Archive for category Infrastructure
Mexico’s lower chamber has recently passed legislation that could make Mexico the second nation in the world to pass comprehensive national climate change legislation. On Wednesday the lower house passed the “General Law on Climate Change”. This could have major benefits for the economy of Mexico and could bring new hope to a country who’s largest export commodity comes from it national oil company PEMEX. The bill must be passed before the congressional session adjourns at the end of the month and to be passed must have senate and presidential approval. This seems likely in the Senate considering they passed their version of the bill in December.
In effect the bill:
-Will require the whole country to reduce its carbon emissions 30% by 2020 and 50% by 2050.
- Establish goals for increasing electricity generation from renewable sources, with a goal of 35% of electricity generation coming from renewable sources by 2024.
-Establish the National Institute of Ecology as the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change.
-Establish a climate fund and request the Ministry of Finance, among others to develop a system of incentives that favors renewable energy by 2020
-Establishes a national emissions registry and mandatory emissions reporting
Though the bill does not mandate the creation of a domestic greenhouse-gas emissions trading system it does enable it. This essentially is the idea government would provide economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) predicts if were to do so Mexico would achieve its goals at low cost and significant profit and attract international investment. The EDF says it would be able to do so if the system were to include an absolute carbon cap set near their current target and allow trading both domestically and in international markets. Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology have found that smart mitigation action could trigger a 5 percent incremental GDP growth, and create 3 million additional jobs, distributed among the poorest sectors of the population.
Mexico is the 11th largest emitter of global greenhouse gases and hosted the latest summit on Climate Change in 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. The summit in Cancun and previously in Copenhagen seemed to have produced few and loose results. The biggest challenge to global progression into the green economy is its lack of profit compared to those of large emission emitter economies. If Mexico can induce a profitable green economy it may act as a model for other developing nations or produce competitive investment into green technology from other nations.
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Mexico accroding to U.S Geological Survey. It was located 82 miles North-East of Guerrero Negro and 6.4 miles below the surface. No damages or casualties yet reported. Oleg Starovoit, PhD, deputy director of the Geophysical Service of Russia’s Academy of Sciences states, “Had it happened in a densely populated area, the resulting damage would have been catastrophic.”
Earlier Wednesday morning a earthquake hit the state of Michoacan with a magnitude of 6.5. No reports or major damages or casualties there either. The effects are reported to have been felt as far away as Mexico City. At nearly the same time an 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia.
The quakes two quakes in Mexico come after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake had struck the southwest part, March 20th.
The current fence is corroded from the salt water and has many holes. Netza Tapia, 40, and his family used to slip through the corroded section of the fence to continue their strolls on the Imperial Beach side of the beach. Jonathan Parra and his friends used to cross regularly to play soccer on Imperial Beach’s empty sand.
Border Patrol says that the extended sea wall will help defer people from trying to cross the border through treacherous waters. Many people do not realize how dangerous it is to try and cross around the sea fence because the fence itself is so unmennacing. By building a bigger fence Border Patrol is hoping to send a clear message about the dangers of trying to cross the border in this way.
“I personally wish there was no fence, because I believe we should be building bridges of communication and not fences of separation,” said Enrique Morones of Border Angels. “The Border Patrol is doing what they feel they have to do.”
The new fence will be made of steel to a height of 18 feet and a ¼ mile long. About 90m of fence will protrude into the water.
The fence is expected to be completed March of 2012 and have a life expectancy of 30 years.
“Patrulla fronteriza reemplaza muro en playa del sur de California.” 28 November 2011. La Voz de la Frontera.
“Extienden muro fronterizo en el agua.” 29 November 2011. Voz de America.
“Project To Extend Border Fence In IB To Begin.” 28 November 2011. 10News.com.
Marosia, Richard. “U.S. to extend border fence 300 feet into Pacific.” 25 November 2011. Los Angeles Times.
Migrant detention center in El Paso responds to claims of insufficient medical treatment for migrants
The El Paso Processing Center recently opened its doors to the local press to address new complaints of insufficient medical treatment for migrants.
Surrounded by wire fence and security guards, ICE’s (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) El Paso Processing Center is capable of accommodating up to 840 detainees (though its current number of 490 reflects the space reduction as a result of the recent renovations taking place). Upon arrival, migrants are separated by gender and assigned a dormitory and a bed. Detainees are then assigned a jumpsuit of a certain color. Serious criminals with felonies wear red, less serious criminals with misdemeanors wear orange, and non-criminals with immigration violations wear yellow. The detainees come from all parts of the country, but this particular facility houses many migrants sporting red and orange.
Despite the incarcerated impression of the facility itself, officials stress the fact that detainees have plenty of recreational facilities to enjoy. The facility is equipped with board games, washer-dryers, vending machines, phones with direct lines to consulates, a cafeteria, a library, a sports facility, and an area for movie screenings. Efforts are made to accommodate special dietary needs as well as provide spiritual support.
“We sometimes hear complaints about food and general conditions, but I think these are things you hear at every detention facility,” said Iliana Holguin, executive director of the Diocese Migrant and Refugee Services, a legal aid clinic that visits the center four times a week.
Holguin is less concerned about facilities run by the ICE and more concerned about the private run facilities that are often subcontracted by immigration authorities. Reports have been filed against private facilities regarding human rights and due process violations, inadequate health care, physical and sexual abuse, overcrowding, and a lack of access to medicine, food, water, and consular services.
Authorities retort these assertions by saying that every detainee receives a full medical check up upon arrival, is seen by a medical professional within 24 hours of a request, and provided 30 days worth of medication should the detainee be on medication upon leaving.
Holguin, on the other hand, is concerned with the number of migrants. She believes that a parole-like situation or an electronic monitoring system would be more cost effective options for non-criminal migrants.
“The problem with federal laws is that they require a lot of people be detained when they don’t need to,” she said. ” I think the problem is the criminalization itself of immigrants.”
Since the official announcement last March of the first business, cultural, and sporting expo in Ciudad Juárez, Juárez Competitiva 2011, a great deal of buzz has been generated surrounding the event. The expo, scheduled from October 13 through October 28, 2011, will be a binational event with U.S. cities such as El Paso and Las Cruces participating in the activities. The movement was initiated by Mexican businessmen in the region to change the global perception of Ciudad Juárez, currently one of the most violent cities in the world. Despite the overwhelmingly bloody headlines reported from the city, Ciudad Juárez continues to be a manufacturing, research, and development powerhouse. Through this expo, entrepreneurs in the state aim to project an image of stability that will garner new confidence in the region from foreign, as well as domestic, investors. Although the expo will host many entertainment acts to attract locals, the bulk of the expo will revolve around speakers, workshops, and discussion panels to generate “alternative paths to solutions, new social and community development ideas, and new technologies to improve quality of life” among other topics, stated chairman of the board for Juárez Competitiva, Carlos Chavira. It is designed to attract new investments and to improve infrastructure in the long run.
Although negotiations were being held this past month to secure Shakira as a performer during Juárez Competitiva, it was announced last week that she is not available due to another previously scheduled performance. However, Mexican rock band Maná will be headlining the opening concert October 12 at the Olympic Stadium Benito Juárez. The stadium, which holds 30,000, is expected to sell out for the concert since Maná is so well known around the world and the tickets will be priced affordably. There will also be a mega concert at the close of the expo titled “Peace Concert in Ciudad Juárez”, although performers have yet to be announced.
Juárez Competitiva hopes to put Ciudad Juárez on the local, national, and worldwide agenda in a positive light by showcasing the many talents and opportunities produced in the city. It also expects to increase pride among the locals and prove to the society that it is possible to recover from such a crisis. Carlos Chavira stated that Juárez Competitiva 2011 “will bring the inhabitants of this city new hope, ideas and resources to move forward”.
The border-crossing at San Ysidro was closed Wednesday after an overhead canopy collapsed on approximately 15 cars that had recently crossed into the United States from Mexico. Eleven people, including a pregnant woman, were taken to the hospital with major trauma and many more were being evaluated for minor injuries. The collapse occurred at 10:45 am above crossing lanes 19, 20, and 21. This area is part of an expansion project and is currently undergoing construction. The collapse occurred when wooden support beams used at the construction site failed, bringing down wooden panels and concrete debris; however, the underlying cause of the beam failure is still under investigation.
The closure caused major traffic delays and all northbound vehicle and pedestrian lanes have been shut down. Authorities are encouraging vehicles to detour to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Southbound traffic on the 5 is also slow due to the closure of one lane at the border-crossing. The closure is expected to last 12 hours according to Mayor Jerry Sander’s office. San Diego police are working in conjunction with Tijuana police to redirect traffic and to mitigate the situation.
President Calderon announced Friday during his fifth State of the Union Address the creation of a new government office to assist victims of organized crime. Today began the process to initiate this new branch, which is a decentralized agency under the Mexican Federal Administration, after Calderon’s decree was published in the Official Journal of the Federation. This new office, Procuraduría Social de Atención a las Víctimas de Delitos, will incorporate institutions that specialize in providing treatment to victims of organized crime. Since Calderon took office in 2006 more than 40,000 civilians have been killed in Mexico due to organized crime. Calderon expressed hope that this agency will support victims in the “painful process of demanding justice”.
The office will be the liaison between different federal entities in order to provide victims and the families of victims with a strong government support system. The agency will offer medical and psychological services, legal counsel, and assistance in the search for the missing or dead. It will also provide financial support to victims in the form of subsidies for expenses such as funeral costs and medical fees. The agency will be operated under a government committee that will include representatives from departments such as Public Security, Social Development, Health and the Mexican Navy. The committee stated that the new office will be established within 30 days of its publication in the Official Journal of the Federation on September 6.
If Mexico ends its visa requirement for Central Americans, identifying migrants would actually be easier, according to the logic behind a proposal from Chiapas state governor Juan Sabines Guerrero. Chiapas, a state which borders Guatemala and Belize, has become a hotspot for illegal migration and trafficking. Given the difficulty in protecting undocumented migrants, most of whom are Central American, from traffickers and gangs who prey on them, human rights activists have suggested that Mexico allow visitors from the region to enter Chiapas with only a piece of identification from their country of origin. This would not only allow them to travel legally, but also provide an opportunity for Mexican authorities to take their fingerprints and information so that they may be aware of who is entering the country. According to Sabines, this will drastically reduce illegality on the border, much of which is violence directed at migrants. “We cannot get used to this violence…as a country, this must worry us,” he aid in his petition to eliminate the visa requirement.
Last week, organizers of the Caravana Paso a Paso hacia la Paz, a march to protest migrant deaths in Mexico, also proposed the elimination of the visa requirement to congress. Writer Javier Sicilia and shelter director Alejandro Solalinde proposed the elimination of the National Institute on Migration (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM). Both proposals were rejected by under secretary of Population, Migration and Religious Affairs (Población, migración, y assuntos religiosos) René Martín Zenteno. “The goal is to strengthen institutions, not eliminate them,” he said.
For the last 2 months, Tijuana has been the site of an anti human trafficking campaign known as “You are not merchandise” (No eres mercancia). With the signing of an agreement between the district attorney’s office and the city council of Tijuana, the city hopes to provide new channels for victims of trafficking to come forward and receive assistance. The district attorney will investigate cases and provide protection for the victims, while the municipal Family Development Office (Desarollo Integral de la Familia, DIF) will use the 089 emergency number to respond to reports of victimization. In the past, victims have not trusted law enforcement and were reluctant to come forward, says district attorney Rommel Moreno. He hopes that Tijuana’s new efforts will change this. ”This agreement will strengthen the campaign and create a culture of reporting crime,” says DIF Tijuana director Carol Bustamante.
The agreement comes on the heels of new legislation against human trafficking on 1 July, 2011 by President Felipe Calderón designed to provide longer sentences for traffickers and better equip authorities to handle this type of crime. Previously, victims did not trust law enforcement and were reluctant to come forward, says Trafficking of persons, defined as the trade of human beings as forced laborers or sexual slaves, is rampant all over Mexico, with an estimated 20,000 sex slaves in the country, but the problem is greater on the border. Each year, about 18,000 people are trafficked from Mexico through the U.S. border. “The border is a very vulnerable zone for human trafficking because of the situation of constant migration,” says Bustamante.
In May 2011, Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer signed a bill that will allow the construction of a new border fence to be funded by private donations. A website designed for the collection of such donations from the public received nearly $40,000 in its first few hours of operation in July. According to Mike Philipsen, the site’s spokesperson, 884 donations were received in 17 hours, totalling $39,085. The bill’s sponsor, Republican senator Steve Smith said back in May “We’re going to build this site as fast as we can, and promote it, and market the heck out of it. I think it’s going to be a really, really neat thing.”
The “neat thing” is going to cost anywhere between $400,000 and $15.8 million per mile, but because Arizona plans to use federal prison inmates for its construction, they will certainly save on labor costs, as such a workforce only earns about 50 cents per hour. Half of the 650 mile border fence is already in Arizona, but senator Al Melvin said that his constituents “want this thing fixed and fixed once and for all,” and in his opinion, this is the project that is going to accomplish that.
Prior to the donor website, the project received about $4 million as of May, although a lot of that money may be allocated to the legal defense of the controversial immigration bill SB1070, which is also allowed to accept private donations.