel that Blackwater International have under contract are highly professional individuals with the best training and backgrounds. They should be – they were trained by the U.S. government either in the armed forces of the United States or in other government law enforcement agencies. Too bad these personnel cannot control the other people working with them.

Because these people are exempted from prosecution in Iraq due to Paul Bremmers decree, nothing will happen to those responsible for actions such as this. They are also under the protection of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

There are not enough U.S. Armed Forces personnel to meet the deployment requirements to both Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to all of its other commitments around the world. Blackwater International has been used by the U.S. State Department and other U.S. Government agencies to supplement the U.S. Armed Forces present in Iraq and Afghanistan. What a great opportunity for Blackwater!

Blackwater boasts that they have 14,000 people that they can contact to create a “protection force” at a moment’s notice. Some of these people are not U.S. nationals but personnel that were trained for other counties under contracts with Blackwater. If this isn’t an army for hire I don’t know what is.

Blackwater also appears to watch for opportunities to insert itself into activities within the United States. After hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast, Blackwater sent one of its helicopters into New Orleans on a “rescue mission” without invitation from the U.S. or local governments.

“According to Blackwater’s government contracts, obtained by The Nation, from September 8 to September 30, 2005, Blackwater was paid $409,000 for providing fourteen guards and four vehicles to “protect the temporary morgue in Baton Rouge, LA.” That contract kicked off a hurricane boon for Blackwater. From September to the end of December 2005, the government paid Blackwater at least $33.3 million–well surpassing the amount of Blackwater’s contract to guard Ambassador Paul Bremer when he was head of the US occupation of Iraq. And the company has likely raked in much more in the hurricane zone. Exactly how much is unclear, as attempts to get information on Blackwater’s current contracts in New Orleans have been unsuccessful.”

For a more complete story on Blackwaters activity in New Orleans see: The Nation: In the Black(water)

Unfortunately it appears that some of the Blackwater employees think that they can treat U.S. citizens the same way they have become acustom to treating the citizens they encounter in Iraq where they are not accountable to the local government: Blackwater Eyes Domestic Contracts in U.S.

It is said that because we cannot maintain a large standing military force with sufficient combat forces that we need to outsource certain activities to civilians. My question is, is it actually cheaper to have civilians performing these missions rather than recruiting and training militaty personnel who are accountable to the Code of Military Conduct? With Blackwater and other civilian personnel in Iraq earning up to $1000 a day, don’t you think this money would be better spent recruiting, training, and properly equiping additional personnel for the U.S. Armed Forces?

August 10, 2008 9:44 pm Posted by | National Security | , , | 24 Comments