Is the Fuse Lit? Uprising/Lynching in Chihuahua

September 22, 2010

This op ed originally appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News. The version below, information pills however, generic   has been copy-edited. Below this article is a special statement from Councilor Dolores Connor, buy information pills who voted no on curbside recycling.

By Miguel Silva

S-N Editor’s note: The Las Cruces City Council approved a plan to bring curbside recycling to the city.

Let’s face it, America is a wasteful society. Americans generate 4.5 pounds of waste daily per person, according to a 2008 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) municipal fact and figure report. And globally, in comparison to members of the Organization for Co-operative and Development, the U.S. positions itself towards the bottom ranking 33 out of 36 in per capita wastes generated amongst developed countries. As a world leader, this is not a boastful position when so many developing countries aspire to emulate our social and economic values.

As the initial city recycling coordinator in 1990, the former chair of the South Central Solid Waste Authority and a background of 25 years of solid waste management, I’ve been afforded many opportunities to “talk trash” in front of many civic organizations and community groups.

My experience is not something that just occurred. My parents instilled in me that managing one’s resources was the path of a prudent person. My parents’ lessons resulted from being raised through the Depression, WWII and having limited resources in raising a robust family of six children.

Unfortunately, as America progressed forward into the post-consumer world following WWII and the Korean War, past communal and social values were lost. As new economic and social material systems evolved, placing emphasis on individual needs emerged. The previous social values that benefited the community – and the country – as a whole, no longer had value. Recycling systems such as those extensive efforts initiated during WWII were tossed by the wayside.

So the question we must answer: Do we pass on to the next generation the mentality of disregarding those past resourceful values; or do we continue down the path of a full blown throw-away society? Aggressively incorporating responsible environmental practices and polices places Americans back in the drivers seat as global leaders as we have in the past.

Such past policies were implemented during the early 1990s, when the EPA began to address the design and operation of landfills for the first time. Subtitle D regulations came forth, and many communities sought comprehensive integrated solid waste management plans. Other communities looked for simple solutions such as shipping their wastes to remote, deserted areas. The Southwest landscape was a prime location. At one conference I attended, a person referred to New Mexico as the “Landfill of Enchantment.”

Fortunately, our state legislators acted quickly adopting federal Subtitle D regulations. Within the New Mexico regulations, the state set solid waste management standards of diverting 25 percent of the municipal solid waste stream by 2000 and 50 percent by 2010. Due to the remoteness of many New Mexico communities from recycling end-markets, the costs of recycling remained high. In response, the state reset recycling standards to diverting 33 percent by 2012.

So, the second question arises, does our community make an effort to reach the 33 percent diversion rate or take on the “Landfill of Enhancement” label?

According to South Central Solid Waste Authority (SCSWA) Director Pat Peck, of the 77,160 tons of waste generated by the city over the past 12 months, 28 percent of the total waste stream currently was recycled. Those recyclable items include: clean-fill, construction waste, green-waste and household recyclables. In addition to the current 21,605 tons recycled, Peck conservatively estimates an increase of 3,000 tons of household recyclables collected, which would bring the total amount of recyclables collected to 24,605 ton,s bringing Las Cruces to an overall diversion rate of approximately 32 percent and closer to the 33 percent goal set by state.

The city’s recently released Strategic Plan calls for an expanded recycling program. The current Council understands the desires of many residents for implementing a comprehensive program. Rolling out recyclables to the curb is the first step in this positive direction. We can all be environmental leaders.

Recycling hotline number: 528.3800

EPA factbook: www.epa.gov/wastes/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2008rpt.pdf

Miguel G. Silva serves on the Las Cruces City Council representing District 1.

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STATEMENT FROM DOLORES CONNOR EXPLAINING HER NO VOTE ON CURBSIDE RECYCLING

RECYCLING is. definitely necessary. Many will not hear that I support recycling based on my vote at Council today, but I do favor our citizens to recycle all that is possible. But today’s resolution is for curbside recycling, in place of recycling at the collection bins in your area.

Here are the top five reasons I cannot support the resolution:

1. Curbside recycling bins will be provided for residential addresses, not apartments or commercial properties or business.

2. You can choose to leave the blue bin behind your home, BUT you must pay the monthly fee regardless, that is not voluntary curbside recycling.

3. There are convenient recycle single stream containers around the City, if they are heavily used in certain areas, then more should be provided in additional areas. (Some parts oftown have significantly less collection)

4. Seniors, snow birds, and those in homes with 2 persons or less will not have enough to recycle every two weeks; so now you have a third large truck up and down city streets to collect from a few. (Do you know you pay for grappler service regardless of use)

5. Currently your bill includes $3.09 per month for recycling and curbside will add an additional $2.59, in this economy and with the multiple increases to other services, such as water and wastewater on October 1st from the City, increases to the Gross Receipts Taxes (effective July 1St, 2010), increases to property taxes on January 1St, 2011, not to mention other services; this is just too much at this time.

The public has been given one meeting on the 30th of August at the Utility department, and the Mayor had district meetings in which I attended and approximately 80 persons in total attended 6 district meetings. This is not a fair representation of the community. In 2006 one district alone had over 300 attendees and they said no at that time.

A contract is being pushed through because the provider has tied the bid to 90 days for acceptance in which a decision must be made by September 21st. As of lOAM Monday the zo”, Patrick Peck the Authority Director, writes to me about the contract” it is still under review by our attorney”. A special meeting of the South Central Solid Waste Authority has been called for the 21st based on the outcome of the Council meeting. Does this sound like openness to you?

Since this was first presented, I have talked to many people over the past few weeks, and the cost is not favored by everyone in fact I would go as far as to say there is not a landslide acceptance to curbside recycling.

We need to enhance the successful single stream collection by adding additional containers in more areas and let our citizens recycle at the same time they do their shopping in Las Cruces should they choose to do so.

Dolores Connor,  Councillor, District 2
Washington, stuff
DC: Today, Senator Bingaman, the Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, along with Senators Tom Udall, Brownback, Collins, and Dorgan, introduced a bill to encourage renewable energy growth.  This bipartisan legislation would create a renewable electricity standard, requiring electric utilities to get a certain percentage of their energy from renewable energy, like wind and solar power.  This is the latest positive development in a heavy lobby and grassroots push from the renewable energy industries, labor unions and environmental groups for a national renewable electricity standard.

The legislation is very similar to what Chairman Bingaman passed through his committee in June of last year.  While weaker than the standard that passed the House as part of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, it would require the U.S. get 15 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, with up to four percent coming from energy efficiency.

Environment New Mexico’s Advocate, Sanders Moore, issued the following statement:

“Senator Bingaman’s renewable electricity standard commits America to beginning the move towards a clean energy economy.  While the standard is weaker than America can and should achieve, the Senate must pass the bill quickly to deliver benefits to the entire country that New Mexico has enjoyed since passing a standard in 2007.

“Over the last two years clean energy industries, like wind and solar power, have been a bright spot in the otherwise dismal economy.  This growth is not guaranteed, as demonstrated by the recent slowdown of new wind development, but just last year the renewable energy industries created tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development, all while cutting global warming pollution.

“We look forward to working with Chairman Bingaman and Senators Udall, Brownback, Collins, and Dorgan to pass this critical legislation this fall.  In addition, we will work to improve the standard at every opportunity in order to create more clean energy jobs and cut global warming pollution.”
Washington, cough
DC: Today, disorder
Senator Bingaman, the Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, along with Senators Tom Udall, Brownback, Collins, and Dorgan, introduced a bill to encourage renewable energy growth.  This bipartisan legislation would create a renewable electricity standard, requiring electric utilities to get a certain percentage of their energy from renewable energy, like wind and solar power.  This is the latest positive development in a heavy lobby and grassroots push from the renewable energy industries, labor unions and environmental groups for a national renewable electricity standard.

The legislation is very similar to what Chairman Bingaman passed through his committee in June of last year.  While weaker than the standard that passed the House as part of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, it would require the U.S. get 15 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, with up to four percent coming from energy efficiency.

Environment New Mexico’s Advocate, Sanders Moore, issued the following statement:

“Senator Bingaman’s renewable electricity standard commits America to beginning the move towards a clean energy economy.  While the standard is weaker than America can and should achieve, the Senate must pass the bill quickly to deliver benefits to the entire country that New Mexico has enjoyed since passing a standard in 2007.

“Over the last two years clean energy industries, like wind and solar power, have been a bright spot in the otherwise dismal economy.  This growth is not guaranteed, as demonstrated by the recent slowdown of new wind development, but just last year the renewable energy industries created tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development, all while cutting global warming pollution.

“We look forward to working with Chairman Bingaman and Senators Udall, Brownback, Collins, and Dorgan to pass this critical legislation this fall.  In addition, we will work to improve the standard at every opportunity in order to create more clean energy jobs and cut global warming pollution.”
Washington, pregnancy
DC: Today, pharm Senator Bingaman, the Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, along with Senators Tom Udall, Brownback, Collins, and Dorgan, introduced a bill to encourage renewable energy growth.  This bipartisan legislation would create a renewable electricity standard, requiring electric utilities to get a certain percentage of their energy from renewable energy, like wind and solar power.  This is the latest positive development in a heavy lobby and grassroots push from the renewable energy industries, labor unions and environmental groups for a national renewable electricity standard.

The legislation is very similar to what Chairman Bingaman passed through his committee in June of last year.  While weaker than the standard that passed the House as part of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, it would require the U.S. get 15 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, with up to four percent coming from energy efficiency.

Environment New Mexico’s Advocate, Sanders Moore, issued the following statement:

“Senator Bingaman’s renewable electricity standard commits America to beginning the move towards a clean energy economy.  While the standard is weaker than America can and should achieve, the Senate must pass the bill quickly to deliver benefits to the entire country that New Mexico has enjoyed since passing a standard in 2007.

“Over the last two years clean energy industries, like wind and solar power, have been a bright spot in the otherwise dismal economy.  This growth is not guaranteed, as demonstrated by the recent slowdown of new wind development, but just last year the renewable energy industries created tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development, all while cutting global warming pollution.

“We look forward to working with Chairman Bingaman and Senators Udall, Brownback, Collins, and Dorgan to pass this critical legislation this fall.  In addition, we will work to improve the standard at every opportunity in order to create more clean energy jobs and cut global warming pollution.”
NEW MEXICO MARKS SIX-MONTH ANNIVERSARY OF REFORM

Sept. 23 Marks Six Months Since the Passage of Federal Health Care Reform, cialis 40mg
Many New Provisions will Take Effect

ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico children with pre-existing conditions under the age of 19 will no longer be denied health insurance and all New Mexicans will now be unrestricted in their choice of doctors – these are just two of the six new provisions scheduled to take effect on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010.

“Several months ago our nation took a major step forward toward a more fair health care system; one that provides affordable quality care for all Americans, of all ages, and all incomes – especially working middle class families and children,” said Barbara Webber, Health Action New Mexico Executive Director. “Reform was also necessary to make certain that all insurance companies are held accountable for unfair practices…that these companies can no longer deny coverage regardless of one’s current health condition.”

These new provisions will help New Mexicans gain significant protections: The new law requires insurance companies be accountable for unfair practices. It prohibits insurance companies from denying health coverage to people due to pre-existing conditions; from charging discriminatory. Following are additional details on the provisions.

•    No Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Children Under Age 19.  The new regulations will prohibit insurance plans from limiting benefits for children and from refusing to sell children coverage at all based on the fact that a child has a pre-existing condition.

•    No Unjustified Rescissions of Insurance Coverage.  Under the regulations, insurers will be prohibited from rescinding coverage – for individuals or groups of people – except in cases involving fraud or an intentional misrepresentation of material facts.

•    No Lifetime Limits on Coverage.  Millions of Americans living with costly medical conditions are at risk of having their health insurance coverage disappear when their costs reach a lifetime limit set by their insurance company.  No plan issued or renewed after tomorrow can use such a limit.

•    Restricted Annual Limits on Coverage.  The rules will phase out the use of annual limits over the next three years for most health plans before banning such limits entirely in 2014.

•    Protecting Your Choice of Doctors.  The new rules make clear that health plan members are free to designate any available participating primary care provider as their primary care provider.

•    Removing Insurance Company Barriers to Emergency Department Services.  The new rules make emergency services more accessible for consumers.  Health insurers will not be able to charge higher cost sharing (copayments or coinsurance) for emergency services obtained outside the plan’s network.

Below are additional resources and information on the Sept. 23, 2010 health care changes.

http://www.healthcare.gov/law/about/provisions/billofrights/patient_bill_of_rights.html

https://www.highmark.com/hcreform/timeline/sep23-2010.shtml

http://www.wcsr.com/client-alerts/health-care-reform-legislation-guidance-issued

NEW MEXICO MARKS SIX-MONTH ANNIVERSARY OF REFORM

Sept. 23 Marks Six Months Since the Passage of Federal Health Care Reform, treat
Many New Provisions will Take Effect

ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico children with pre-existing conditions under the age of 19 will no longer be denied health insurance and all New Mexicans will now be unrestricted in their choice of doctors – these are just two of the six new provisions scheduled to take effect on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010.

“Several months ago our nation took a major step forward toward a more fair health care system; one that provides affordable quality care for all Americans, of all ages, and all incomes – especially working middle class families and children,” said Barbara Webber, Health Action New Mexico Executive Director. “Reform was also necessary to make certain that all insurance companies are held accountable for unfair practices…that these companies can no longer deny coverage regardless of one’s current health condition.”

These new provisions will help New Mexicans gain significant protections: The new law requires insurance companies be accountable for unfair practices. It prohibits insurance companies from denying health coverage to people due to pre-existing conditions; from charging discriminatory. Following are additional details on the provisions.

•    No Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Children Under Age 19.  The new regulations will prohibit insurance plans from limiting benefits for children and from refusing to sell children coverage at all based on the fact that a child has a pre-existing condition.

•    No Unjustified Rescissions of Insurance Coverage.  Under the regulations, insurers will be prohibited from rescinding coverage – for individuals or groups of people – except in cases involving fraud or an intentional misrepresentation of material facts.

•    No Lifetime Limits on Coverage.  Millions of Americans living with costly medical conditions are at risk of having their health insurance coverage disappear when their costs reach a lifetime limit set by their insurance company.  No plan issued or renewed after tomorrow can use such a limit.

•    Restricted Annual Limits on Coverage.  The rules will phase out the use of annual limits over the next three years for most health plans before banning such limits entirely in 2014.

•    Protecting Your Choice of Doctors.  The new rules make clear that health plan members are free to designate any available participating primary care provider as their primary care provider.

•    Removing Insurance Company Barriers to Emergency Department Services.  The new rules make emergency services more accessible for consumers.  Health insurers will not be able to charge higher cost sharing (copayments or coinsurance) for emergency services obtained outside the plan’s network.

Below are additional resources and information on the Sept. 23, 2010 health care changes.

http://www.healthcare.gov/law/about/provisions/billofrights/patient_bill_of_rights.html

https://www.highmark.com/hcreform/timeline/sep23-2010.shtml

http://www.wcsr.com/client-alerts/health-care-reform-legislation-guidance-issued

First of two parts
Evangelina Arce is a woman of steel. A first glance at the diminutive and low-key woman might give a different impression, site but don’t be fooled. For more than 12 long years, order
Dona Eva has searched for her missing daughter, Silvia Arce, who vanished in the urban jungle of Ciudad Juarez one night back in March of 1998. A friend of Silvia’s, dancer Griselda Mares, also fell from the face of the earth the same evening.

Since the disappearance of the 29-year-old mother of three, Dona Eva has suffered the violent loss of a grandson and the murder of a son-in-law. She has been physically assaulted and threatened. Death threats even forced Dona Eva to abandon Ciudad Juarez for a spell. Yet like other mothers of missing young women, Dona Eva perseveres in her search for the truth about the fate of a loved one.

“It wasn’t a toy, it was a daughter we lost,” Dona Eva told a crowd gathered at New Mexico State University this month. “We are going to continue in the struggle.”

Dona Eva’s story begins in the late winter, the time of year in the borderland when the wind howls dust and the days alternate between the last bitter lashes of winter and the first warm hugs of spring. With three children to support, Silvia Arce was earning an income selling jewelry and cosmetics to the dancers working the old Pachangas nightclub.

One day, Silvia’s husband Octavio told Dona Eva that his wife had failed to come home. Immediately, Dona Eva began knocking on doors and looking for answers. Pounding the pavement, she went to the state police to report the disappearance, pressed the employees of the Pachangas bar and scoured the vast underworld of Ciudad Juarez.

By her own account, the police gave her the run-around, Silvia’s co-workers clammed up out of fear for their lives and an odd cast of characters befitting a Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez film treated the distraught mother with a mixture of indifference, helplessness and sarcasm.

“Pure garbage,” was how Dona Eva assessed the law enforcement response. “There is no serious investigation, or an investigation that would lead to a path in finding Silvia.”

Little by little, Dona Eva sniffed out a trail which led to at least three men, including two presumed federal police officers. Although the authorities know their identities, the suspects have not been called to testify, Dona Eva told Frontera NorteSur. “I’ve suffered many threats, because I’ve taken on the work the agents do,” she said.

Dona Eva’s saga was documented by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission many years ago.

Long suspicious of Octavio’s possible involvement in the disappearance of his wife, Dona Eva said the man should be forced to testify. To this day, the longtime resident of Ciudad Juarez carries around a picture of Silvia, Octavio and Esmeralda, the couple’s oldest child, at the little girl’s baptism. As Silvia’s big eyes gazed out from under a curly hairdo, the camera captured Octavio giving a squinting and almost disdainful look to his wife and child.

Dona Eva ended up with the kids. In 2006 Silvia’s son Angel, now 18 years old, was gunned down in the mean streets of Ciudad Juarez. To Dona Eva, Angel was like a son. Tears welled up in the grandmother’s eyes when she mentioned the ill-fated young man during her New Mexico State talk. A few months ago, another one of Dona Eva’s son-in-laws was likewise slain in the carnage that’s suffocated Ciudad Juarez in a blanket of blood.

In 1998, Dona Eva helped found Voces sin Eco, or Voices without Echo, the victims’ relatives group that plastered Ciudad Juarez with the now-iconic pink and black crosses. Taking to the streets, the relatives and their supporters tried to get a seemingly blind world to open its eyes. For years, the face of Silvia Arce was a common one on the posters and placards hoisted up during the many anti-femicide demonstrations that broke out in Mexico and across the world during the latter half of the 1990s and early part of this decade.

Putting Mexico on the defensive in the court of world public opinion, the mass movement peaked with a 2004 V-Day march that drew several thousand people including Hollywood celebrities Jane Fonda and Sally Field into the streets of Ciudad Juarez. Joining in the march was newly-appointed Mexican special federal prosecutor Maria Lopez Urbina, who vowed to roll up her sleeves and bring justice to Silvia Arce and so many others.

A few months prior to the V-Day action, in December 2003, Evangelina Arce and her Mexican lawyers filed a complaint against their government in the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, D.C.

Still pending, the case accuses Mexico of violating the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, the Inter-American Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons and the American Convention on Human Rights.

According to the IACHR complaint, Silvia’s disappearance followed by a botched police investigation caused emotional and physical harm, family break-up and constant harassment and threats.

Responding to the complaint, the administration of then-President Vicente Fox contended the mass disappearance and murder of women in Ciudad Juarez had complex sociological roots that could not be answered “merely by the police investigation and the administration of justice.”

The Fox administration listed a number of actions which had been taken at both the state and federal levels to tackle gender violence, including the creation of the Chihuahua Women’s Institute and the establishment of the Special Commission for the Prevention and Elimination of Violence against Women in Ciudad Juarez headed by Guadalupe Morfin.

In its IACHR response, the Mexican government said it was reaching out to the FBI for technical assistance, while the Chihuahua state government’s own special prosecutor for women’s homicides was getting down to police work and helping victims’ families. Government agencies, the Fox administration insisted, had aided Dona Eva’s family with a two-month “grocery allowance” and other financial help, and assisted with psychological and medical support.

What’s more, Special Prosecutor Lopez Urbina had identified about 100 “dismissed” officials from the Chihuahua state attorney general’s office who were facing legal sanctions for irregularities in investigating cases of murdered and missing women.

Silvia Arce’s case was turned over to the federal attorney general’s elite SIEDO anti-organized crime squad in 2004, because of the suspected involvement of more than three suspects, the Fox government told the IACHR.

The Mexican State’s response to Dona Eva’s IACHR complaint illustrates its stance on other relatives’ cases in both the Washington commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica.

More than five years later, no official named by Lopez Urbina has been punished. After the Fox administration left office, the old Morfin Commission was dissolved into a national commission with a charge extending far beyond Ciudad Juarez. Two years ago, the SIEDO unit charged with resolving Silvia Arce’s disappearance was rocked by scandal when dozens of officials were arrested or sacked for supposedly aiding drug traffickers.

While Silvia Arce’s case awaits disposition in Washington, Dona Eva has word the National Human Rights Commission, which makes non-binding recommendations to Mexican authorities, wants to take another look at the case.

On September 12, 2010, the El Paso Times reported that 1,000 women had been murdered in Ciudad Juarez between 1993 and September 6, 2010. Rapists, robbers, domestic abusers, and narco death squad executioners all took their toll.

Like Silvia Arce and Griselda Mares, scores- perhaps hundreds- of other women remain missing, but it is not known for sure because no systematic registry of disappeared women-or men-exists.

Nearly one year after the Inter-American Court ruled against Mexico in the well-known Ciudad Juarez cotton field femicide case, the government still has not fully complied with a court ruling to effectively publicize cases of missing women on the Internet. The Office of the Chihuahua State Attorney General does have some information on its website, but the list is not complete and doesn’t include photos of all the 28 women listed as missing since 1993.

According to the web page, the Chihuahua state law enforcement authorities have resolved 32 reports of missing women. Of the cases solved, 16 women were found alive and 16 later determined dead. The deceased women were identified largely through the efforts of the Argentine Anthropological Forensic Team brought in several years ago under pressure from victims’ relatives and women’s activists. It remains to be seen if the new state administration that takes office in early October will expand or even keep the current web page.

More than twelve years after Silvia Arce vanished into the depths of a troubled border city, Ciudad Juarez is a place where the crackle of gunshots, the rattle of roving firing squads, the boom of the occasional car bomb and the whir of the ubiquitous ambulance strum the rhythm of daily life. Amid it all, people get up every day to go to work or school in a brave attempt to live some semblance of normalcy.

The city’s residents, Dona Eva said, must be very vigilant about where they walk since flying bullets can bring about an unexpected end. “They even enter homes and kill people,” she lamented.

Dona Eva and other members of Justicia Para Nuestras Hijas (Justice for Our Daughters), a group of relatives of femicide victims and missing young women from Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez, continue searching for their loved ones. Lately, they’ve enlisted the aid of specially-trained dogs to search homes and properties where the remains of disappeared women might be concealed. Since 1999, numerous mass graves containing both men and women have been unearthed in and around Ciudad Juarez.

More than a decade after her life was turned upside down, the bereaved but determined Dona Eva rolls on in her quest for the truth about Silvia. “I’m not going to give up,” she vowed. “I’m going to move ahead until I find her.”

Additional Sources: El Paso Times, March 23 and September 12, 2010. Articles by Diana Washington Valdez. Cimacnoticias.com, June 22, 2010. Article by Gladis Torres.

Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S. -Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico

For a free electronic subscription email: fnsnews@nmsu.edu

An attempted kidnapping September 21 in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua touched off a burst of mass outrage that left two suspected young kidnappers dead and a small town in open rebellion. While the details are still sketchy, ed
the events began with the abduction of a 17-year-old female worker of a seafood restaurant in the town of Ascension by a group of young men.

Located south of the New Mexico border, physician Ascension is in an agricultural region known for its production of chile peppers for the US export market and other crops. The rural area has suffered numerous kidnappings and killings during the last two years.

Alerted to the kidnapping, townspeople and soldiers mobilized, freed the victim and detained five alleged kidnappers; one suspect reportedly escaped. Hundreds of angry residents beat two of the detainees, teenagers, and blocked police from rescuing the suspects, who were later pronounced dead. Reportedly, the mother of one of the suspects witnessed her son’s demise.

In a stand-off that lasted throughout the day, residents prevented two federal police helicopters from landing and blockaded roads to prevent military reinforcements from arriving. Armed with picks, shovels and machetes, enraged residents shouted at “corrupt” soldiers and police to leave. Some locals accused government security forces of colluding with delinquent bands.

One version held that the rescued kidnap victim was the niece of a member of the local town council.

“La Chona Lights the Fuse,” headlined Ciudad Juarez’s Lapolaka newsite, whose director was just granted political asylum in the United States. The news organization couched the report in historical and contemporary terms: “The new Mexican Revolution could have begun this Tuesday in Ascencion…”

While mass lynchings are not uncommon in certain parts of Mexico, such acts have been rare in Chihuahua. The Ascension incident came at an extremely delicate political moment in Chihuahua and Mexico. Submerged in violence, the border state is two weeks away from a political transition that will usher into power a new governor, new state legislature and local governments.

Since the July elections, the murders of several relatives of Governor-elect Cesar Duarte and other politicians, frequent public displays of narco-banners warning of new attacks and round-the-clock executions have added constant doses of mass anxiety to an already-tense political and social environment characterized by the ongoing confrontation between heavily armed organized crime groups.

“We consider that an armed conflict which has not been duly recognized by international institutions exists in the state of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez in particular,” read a statement from three prominent, non-governmental human rights organizations this week.

“The cost has been devastating: Thousands of executions, murders of women, robberies, extortions, taxes on businesses for turf rights, deaths of human rights defenders and journalists, hundreds of thousands of displaced people, complaints of human rights violations that are not investigated or sanctioned, and tears and blood that run through the desert in total impunity.”

The statement was signed by representatives of the Chihuahua Commission in Solidarity and Defense of Human Rights, Paso del Norte Human Rights Center and Women’s Human Rights Center of Chihuahua City.

Nationally, anticipation and angst hangs in the air as Mexico commemorates the 200th anniversary of the War of Independence and 100th anniversary of the 1910 Revolution.

Additionally, September 23 marks the 45th anniversary of the attack on the Madera army barracks not far from Ascension. Led by school teacher Arturo Gamiz and Dr. Pablo Gomez, the guerrilla assault inspired a generation of revolutionaries whose ideological descendants are resurfacing in other parts of the country today.

Last week, as Mexico celebrated its bicentennial, yet another self-proclaimed rebel band issued a declaration in the southern state of Guerrero. In a communiqué delivered to the Guerrero daily El Sur, the Armed People’s Army called for a popular boycott of the upcoming gubernatorial election, an end to the political parties and unity of all the various revolutionary forces. Containing 11 political points, the message was accompanied by a video that portrayed a guerrilla column in the mountains

The Ascension uprising drew heaps of praise on the Internet, with more than one writer suggesting that the mass action showed the way forward in a climate of corruption, lawlessness and institutionalized impunity.

According to the Chihuahua state government, three surviving suspects were successfully transferred to Ciudad Juarez. Authorities are investigating the deaths of the other two suspects, said a statement from the administration of Governor Jose Reyes Baeza, which is due to leave office early next month.

Quoted in the Mexican press, residents of Ascension vowed to arm themselves and protect their town from its enemies.

Sources: El Diario de Juarez, September 21 and 22, 2010. Articles by Luz del Carmen Sosa and editorial staff. La Jornada, September 21 and 22, 2010. Articles by Miroslava Breach Velducea. El Heraldo de Chihuahua, September 22, 2010. Arrobajuarez.com, September 22, 2010. El Sur, September 17, 2010. Article by Carmen Gonzalez. Lapolaka.com, September 14, 15 and 21, 2010.

Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S. -Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico

For a free electronic subscription email: fnsnews@nmsu.edu

Comments

One Response to “Is the Fuse Lit? Uprising/Lynching in Chihuahua”

  1. Joel on September 23rd, 2010 2:53 pm

    That’s what I’m talking about! I don’t condone mob violence, but when the authorities fall short of protecting its citizens, it’s time for the people to protect themselves!

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