Monday, August 6, 2012

Urgent action for immigrant rights is needed

Nothing more betrays the stinking mendacity of the Mexican-US drug war than the body count: nearly 60,000 Mexican civilians dead in the past 6 years, a handful of drug traffickers hauled in, & a military reign of terror in Mexico that has done nothing, nada, zip to curtail the flow of drugs into the US. The US arms drug traffickers (Operation Fast & Furious), US drug agents, military forces & drone aircraft are now deployed to Mexico, but still along with 50,000 Mexican marines they can’t find those damn marijuana fields or obstruct the flow of other drugs. What has increased meanwhile is extreme barbarism & violence against Central American immigrants headed for the US border & that is likely what the militarization of Mexico is really all about. Over 300,000 Central Americans enter every year from Guatemala to catch the “train of death” or La Bestia (The Beast) cargo trains going north. Though the MX senate legalized the undocumented traveling through the country to the US border, immigrants are forced to ride deadly cargo trains because of highway security checkpoints & policies where federal police board & search buses for migrants. The US & Mexico are partnered in human rights crimes against these immigrants so egregious they need to be exposed & prosecuted at an international tribunal. Using the same narcoterrorist gang scare proven so effective to justify violence & incarceration against Black & Latino youth in the US, all the violence against immigrants is attributed to drug cartels. There is no doubt black market trafficking attracts plebeian, declassed thugs but the main source of violence comes from patrician, manicured bankers, growers, politicians, & paramilitary thugs in both the US & MX. Mexican immigration laws exceed even the outrages of Arizona’s SB 1070, complete with criminalizing immigration (fines & incarceration), deportation (50,000 per year), & mandatory ID checks of anyone who looks “foreign” (also known as racial profiling). Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission as well as Amnesty International have for years documented crimes by federal & municipal police against immigrants: harassment, shake downs for bribes, assaults, pushing people under & off trains, refusal to investigate or prosecute attacks, & refusal to protect shelters where immigrants stop over. Thousands are kidnapped, held for ransom, raped, disabled from train amputations, disappeared, murdered, massacred, & often mutilated. 50,000 MX marines deployed along with US paramilitary forces & they can’t put a stop to this!? Or are they there to facilitate it? Or are they even complicit? The government has allowed charities & human & immigrant rights groups to operate shelters along the train route to provide medical care, food, solace, & rest to the beleaguered migrants. In the past few years, these shelters have come under physical attack & threats--& in every case, police authorities are implicated. In the city of Ixtepec, Oaxaca, just north of the Chiapas border, Fr. Alejandro Solalinde, who operates Brothers of the Road shelter, just returned after being forced to flee for several months from years of attacks & threats against him, the immigrants he served, & his shelter. Just recently, a shelter along the train route, in Lecheria (about 26 miles north of Mexico City, not far from Teotihuacan) was closed due to threats of violence, assaults, & the refusal of police authorities to defend it (though obligated by law to provide security). Immigrants, staff, volunteers, & the shelter have been shot at, the director threatened she would be “killed like a dog”, the shelter burned down, & immigrant residents killed. Local residents terrified of the escalating violence are now protesting the shelter; several of them also destroyed makeshift huts migrants had erected near the railroad tracks & set fire to belongings of migrants. Immigrants in fear for their lives are now forced to sleep outside. Two temporary shelters have been set up in Huehuetoca & Lecheria but one of them was also shot at. Here a man from El Salvador & his baby sleep under a bridge near the train station. (Photo by Edgard Garrido/Reuters)

This video gives an idea of the dangers of La Bestia & of the decent working people under physical attack who still leave their families & make this perilous journey to provide for their loved ones; you can see the bereavement & fear they feel. The funereal music is entirely appropriate since many will never complete the journey:

Please write immediately (in Spanish or your own language):
*Calling on the authorities to provide effective protection to staff, volunteers & migrants at  the temporary shelters in Huehuetoca & Lechería;

*Urging a full & impartial investigation into the attacks & threats on all shelters & for those responsible to be held to account;

*Urging State of Mexico authorities to support migrant shelters, including relocation if necessary to a safe place & tackling discrimination against migrants.


Minister of Interior
Dr. Alejandro Poiré Romero
Secretaría de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juárez
Delegación Cuauhtémoc
México D.F., C.P.06600, MÉXICO
Fax: (+52) 55 5093 3414 (keep trying)
Salutation: Dear Minister/Estimado
Señor Secretario

Governor of Mexico state
Eruviel Avila Villegas
Lerdo Poniente Número 300,
Primer Piso, Puerta 216,
Palacio Del Poder Ejecutivo,
Colonia Centro, CP 50000
Toluca, Estado de México, México
Fax: (+52) 722 276 0046
Salutation: Dear Governor/Estimado Gobernador
And copies to:
Dimensión Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana        (NGO)
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

No comments:

Post a Comment