Located along the El Paso border, Cuidad Juarez is notorious for its violent crime. Lately though the city has noticed a seen a shift in calling to young people effected and forgotten by the violence to express themselves. Last month the city hosted their first fashion show. Designer such as Eli Valle promoted her work, stating that the city has hope now and businesses are opening. The show was organized by a group called Amor por Juárez (“Love for Juárez”). The group plans to open a boutique in downtown Juarez next year. They have been on a campaign to end the violence in Juarez, work for peace and liberty.
There has also been a call for singers, composers and bands who are being asked to participate in a song-writing contest seeking to promote civic participation and solutions Cuidad Juarez crime. Diego Mesa, coordinator of Pacto Joven, the youth branch of Plan Estratégico Juárez, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting solutions for the city said they are, “inviting young people to demand, to propose, to express themselves and to leave passivity aside,” Mesa said. “We want young people to wake up and to leave their comfort zone.” The winner of the contest will receive about $1,666 (20,000 Mexican pesos), and the song will be recorded in a professional studio in both audio and video. The winner’s music also will be played on Orbita 106.7, a popular radio station in Juárez.
Yet Cuidad Juarez still remains a place- as Gustavo de la Rosa, a Chihuahua State human rights investigator describes- where people work for 60 dollars a week assembling black berries and car parts destined for foreign markets. As night life beckons in Juarez so does the reminder that 15 high school students were gunned down, mistaken for being members of a rival gang. The investment of the youth in the city to balance the reality of their situation with the means to express themselves though can be just what inspires a city to not oppose drug violence but move beyond it, and live.
The World Tourism Organization (WTO) has recently come out with reports that Mexico is no longer the tenth tourist destination in the world. Mexico now ranks 12th; it once ranked 7th in 2004 and 2005. Mexico is ranked 23rd in foreign exchange earnings from international tourism behind countries such as India, Thailand Macao and South Korea.
Why? It is said that Mexico no longer is has as many flights going through at affordable rates and that the supply of seats have fallen. Many people say they have lost the U.S. market. They claim Americans have gone to other travel destinations such as the Caribbean islands, Europe and within their own country. Some of this could be contributed with the warnings and violence associated with Mexico, but others believe it is because Americans are receiving better travel deals elsewhere and even within their own country.
So what does Mexico do? To be fair Mexico only dropped to number 12, but with Mexico developing prominence politically and economically it would want to maintain its position and avoid regression. Siegfried Paz Paredes, advisor to the National Tourist Business Council (CNET) and former deputy tourism minister says the issue is developing tourism infrastructure and urban support.
World Tourist Destinations Rankings:
4. Spain (4)
6. Turkey (7)
7. United Kingdom
Meré, Dayna. “Abandona México top 10 de turismo,” Negocios, May 11th, 2012.
Is Enrique Pena Nieto buying tweets? A newly released video shows the prospective Presidential candidate’s campaign organizing people to send out tweets with the hash tag, “#EsMomentoDeMexico”/ “#It’sMexico’smoment”. Univision has discovered that nearly 260 Twitter accounts that simultaneously posting pre-fabricated messages in favior of the Presidential candidate. The video below the PRI campaign coordinator tells a room full of people what to tweet during minutes before Mexico’s presidential debate.
When confronted about the scandal the PRI said it was just “good coordination.” Evidence shows though that most of the twitter account are new and the tweets mostly consisted of endorsments of Pena Nieto. Twitter users committing to what seems to be an act supported by the PRI are being called “accareados” or “corralled ones.” A strategy in Mexico used by political parties whether they gather up poor people and offer them food and money in exchange for their endorsement.
05/07/2012- Norma Ramírez, a mother of six, had been living illegally in North Carolina for eight years, when earlier this year she was diagnosed with a malignant growth on her urethra in January. Ramírez went through several medical procedures at WakeMed Hospital, but was facing deportation if she continued to receive treatment in the United States. Living with Ramírez in the United States were her two youngest daughters, ages 4 and 5, who are both U.S.-born citizens. Deportation would mean her two young daughters would be left without a guardian in the United States. On the other hand, if she were to move back to Mexico with her daughters, she did not know if she would be able to receive the medical treatment she would need.
Ramírez and her family received an overwhelming amount of support from the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh as well as from many other North Carolinians. The consulate offered to pay for her family to return to Mexico, and for her treatment at a hospital in Acapulco. Selene Barcelo, the deputy consul in Raleigh, said that all treatments, services, and medications would be paid for by the state and provided through the Mexican government.
Ramírez arrived with her two youngest daughters in Acapulco on April 16 and checked in to the Cancer Institute there. She was greeted there by her father and mother; her four other daughters had been living in Mexico with her mother. She has begun receiving treatments, but still has many ahead because the cancer has spread to her other organs.
While Cinco de Mayo may be more heavily celebrated in the United States its roots and celebration seem to one of contradictions. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration commemorating the Mexican militia win over the better equipped French in 1860, the 5th of May and is mostly celebrated in the United States. Many people in the United States either do not know or believe it is the celebration of Mexico’s independence day. Many Mexican’s do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo and are not aware of how big vastly celebrated it is in the United States.
What is Cinco de Mayo? Cinco de Mayo is a celebration to commemorate Battle of Puebla. The battle erupted after Emperor Napoleon III had sent French troops to Mexico to regain control over the former Spanish colony and place Archduke Maximilian of Austria, as its ruler. At the Battle of Puebla the Mexican militia lead by General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French forces. They eventually lost the war though and Maximilian became the emperor for three years before Mexico reclaimed its independence.
So, why is Cinco de Mayo so heavily celebrated in the States as opposed to Mexico? There have been several reasons put forth to explain this phenomenon. One explanation involves the American Civil war that was fought between the Union and the Confederacy. The French seeing that the U.S. was too internally weak to oppose foreign conquest of its strategic neighbor, took the advantage to colonize Mexico. The Mexican Americans sided with the Union because the French sympathized with the Confederacy who was trying to keep slavery and elitism. Mexican Americans thus fighting for the Union could see the war with the French and the Confederacy as a single war with two fronts; a war for democracy and freedom. After the Battle of Puebla was won, California newspapers published headlines congratulating and praising Mexico’s victory. After the implementation of the United
State’s Good Neighbor Policy, the celebration started expanding to act as a bridge between cultures and celebrating Chicano power. After becoming a celebration of empowerment and community, U.S. corporations were eager to tap into the expanding U.S. Latino market. Thus came about the commercialization of Cinco de Mayo the expansion of the uninformed drinking holiday that is celebrated throughout the United States as opposed to Mexico.
05/04/2012- Thursday May 3, 2012, protesters across the nation marched to bring to light to a call for justice concerning the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas. Hernandez Rojas was an undocumented immigrant who was killed in a struggle with Border Patrol agents in 2010. In May 2010, patrol agents caught Hernandez Rojas, 42, crossing the Mexican border illegally to return to his family in San Diego where he had been living for close to thirty years. According to the agents who were processing him, Hernandez Rojas became violent, and they were forced to stun gun him. He died the next day in the hospital; he had suffered a heart attack, likely due to being tasered, and lost oxygen to his brain, rendering him brain dead before he died. According to the San Diego County coroner, his death was ruled a homicide, and the Department of Justice opened an investigation. It has been two years since the investigation was opened, yet no one has been charged and the Justice Department has not commented on its progress.
Now, two years later, activists are asking for the investigation to be put in the spotlight so that justice might be served. Why the sudden call to action? In a recent episode of PBS’ “Need to Know,” a never before seen pedestrian video was aired of the attack , which was recently tracked down by activist and documentary filmmaker, John Carlos Frey. The video shows Hernandez Rojas on the ground, surrounded by a dozen Border Patrol agents yelling at him to stop resisting, even though he is lying virtually motionless on the ground.
In San Diego Thursday, approximately 150 protesters marched from Balboa Park to downtown carrying signs in Hernandez Rojas’ likeness. Their aim, along with protesters from eight cities nationwide including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston, has been to raise awareness and bring renewed attention to the investigation in light of the new pedestrian video. Thus far, no comments have been made by either the Customs and Border Protection Agency or the Justice Department concerning the ongoing investigation.
A broken sewer line near Mexico’s Rio Alamar released 2 million gallons of sewage, which drains into the Tijuana River and eventually into the Pacific Ocean this past Tuesday. Officials stated the leak lasted for about 12 hours before anything was noticed and none of the sewage was recovered before spilling into San Diego County. It is unlikely their will be any consequences to the environmental disaster because the incident happened in Mexico, where California authorities have no authority. Cross border contamination is a common theme in the Tijuana-San Diego region though, and all along the entire border. It is said contaminated runoff from neighborhoods in Tijuana regularly stream down into the San Diego county following rains. This is the second spill to happen within the last month.
On April 4th, a spill from the San Ysidro treatment plant released millions of gallons of sewage into the Tijuana River and made its way to imperial beach. The spill was caused by a software malfunction in the treatment plant that went noticed for 3 hours. The public was not made aware in this instance, but surfer’s in the area took notice. Their were description of the water is that it smelled and tasted like detergent, an indication that the water is contaminated. The plant also has amnesty against penalties under the Clean Water Act because it is owned by the United States Government.