Saturday, November 19, 2011 features Border Explorer, a website supporting blog authors, has selected Border Explorer as an Editor's Pick of the Day today.

I really appreciate their recognition and look forward to displaying their Featured bloggers badge on my profile!

Currently, I'm in between my worlds--enroute to El Paso, Texas. I'm exploring another beautiful section of the U.S.-Mexico border today, out in the wilderness--far from internet or cell phone connections! I'm slated to arrive in El Paso tomorrow and look forward to updating the blog then.

Welcome to the blog! Enjoy the entries...I'll return visits as soon as I can!

Thank you very much,! 
Best regards, Billie

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy El Paso prepares for confontation, extends urgent call for support!

Source: Facebook page for Occupy El Paso
Friends and those who care. Occupy El Paso is facing eviction tomorrow. They have decided to remain in San Jacinto Park. The city has decided to outsource permits for parks to a priavate Corp headed committee.

Occupiers are going to stay in the park and face arrest. For those of you who stand with occupy but cannot be there, please consider a donation to a bail fund set up in this wepay account: Every little bit helps. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to extend our invitation for support in the form of coverage for those that cannot partake in civil disobedience, through video and pictures within their extent,

**but strictly limited to remain outside the perimeters of the park alongside the sidewalk for the sake of not being identified in part of those partaking in civil disobedience.**

We also take this opportunity to extend our invitation in the form of partaking in direct peaceful civil disobedience; where in we urge you to contact your lawyer and or research the knowing of your rights and make your way out to

*San Jacinto Plaza 111 E. Mills

as soon as possible to arrange the following meetings;

1.Know your rights 4 p.m.

2. Legal Consultation with a sympathetic lawyer 5p.m.

3.Civil Disobedience Rehearsal 6 p.m.

 **projected to take place
within the hours of 10 p.m. November the 13 - 1 a.m. November the 14.

4. General Assembly 7 p.m.

5. Coverage Meeting 8 p.m.

Why we are doing civil disobedience:

Know your rights:

Warrant search:

Source  [as shared on Facebook]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

U.S. Racism--Then vs. Now

Racism: 1950's

"separate and unequal" 
image credit: Progressives South Bend

Racism: 2011

"undeserving and subhuman"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Occupy El Paso to Address Grievances Specific to Southern Border Region

On November 11, Occupy El Paso will bring together occupiers and supporters suffering from unemployment, discrimination, homelessness, lack of access to basic needs, and systemic violence to share personal testimonies and issue an official statement of grievances and demands. The gathering will occur at 12PM at San Jacinto Plaza 111 E. Mills Avenue in downtown El Paso, Texas. This declaration is intended to address many of the issues of structural injustice on which the Occupy movement concerns itself. It demands an end to the corruption and economic inequality and at the root of our current social and political crisis. Community members will share their personal experiences of marginalization and suffering and call for justice at a noon press conference on Friday.

At Saturday the group urges all supporters to converge on the Plaza from noon onward, to join with the occupiers—to create a large community event, according to a Facebook announcement.

On Sunday, the occupiers call on supporters to join them as they move from San Jacinto Plaza to Cleveland Square, across from the Main Public Library.

Occupy El Paso is part of the larger Occupy Wall Street Movement, which began in reaction to vast injustice and inequality experienced by 99% of the population in the United States and continues to gain support throughout the world. Occupy El Paso is actively working to unite diverse voices from local communities, especially those who have been historically marginalized, to demand an end to economic injustice and inequality. The hope is that together, as the 99%, this movement can make lasting change by bringing a critical understanding of how the greed, corruption, and inequality inherent in our economic system threatens the lives of all peoples and the Earth.

Occupy El Paso shares Occupy Wall Street’s vision of a more just and equitable society and recognizes that many of the issues brought to light in this movement have existed disproportionately in communities of color and border communities since the formation of the United States. Because of its location and proximity to vast human rights abuses, El Paso has a unique opportunity to stand in solidarity with human rights activists and demand that human beings be given priority over profit.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dona Nobis Pacem: Peace in Mexico's drug war

When I began blogging for peace in 2007, I never dreamed I'd become involved in a war myself. But since then--five Blog Blasts for Peace later--over 9000 people have been murdered in our sister-city of Jurarez just across the U.S.-Mexico border from my winter home in El Paso. The bloodbath entails unspeakable cruelty and violence: horrifying and chilling.

My volunteer work now includes helping manage a shelter for war refugees. We receive even families with children who've fled their homes--literally running for their lives.

When I return to my native Iowa each spring/summer, sometimes people ask me to tell them about what's happening in Mexico. It's hard to answer. When I describe it as best as I can, people usually ask: How can peace be restored? What can we do? 

But there is no tidy answer. Right now, no one sees an end to this violence, to the shattered lives, the bloodbath of innocents.

In March, renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia lost his beloved son, another murdered innocent. "I have no more poetry in me," he lamented. Grieving, he laid his pen aside and instead took to the streets, sparking a national mobilization for peace in Mexico's drug-fueled violence, leading marches and caravans.

"What will you do next?" U.S. reporters asked him in June. Sicilia responded that he was unsure. Like me, he had no road map to offer. No road map to peace.

Instead he recited lines from the Spanish poet Antonio Machado:
"There is no road; the road is made by walking."

So next week I'll travel again to the border. I know I can not make peace happen there. Nevertheless, my journey is not futile. No effort for peace is futile. We simply walk the road of peace, stepping into the darkness without a map. We do it because we believe we can make a road.

We embark on this journey not because peace is the destination, but because peace is every step.

I invite you to accompany me on the journey. Subscribe. Follow. Join Border Explorer. 'Like' Border Explorer on Facebook. Peace! Paz!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

El Paso Rights Groups condemn arrests, jailing of activists in Juarez

Crosses pasted at intersection prompted police action.
A coalition of human rights, legal, religious, and community organizations will hold a press conference at 12:15 pm on Thursday, November 3rd to condemn the arrest of activists protesting the killing in Juarez of over 9,000 individuals during the past several years as a result of Mexico’s declared war on drugs and to demand the immediate release of all activists jailed for protesting the environment of violence and immunity that pervades the city of Juarez.

On Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 6 p.m. the Juárez Municipal Police and Transit division headed by the Secretary of Public Security, Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola repressed a demonstration of young protestors from the organization Frente Plural Ciudadano who were undertaking a peaceful march commemorating victims of the "war" against organized crime and protesting against the strategy of the government of Mexico. Journalists and photojournalists were also beaten and stripped of their cameras and equipment.

The youth-led demonstration was overtaken as they were painting crosses at the intersection of Triunfo de la República and Avenida Lopez Mateos, where they were assaulted with baton blows and kicked by municipal police officers and transit police. Thirty-two individuals were jailed and charged with assault. Also detained were two members of the media.

The overwhelming police participation in the detention and arrest yesterday of thirty-two protesters stands in stark contradiction to the overwhelming absence of police in the killing of 9,000 Juarez individuals since 2008 and the almost nonexistent investigation and arrest of any of the assassins. 

Included among the organizations who are calling the press conference are the following:

Annunciation House
Paso Del Norte Civil Rights Project
Border Network for Human Rights
Coalition Against Violence toward Women & Families at the Border
University Community for Immigrant Rights,
Miners without Borders, BASTA Organizing Committee
The Columban Mission
Assumption Sisters of Chaparral
Sisters of Charity in Anthony, NM
Border Workers Association
Mexilios in Exile
Casa Puente
MEChA, UTEP Chapter
Law Office of Carlos Spector
Executive Committee of the El Paso University Faculty Council of the Texas Faculty Association
Global Exchange

The conference will be held at Casa Vides at 325 Leon Street.

Amnesty International calls for humane treatment of detained peaceful protesters in Juarez, Mexico

[Video showing the police repression of the peaceful protest]

Last evening, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico,  the municipal police arrested and physically beat a group of peaceful activists involved in a peaceful protest honoring the dead victims of the extreme violence in Ciudad Juarez of the last five years. The student activists are part of Frente Plural Ciudadano--an organization that has been very actively involved against the injustice and violence in Ciudad Juarez.

Reports are that the students/activists planned to paint and place about 9000 crosses around the city in honor of the dead from Ciudad Juarez for Dia De los Muertos, the Day of the Dead commemoration. Informal reports as recent as this afternoon indicated that the 29 detained are still in custody and that family and friends spent the night outside the site of their detention and will continue there until they are released.

Blatant police oppression of peaceful protest

Amnesty International has joined the groundswell of grassroots support for the peaceful protesters who are in custody. The following is a rough English translation of the original report in Spanish, published today:

Amnesty International expresses concern over the arrest of 29 people in two peaceful demonstrations on November 1 in Ciudad Juarez. The first municipal police operation resulted in the arrest of 15 people at the center of town where there was a rally to remember the more than 10,000 violent deaths over the past five years in Ciudad Juarez. Hours later, 14 people were arrested outside the Aldama police station during a demonstration to demand the release of their arrested colleagues. Among those arrested were at least two children and two journalists. VIDEO HERE.

Amnesty International calls on the authorities in Ciudad Juarez to guarantee the physical integrity of detainees, give them immediate access to doctors, lawyers of their choice and allow them to see their families. The organization also reminds the authorities of their obligation to bring the arrested promptly to the public prosecutor to face charges or release them recognized.

Amnesty International believes it is essential that Chihuahua state authorities guarantee the right to freedom of association and expression. The maintenance of public order should not be a pretext to limit these rights and the use of force must always be limited to the necessity and proportionality as outlined by international human rights standards.

Amnesty International urges respect for the human rights of the protesters detained in Ciudad Juarez and asks for an investigation into the operations of the municipal police.

Additional information
According to information received by Amnesty International, the event was part of a series of protests in various cities in Mexico during the Day of the Dead to commemorate the victims of violence in recent years and highlight impunity.

In Ciudad Juarez several demonstrators pasted paper crosses on the walls to represent the dead. During attempts to stop the protest, a disruption ensued and several people were arrested. At night there were new arrests when demonstrators were reported to the police station Aldama. According to witnesses, several of those arrested during the day were subjected to mistreatment and police use of disproportionate force. Subsequently, the detained journalists were released. Other detainees were taken.
How you can help: It is almost impossible for those who live in Juarez to protest oppression in the city. Use your voice to speak the public outrage, thereby assisting the victims of police oppression.
  • A press conference will occurr in El Paso, Texas tomorrow, Thursday at 12:15pm, at Casa Vides, 325 Leon Street. 
  • Widely circulate information about this event to your contacts, both local, national and international, to raise pressure and ensure that the Juarez government knows that the international community is watching the situation. Links to videos of this event are below. 
  • Create pressure on the Juarez city government to release activists who are still detained and to prevent further aggressions in the coming days by emailing the following people/sample email in English is suggested below:

Presidente Municipal.
Ing. Hector Murguia Lardizabal
Responsable de la Secretaria de Seguridad Publica Municipal.
TTE. CORONEL. Julian Leyzaola Perez
Tel. 208-88-00
Secretaria Tecnica (responsable interdependencias)
Ing. Arturo Armendariz Diaz
Comision de Regidores encargados de seguridad publica.
Coordinador. Luis Manuel Aguirre Aguilera
Tel. 207-88 00 Ext 2002
Secretario Hector Hernandez Garcia
Tel. 207- 88 00 Ext 2002
vocal. Laurencio Gallegos Jimenez

A SAMPLE EMAIL to Mexican Officials:
Yesterday Tuesday November 1, 2011 at six p.m. the Juárez Municipal Police and Transit Division headed by the Secretary of Public Security, Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola repressed a demonstration of young protestors from the organization Frente Plural Ciudadano who were undertaking a peaceful march commemorating victims of the war against organized crime and protesting against the strategy of the government of Mexico. Journalists and photojournalists were also beaten and stripped of their cameras and equipment.

The youth-led demonstration was overtaken as participants were pasting paper crosses at the intersection of Triunfo de la República and Avenida Lopez Mateos, where they were assaulted with baton blows and kicked by municipal police officers and transit police. Initial reports said that ten of the young people were handcuffed and taken to the cells of the Municipal Police where they were still being held at 10:30 pm. Later reports put the number of detained at 21 (see full list of names below).

The attitude of the police and Lt. Col. Leyzaola is totally illegal and reprehensible. On the one hand police are criminalizing peaceful youth-led demonstrations, in which young people are taking constructive action and demanding change from the government’s failed strategy to stop the crime and on the other hand, the police themselves are unable to stop or even significantly reduce the wave of crimes and murders that continues to plague the border.

For all these reasons, we DEMAND:

· The immediate release of youths arrested in the demonstration today in Ciudad Juarez.

· The return of the working tools stolen from the workers of the media and the truck Red de Infancia

· The identification of responsibility for these abuses of authority committed by municipal and transit police, and the naming of the person or persons who led the operation.

· An end to the criminalization and the systematic repression of Juárez youth.

· Implementation of a true culture of legality beginning with the authorities, police and military forces, to make them respect the individual rights, end impunity, punish those who are accomplices of the criminals and fight those responsible for the crimes that most we face as a community: femicide, targeting and murder of youth, extortion, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery.


People detained at Triunfo de la República and López Mateos:

Ana Pong Ríos, 28 años, alumna de Diseño Gráfico de IADA

Arturo Vázquez Flores, 22 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Beatriz Mercedes Sáenz García, 49 años, ingeniero agrónomo

Carlos Yeffin Pong Ronquillo, 37 años

César Antonio Ochoa Paredes, 22 años, estudiante de El Paso

Yazmín López Yáñez, 17 años

Jesús Fabio Ceballos, 24 años, estudiante de la UACJ

José Luis Rodríguez Isaí, 21 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Juan Pablo Rodríguez Isaí, 17 años

Michelle Baraza Nevares, 24 años

Naín Eastwood Romero, 22 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Sandra Isabel Frías Vela, 27 años

Pedro Mireles Contreras, 58 años

Verónica Castillo, 35 años, maestra de psicoterapia de la UACJ

Agustín Alberto Ortega Rodríguez

People detained at Estacion Aldama:

Karla Luisa Corral Morales, 17 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Gabriela Ortiz Enrique, 23 años, electricista

Armando Magallanes Chavira, 24 años

Emmanuel Albarrán Quiñónez, 28 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Jesús Armando Jiménez Gutiérrez, 59 años, epidemiólogo

Irving Luévano Pereira, 20 años

Julián Álvarez, 30 años, estudiante de Literatura en la UACJ

Antonio Muñoz Quintana, 26 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Daniel Delgadillo Díaz, 50 años, ingeniero agrónomo

Daniel Luévano Pereira, 23 años

Armando González Bailón, 47 años, maestro de la Escuela Secundaria Técnica 55

Arturo Vázquez Peral, 52 años, médico del IMSS

Gerardo Solís Quejalva, 39 años, maestro de la Preparatoria Altavista

Adolfo Grijalva Vázquez, jardinero

Crosses of protest--Protesters had hoped to post a cross for each of the 9,000  killed during the past five years in their city during the "war on drugs."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

25 Juarez human rights orgs denounce police repression of peaceful protest & young journalists

Twenty-five Juarez human rights organizations issued an urgent statement November 1 [it is roughly translated from the Spanish] about an incident of police repression of a peaceful protest of the drug war that occurred in Juarez. Watch the incident via El Diario TV HERE.

Today at six p.m. Juárez Municipal Police and Traffic police, headed by the Secretary of Public Security, Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola repressed a demonstration of youth that was remembering the deceased in this "war" against organized crime and protesting against the government's strategy in its execution. They were also beaten and journalists and photojournalists were stripped of their cameras.

Young people were making paintings of crosses at the intersection of the avenues Triunfo de la República and Avenida Lopez Mateos, when they were assaulted with baton blows and kicked by police officers and transit police.Then ten of the young men were handcuffed and taken to the cells of the Municipal Police where they were still being held at 7 pm.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated event. In recent weeks several young people from various social organizations have been arrested by members of the municipal police arbitrarily. Simply for being young they are treated as "suspects," they were required to provide voter registration, although they are not even 18 years of age, and were jailed without justification. To top it all, even those who do social service work in a very vulnerable community are assaulted. This was the case for a group of youngsters from the Children's Network who performed educational and cultural workshops with children and parents in the neighborhoods. They were stopped and the truck they used to support their work remains illegally seized by the police of Ciudad Juarez

The attitude of the police and Lt. Col. Leyzaola is totally illegal and reprehensible because on the one hand, they criminalize peaceful demonstrations by several youths who took constructive action or demanded change from the present failed strategy to stop crime and on the other hand, they are unable to stop or even significantly reduce the wave of crimes and murders that continues to plague the border.

It seems that the authorities in Juarez are executing a mechanical and pathetic imitation, a pathetic caricature of the "Zero Tolerance" strategy newly touted in this border city by former New York mayor, Rudolph Giuliani. This is  irrespective that the problem here is not are "broken windows" or minor violations, but murders that exceed ten thousand, or hundreds of extortions and armed robbery to life and property of citizens. They organize city and state level events to promote the "culture of legality" and insists on respecting municipal regulations and sides when large violations of the law as killing of children, femicide, rape, enforced disappearances, are completely unpunished.

For all these reasons, the organizations signing this document DEMAND:

  • The immediate release of the youth detained in today's demonstration in Ciudad Juarez.
  • The return of the tools stolen from the workers of the media and the Children Network truck.
  • The fincamiento of responsibility for abuse of authority committed by police officers and municipal roads, and who led the operation.
  • An end to the criminalization and the systematic repression and youth.
  • Implementation of a true culture of legality beginning with the authorities, police and military forces, to make them respect individual rights, end impunity, punishing those who are criminal accomplices and fighting those responsible for the crimes that we as a community face: femicide, killing of children, extortion, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery.
Signed by the following Juarez Human Rights Organizations:
Casa, promoción juvenil, A.C.
Centro de los Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, (CEDHEM)
Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte, A.C.
Centro de Derechos del Migrante
Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (COSYDDHAC)
Comité Médico Ciudadano
Comunidades Eclesiales de Base de Ciudad Juárez
Consejo Ciudadano para el Desarrollo Social
Contec, Asesoría Técnica Comunitaria, A.C.
Educación en Valores
El Barzón, A.C.
Frente Democrático Campesino
Grupo de Mujeres Tonantzin
Justicia para Nuestras Hijas
Movimiento Ciudadano por la Paz y la Vida Digna.
Mujeres por México en Chihuahua, A.C.
Mujeres de Pacto
Organización Popular Independiente
Pacto por la Cultura
Plan Estratégico de Juárez
Red de Infancia de Ciudad Juàrez
Red de Defensoras y Defensores de los Derechos Humanos, A.C.
Red Mesa de Mujeres de Ciudad Juárez
Techo Comunitario
For greater accuracy, here is the original statement in Spanish:

Comunicado de prensa


Hoy a las seis de la tarde efectivos de la Policía Municipal de Juárez y de la Dirección de Vialidad, dirigidos por el Secretario de Seguridad Pública, teniente coronel Julián  Leyzaola reprimieron a golpes una manifestación de jóvenes del Frente Plural Ciudadano que conmemoraba  a los caídos en esta “guerra” contra el crimen organizado y protestaba contra la estrategia gubernamental  para llevarla a cabo. También fueron golpeados y despojados de sus cámaras e instrumentos varios periodistas y reporteros gráficos.

Los jóvenes se encontraban realizando pintas de cruces en la intersección de las avenidas Triunfo de la República y Avenida López Mateos,  cuando fueron agredidos a golpes de macana y puntapiés por los agentes de la policía y de tránsito. Luego diez de los muchachos fueron esposados y conducidos a los separos de la Policía Municipal donde permanecían todavía a las 7 de la tarde.

Por desgracia este no es un hecho aislado: en las últimas semanas varios jóvenes de diversas organizaciones sociales han sido detenidos por elementos de la policía municipal de manera arbitraria. Por el sólo hecho de ser jóvenes se les da el trato de “sospechosos”, se les exige se identifiquen con la credencial de elector, así no tengan aun 18 años y se les encarcela sin justificación alguna. El colmo es que, incluso a quienes realizan trabajos de servicio social en esta muy vulnerada comunidad se les agrede. Así sucedió con un grupo de jóvenes de la Red de la Infancia que realizan jornadas educativo-culturales  con niños y padres de familia de las colonias populares. A ellos se les detuvo y el camión que utilizan para apoyar estas jornadas, permanece ilegalmente incautado por la policía juarense

La actitud de la policía y de teniente coronel Leyzaola es totalmente ilegal y reprobable pues, por un lado, criminalizan las diversas manifestaciones pacíficas de jóvenes que realizan acciones constructivas o demandan el cambio de la fracasada estrategia para detener el delito y por otro lado, son incapaces de acabar o siquiera reducir de manera significativa la ola de crímenes y homicidios que sigue azotando a esta frontera.

Tal parece que las autoridades de Juárez está realizando una imitación, mecánica, caricaturizada y patética de la estrategia “Cero Tolerancia”, recién expuesta en esta frontera por el ex alcalde de Nueva York, Rudolph Giuliani, sin tomar en cuenta que el problema aquí no son las llamadas “ventanas rotas” o infracciones menores, sino los asesinatos que rebasan ya los  diez mil, o los centenares de extorsiones y ataques a mano armada a la vida y al patrimonio de la ciudadanía. Se organizan a nivel municipal  y estatal eventos para promover la llamada “cultura de la legalidad”, y se insiste en respetar reglamentos y bandos municipales cuando las grandes infracciones a la ley como los juvenicidios, los feminicidios, las violaciones, las desapariciones forzadas, siguen totalmente impunes.

Por todo lo anterior, las organizaciones que suscribimos este documento EXIGIMOS:

  • La libertad inmediata de los jóvenes detenidos en la manifestación de hoy en Ciudad Juárez.
  • La devolución de los instrumentos de trabajo arrebatados a las y los trabajadores de los medios de comunicación, asì como del camión de la Red de Infancia.
  • El fincamiento de responsabilidades por el abuso de autoridad cometido por los agentes de la policía municipal y de vialidad, y de quienes dirigieron el operativo.
  • Cese a la criminalización y represión sistemática a las y los jóvenes.
  • Implementación de una verdadera cultura de la legalidad comenzando con las autoridades, las fuerzas policíacas y militares, que las haga respetar las garantías individuales, acabar con la impunidad, castigar a quienes son cómplices de los criminales y combatir a los responsables de los delitos que más nos aquejan como comunidad: feminicidios, juvenicidios, extorsiones, violaciones, secuestros, asaltos a mano armada.

Hernandez connects Mexico, U.S. authorities to drugwar crime

Anabel Hernández, a Mexican journalist and a writer who is receiving death threats from drug cartels and the Mexican government, will speak on her explosive information Thursday, November 3, at San Diego State University during a program that begins at 6 p.m. and is free of charge.

In 2010, Ms. Hernandez authored the book "Los señores del Narco" which outlines the connections between TOP Mexican politicians, military, police, industrialists and bankers and the drug cartels. In her perspective, the Mexican government is protecting the Sinaloa cartel, led by Chapo Guzman, and attacking Chapo’s enemies.

Huge bribes are given to military and police officials to garner their support and their protection of drug smuggling. Opposing cartels, particularly the Zetas, are enraged that the government is targeting them while protecting the Sinaloa cartel. This has prompted much of the bloodbath presently occurring in Mexico.

The permise of the evening is that all of this can only occur with the cooperation and support of elements within the CIA and the DEA, according to information received from Jesús Nieto, another presenter on the program.

The program will include a workshop on the musical genre of the narcocorrido and a presentation by Jesús Nieto on the history of CIA criminal activities including support of drug smuggling (marijuana, cocaine, heroin and crack).

Anabel Hernandez will take questions in an extended session after her presentation. She was recognized in 2003 by UNICEF for her investigation into child slavery on the U.S.-Mexico border.

At a recent signing, Hernandez penned on the book of a purchaser: “Corruption grows in the silence, in the silence.”