Category Archives: Politricks

Ratas y Retos in Baja California

Bajadock: Baja Governor Kiko Vega and President Enrique Peña Nieto proudly inaugurate the Ensenada desal plant, although it was not ready to open that day.  A couple of weeks after it did open, it was shut down.  It took a day or two after shutdown to announce the problem with the sand filters.

By: Arturo Ruiz, El Súper Cívico, revistaavefenix.blogspot

In many occasions life gives us tests of a different nature, to overcome them or not is a possibility, to evade them, is another, although not very recommendable from my point of view. And I think the most difficult tests are those where it is not in one’s hands to solve them.

Love, affection and friendship in some moments are put at risk of being lost due to communication problems, lack of understanding or flat because some of the parties no longer want to maintain that feeling towards the other person and in those moments one You must understand that it is no longer a problem but a conclusion and there is nothing left to do.

Politically, there are problems that stem from bad administrations, cheating, corruption or inefficiency. And in these cases, as what governs our political relations are not based on a feeling of friendship, but in any case on trust, but, above all, on the demand for responsibility and results.

And when a politician who has assumed a public responsibility generates problems for the governed, they have the right to demand that they correct these problems or that they resign, because in the end the rulers are only public servants who receive a salary that comes from the effort of citizens in general.

In short, if a government does not work, it must be changed. But that only happens where there are responsible societies and that have a high concept of individual dignity and common responsibility.

If a plague of rats arrives at a house or only one, we immediately prepare to exterminate it, because we understand that this rat will cause damage to the home and can even generate health problems.

So why do not we act like this with the bipedal rats that have made corruption their modus vivendi, who live with total cynicism of public money without giving results and who act with total disrespect towards citizens?

And, in Baja California, there are challenges to be solved as a society and rats to eradicate from the government that is responsible for leading the common destiny of those who live here.

The great challenge of this time is to take out the national action of the state government and it has to be done, because it no longer serves to govern, because the government has embedded entire families that live on the public treasury, we must remove it from the government because the PAN members who control that party and who have governmental power have become corrupt and cynical.
And I say it with total clarity and without euphemisms, because in that they have been transformed, into two-legged rats, into satraps and into the livings of everyone’s money.

Of the PRI, I do not even speak anymore because their governments have been sealed by negligence and corruption and for that reason that party is in a process of disintegration in the state and nationally.

But the PANistas are alive and active and dangerous, because they make public power a political power based on the purchase of votes, the purchase of chayotero journalists’ pens and because they use public money to profit from poverty.

The panistas of Baja California have made the payroll of the state government and the municipalities that govern a solid base of hard vote and that hard vote, can only defeat the free vote and broad participation of citizens.

These days, although many do not yet understand it, the biggest challenge for Baja Californians is the issue of water, a fundamental resource for life, health, the social development of people and the economic growth of our entity.

And the current leaders have sold us a pill that to deal with this problem the solution is to desalinate sea water to ensure the supply of water for agricultural, industrial and domestic uses.

And indeed the desalination plants are an alternative, but also it is to apply a sustainable policy in the use and administration of the water that comes from the Colorado River and from the water table. Water should not continue to be used in agriculture with archaic and wasteful methods of water.

The PAN have incurred influence peddling, acts of corruption and negligence in this area and as an example, there is the desalination plant in Ensenada that, less than a month after it was put into operation, it already presented faults in the sand filters and to suspend its operation.

A desalination plant that took more than a year from the original term in which it should have been delivered, a plant built and operated by a foreign company that will continue operating it and that will be the one who profits from the need and dependence that is had in Ensenada regarding water .

And all that is the fault of the government, there is no other responsible but them. And of course it is latent that this same can happen in the plants of San Quintín and Playas de Rosarito.
And we can not and should not forget the issue of the company Constellation Brands in the Valley of Mexicali, a project plagued by irregularities in the vein of public lands, serious irregularities in environmental matters and that will use thousands of cubic meters of drinking water, in an entity which is going through a severe drought and where the water supply is a current and widespread problem in several municipalities of the state.

Let’s see a few hard numbers and data:
The Desalination Plant of Ensenada had a total investment of 987 million pesos.

The Original Cost Estimate was: $ 637.1 million pesos 
The Development Bank of North America (NADB) granted a credit for 490 million pesos to Aguas de Ensenada, a subsidiary of GS Inima Environment, a company that obtained the award of a contract for provision of construction, operation and transfer services with a term of 20 years for the plant.

Promoter organization State Water Commission of Baja California.
For more technical data see:http //…/BD%202012-42%20Ensenada%20Desal%2…

But in the end, as long as society and government do not assume their roles and responsibilities, from outside the business sharks will come to eat the local fish, while the rats build and buy houses and real estate abroad … Or not?

PS (The PRI governments in the municipalities do not even serve to collect garbage and are already planning the possibility of privatizing this public service and, in passing, doing business with people’s money.) APP in sight?


Imagine No Politicians

Desalination Water Cost Unknown

Bajadock: Yes, translation is always fuzzy, but this is baffling.  880,000,000mnp = approx 45 million US Dollars to build the desal plant.  Now that it is completed, we don’t know how much the water will cost.  But, we’re not going to charge more for it.  ???


By Gerardo Sánchez Ensenada, Baja California, July 17.- Although it was officially opened a month ago, it is unknown how much it cost and what will be the rates for the seawater desalination plant, assured the director of the State Water Commission (CEA), Ricardo Cisneros Rodríguez. The state official could not explain precisely why the Development Bank of North America (Bandan) said that the plant cost 987 million pesos, and both the CEA and the National Water Commission, announced that the cost of that work was of 880 million pesos. Questioned about the discrepancies in these figures after participating as an exhibitor at the weekly meeting of the Enshower Group of Ensenada, Cisneros Rodriguez said: “It is a VAT issue, we handle an amount without that tax and the Bandan does, and also updated its costs with the mechanisms provided in the contract according to the consumer price indexes to update the amount, we have not done it, we are waiting for the financial closure, which is where the adjustment mechanisms are applied “. However, the figure publicly managed by the CEA and Conagua, if added VAT does not coincide with that reported by the bank, because the 880 million pesos with 16 percent of the Value Added Tax would add a total of one thousand 20 million pesos, that is, there would be a difference of 33 million pesos with that managed by the Development Bank of North America. Cisneros Rodríguez also did not accurately report the cost of the tariffs at which the desalinated water will be sold to the State Government and said that this will be defined until the financial review of the work is completed. However, he assured that no increase in water rates is contemplated for the industrial, commercial or domestic user of the city of Ensenada.

Border Wall Threatens TJ Homes

Cinthia Soto Esparza and her three-year-old daughter Brittany walk down the path in their enclosed property that has the U.S. border fence as their northernmost wall in the Nido de las Aquilas section of Tijuana. (John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)


From property barriers to wood shacks to cluttered backyard patios, dozens of structures south of the U.S. border fence face demolition as the Trump administration moves forward on its plans to build a taller, stronger wall separating the United States from Mexico.

The issue has arisen as work gets underway on a $147-million U.S. government project to replace about 14 miles of the existing scrap metal border fence between Tijuana and San Diego. The new structure is a bollard-style barrier rising from 18 to 30 feet, topped with an anti-climbing plate and described as “one of the Border Patrol’s top priority projects.”

At the far western end of the project, some 20 property owners in Playas de Tijuana have been ordered by the municipal government to remove structures built so close to the fence that they are deemed to be encroaching on U.S. territory. Farther east in Colonia Libertad, bulldozers already have begun removing trees rising in a residential neighborhood south of the border fence.

At Tijuana’s northeastern edge, residents of the impoverished Nido de las Aguilas neighborhood say they have heard a new wall is coming—and are worried they might lose their houses.

“You might say these boards are ugly, but for us they are everything,” said Beatríz Esparza, a 41-year-old widow who lives in a room built with scrap wood by her late husband next to the fence. “The president of the United States, maybe he has a lot of money, but we are poor.”

Authorities in Mexico do not have a definitive count, but expect the construction of the new U.S. barrier will displace dozens of structures south of the existing fence. These include concrete block walls, wooden shanties, outhouses, patios, animal enclosures—and at least one carport, a tennis court and a shrine with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe that is attached to the existing wall. Also facing removal are trees and gardens that rise south of the existing barrier.

“The fact that they are on the Mexican side of the wall does not mean that they’re in Mexico,” said Roberto Espinosa. He heads the Tijuana office of the Comisión International de Límites y Aguas, the Mexican counterpart of the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission, a bi-national agency that oversees compliance with water and boundary treaties.

“People think that the fence is the boundary line and that is not so,” Espinosa said.

The existing border fence typically stands some two or three feet inside U.S. territory. The new fencing project will follow the same line as the old one, but it will be larger and heavier, thus requiring removal of any trees and structures in its way, authorities said.

Acting at the request of the Mexican branch of the boundary commission, the city sent out initial notices in April to 20 property owners in the Playas de Tijuana neighborhood. They are all inside a quiet and gated enclave of several dozen houses known as Terrazas de Mendoza that offers sweeping views of Border Field State Park and the Pacific Ocean.

The San Diego Union-Tribune was able to see a notice that informed one owner that her property’s mesh fence, arch-shaped wall and tennis court were “affecting the border line.”

Legally, there should be no construction within 20 meters, about 65 feet of the border, said Leopoldo Guerrero, the second-highest-ranking official at Tijuana City Hall. But authorities say that in this case, they only are asking property owners to clear out structures within one meter of the border fence, to ensure that they are not encroaching on U.S. territory and subject to demolition.

This month, the city has been sending out a second round of notices to these residents. “Right now, it’s a recommendation,” Guerrero said. “We’re telling them, ‘I’m giving you the opportunity to do this and let them work, so that you can’t come back later and complain,” if the structures end up being torn down by the U.S. contractor charged with building the new barrier.

While the issue is flaring up with the construction of the new wall, its origins go back more than a century. Both the U.S. and Mexican sides of the commission in 1906 recommended that their governments establish 60-foot strips along both sides of the international boundary forbidding private residences or similar constructions.

A year later, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a proclamation ordering a 60-foot-wide strip to serve “as a protection against the smuggling of goods between the United States” and Mexico. The parcels “may be used for public highways but for no other purpose whatsoever,” it said.

Mexico took similar action in 1943, with a decree from Mexico’s finance ministry, saying that structures by the boundary line “lend themselves to hiding subjects who are violating the laws of the country due to the easy reach to the borders of other countries.”

In Terrazas de Mendoza last week, one resident who spoke on condition that he not be named said he is being asked to remove two walls that he built to protect his property from smugglers, thieves, and other criminals. “Nobody is watching over this stretch,” said the resident, saying that an open strip will invite crime.

He was not adverse to complying, but disputed the city’s notification process and was not going to respond. “The law says that notifications must be in person, but they left them in mailboxes, with neighbors, with workers who were on their way out,” the resident said.

In Colonia Libertad, longtime resident José Arias faces destruction of a concrete block shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe that memorializes his late wife and son and is attached to the existing border fence. Nearby, bulldozers already have begun pulling down trees to make way for the new construction, and the shrine is expected to come down with the old border fence, as it cannot be separated.

Guerrero, the city official, said authorities are working gradually on notifications as the wall construction progresses — and residents like Juana Nava in Nido de las Aguilas say they have yet to receive word.

On the small plot at the end of Calle Cilantro where she lives with her eight children and three grandchildren, Nava has built a washroom and outhouse right against the wall, and in another spot she has created a shaded patio area with a hammock. Outside her fence of scrap wood, she has planted a garden of nopal cactus.

“I have papers, I have water, I have electricity, look at the post, I’m not lying to you,” said Nava, who earns money cleaning houses. If she has to move, “let them give me what I’ve invested,” she said.

The neighborhood, settled by squatters, for years has been known as a corridor for smugglers, and those who live by the fence say they regularly see people climbing into the United States. But apart from the sounds of U.S. Border Patrol vehicles, residents like Nava say this is a quiet spot.

Standing outside her house near cages of chirping parakeets, Esparza, 41, offered a visitor a glass of water and a seat in the shade as she spoke of her worries.

Since her husband died three years ago, she has lived here with her adolescent son, 21-year-old daughter, and three-year-old granddaughter and the stray dog named Africa they rescued from a nearby dump. Esparza has learned of television reports about the new wall, and fears what could happen.

“They’re just old boards, but it’s our home,” Esparza said of her one-room residence. “I don’t want them to come and destroy what we’ve built with so much sacrifice.”

Immigration Debate Useful Idiots

The illegal immigration debate has come to a head once again. Congress remains at an impasse over a temporary spending bill that Senate Democrats refuse to support unless it includes a provision that would allow several hundred thousand illegal aliens to remain in the United States without fear of deportation. It’s a tiresome ploy by the Democrats, abetted by their allies in the media, using deceptive language to paint a false picture that blurs the distinction between legal and illegal, citizen and foreigner, justice and injustice.

Enough obfuscation. Here are some of the most pernicious myths of illegal immigration, debunked.

The System is “Broken”
Broken for whom exactly? Not for Mexico and Latin America. Together they garner $50 billion in annual remittances. The majority of such transfers are likely sent from illegal aliens.

Some of that largess is also subsidized by the entitlements American taxpayers pay that free up this disposable cash for sending abroad. In the eyes of Mexico and Latin America, the only thing that would make our system appear “broken” would be enforcing existing U.S. immigration law.

Or perhaps “broken” would be defined as novel ways of paying for Trump’s wall—by either taxing remittances or so discouraging illegal immigration that a reduction of dollar outflows could be counted (at least rhetorically) as down payments on border construction.

The immigration system is also clearly not broken for the Democratic Party. It has turned California blue. It soon will do the same to Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, and someday may flip Arizona and Texas.

If the statist, redistributionist, and identity politics principles of the Democrats no longer appeal to 51 percent of the electorate, then why would they give up on the annual investment in nearly hundreds of thousands of new arrivals that by some means, and in the not too distant future, would translate into loyal, politically predictable voters for whom this approach to politics is second nature?

Employers believe the system is anything but broken. Any good news for the country about skyrocketing minority employment numbers is likely to be bad news for them if it means declining numbers of cheaper illegal aliens to hire. Open borders have ensured the hiring of industrious workers at cheap wages while passing on the accruing health, educational, legal, and criminal justice costs to the taxpayer. The present system is “working” well enough for this crowd; its possible replacement instead would be defined as “broken.”

Ethnic tribunes support illegal immigration. If the border were closed and the melting pot allowed to work, the façade of identity politics would vanish in a generation.

Recently added accents would be dropped. Hyphenated names would disappear. Trilled r’s would become rare. La Raza/Chicano/Latino Studies programs would become about as popular as Basque or Portuguese. If immigrants from Mexico came in measured numbers, legally, with high-school diplomas, and along with diverse immigrants from all over the world, then rapid assimilation and integration would soon render them politically individuals, not tribes. Someone like California Senate Leader Kevin de León (born Kevin Alexander Leon) would never have needed a preposition and an accent mark.

Broken? More likely, most welcomed.

Illegal aliens, of course, believe the present system is working well, at least compared to the possible alternatives. Legal applicants, still faithfully believing in a now-nonexistent system, wait in line. Those south of the border simply cross.

The moment Mexican citizens—unlike Poles, Australians, or Koreans—reach American soil they or their children, in theory, will become categorized as a minority eligible for government affirmative action and preferred hiring. It is as if Los Angeles or Reno had something to do with the centuries-long racial oppression by an ethnically Spanish-legacy elite 500 miles south of the border.

American elites welcome illegal immigration, both for the cheap labor and for the opportunity to virtue signal their magnanimity, perhaps as much as they seem rarely to live adjacent to the barrio or keep their children in schools that are impacted by immigrants, and or shop where English is rarely spoken.

In sum, the system is working for everyone. It is broken only for the naïfs who worry over the long-term consequences of rendering the law null and void, and of ceding our culture to arriving populations for the most part not yet accustomed to the habits that sustain personal and political freedom.

But the “Dreamers”!
There are 700,000-800,000 DACA recipients, though no one knows the exact numbers. Nor is there a clear definition of who constitutes the population of the “Dreamers,” other than arriving into the United States illegally as a minor. It is an ossified concept, one frozen in amber, given that the average age of a so-called “Dreamer” around 25. When a Dreamer reaches 40, is he still defined as a Dreamer? Or have his “dreams” already come true?

Naturally, minors should not be penalized for the transgressions of their parents. But a large percentage of the DACA cohort is now six or more years into adulthood. Yet upon turning 18 apparently, most have made little effort to obtain either green cards or citizenship.

College graduation and military service are often referenced as DACA talking points. In truth, some studies suggest that just one in 20 dreamers graduated from college. One in a 1,000 has served in the military. So far, about eight times more Dreamers have not graduated from high school than have graduated from college.

Dreamers represent less than 10 percent of all illegal aliens residing in the United States. They are also a fraction of the ignored millions of foreign students from all over the world who seek, often in vain, to study in the United States or are skilled applicants for green cards. Such depressing statistics about DACA might not matter—if supporters of open borders did not always cite incomplete or misleading data.

Weaponizing the Language
Most of the vocabulary surrounding illegal immigration is both politicized and weaponized—as we have seen with “Dreamers.”

Illegal immigration is conflated with legal immigration in order to smear critics with charges of biases against the “other” rather than of simply expressing concerns over legality and sovereignty. By progressive prepping of the linguistic battlefield, some conservatives feel a continued need to “prove” they are not racists by granting more and more exemptions from immigration laws.

“Sanctuary cities” are not “sanctuaries” in the manner we think of a cathedral in a Victor Hugo novel. They are nullification centers where foreign nationals who have broken laws are not subject to full enforcement of immigration laws, due entirely to political considerations.

“Sanctuary city” is not an abstract philosophical term. None of the current sanctuary cities would agree in principle with other jurisdictions in similar fashion nullifying federal laws that advanced left-wing policy objectives. The sobriquet is a euphemism for 1850s-style proto-Confederate, states-rights chauvinism, dressed up similarly in pseudo-moralistic terms.

“Undocumented immigrant” suggests that the problem is a matter of forgetting to bring legal documents, rather than a decision to ignore the need for legal authorization. To become “un-documented” one might first have had to become “documented.” Yet almost no illegal aliens ever were registered as immigrant applicants.

“Undocumented” replaced the adjective “illegal,” just as “immigrant” (and increasingly just “migrant”) superseded the noun “alien.” That is, when the Democratic Party realized that swelling Latino populations began to vote en masse and could salvage what its failing message could not.

At that point, around 2010 or so, the old Democratic and progressive admonitions about illegal immigration cutting the wages of the poor, impeding unionization, and siphoning away social welfare entitlements from the citizen poor were finally and completely jettisoned (along with the language once used by Jimmy Carter and the Clintons). Euphemisms replaced descriptive vocabulary in efforts to construct a new reality.

“Diversity” is often associated with illegal immigration. In fact, the majority of illegal immigrants come from Latin American and Mexico. They are hardly diverse. Real diversity would be recalibrating immigration to be legal, meritocratic, and aimed at roughly equal representation from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe—and thus politically unpredictable.

Political Epithets: Racism and Xenophobia
The cargo of illiberal accusations is likewise constructed, given the United States is the most pro-Latino country in the world, Mexico included. Half of all immigrants, both legal and illegal, come either from Mexico or Latin America—a sort of inverse racism that assumes illegal Spanish-speaking immigrants are intrinsically more deserving of U.S. residence than legal immigration applicants from Uganda, South Korea, or Ukraine.

The constitution of Mexico carefully delineates all sorts of offices that are not open to naturalized citizens. It lists a variety of immigration offenses that result in automatic deportation or imprisonment—the constant theme being Mexico wants skilled immigrants who can help Mexico (consistent with its constitutional prohibitions against any immigration that might adversely affect “the equilibrium of the national demographics”).

What is also not diverse is Mexico and Latin America. The vast majorities of the population there share roughly similar ethnic heritages and a common language and religion; small numbers of minorities such as blacks are treated as second-class citizens.

Strange, too, are the outward theatrics and themes of illegal alien activism—the frequent waving of Mexican flags, the often loud criticism of a generous host country, the usual demands made upon a foreign nation—mysteriously coupled with the overwhelming desire of millions to enter or remain in the supposedly demonic United States. Waving a flag of a country that one does not wish to return to while shunning the flag of a country in which one very much wishes to reside is incoherent.

What is humane and progressive is defining people by the content of their character rather than by their superficial appearance or ethnic affinities—a notion contrary to the engine of identity politics. Finally, many ethnic activists are accepting that reality. Why otherwise would the National Council of La Raza belatedly at last drop the nomenclature of “The Race” shortly after the 2016 election to become UnidosUS (“us united”)?

Is America Great or Not?
The entire image of the United States has been smeared in most discussions of illegal immigration.

The thrust of ethnic studies departments, the narratives of open borders activists, the pageantry and symbolism of mass immigration demonstrations, and the chauvinism embedded into popular culture is mostly couched in implicit anti-Americanism. At least we are led to believe that a culpable America has done wrong in the present and the past, and has to restore its morality by allowing open borders and illegal immigration. But who are the arbiters of American ethics? Vicente Fox? MS-13 gang-bangers? Those whose first act in entering America was to break its laws?

Millions are fleeing paradigms that they apparently judged as wanting, either politically, economically, or socially, or all that and more. Why, then, would foreign nationals have ceased romanticizing their new generous hosts upon their arrival and begun idealizing, instead, their rejected birthplace? And if these are their true feelings on the matter, why did they leave?

Second, there rarely is expressed any formal analysis of why one wishes to enter the United States and leave one’s home country.

What, then, exactly makes a naturally rich Mexico rather poor and naturally poor New Mexico rather rich? Why is Venezuela a mess and Colorado is not? Has anyone prohibited Mexico from reformatting its constitution to ensure an independent judiciary, the rule of law, a free-market economy, the protection and free sale of private property, a bill of rights, unfettered free speech, a meritocratic civil service, transparency in law enforcement, and an ethnically blind culture?

The question is not just mindless American boosterism. In the past, immigrants accepted that they had left Ireland, Italy, or Poland because habits, customs, and government in their home countries were deemed wanting and unworkable, and therefore it was necessary to embrace their antitheses in the United States. It would have made no sense to flee from Italy and expect to live life in America on the premises that an Italian lived in Italy. Immigration, again brutally or not, is a complex two-step hard bargain that succeeds only when one accepts his chosen country—and de facto rejects the collective protocols of his birthplace.

Why do these mythologies abound? Largely because Americans, the hosts, either cannot anymore even define their own civilization to would-be immigrants, or are so intimidated that they are terrified to even try.

Elephant in Room on Immigration

With Cartels In Control, There Are No Easy Answers To The Border Crisis

Much of Mexico and Central America is ruled by cartels, and until we come to terms with the role they play in migrant smuggling, the crisis will worsen.

In the debate over President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration, pundits and politicians from across the political spectrum are offering simplistic solutions to the problems along our southern border.

On the Left, outrage over family separation has morphed into outrage over family detention with Trump’s announcement last week that families would be kept together but still prosecuted for illegal entry. Although they won’t come right out and say it, most liberals would like to return to a policy of catch and release, in which families caught crossing illegally are assigned a court date and released into the country.

On the Right, many seem to think it’s possible to solve illegal immigration simply by building a wall, or carrying out mass extrajudicial deportations, or separating parents and children as a deterrent.

Libertarians, too, are grasping for simple solutions. Over at Reason, J.D. Tuccille suggests that “better smugglers” are the best way to fight Trump’s draconian border policy. “Immigrants and their supporters should give some thought, and effort, to improved smuggling channels that treat migrants better than the existing criminal networks, and offer them a better chance of success,” writes Tuccille. He doesn’t mention the possibility that these new smugglers might find themselves at odds with the old smugglers, whose profits are at stake, or that jumping into Mexico’s migrant smuggling trade as a freelancer carries the risk of, say, being beheaded by one of the cartels.

Tuccille’s facile take is emblematic of the way the media has more or less ignored the role that “criminal networks” are playing in all of this—a role that makes easy solutions impossible. Throughout the border crisis, the media’s attention has been focused on the plight of Central American families and the chaos created by Trump’s zero-tolerance policy. Sure, the president likes to exaggerate how many MS-13 gang members are crossing the border, but neither Trump nor his detractors are thinking seriously about the escalating violence and accelerating social collapse now underway in Mexico and Central America, and how crime syndicates are playing into illegal immigration along the southern border.

Violence In Mexico Is Out Of Control—And Getting Worse

National elections in Mexico are set for July 1, and so far 121 political candidates, most of them running for local office, have been assassinated, along with dozens of their family members. Hundreds more have been attacked. On Thursday, a mayoral candidate in Ocampo, in the western state of Michoacan, was killed outside his residence—the third politician to be killed in Michoacan in just over a week. Federal police responded by arresting the entire town’s 27-officer police force on suspicion of involvement with the murder, another reminder that across Mexico drug cartels have infiltrated local and state police forces, political machines, and major industries. Candidates who speak out against corruption and vow to stand up to the cartels are especially in danger.

The violence is bad enough that the U.S. State Department has issued “do not travel” advisories for five Mexican states—Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas, whose northern boundary runs along the U.S. border from Brownsville to Laredo, Texas. These are the same travel advisories in place for countries like Libya, Syria, and North Korea. For much of the rest of Mexico, including nearly the entire U.S.-Mexico border, the State Department advises Americans to “reconsider travel.”

Tamaulipas is so dangerous right now that the interim governor of Nuevo Laredo, which sits directly across the Rio Grande from Laredo, has warned his citizens not to try to travel to the United States through Tamaulipas, and especially not through the town of Reynosa, across the river from McAllen, Texas. The official warning came a day after gunmen believed to be associated with the Gulf Cartel ambushed marines with the Mexican Navy three times in Nuevo Laredo, killing one and injuring 12 others. According to Mexican officials, the gunmen wore marine uniforms and drove vehicles with government markings. The ambushes only stopped when the marines called in a helicopter gunship for support.

Part of what’s driving the violence in northern Mexico is the breakdown of the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels. The most recent wave of violence began last April when Mexican authorities in Reynosa killed Juan Manuel Loisa Salinas, the leader of the Gulf Cartel. His death created a power vacuum, and various factions are now competing for a piece of the cross-border drug trade and other criminal enterprises.

Signs of the grisly cartel violence that was associated with Juárez back in 2010—severed heads, bodies hanging from highway overpasses—are now cropping up in border towns further east along the Rio Grande. In March, cartel gunmen dumped bags filled with dismembered body parts outside a gas station in Reynosa, where more than 500 people have been killed in the past 12 months.

Cartel violence is getting worse all over Mexico, not just along the border. Last year brought a record 28,710 homicidesnationwide, and this year is on track to surpass 30,000. May was the deadliest month ever recorded in Mexico since the government began releasing homicide data in 1998—2,890 people were killed, an average of four people per hour. By comparison, only Syria is more violent.

The Migrant Crisis Benefits The Cartels

Into this maelstrom have come a relentless stream of refugees and migrants from Central America, driven by worsening gang violence and poverty in the “Northern Triangle” of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Most of those crossing Mexico’s southern border are headed for safety and better prospects in the United States, which puts them at the mercy of Mexican cartels that have developed diverse income streams, from child organ trafficking to migrant smuggling.

In an interview with the Daily Beast last year, Eric Olson, deputy director for Latin America at the Wilson Center, explained that “Over the last several years more sophisticated criminal organizations have begun to take control of the migratory schemes,” citing growing competition among cartels “for control of routes and people coming through.”

Migrant smuggling has become a lucrative business for the cartels, which charge migrants anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 a head for passage over the Rio Grande. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told a Senate Committee last month that human smuggling brings Mexican cartels more than $500 million a year, but that figure is almost certainly too low. The fact is, the cartels began to professionalize human smuggling around 2010, when large numbers of Central American migrants began coming through what had long been drug smuggling routes. In response, the cartels created a system of fees for migrants and dedicated personnel to police the routes.

The effect of tougher immigration enforcement like Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy is that the coyotes, as the smugglers are called, increase their fees while often misleading migrants about what they can expect once they cross into the United States, promising them visas or some form of amnesty. The coyotes are notorious for abandoning migrants on either side of the Rio Grande once they get paid, or, for those who run out of money, raping or kidnapping helpless customers, some of whom are sold into human trafficking near the border.

Because migrants must often pay for each leg of their journey up from Central America, including bribes for various law enforcement officials along the way, by the time they reach the U.S.-Mexico border they’re often out of money and completely at smugglers’ mercy. Migrants who can’t pay are sometimes forced to carry large packs of drugs over as payment for their fare.

Ironically, the tougher immigration enforcement is on the U.S. side, the greater the potential profits from migrant smuggling—not just because coyotes charge more but also because migrants and recently deported illegal immigrants have no other way of getting into the United States, and are willing to take greater risks. The mainstream media doesn’t seem to grasp this connection, which is why the Washington Post can publish a lengthy feature on a couple trying to illegally cross the border and barely mention the role of smugglers or the connection they have to larger criminal syndicates.

All of this is to say that we can’t have a serious conversation about the border crisis without being clear-eyed about the role the cartels play in societies that are essentially collapsing. Pretending that illegal immigration isn’t really a problem, as liberals and libertarians tend to do, ignores the close connection between human smuggling, drug trafficking, and cartel violence on both sides of the border. Pretending that it’s an easily solvable problem, as conservatives tend to do, is like claiming there’s an easy way to defeat Islamic radicalism—as if the cartels will agree to stop smuggling and trafficking just because we put up some more border fencing or ramp up deportations.

But until we get real about the almost unimaginable levels of violence and corruption in Mexico and Central America, our immigration crisis will fester, and eventually the chaos south of the border will spill over onto our side—no matter how high Trump builds his wall.

Mountains of Garbage in Ensenada

by Staff Environmental Editor, Zoilo Zorillo

There were even armchairs in the containers.

Clean workers of the City of Ensenada raised mountains of garbage from Colonia Colonial of Ensenada, the garbage trucks did not pass for almost a month.

Garbage bags, plastics, cardboard, bottles, toilet paper, food scraps, old televisions and even armchairs were part of the waste that was collected by a score of clean workers using heavy machinery.

6 containers located in Bulevar de los Lagos street were clogged with debris, they looked like mountains with plagues of flies and cockroaches around them.

In two of the containers there were old armchairs, which had to be destroyed in order to be able to climb into the collector trucks.

Every day, 300 tons of garbage are produced in Ensenada, however, the employees of Municipal Public Services can not keep up with the lack of more trucks, the City Council is analyzing renting them to reduce the backlog.

AMLO President

MEXICO CITY — The landslide victory of leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico’s presidential election on Sunday is the biggest political shake up the country has seen in decades — and it has the potential to change the way politics is done for decades more.

The 64-year-old baseball enthusiast won 53 percent of the vote, riding a wave of exhaustion and disgust with the country’s current leaders, who have led the country into a deep security crisis amid a cascade of corruption scandals.

Over 25,000 were people murdered in Mexico in 2017, according to official figures — the highest number ever recorded — and the numbers for the first five months of 2018 are up 15percent on the same period last year. An estimated 130 political candidates and other public officials were assassinated just during the 2018 election alone.

In this environment, López Obrador — who had run for president twice before unsuccessfully — was finally able to capitalize on discontent with the status quo and gain broad endorsement of his promise to lead Mexico’s deepest transformation since its 1910 revolution.

He has promised to boot out “the mafia of power” by getting rid of corruption and instituting “republican austerity” in public spending; he’s promised to pay for massive new social programs with the money saved.

But his victory in this election is no accident. López Obrador (who is often referred to by his initials, AMLO) has been working up to this moment all his adult life. His triumph is built on a core of fervent supporters he has cultivated over many years, and who have stood firm despite many efforts to paint him as a dangerous populist who could plunge the country into chaos.

“There has been nobody like him in modern Mexican politics,” political analyst Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez told me. “What is happening here is not normal.”

Here’s everything you need to know about Mexico’s soon-to-be new president: Where he comes from, what he stands for, and what his victory means for the future of Mexico — and its complicated relationship with the United States.

He was once called a “danger to Mexico.” Now he’s its next president.

López Obrador attends a rally in Mexico City’s Zócalo plaza in Mexico on September 14, 2006.
López Obrador attends a rally in Mexico City’s Zócalo plaza in Mexico on September 14, 2006.
 Pedro RUIZ/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The son of shopkeepers, López Obrador grew up in the waterlogged planes of the southeastern state of Tabasco.

His political career began in the 1970s within the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI, the only party of any importance at that time. He abandoned it the next decade to join other political dissidents in forming the Party of the Democratic Revolution, the PRD.

Though still just a local leader in Tabasco, López Obrador was already thinking big, convinced of his unusual powers of persuasion.

José Angel Gerónimo, a close friend from those years, recalled getting a flat tire on a dirt road in the middle of a storm on their way to a political meeting. López Obrador left Gerónimo behind to fix the tire while he hitched a ride with the government spies who had been following them everywhere in a Volkswagen beetle.

“Don’t worry about them,” Gerónimo remembered López Obrador telling him when he questioned the wisdom of communing with spies. “They are of ‘the people’ too. Sooner or later they will come over to our side.”

López Obrador later failed to win two governorship elections in Tabasco because of alleged dirty tricks, but he continued to rise within the PRD, eventually becoming the party president in the late 1990s.

He completed his transformation into a national figure when he was elected mayor of Mexico City in 2000. That same year, Vicente Fox of the right-leaning National Action Party, or PAN, won the presidential elections that ended the PRI’s 71 uninterrupted years in power.

A pragmatic and astute term as mayor turned López Obrador into the favorite to win the 2006 presidential election. He worked with business leaders, reaffirmed his left-wing credentials by introducing a pension for the elderly, and constantly goaded Fox’s chaotic and uninspiring presidency.

When López Obrador refused to concede a narrow defeat to the PAN’s Felipe Calderón, after a brutally negative campaign claiming the leftist was a “danger to Mexico,” many wrote him off as a lost-cause radical.

But as the country descended into spiraling violence triggered by Calderón’s ill-conceived military offensive against organized crime, López Obrador was quietly securing a broader support base by visiting all of Mexico’s 2,446 municipalities.

A second run for president in 2012 ended with another loss, this time to the PRI’s telegenic Enrique Peña Nieto, aided by mass media support and the sense that the old party of power might be dirty, but it knew how to govern.

But López Obrador wasn’t done yet. Instead of giving up on ever becoming president, he undertook yet another countrywide tour. And he formed a brand-new party that answered only to him: the Movement of National Regeneration, or MORENA.

By the time campaigning for the 2018 election began, violence in the country was breaking new records as corruption scandals sprouted from every corner. The silver-haired AMLO didn’t look so scary anymore.

The cult of AMLO

López Obrador cheers his supporters at Zócalo plaza in Mexico City after winning the presidential election on July 1, 2018.
 Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

López Obrador’s anti-establishment rhetoric has led some to call him “Mexico’s Trump.” Others have compared him to the British Labour Party’s unassuming leader Jeremy Corbyn, and even Venezuela’s revolutionary leader Hugo Chávez.

But none of these comparisons quite fit. Unlike Trump, López Obrador is a leftist and a career politician with a vocal distaste for luxury. Unlike Corbyn, who never thought he would win when he joined Labour’s leadership race in 2015, there is nothing accidental about López Obrador’s win. And unlike Chávez, López Obrador is a pragmatist.

The president-elect is no orator or political showman, but he does exude authenticity and conviction in a country where most politicians are assumed to be cynical opportunists. And the atmosphere at his rallies can be electric.

The delirious crowds streaming into Mexico City’s great Zócalo plaza to celebrate his victory beamed as they chanted, “It is an honor to be with Obrador!” Parents raised toddlers high to catch a glimpse of their hero. Some clutched AMLO dolls. Many had tears in their eyes. Asked to describe the reason for their devotion to him they used words like “honest,” “tenacious,” and “of the people.”

“I don’t think we have ever experienced this level of personalized politics that we are seeing with López Obrador,” said Silva-Herzog.

The analyst stops short of branding him a cult-like messiah figure, as some observers do, but he does warn that López Obrador basing his legitimacy on his connection with el pueblo (Spanish for “the people”) — defined as people who support him — threatens to weaken the country’s political institutions.

One close political ally said he worries about López Obrador’s scant interest in the legislative branch of government, because it may make it harder to get Mexicans more engaged with politics on any other level than with the president.

A member of his inner circle even admitted to me that López Obrador is such a strong leader that it could lead to a personality cult.

And now that his party, MORENA, has also won a large majority in both houses of Congress, those fears are even stronger, with old enemies raising the risk that López Obrador’s power will be almost unchecked.

So far he has reassured international markets and local business leaders that he will respect the autonomy of the Central Bank, keep the country’s books balanced and inflation under control, and not raise taxes. But he has also insisted there will be no U-turn on his commitment to “put the poor first.”

That includes campaign pledges of subsidies for peasants, boosting local industry with the aim of reducing dependence on imported goods, and a massive program of paid youth apprenticeships and student stipends under the slogan “Scholarships yes, cartel hitmen no.”

Eliminating corruption and slashing what he calls “offensive privileges” for public officials will pay for it all, he promises, though his explanations of how have focused on a pledge to lead by example.

In addition to promising to be uncorrupt himself, he says he will cut his own salary by half, and live in his modest middle-class home in the south of the city rather than in the presidential palace.

He also pledges to sell off the presidential plane and take commercial flights instead. Asked by an interviewer during the campaign what he would do if his flight was delayed on the way to a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, he replied: “I will be late.”

López Obrador’s assurances that he can bring down the murder rate are equally vague. There will be 6 am meetings with security chiefs, an invitation to the Pope to get involved, and he might explore the idea of an amnesty for low-level cartel members.

Supporters often say they understand that AMLO’s vision of peace, prosperity, and social justice will take time. How long the honeymoon lasts is anybody’s guess.

“We are not going to get into fights” with the US

A mural of US President Donald Trump is displayed on the side of a home on January 27, 2017, in Tijuana, Mexico.
A mural of US President Donald Trump is displayed on the side of a home on January 27, 2017, in Tijuana, Mexico.
 Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump may be at the center of attention in the US, but neither he nor his promise to make Mexico pay for a wall along the two countries’ 2,000-mile shared border were big issues in the Mexican election. In fact, they barely registered at all.

Voters were far more concerned with the violence, crime, and corruption plaguing the countryas well as the poverty that affects around half the population and the many years of only mediocre economic growth.

But everybody accepts that Mexico’s relationship with the US is important. Last year, trade between the two countries totaled $557 billion, the highest on record. And according to the latest figures from the US Census Bureau, there are over 36 million people of Mexican ancestry living in the United States.

Although the number of new Mexican migrants entering the US has plummeted in recent years, Mexico is the main transit country for tens of thousands of Central Americans fleeing even worse levels of violence and poverty.

There is broad consensus that outgoing President Peña Nieto hasn’t done well in managing the relationship with the US under Trump. His decision to invite Trump to Mexico when he was still a candidate was deemed a humiliating disaster.

His management of the NAFTA renegotiations has gone down somewhat better — despite Trump’s repeated threats to withdraw from the free-trade pact, he hasn’t done so yet and talks continue.

Trump was one of the first international leaders to congratulate López Obrador, who has since said he is determined to maintain good relations with the US. “We are not going to get into fights,” he told Mexico’s Televisa TV network on Monday. “We are going to extend our hand honestly in the search of a friendly and respectful cooperation.”

López Obrador added that he would not interfere in the NAFTA negotiations until he takes control of the government on December 1. Then, he hinted, he would seek a more ambitious deal including US aid for rural development in the name of discouraging migration.

It is a bold proposal that sounds hopeless in the current political climate in the US, not unlike another grand idea López Obrador has of establishing a “moral constitution” to provide a country battered by horror and corruption with a guiding light out of the tunnel.

Old friends recall AMLO’s admiration as a student for Salvador Allende, the Chilean president whose “electoral route to socialism” ended with his suicide during a military coup. López Obrador still has a penchant for martyrs to this day: He named his youngest son Jesús Ernesto after Jesus Christ and Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

As he stands on the threshold of power, could AMLO be setting himself up to for his own political martyrdom? Or will his pragmatic talents steer him through?

For now perhaps the clearest indication of his most basic objective lies in a phrase he repeats often, and with obvious feeling: “I have one ambition,” he said again on Sunday night celebrating his victory. “I want to go down in history as a good president of Mexico.”

Jo Tuckman is a freelance journalist based in Mexico. She is the author of Mexico: Democracy Interrupted, published by Yale University Press.

Getting Out the Vote

“Oro, Plomo o Provisiones?”  Mexico Election 2018 Campaign Slogan 


9 Million Votes Bought

Nine million Mexicans agreed to sell their vote to a political party on Election Day on July 1, revealed the Democracy without Poverty 2018 survey.

But the majority of the voters consulted were not seduced by corruption. 15 million Mexicans (17.3% of respondents) rejected any gift, service, favor or job offered by a political party, according to the survey prepared by Data PM, sponsored by the Citizen Action Against Poverty organization.

El 10.2% de la población sí aceptó vender su voto en estas : @albertoserdan

“The parties offered, on average, 500 pesos in the street, and 15 million rejected them,” said Alberto Serdán, coordinator of the organization in a press conference.

The document detailed that the offers were made to 29.9 million eligible voters, which is the equivalent of 33.5% of the respondents.

The Todos Por México coalition (PRI, Honeycomb and Green Party) offered bribes to 5.3 million eligible voters; For Mexico to the Front (PAN, PRD and MC), to 4.9 million; The Together We Will Make History, 600,000 offers per votes. 19 million would have received offers from multiple parties or did not respond in the consultation.

The representative survey of the nominal list (89.1 million) consulted 1,253 citizens over 18 face to face in the 32 states of the country.

The survey occurred from June 6 to 26, 2018. Its theoretical margin of error is + -2.9 points with a statistical confidence level of 95%.

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