Category Archives: MX Culture/News

TJ Migrants Busing South


Several migrants from Guatemala and Honduras board a bus headed from Tijuana to Mexico’s southern border on July 24. (John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government said Friday it is busing migrants who have applied for asylum in the United States to the southern Mexico state of Chiapas.

About 30,000 migrants have been sent back to northern Mexican border cities to await U.S. asylum hearings under a policy known as “Remain in Mexico” under which they have to wait for hearings months away. But few provisions have been made for them to be housed or seek legal representation, and many cities on the northern border are among the most dangerous in Mexico.

Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said it is uses to move migrants south from Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros — two of the most dangerous cities on the northern border. Both cities are in northern Tamaulipas state across from Texas and are dominated by drug cartels.

The migrant agency said the goal of the busing is “to provide a safer alternative for those who do not want to remain on the U.S.-Mexico border.” It did not say how many people had been taken by bus to Chiapas so far.

The Associated Press reported that in July, Mexico had begun busing some of the returned migrants out of Tamaulipas to the city of Monterrey, in neighboring Nuevo Leon state. Authorities said it was for their safety, but many were dropped off in that unfamiliar city in the middle of the night.

Officials gave no indication of how the migrants would return to the border from Monterrey for their court dates. That problem would be amplified for migrants bused to Chiapas, nearly all the way back to the Guatemala border.


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MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government said Friday it is busing migrants who have applied for asylum in the United States to the southern Mexico state of Chiapas.

About 30,000 migrants have been sent back to northern Mexican border cities to await U.S. asylum hearings under a policy known as “Remain in Mexico” under which they have to wait for hearings months away. But few provisions have been made for them to be housed or seek legal representation, and many cities on the northern border are among the most dangerous in Mexico.

Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said it is uses to move migrants south from Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros — two of the most dangerous cities on the northern border. Both cities are in northern Tamaulipas state across from Texas and are dominated by drug cartels.

The migrant agency said the goal of the busing is “to provide a safer alternative for those who do not want to remain on the U.S.-Mexico border.” It did not say how many people had been taken by bus to Chiapas so far.

The Associated Press reported that in July, Mexico had begun busing some of the returned migrants out of Tamaulipas to the city of Monterrey, in neighboring Nuevo Leon state. Authorities said it was for their safety, but many were dropped off in that unfamiliar city in the middle of the night.

Officials gave no indication of how the migrants would return to the border from Monterrey for their court dates. That problem would be amplified for migrants bused to Chiapas, nearly all the way back to the Guatemala border.

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Rape in Baja California Increases


lajornadabc

Tijuana, August 15.- In Baja California, 100 cases of rape are not reported per 100 thousand inhabitants and this black figure places the entity in third place nationwide, said the president of the association Educando Conseguimos Paz, Francisco García Burgos, supported by the president of the National Citizen Observatory, Francisco Rivas.

In Mexico, they explained, the rate of this crime is 6.72 percent, while in the state it is 12.79, which is aggravated because in the state only 10 percent of the crimes committed are investigated and there is no figure real how many were duly resolved or prosecuted.

Among the figures offered by García Burgos, Tijuana is the city that shows the highest rate, with 13.44 research folders initiated per 100 thousand inhabitants being the only municipality that increased this amount with respect to the same period in 2018. The increase was in 3.7 percent

In addition, Baja California is ranked first in vehicle theft and second in malicious homicides, in which the rate is 287 percent higher than the national average.

Although the number of robbery, homicides and violations has fallen compared to 2018, the figures are still above average that is handled in the rest of the Republic.

García Burgos said that these results force to reinforce the security strategy, especially in a context of government change like the one that is about to be lived in Baja California, in order not to paralyze the institutions that protect citizens.

He stressed that in the state progress has been made in the fight against kidnapping and in some forms of theft, such as home and bystanders, in which 60 percent are committed with the luxury of violence.

Rivas said that Mexico only invests .09 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in security, while in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) they have improved on this issue, with investment up to 3 percent of the GDP for each country.

Salsa, Bachata, Vino


Whether you consider yourself a good dancer or not, this month returns the Salsa, Bachata and Vino 2019 to the Guadalupe Valley, where you will want to show off your best steps and enjoy the wine.

Next Saturday, August 24, the fourth edition of the social dance, Salsa Bachata & Vino 2019, will be held at the Alximia Winery in Valle de Guadalupe.

That offers? Wine tastings from more than 100 wineries, delicious restaurant food with acclaimed chefs and dinners from the farm to the table, salsa lessons and spectacular presentations of local teams.

The Mexican, Dj Panchito Lair will be in charge of creating the best bachata and salsa atmosphere, meanwhile, from Los Angeles the great DJ Voss will come.

Tickets are already on sale and you can get them through eventbrite for only $ 15 dollars, plus $ 2.55 dollars per commission. The fun will take place from 3 in the afternoon until midnight. Don’t miss it!

More information here.

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ariday.ortega@sandiegored.com

Peso Xchg at 20 v Dollar


sandiegored

Today, Wednesday , August 14, at the close of the exchange day, the free dollar advanced 31 cents compared to the previous session. This means that it was sold for up to 20.07 pesos and was purchased at a minimum price of 18.50 pesos at banks in Mexico City.

The Bank of Mexico (Banxico) for its part set the price at 19.5763 pesos . This, to solve obligations in foreign currency payable in the country.

The Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) finished at one of its lowest levels in recent years , losing 2.09 percent on the day. The S&P BMV IPC index stood at 38,650.09 units, which represented a decrease of 826.41 points compared to the previous level .

In the United States , Dow Jones fell 3.05 percent, Standard and Poor’s 500 decreased 2.93 percent and Nasdaq fell 3.02 percent.

Black Wednesday for the Mexican economy.

Ensenada Water Crisis Continues


Bajadock: Photo is June 2014 celebration of the Aqueduct Doña Petra Canyon success

zetatijuana 5 Aug 2019

The wells of the Doña Petra Canyon, the desalination plants and the reverse flow have not yielded to the maximum. CESPE developed the 2018-2036 master plan that sets priorities for investment, in the order of 10.6 billion pesos

The water crisis in the municipality of Ensenada has not been overcome and is latent, because the works carried out in this state administration were insufficient to guarantee the supply to the total population, 24 hours a day, in addition to not ensure the supply in the short term.

Among the failed, unfinished and delayed projects, there are the wells of the Doña Petra Canyon, the desalination plants in the city and San Quintín (Kenton), the reverse flow, a Public Private Partnership (APP) to replace pipes in the city , the treated water aqueduct for the Guadalupe Valley and the State Water Plan.

Although between four and five years before, the volume of water available to the city was less than 700 liters per second (lps) and that to date almost one thousand liters per second is reached – which has allowed to provide water to about 130 thousand more inhabitants, according to the State Commission of Public Services of Ensenada, CESPE-, currently coverage is 95 percent of households in the city.

Due to the demand and to avoid the shortage again, in the next two years it is proposed to activate the second stage of the desalination plant, calculated the director of CESPE, Carlos Loyola.

Official figures show that, of average daily supply of 17 hours in 2015, in 2019 there is already water for 22 hours. In some areas it is reduced to 20 hours, where before the service was held for 10 hours. However, in the southern area the panorama is chaotic.

Currently the city is supplied by the following sources: Maneadero, 240 lps; Chapultepec, 70 lps; city, 20 lps; desalination plant, 250 lps; water treatment plant (with four months in operation, 40 lps; La Mision, 240 lps; reverse flow, 130 lps. The Guadalupe Valley has a capacity of 25 lps destined for that area.

INSUFFICIENT PROJECTS AND WORKS

In February 2014, the then director of CESPE, Arturo Alvarado, announced the drilling of wells in the Doña Petra Canyon with an investment of 25 million pesos, which would end the tandeos.

The wells were inaugurated in June of the same year, with a volume of 117 liters per second. However, months later they only contributed 6.6 liters per second. They are currently not listed in the source list.

After at least four delays in the date of operation and with an investment in the order of 155 million pesos, 60 more than originally planned, the reverse flow was launched at the end of 2015.With a capacity to send 300 liters of water per second, it currently provides 130 liters to Ensenada.

In 2016, the Secretary of Infrastructure and Urban Development of the State (SIDUE) launched the call for APP 009/2016 under the SIDUE-CESPE-APP-2016-009 contest, to carry out the project “Works Needed in order to Modernize the Distribution System of Potable Water in the Municipal Head of Ensenada, Baja California ”.

The winning company would invest 321 million 116 thousand 588 pesos with 88 cents, without Value Added Tax (VAT) included, obtaining a monthly consideration of 4 million 50 thousand 974 pesos with 62 cents without VAT, which would cost CESPE more than 800 million pesos in a period of 15 years. The project was rejected because it was not viable for the parastatal.

Without environmental permits, in March 2016 the symbolic start of the construction of the Kenton desalination plant in the area known as “La Chorera”, in San Quintín, took place. The work has an investment scheduled for the order of 875 million pesos, a 27-year contract under the APP scheme, with a production of 250 liters per second. Formally the works have not started, three months after the end of the current state administration.

In the first months of 2018, the State Commission of Public Services of Tijuana awarded the company Odis Asversa the contract for the “Design, Construction, Equipment and Operation of the Recovered Water Conduction System for the Guadalupe Valley in the Municipality of Ensenada ”Per thousand 544 million pesos.

In October of the same year, the document was signed between the state government and the company of Israeli origin. To date, the wine growers have not signed with the company, due to differences in the price of water.

At the end of last year, with almost 20 months of delay and a cost greater than 882.4 million pesos -310 million more than originally projected- the Ensenada desalination plant began operating.Provides 250 liters per second, with the possibility of increasing up to 500 liters per second in a second, without having a date to start it up. Even without operating, it was inaugurated in June 2018 by the then President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto.

CHAOS IN THE SOUTH OF THE MUNICIPALITY

In the southern delegations of the municipality, such as Camalú, Punta Colonet and San Quintín, CESPE provides water to its inhabitants every three to four weeks, only for one day, residents of those delegations reported.

The water arrives directly to the battery and from there it is pumped (generating greater consumption of electricity) to the houses for basic needs, such as washing dishes, using the toilet and bathing. The liquid that falls into the batteries lasts approximately two weeks.

Once the water in the battery runs out, the inhabitants must buy it from the CESPE pipes at a much higher price, between 12 and 30 pesos, the 200 liter warmth, although the distributors give priority to those who fill their batteries.

Between Camalú and San Quintín about 80 colonies are calculated without water networks, many of these irregular, while in Colonet there are three lacking pipes.

Regarding the Kenton desalination plant, Carlos Loyola commented that an ejidatario is missing for closing the deal to install the lines for its land, and acknowledged that the company has had problems from a regulatory point of view, although it already has the credit line. In his opinion, the solution to the problem of water in the southern zone is to desalinate seawater.

BREACHES WITH RIGHT TO WATER: UABC STUDY

In Ensenada the quality is not always adequate when exceeding total dissolved solids and, since it is not of potable quality, the right to water -included in Article 4 of the Constitution- is not fulfilled, according to Dr. Mariana Villada Canela , a researcher attached to the Oceanological Research Institute (IIO) of the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), Ensenada Campus.

In coordination with Vanessa Elizabeth García Searcy, one of her master’s students whose work was focused on the issue of ecosystem management in arid areas, Villada developed for two years the study “ Implications of the Human Right to Water in the Management of Water Resources in Baja California ”.

For both, the human right to water implies having enough recourse, that is healthy, acceptable, accessible and affordable for personal and domestic use. However, not all people have the same ability to access water.

On this subject, Loyola acknowledged that the quality of water in Ensenada varies from source. Currently the source with the worst quality (highest salinity) is that of former Ejido Chapultepec.

 

RAISES INVESTMENT OF 10.6 BILLION PESOS

Given this scenario, CESPE developed the 2018-2036 Master Plan that contemplates the need to invest 10.6 billion pesos in the next 18 years, in new sources, replacement of networks, sewage collectors and treatment plants.

The plan, with a cost of 9 million pesos -50% contributed by the National Water Commission-, includes the diagnosis, demand, infrastructure and financial model; It is considered by the owner of the parastatal as a key to raising the quality of service.

Despite having identified the problem, at the end of this administration no investment will be made, instead, the plan will be delivered to the next state administration headed by the morenista Jaime Bonilla Valdez, seeking to offer a real picture of the situation facing CESPE and the city in water matters, but without the guarantee of being attended.

The first step to be taken to make CESPE’s service more efficient, engineer Loyola said in an interview, “is to have a tariff policy that achieves operational self-sufficiency.”

For the state official, it is not possible that more than 70% of the water in Ensenada has a below-cost rate, which causes losses in each cubic meter. The current domestic rate is around 19 pesos on average, while the average cost per cubic meter reaches 32 pesos.

The next step would be to review the feasibility of the projected investments, for which it opened the possibility of doing so under a mixed, adequate and transparent scheme, with private investment, without discarding public investment.

According to the diagnosis, the city of Ensenada has about 400 thousand inhabitants in the urban area and more than half a million in the municipality.

In October 2018, there were 800 leaks in the network and almost one thousand in meter frames. In June 2019, 170 leaks were reported.

As for calls due to lack of water, in 2015 there were 3,741 monthly reports, that is, almost 45,000 calls in the year. Three years later, the number dropped to 1,667 monthly reports, 12,000 a year, while in 2019 the average is 340 monthly calls.

However, approximately 40% of the water networks in the city are in poor condition, with a useful life close to 40 years, causing the parastatal to operate “practically manually, we do not have automation”. Said automation, Loyola said, “would save resources on personnel, gasoline and units, which would allow to invest in efficiency and reduce operating costs.”

CESPE has a portfolio of approximately 145 thousand clients; In 2036 it is projected to reach 270 thousand accounts, almost double the current. This will cause the current demand to increase from one cubic meter per second to between 2.7 and 3 cubic meters per second.

In order to cope with this situation, in addition to the increase in the rate, the need to replace driving lines, fountains, aqueducts, sewerage network and treatment plants is included.

Just to efficiently operate the Maneadero aqueduct, an investment of 411 million pesos is calculated; Another aqueduct to which it is urgent to invest is the Morelos, from San Antonio de las Minas to the tanks.

For the urban area, for the next few years it is proposed to activate the second phase of the desalination plant (until reaching 500 lps), then build another plant north of the municipality, between El Sauzal and La Mision, along the Carretera Libre, where the CESPE has identified an enormous amount of land susceptible to development in which the main inhibitor is water.

“After that desalination plant in the north I no longer dare to say what the next work would be, it could be the Tanamá-Ensenada aqueduct or a third desalination plant,” the head of CESPE analyzed.

Finally, the section of the financial model is considered as the tool for decision-making regarding tariff and administration policies, aimed at generating investment conditions between the various government orders.

The vision of this model is that CESPE can have a sustained and efficient operation, that at a given moment the government resources go to investment and not operation, as is currently the case.

He exemplified with the inability to pay desalinated water due to the non-approval of the increase in the rate by local deputies. At the end of this year it is estimated that the state government will contribute about 170 million pesos for the payment of said water, when the ideal would have been to invest it in infrastructure, he explained.

The current operating cost of CESPE is estimated at 760 million pesos, with an overall amount of 840 million, taking into account liabilities with the National Water Commission and Issstecali, among others; generates revenue of 600 million pesos and, at the same time, faces a debt in the order of one billion pesos.

Vaquita Movie Screening in TJ, Mexicali, Ensenada


sandiegored

National Geographic will screen documentary about Vaquita Marina in Tijuana

The screening presents scientists, a group of environmental conservationists, journalists and others who care to preserve the endangered species.

National Geographic Documentary Films and the Consulate of the United States in Tijuana will carry out this week the screening of a documentary about the Vaquita Marina.

On Tuesday, October 13, at 7 p.m. in the Video Room of the Cultural Center of Tijuana (Cecut), the Sea of ​​Shadows will be screened. The documentary follows a team of scientists, an environmental conservation group, investigative journalists and undercover agents in their fight to save Vaquita Marina and bring criminals to justice.

To attend you just have to send an email to gomezJM@state.gov. At the end of the screening of the documentary, which was recorded in Baja California, there will be a panel with special guests.

This will be the only day present in Tijuana, in Mexicali and Ensenada it would arrive on August 14 and 16, respectively.

Don’t miss this documentary filmed in Baja California about the vaquita marina! An endangered species.

Tijuana – August 13 – 7:00 pm – CECUT Video Room
Mexicali – August 14, 11:00 am – Gulfstream Room, CETYS Mexicali
Ensenada – August 16, 4:00 pm – Caracol Science Museum 

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The controversial documentary , produced by Leonardo Dicaprio , is a covert investigation to find the key pieces in the framework of illegal totoaba fishing that keeps the only Mexican porpoise in vile of extinction : the vaquita marina .
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The vaquita marina, Mexican cetacean in danger of extinction, is once again the center of world attention with the expected world premiere of the documentary “ Sea of ​​Shadows ” by director Richard Ladkani , and produced by actor Leonardo DiCaprio .

This cinematic document portrays the complex problem surrounding the vaquita marina in the Upper Gulf of California , lethally entangled between Mexican and Chinese cartels, trafficking the totoaba crop between corrupt borders. Another important character in the documentary is the environmental group of Sea Shepherd , whose mission has been – together with the Navy of Mexico – focused entirely on the withdrawal of illegal fishing nets within the Upper Gulf and Rio Colorado Biosphere Reserve .

Like the atmosphere that surrounds the vaquita marina, the documentary also bears some controversy . This important documentary work had the collaboration of Andrea Costra , founder of Earth League , a non-governmental organization dedicated to intelligence and infiltration to locate illegal links of greater caliber in the markets that affect the environment;in this case it was the detection with name and surname of those in charge of transportation, corrupt agents and final buyers .

This documentary project also had the collaboration of Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola , who since his news in Mexico City has maintained a coverage of the problem in the Upper Gulf of California , and who even suffered threats from the controversial spokesman and influencer Sunshine Rodriguez .

Andrea Costra himself said that this work has been one of the most dangerous that he has done so far, due to the presence of extremely violent posters , as well as an environment of corruption both in relation to the application of the law in the sea, as of municipal and customs police.

The rights of “ Sea of ​​Shadows ” were acquired by NatGeo , who has launched a campaign to promote this documentary that could have a positive impact on the actions taken to protect the vaquita from extinction. Today, multiple civil and environmental organizations are still working in San Felipe, Baja California , as well as in the Gulf of Santa Clara , Sonora , to eradicate gillnets – illegal – within the sea, and thereby preserve the marine fauna of the Gulf of California.

vrenne.rodriguez@gmail.com

Ensenada Toll Road Approach


Check out this 360 view of the beautiful approach to Ensenada from the north on the Toll Road.

Emmanuel Zambrano Photography

Taco Chronicles


Angel Mendoza has been serving carne asada tacos at Tacos El Franc since he was 18.

For 27 years, the soft-spoken taquero has provided thousands of tacos to hungry customers in Tijuana’s Zona Rio on an almost nightly basis.

Mendoza doesn’t throw salsa into the air and catch it with a taco behind his back, unlike some of Mexico’s flashy taqueros.

He is the silent hero of one of Tijuana’s most popular taco shops. And this July, people from all over the world experienced the joy of watching him in action thanks to the “Taco Chronicles,” a Netflix series about Mexico’s best tacos.

The show is a love letter to Mexico’s comfort food. Each episode focuses on one type of taco and features famous chefs glorifying tacos with language usually reserved for works of art.

In the carne asada episode — the one that features Tacos El Franc and Mendoza — chef Cecy Gonzalez describes the grilled steak taco as an out-of-body experience.

“An asada taco tastes like heaven,” she says. “It tastes like home, like family, like friends, like a night out. It is everything, man.”

In that same episode, Mendoza doesn’t say a word. He simply works as Netflix’s cameras captured the artistry of his work.

Set to opera music, the veteran taquero gracefully flings guacamole and salsa onto juicy steak tacos served on warm hand-made tortillas as hungry customers enjoy the subtle show.

Since the episode aired, Tacos El Franc has seen its business increase by more than 20 percent, according to manager Ramiro Valadez.

That new business is almost exclusively from people who saw the taco shop on Netflix and want to take pictures with Mendoza and the rest of the staff.

“It feels good,” Mendoza said of the recognition he’s gotten from the show. “People say they saw me on TV and that we make the best tacos in all of Tijuana.”

Taqueria Franc in Tijuana, Mexico

In Tijuana, Mexico, customers are encouraged to sit next to the tacos al pastor grill and order directly from Juan Manuel de Estrada.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Tacos El Franc is a classic Mexican taco shop. The taqueros work in an open kitchen where customers build up an appetite surrounded by the aroma of perfectly cooked meat. As patrons shout their orders, a small team of waiters dart around the restaurant carrying up to a dozen plates on both hands to different tables.

Their carne asada is marinated with orange, olive oil, garlic salt, pepper, oregano and a special seasoning. Their al pastor tacos are made with pork loin, which is more expensive but far juicier than the pork other Tijuana taco shops use.

Located just five minutes away from the San Ysidro border crossing, Tacos El Franc has been luring American taco lovers to Tijuana since opening in 1996.

Appearing on Netflix simply expanded their reach.

People from Oregon, Chicago, Argentina and China have visited Tacos El Franc since “Taco Chronicles” aired in July, said Valadez, the restaurant’s charismatic manager.

“I never imagined that show would turn out to be such a success,” he said.

Pablo Cruz, the creator of “Taco Chronicles” called Tacos El Franc, “the number one taqueria in the world.”

Although their carne asada taco is their bread and butter, they also have amazing tripa, suadero, birria and al pastor tacos, Cruz said.

What makes the carne asada tacos truly a standout is how they incorporate so many flavors. From the thin-cut steak, to the beans cooked in animal fat, fresh guacamole, a simple red salsa and perfect home-made tortillas, Cruz said.

“I really think that Franc to me is the best representation of how a taco can be perfectly delicious,” he said.

Above all, what really sets them apart, is the service, he added. Tacos El Franc treats people like family because they are a family – literally. Valadez’s brother, sister and uncle all work in the restaurant.

On Tuesday, there was a line outside the small establishment just after it opened at 4 p.m.

Among the first to enter were Brandon Van Baggen and Jeff Leon. The two friends were at the tail end of a Baja vacation that included wine tasting in Valle de Guadalupe and seafood in Ensenada. Van Baggen has lived in San Diego for eight years but had never ventured directly south of the border.

The two decided to go to Tacos El Franc after seeing the “Taco Chronicles.”

“I’m super mad that I hadn’t taken the time to explore (sooner),” Van Baggen said. “There is so much food here, the people are so nice, there is just so much to do.”

A few tables away from them was a family from Vista who stop by Tacos El Franc whenever they visit grandma in Tijuana. Lily Cardenas said her kids start asking about tacos as soon as they cross into Mexico.

“They are more excited for the tacos than for grandma,” she said.

Next to the Cardenas family was the Flores family, a married couple from El Cajon who have been driving down to Tijuana for decades just to eat at Tacos El Franc.

They come so often that Valadez, the manager, remembers their usual order and has it ready for them before they even sit down.

It’s that level of customer service, along with the quality of the food, that keeps people coming back, Valadez said.

“We don’t just come in and work, we make sure everyone leaves happy,” he said. “You go to other taco shops and no one pays attention to you. You have to flag someone down to place an order. Here, we give you quality service. That goes a long way.”

Javier Cabral, a scout for “Taco Chronicles” who traveled throughout Mexico to find the best taquerias, said Tacos El Franc was special because its proximity to the border gives Americans a chance to taste the real deal.

“It’s so magical, and you get a feeling of euphoria and you understand why tacos in Mexico are better,” Cabral said.

What makes Tacos El Franc unique is that it celebrates Tijuana — a border city that is overlooked by people in both Mexico and the U.S.

“Mexicans who live in the interior, they talk so much s— about Tijuana,” Cabral said. “They say it’s not really Mexico, it’s the U.S. It’s unfair. And it faces the same criticism from Americans who take Tijuana for granted.”

The taco shop, Cabral added, embraces Tijuana’s culture by bringing together business people from Mexico City and day-trippers from San Diego to enjoy carne asada tacos side-by-side.

Taqueria Franc in Tijuana, Mexico

At the popular Taqueria Franc in Tijuana, Mexico on August 6, 2019, a waiter carries an assortment of carne asada and al pastor tacos to customers in the dining room.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

96% of Crime is Free


zocalo.com

Of 2 million 85 thousand 842 investigation files initiated in 2018 in Mexico, only 81 thousand 80 resulted in a process linkage, that is, 3.9 percent, the report “Findings 2018. Monitoring and evaluation of the Criminal Justice System”, prepared by Mexico Evaluates.

According to the document, 835,378 cases were under investigation.

Impunity in the country, the organization concludes from these data, is 96.1 percent at the state level and 96.4 percent at the federal level.

“In general terms, the criminal justice system still contains significant levels of impunity. There has been no improvement in the conditions of efficiency and effectiveness of the institutions of the system to provide justice to citizens.

“Although some of the states have made progress to provide a satisfactory solution to the issues they know, the percentage of unresolved cases is very high and, worryingly, sometimes corresponds to almost all of the issues,” the document warns. .

The State Impunity Index included in the report reflects that, at the local level, the entities with the highest levels of impunity are Tamaulipas, with 99.9 percent; Veracruz, 99.8; Nuevo León, 99.6;Chiapas, 99.4, and Tabasco, 99.4 percent.

As measured by México Evalúa, the lowest levels of impunity are presented in Guanajuato, with 87.6 percent; Querétaro, 90; Puebla, 90.1; Campeche, 91.7, and Baja California, 91.8 percent.

At the federal level, the organization concluded that the effectiveness, understood in the report as “satisfactory answers”, is only 5.4 percent, so the level of impunity is considered worrying.

“In a broad sense, impunity implies the lack of investigation and resolution of a case, either by a conviction or by some alternative route. While it is a phenomenon present in all societies, the levels at which impunity It permeates a justice system that differentiates a robust rule of law from one that is not, “he says.
Counter Reformation
Mexico Evalúa and the United Nations warned about the existence of signs that outline a risky counter-reform to the criminal justice system.

In the presentation of the “Findings 2018” report, Edna Jaime, director of México Evalúa, affirmed that this would not only mean a return to the past, but that it would exacerbate corruption in access to justice.

“The country is at a crossroads, on one side is the path that leads to the consolidation of the reform of the system, the other path leads us to a counter-reform process in which institutional construction work is abandoned and we stay in middle of the road with a system where deficiencies are subsidized, “he warned.

The specialist warned about the construction of a speech that suggests that the accusatory-oral model favors impunity through phenomena such as the “revolving door”.

He pointed out that the reforms to constitutional article 19 that extended the crimes that merit informal pretrial detention and the laws on domain extinction are incompatible with the system itself.

Jan Jarab, representative in Mexico of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, agreed that there is a risk of setback.

“My office has encouraged the Mexican State on past occasions that it is necessary to avoid reforms that are detrimental to the accusatory system,” he said.

Asylum Seekers at Border


seattletimes.com 

August 4, 2019

Eighteen miles up the coast, the beachside community of Coronado, on a peninsula across the bay from San Diego, practically gleams on the horizon but seems like another world.

The gallows humor of a tormented and unappreciated neighbor underpins a famous saying attributed to the late-19th century Mexican President Porfirio Diaz: “Poor Mexico. So far from God, so close to the United States.”

Here at the Playas de Tijuana and other locations in this culture clash of a border town bursting with nearly 2 million people, that couldn’t be more true.

Tijuana has all of the trappings of a city at the edge of two countries: Tens of thousands of Mexican commuters traveling across the border to work in the San Diego area each day, busy shopping districts, gritty party zones filled with foreign clubbers, unflappable residents who’ve seen it all.

The city’s also on edge, a battleground in the political fight in the United States over what to do about the thousands of migrants who’ve made their way here in the past year.

The new arrivals have traveled over Mexico’s rugged terrain mostly on foot but also by train, smugglers’ vehicles and other means, from Central and South America and the Caribbean.

What many of them are looking for is the chance to find safety, work or a good education in the United States for their kids.

Once they reach the border, what they often find instead is uncertainty.

In Tijuana, the idea of “asylum” takes on many different meanings. The city has come to represent a safe haven of its own — the place to regroup, hold tight or settle while the dream of living in the United States hangs in the balance or fades entirely once the reality of America’s shifting asylum rules becomes clear.

The distance to Tijuana from Tapachula — the border town in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas that sits just across from Guatemala and serves as a launch site for migrant caravans — is 2,425 miles.

The trip north through Mexico alone takes 44 hours by car, about two days.

It takes 800 hours on foot, a little over one month.

Every day, thousands of Mexican commuters cross this busy border to work in the San Diego area, while Americans visit Tijuana to shop and go to nightclubs.

Lots of factors have forced people to take this grueling journey. Poverty, organized crime and political instability have upturned countries in the Americas, particularly El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela, that were already fragile. The latest shift by the Trump administration would make it all but impossible for any of these migrants — adult or child — passing through Mexico from other countries to get asylum. It is being challenged in court.

This isn’t the first major wave of migrants from Central America to arrive at America’s doorstep. Going back to the 1990s, people were fleeing drug and gang-related violence in the region. Internal political conflicts in the 1980s, some supported by U.S.-backed covert operations, also contributed to instability in the region, driving people to safer countries.

But today’s migrants are more heavily influenced by organized crime.

“Whereas migrants fled civil wars in the 1980s, they now flee gangs,” Daniel Reichman, a Central American migration expert at the University of Rochester, recently wrote.

There’s also a Haitian-migrant community of about 3,000 in Tijuana.

A shantytown set in a ravine with no paved roads serves as home base for some migrants from that impoverished country, which is still recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2010.

In the city center, Haitian-owned businesses, barber shops and restaurants, have sprung up to serve fellow expats as well as locals.

The border looks like a fixed presence, a line on the map. But the closer you get to it, and the more you talk to migrants living near it, you come to realize that it is much more than that.

It’s both a series of fences, walls, checkpoints and natural barriers and a metaphorical goal post that can be moved back and forth according to the whims and demands of those in power.

The border’s tantalizingly close, and painfully out of reach.

Dogs walk by the U.S.-Mexico border fence in the East Tijuana neighborhood of El Nido de las Aguilas, or The Eagle’s Nest.

The Department of Homeland Security says that a 600% surge of apprehensions of families migrating with children at the U.S. Mexico border over the past year has brought America’s border-security and immigration systems “to the point of collapse.”

Given the recent surge, a dramatic increase in the percentage of asylum-claim denials over the past two years, unpredictable policy shifts at the federal level and a yearslong backlog of asylum cases on the U.S. side, migrants waiting to make their cases face the difficult decision of whether to keep waiting, settle in Tijuana, enter illegally or go home.

Tijuana has a generally welcoming spirit and a strong economy for migrants with Mexican work visas who decide to stay. But it is by no means ideal.

The city recently earned the unwelcome distinction of becoming the fifth most dangerous city in the world — 100.77 homicides per 100,000 people in 2017 — due in large part to turf battles between rival criminal organizations. Last year was its most violent ever — 2,500 homicides.

Juan Carlos, a 36-year-old who migrated with his wife and three children from El Salvador in October, has no intention of going back, despite the challenges of living in Tijuana.

This spring he decided to settle on the outskirts of the city, at a home offered to him by generous locals. Up until recently the family was staying at shelters.

A baker and bread distributor by trade, Juan Carlos says he left El Salvador after he was beaten for not paying a $50 monthly kickback to a local gang. He says the gang informed him that if he failed to pay the next month, he and his family would be killed. Because he fears for his life, he asked that I use only his first and middle name.

Gangs such as Barrio 18 and MS-13 have terrorized and extorted entire poor communities in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, neighboring countries that make up the Northern Triangle.

“If you get along with the guys in the street, the police come and kill you or unfairly put you in jail for several years, and if you become friends with the police, the gangsters come and do entire massacres in your house,” Juan Carlos says.

“All that is daily life. On this side, there’s a neighborhood; opposite, there’s another neighborhood. There, they have a gang, and here they have another gang.”

Every day back home, Juan Carlos had to choose sides.

In the end, he’s had to choose countries.

“All that made us scared for our lives,” Juan Carlos says of his situation. “We had to gather our clothes and our children and leave in the middle of the night.”

The family eventually made it to Tapachula, where they lived for three months while waiting for Mexican humanitarian visas, good for one year, before joining a caravan.

The family was broke.

“There were times where I lost my sense of shame,” Juan Carlos says of that period. “I had friends who gave me a hand. They’d give me money. And when we had nothing to eat, I’d go begging to the parks.”

Juan Carlos and his family joined a caravan that made its way on foot to Tijuana; they arrived at the end of January.

When we met, he and his family were staying at a shelter run by the group Juventud 2000, in what looked like walled-in lot with a covered roof that let in the cold spring air.

Dozens of tents, a dining area and restrooms filled the small space. Children ran through the aisles while listless-looking grown-ups watched TV in plastic chairs.

Among the migrants waiting in Tijuana for their asylum cases to move forward in the states, there are similar stories of desperation and resignation in the face of a U.S. immigration system that government officials say is overburdened.

Aracely, Juan Carlos, their children and a friend walk to a laundromat in Tijuana. Hugo Castro, of the nonprofit Border Angels, says his organization works with the shelter they lived in and eight others around Tijuana, providing volunteers, donated goods and medical assistance. Castro said migrants and asylum-seekers are fleeing violence, extortion and deaths of family members. “They are in survival mode and just want to stay alive,” he says.

Complicating matters for the migrants, not all stories of hardship by asylum-seekers are equal. Poverty, for instance, doesn’t qualify a migrant for asylum in the states.

Domestic violence and pressure from gangs — the latter of which has been identified as a major reason for the more recent exodus of Central Americans from their homelands — don’t guarantee a successful bid for refuge either.

Juan Carlos realized his chances were slim given the political realities in the United States. That’s one of the reasons why he and his partner decided they’d stay put in Mexico with their three kids, rather than proceed with their plan to make a case for asylum.

They feared that if their claim was denied, they’d be forced to go back home.

“I feel grateful to the Mexican people, and I feel a little upset with North America,” Juan Carlos says.

“We only want the president to touch his heart and say, ‘I’ll give you a chance,’” he says. But “from one moment to another, they tell us, ‘You’re not eligible. You’re all going back to your country.’”

“That’s chaos … It’s like they’re saying, ‘Give me five coffins. I’m sending this family to be buried there.’ It’s not fair.”

Tijuana has long been accustomed to the ebb and flow of people on the move from hardship and heading to the promised land up north — and vice versa.

In fact, about 30% of Mexican nationals who are deported from the United States enter Mexico through Tijuana, according to Jose Israel Ibarra, a journalist and researcher at the El Colegio de la Frontera Norte.

The frontera, as the border is called in Spanish, seeps into the local psyche as effortlessly as waves through the posts in the fence at the beach.

The Tijuana craft brewery Insurgente sells a brew called Migrante IPA, proceeds of which go to local charities serving the migrant population.

Within view of the beach fence, there’s the Undocumented Cafe, whose name plays up the Tijuana area’s status as a way station for migrants on the way to the states as well as people who’ve been deported.

The sun sets in Tijuana. The city is one of the largest in Mexico and sits at the border with California.

Daysi, a single mother from Honduras who was deported from the United States when her 12-year-old son Jimmy was just a year old, fears for her boy’s future if she has to take him to her native country. Because of safety concerns, we’re only using their first names.

Jimmy was born in the United States when she was living in New York.

When I met with them in Tijuana earlier this year, they were sleeping at a shelter operated by the nonprofit, migrant-services group Border Angels while she figured out how to get him back to the country of his birth, even if she couldn’t return because of her deportation.

Daysi said she was arrested on drug charges in New York and referred to ICE 11 years ago. She maintains her innocence, saying she was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

What’s more, she argued to immigration authorities at the time, she had a small child who needed her.

But because Daysi didn’t have legal status in the United States, she was given two options: Plead guilty and face jail time or self-deport — voluntarily leave the country.

She chose to leave. Officials sent her baby boy to be with her in Honduras soon after.

She wants the United States government to review her case and allow her to return.

Jimmy, a quiet boy with light eyes and a faraway seriousness, wrapped his arm around his mother as she tearfully explained her journey from the south and her dreams for up north. He’s looking out for her, while she plots the next steps for them.

Speaking in Spanish with the help of an interpreter, Daysi said she would give up her son for adoption to an American family if she had to, whatever it would take to secure a stable life and safety for her son.

She said his birth certificate is missing and that has complicated her plans.

When I spoke to her, she was earning a little money ironing clothes and Jimmy was selling shrimp skewers on the beach.

They had recently been able to send small amounts back home to Daysi’s struggling mother, to help with her basic needs.

Daysi wanted at least to make it possible for Jimmy to go back and forth to a school on the other side of the border in San Diego, where he could get a better education.

Daysi and her son Jimmy, 12, found a space together in a Tijuana shelter that provides housing to migrants, asylum-seekers and people who have been deported from the U.S. Jimmy is an American citizen by birth, but mostly grew up in Honduras. Daysi says gangs threatened them, so they fled north through Mexico.

One thing she refused to consider was sending her son back to the dangers that await a teenage boy in Honduras. She feared he would be recruited by gangs, or killed for rejecting them, if they went there.

“I don’t know what my future has in store for me, but the important thing is that I at least put my son there by the wall,” she said.

Jimmy was matter-fact-about his priorities: “Study, work, help my mom,” he said. “And help us get out of all these problems.”

Daysi recalled with some irony the time Jimmy told her he wanted to be a customs and immigration officer when he grows up.

“But now he’s living … with immigrants,” she said, pointing out that the two of them had to sleep in parks and on floors in the beginning, and beg for money in the street.

A 2018 report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the recruitment of children and teens in Central America backs up the claims of migrants who fear returning their sons and daughters to their home countries.

“Girls, boys and adolescents, in fact, are groups most impacted by violence and rights violations in their diverse forms, as well as by organized crime,” the report says.

It also says that government officials in those countries do a poor job of protecting children’s rights and preventing their recruitment into gangs.

Daysi and Jimmy were in a holding pattern. But she was resolute.

“I’d rather turn myself over to the United States and be imprisoned,” Daysi said.

“But I won’t give my son to gangs — ever.”

A few months after I spoke to them, Daysi sent Jimmy to stay with relatives near Washington, D.C.

She remains in Tijuana.

Special thanks to Tijuana-based journalists Jorge Armando Nieto, Cristian Arturo Pichardo Lopez and Inés García Ramos, who contributed to the reporting of this story.

Tyrone Beason is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, he was a Seattle Times columnist and Pacific NW magazine reporter.

Corinne Chin is a video journalist at The Seattle Times. She also serves as the newsroom’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force leader, as well as AAJA Seattle president.

Erika Schultz works as a staff photographer for The Seattle Times, where she focuses on documentary photo and video storytelling.

Project editor: Danny Gawlowski

Story editor: Ray Rivera

Design editor: Frank Mina

Photo editor: Fred Nelson

Project coordinator: Laura Gordon

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