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.

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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.

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

A REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY?

By way of introduction, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a statesman, and I aspire to be neither; I am an average American citizen who grew up on a Kansas farm, managed to get through college and retired as an Air Force Officer. Seventeen years later, I retired again, this time from a major Defense Contractor here in the Washington DC area. So, with that, it’s clear – I have no special credentials, I’m just the typical American citizen. However, I am convinced that our government is failing us and we must act, and we must act now.

As citizens and voters in a representative democracy, we have a responsibility to become informed of issues which face our country. Rarely will we find a candidate who represents our every view, and thus we must make compromises, and when the time comes, we have the responsibility to vote for those candidates whom we believe will best represent our views in the conduct of official government business. One hundred Senators, 435 Representatives, one President and nine Supreme Court Justices. Those 545 human beings represent you and they represent me. But do they really? Do they truly represent us or do they rely upon an ego-based infusion of super-human intelligence resulting from victory on election day to represent this country?

Some of us send our Congressmen E-Mails, letters, and even call them on the phone to express our views, but when was the last time that a seated politician came to your door, called you on the phone, or sent you a survey to ascertain your view on a particular issue pending in the House or the Senate? Their campaign workers call, asking for money, but to ask for your opinion and advice on issues? Rarely. I always thought our politicians were supposed to work for us and by that, I mean, represent us, ascertain and represent the major opinion. I don’t need them to wave as convertible-chauffered celebrities during the 4th of July parade nor do I need them to show up at a community improvement work-day for a glad-hand photo-op in a business suit. No, I don’t want them to be reclusive either, but I see them as workers, not as movie star or the athlete-like celebrities. The ego trip associated with political success often leads to the conviction that by virtue of being theirs, their vote on issues is automatically the best for us commoners. If they do not know the view of their constituents, how can they represent their constituents? They don’t, they represent their own view.

There is no single issue facing our country where the failure of politicians to learn and represent is more glaring than in the area of immigration and the enforcement of our federal immigration laws. Continue reading

July 31, 2008 6:29 pm Posted by | Op-Ed | , , , , | 19 Comments

Open Discussion

I’ve put out a great deal of information over the past three weeks…and I’m having some computer difficulties again with my technical expert currently unavailable. It occurred to me that this might be a good time for readers to catch up on all this information (most of which ties together), and perhaps use it to do some of their own research, then come back here and do some brainstorming. Call it an open thread, open discussion, or whatever…it could prove interesting.

[UPDATE: I had intended to get a new post out today (actually, I should say “yesterday”), however, circumstances made that impossible. I hope to have one out, properly researched, by end of day (the 21st). This open discussion is definitely not getting a lot of interest, probably because everyone is looking for new information which takes a LOT of time to put together, so I also needed a break. By the way, if anyone has any suggestions for future posts I’m quite open to them.]

July 18, 2008 7:11 pm Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Social Security Totalization Treaty With Mexico

[UPDATE:  This posting has continued to attract attention, with commenters providing some excellent updated information.  For this reason I have decided to move it to the top of the blog, with my thanks to those individuals who have given it continued relevancy.]

Well, better late than never. I got my computer back from the shop a bit later than I anticipated, but I finally have my act together and am ready to get this out, as promised. I’m afraid that there are no videos this time, but there is volumes of research that I had to wade through to put this post together…and I hope you will all find it at least somewhat enlightening.

Most of you have probably not heard much about the Social Security Totalization Treaty with Mexico or, if you have, most likely you are not fully aware of the nature of it…nor its consequences. In fact, Social Security Totalization Treaties have been around since 1977 and have already been signed with 21 other nations:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/international/

The presumption in these bilateral treaties is that they are mutually beneficial to the workers of both nations, however, that particular benefit is rather questionable in the case of Totalization with Mexico:

http://www.solidaritycenter.org/files/WorkingMexicoChapter10.pdf

“The social security problems in Mexico can be listed briefly: limited coverage in terms of the working population and in relation to the total population in spite of the existence of a law and an institution close to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary. The public systems of social security currently include 50% of the total population and 30% of the economically active population. A historic deficit of health care and maternity insurance hovered over the work risk insurance and retirement funds for almost 50 years. It is on this deficit that the government based part of its argument to justify the privatization of the pension scheme.”

In addition, Mexican Visa and Immigration laws are far more strict than they are in this country, making it highly unlikely that a comparable number of American citizens would be participating in the system, and wages are, of course, considerably lower for the average worker. The alleged “savings” for the “American worker and employer” are also unclear, as I was unable to find the actual text of the Agreement. I suspect that it leans a little heavier on the side of the employer.

The Social Security Trust Fund of the United States has also been the subject of debate for many years because of the dwindling funds available, to the point that benefits have, on occasion, been cut rather than increased to address inflationary factors, much less accruing cost of living increases. Many of our retirees in this country are faced with the monthly choice of whether to buy food or their necessary medical prescriptions. As a matter of fact, estimated dates of trust fund exhaustion change often…and seldom for the better. Now we have another “fly in the ointment.”

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July 11, 2008 11:42 pm Posted by | Mexico | , , , , | 31 Comments