Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

Recalling Ciudad Juarez and the dead in the US-Mexico border drug war

March 9, 2009

I could just imagine Ciudad Juarez, a border city of Mexico close to El Paso, Texas which had become a killing field of warring drug lords in the area. I was there when the warm dusty place South of the border was still peaceful, about two decades ago.

“Nearly 40 percent of the dead last year tested positive for cocaine or marijuana. About 20 percent were never claimed by their families, many out of fear. Cardboard boxes with bloodstained cowboy boots, cell phones and bulletproof vests are stacked to the ceiling in the crime lab…Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million across the border from El Paso, Texas, has a modern, estimated $15 million morgue and crime lab thanks to international support after another notorious spate of killings — the Women of Juarez. More than 400 women have been raped, strangled and dumped in the desert since 1993.”—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/08/09, Watson, J)

It’s appalling to know Ciudad Juarez which brings memories of cities in the Philippines has become a perilous place to be. The Mexicans living there whom I met were very friendly. As a group, they share many character traits of Filipinos. I feel sorry they are now in harms way as criminality surges in the area.

The rivalry for narcotics peddlers in the drug corridor had been fierce. Last year more than 6,290 died in drug-related killings which gripped both Mexicans and Americans living where gangs and their members operate.

Eight weeks after the start of 2009, a record number—-more than 1,000 people were mercilessly murdered, making the peace and order situation in the area worse. The morgues had been swamped with bodies of murdered victims, many with signs of foul play.

The Mexican army is being asked to help contain the spate of violence which makes even the morgue workers afraid. US students and tourists planning to travel in trouble-spots in Mexico are being warned of the dangerous situation.(Photo Credit: Hobby-Photographs) =0=

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US-Mexican drug bust yields 750 suspects, $59 million worth of drugs & weapons

February 26, 2009

Affirming the gravity of the drug wars in Mexico, federal agents from the United States have rounded up 750 suspected members of narcotics cartels from south of the border. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) picked up more than 50 drug gang members in separate overnight raids in California, Minnesota, Washington DC, and various US cities.

The arrests were mainly Sinaloa cartel members who were linked to the bloody drug wars over controls of narcotics smuggling routes in Mexico and USA. In a international law enforcement operation which spanned for about 2 years in Mexico, USA and Canada, had earlier snared 700 notorious law-breakers in the crime wave. $59 million worth of drugs and weapons, $12,000 kg. of cocaine, 1200 kg. of methampethamines, more than 1,300 ecstasy pills and 160 weapons were recovered.

“The department (US State) warns of the increased border violence and advises revelers to several destinations, including Matamoros and Nuevo Progresso, popular destinations for spring breakers on South Padre Island, Texas, to ‘exercise commonsense precautions such as visiting only the well-traveled business and tourism areas of border towns during daylight and early-evening hours.’“ —AOL News/ AP (02/25/09, Barrett, D)

Attorney General Eric Holder says the illegal narcotics trade, kidnappings, and murders have crossed over into the US territory. The problem can be minimized if the ban to sell assault weapons which are used in turf wars of drug kingpins is reinstituted.

About 6,000 people died in drug-related violence last year. American law enforcers laud Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s on-going campaign against narcotics cartels which exert influence over corrupt government officials.

Because of the dangers brought about by illegal drugs, money laundering, and narctics traffic, the US State Department has issued warnings of violence, kidnappings, and murders to prospective American travelers. This advisory is extended to an estimated 100,000 US students who’re planning to come to Mexico in the coming spring break. Private individuals have to take responsibility to counter the drug problems in their community. (Photo Credit: Aziritt) =0=

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Kissing Guinness World Record goes to Mexico

February 15, 2009

It must be a cause of disappointment for Filipinos that this year, Mexico bagged the Guinness world record of having the biggest number of people gathered for a simultaneous kiss. On February 14, 2009, Valentines day, 39,897 Mexicans simultaneously kissed together in public to beat the the Britishers who won last year with 32,648 smoochers. The Philippines had only about 7,000 couples in a kissing event held in February 2007 in Manila.

According to Carlos Martinez, one of the Mexican organizers this year, the number could have reached 42,225, but crowd control was a problem in an open square in the city. The world record brought a shimmer of meaning when coodinators and social activists decried the growing peace and order problem of Mexico.

Almost 6,000 died last year of violence that has extended in towns along the US-Mexican border. Most of the crimes are related to the drug war being waged in the country. (Photo Credit: Sir Frank Dicksee PD) =0=

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Kissing Guinness World Record goes to Mexico

February 15, 2009

It must be a cause of disappointment for Filipinos that this year, Mexico bagged the Guinness world record of having the biggest number of people gathered for a simultaneous kiss. On February 14, 2009, Valentines day, 39,897 Mexicans simultaneously kissed together in public to beat the the Britishers who won last year with 32,648 smoochers. The Philippines had only about 7,000 couples in a kissing event held in February 2007 in Manila.

According to Carlos Martinez, one of the Mexican organizers this year, the number could have reached 42,225, but crowd control was a problem in an open square in the city. The world record brought a shimmer of meaning when coodinators and social activists decried the growing peace and order problem of Mexico.

Almost 6,000 died last year of violence that has extended in towns along the US-Mexican border. Most of the crimes are related to the drug war being waged in the country. (Photo Credit: Sir Frank Dicksee PD) =0=

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Narcotics war in US-Mexican border worsens

February 12, 2009

After 6,000 people died in drug related murders in Mexico last year, the slayings have no signs of stopping. Mexican police discovered five bullet-riddled vehicles on February 11, 2009 in a wave of killings that brought new fatalities, a result of gang violence escalating South of the border. Drug lords have become bolder to instill fear and challenge the government of President Felipe Calderon in his effort to curb the narcotics trafficking, drug cartels, kidnappings, and vendetta murders.

About 80 miles south of the border from El Paso, Texas, in Villa Ahumada, a small village of 1,500 people, fresh violence erupted. Last year, the town was virtually overrun by savage drug gangs last year when two consecutive police chiefs and two officers were murdered. For fear for their lives, the remaining 20 members of the police force quit their jobs. The Mexican military had to take over.

On Tuesday, February 10, 2009, nine individuals were kidnapped and six of them were believed to have been executed. A shoot-out which rescued three people resulted to the bloody death of seven gunmen and one police officer. —–Yahoo.News.com / AP (02/11/09, Watson, J)

Many citizens have died senselessly in the crossfire of gang violence. The rise in criminality is a cause of concern for United States and Mexico whose shared Southern border has been a favorite conduit of narcotics trade and serves as entry point for illegal aliens in North America.

With the slump of the economy in the United States, many Mexicans have lost their jobs and turned into drug trade and abductions for ransom. The dollar remittance of expatriate Mexicans which shore up their country’s economy has slowed.

It is said that if the warring drug kingpins learn to get along, by joining forces, they have the strength to trash President Calderon’s administration. Drug lords and their minions have increasing influence in Mexican society; their nefarious activities have crossed over the USA. There is real danger of chaos which can distabilize and bring down the government. (Photo Credit: Guachito Caletano; MashGet x 2) =0=

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Religion as a myth, Mother Mary as a nude playboy pin-up girl & a pink Christmas celebration

December 14, 2008

A provocative placard was placed beside a nativity scene in Olympia, Washington USA which says that religion “hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” Coincident to this month’s feast honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mexican edition of Playboy magazine printed a nude cover girl with a white veil resembling the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Amsterdam, Netherlands, gays and lesbians slated a pink Christmas, the first this year, depicting the holy Mary and Joseph as homosexuals in a manger scene.

Mockery of religion has become rampant. Antipathy is more common as the holidays heat up. Disrespect and hostility towards Christian moral values are on the rise, especially among those who feel they aren’t “included” in the Christmas celebration.

Churches, religious groups, and the overwhelming majority of Christians are pitted against misguided seculars and atheists who believe religious faith has no place in society. In their alienation, non-believers seems to be having a foul after-taste of their desolation. It’s a far-cry from the the joy and hope true Christians feel at this time of the year.

The small minority of “Scrooges” in US society (fewer than 20% of the public,) wants to change the texture of culture and religion throughout the world. At Christmas time, extremists desiring to remove faith-based traditions are on the move. They have the backing of legal groups, warped government judges, and liberal supporters. This is ironic because the law guarantees the freedom in the exercise of religion (not from religion.) The government is mandated to protect people in their peaceful expressions of faith.

The controversial campaign by liberal radicals and atheists against God seem directed mostly against Jesus believers whose ethical tenet is to work for peace. With the rise of individualism, social alienation, materialism, and decline of ethical moral values, this isn’t surprising. However, the extreme seculars don’t have the balls to mock other religions like Islam. They can only tackle soft targets. For they know,like in the past, their disrespect can draw them into a real quarrel, hopefully, not a bloody one. (Photo Credits: Gadl; Freedom From Religion Foundation.com; Revista Playboy Mexico/ AP) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Godless world puts Christian identity in peril” Posted by mesiamd at 10/06/2008

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Mexican narcotics gangland: 5,376 murders in 2008

December 9, 2008

If terrorism which alarms the Indians in Mumbai and Pakistanis in Islamabad, half around the world, the Mexicans are worried about the escalation of narcotics-related deaths. Organized slaying south of the border of the United States has doubled since the start of the year. Illegal drug dealers have been fighting for narcotics dominance in their location.

Mexican law enforcement has also been hit by the biggest corruption scandal in a decade in recent months, as more than a dozen high-ranking officials in police and prosecutors’ offices have been detained or charged for allegedly passing information to the cartels.”—AP (12/08/08, Castillo, Ed)

Compared to the 2,477 slayings of last year, the number of drug related deaths in 2008 rose to 117 percent, a total of 5,376 murders. The number is more than 1.5x than the casualty of the terror of 911. The brutal killings in Mexico were results of long-standing quarrels involving trade routes, street sales, and leadership in the narcotics cartel.

The wave of beheadings, mutilations, and shootings prompted the US government to release $197 million, part of the $400 million assistance to support Mexico’s police and soldiers in a cooperative campaign against narco-terrorism.

According to reports, the rise in murders coincides with the split of the Beltran-Leyva gang this year from the dominant cartel headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman igniting fightings between competing factions. Moreover, the weakening of the US economy has left many jobless Mexicans lured to the drug business.

A sharp decline in border crossings from Mexico is noted as few jobs for laborers, mainly in agriculture and service jobs, are available. Rising unemployment fuels the illegal drug trade and crime.(Photo Credit: 3.bp.blogspot.com)=0=

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Kahit saan man, ang patis ay ‘di malimutan

November 29, 2008

kwento ni Raniela (Miles) Barbaza

May patis na kami!” Isang nakakatuwang kwento ng isang Ibalonian ng napunta siya at ang kanyang kapatid sa Gallup, New Mexico. Sa kalayu-layo ng Pilipinas, hanap-hanap pa rin nila sa dulo ng mundo ang patis na walang katulad.—mesiamd (11/29, 08)

Tatlong taon na ang orosipong ito pero tulad ng ibinubulong ng matandang salitang Bikolnon para sa kwento – ang orosipon, hindi natatapos. Patuloy ang masayang kwento: ang ating orosipon.” —RB, November 28, 2008, New York City

Hindi ko alam sa inyo pero para sa amin ng kapatid kong si Isang hindi maaaring walang patis ang nilaga o sinigang. Imajinin nga ninyo – nilagang walang patis? Pede ba iyon? Sinigang na walang patis? Mas lalong hindi pede.

Halos dalawang buwan na kami dito sa Gallup, New Mexico bago kami nagkaroon ng patis. Kaming dalawa ang tinatawag na mga bagong salta. Nitong nakaraang August 10 lamang nang dumating kami dito sa Gallup, isang bayan na may isa’t kalahati hangga’t dalawang oras na biyahe ang layo mula sa Albuquerque.

Noong unang linggo namin dito, sinubukan naming gawing Amerikano ang aming tiyan. Tutal, pagyayabang namin sa sarili namin, sanay naman tayong kumain ng Jollibee at Mcdonald’s sa Pilipinas. Sige, wheat bread at palaman. Pero hindi namin nakumbinsi ang aming mga tiyan. Sari-saring tunog ang nililikha ng mga tiyan namin. Brrrrrrrg. Mrrrrngk. Pop. Parang nagmumumog o kumukulog o pumuputok na mga tunog ang maya’t maya’y naririnig namin mula sa mga tiyan namin.

Nang maglaon, tiyan na namin ang hindi mapakanali. Okey. Suko na kami. Kailangan namin ng kanin at ulam! Sumugod kami sa nilalakad lang namin na supermarket (wala kaming kotse). Diretso sa aisle ng bigas. Ok. Hayun, rice. Isang maliit na supot lang? Di bale. Sige. Ano pa. Ulam.

Anong ulam natin? Nilagang baka para may mahigop na sabaw (nilalamig na agad kami kahit na summer pa daw dito). Ok. Beef stew cuts. Ito na siguro iyon. Tapos repolyo. Patatas. Carrots. Beans. Saging saba… walang saging na saba?! Ok, di bale. Sibuyas. Tsek. Patis na lang.

Ah, ok sa condiments na tayo. Wala. Fish sauce. Hanap tayo ng fish sauce. Saan? Baka kakaiba lang ang bote dito ng patis. Diyan sa shelf na iyan? Teka baka dito. Wala. Walaaaa.

Doon namin naalala na usapin rin ng identidad ang panlasa. Pero, siyempre pa, ang identidad ay likha ng taga-ngalan. Kailangang ikonteksto ang paghahanap ng patis sa pananaw ng mga tagarito sa New Mexico. Sa madaling salita, sino ba kami sa pananaw ng mga taga-rito?

Pinilit naming kalimutan na, basta tao kaming nagugutom. Alalahanin ang mga form na sinusulatan. Please check ethnicity (optional). Oriental. Asian. Minsan may tiyak na box para sa Filipino. O kaya, doon ka sa mga walang identitad: other. Ok, sikapin na alalahanin hanapin ang karatulang may tanda ng identidad.

Dahil iniisip namin tiyak na may patis dito, kailangan lang nating matuklasan kung nasaang aisle. May iba naman sigurong mga Pinoy dito. Siyempre mangangailangan din sila ng patis. Elementary economics ba iyon ? Ang alam ko, kung may demand, may supply. Natitiyak naman namin na magdedemand ang mga dila ng mga Pinoy dito ng patis, kaya mayroong magsu-supply. Luminga-linga kami. Binasa ang mga karatula sa itaas ng mga aisle. Talagang wala. Walang Oriental food. O Asian food. O International food. Ooops eto, Chinese food! Preno kami ng kapatid ko. Dalawang shelves na may habang tatlong piye siguro. Pero walang patis. Walaaang patis! Bumili na lang kami ng toyo sa isang kakaibang bote.

Kinabukasan, ibinalita sa akin ni Isang na ang sabi ng kaniyang katrabahong Chinese, sa Albuquerque pa raw sila namimili ng oriental food. Whooaah! Sa Alburqeurque pa? Para sa aming mga bagong saltang walang kotse, para na rin nilang sinabing sa Pilipinas pa makakabili ng patis.

Pero tulad ng iba pang malilit na bahagi ng buhay migranteng bagong salta, unti-unti nasanay na rin kaming magluto ng nilagang toyo ang pampaalat. Nasanay na rin kaming umasa sa microwave na nabili namin sa halagang $10 sa isang yard sale: pampainit ng tubig, ng kaning lamig at tirang ulam.

Nasanay na kaming gumamit ng mainit na tubig sa pagligo sa halip ng dati ay hinahanap-hanap na malamig na tubig na pampaalis ng banas sa Pilipinas. Nasanay na kaming ulit-ulitin ang aming sinasabi hanggang sa maintindihan ng kausap. Ng pagbigkas ng salitang bank na halos behnk. Ng pagdala ng jacket saan man pumunta dahil hindi nangangahulugang mainit ang panahon kahit na tirik na tirik ang araw. Ng pagbitbit ng tigalawang galon ng inuming tubig mula sa supermarket. Ng matitigan dahil sa kakaibang itsura o pananalita.

Naiintindihan siguro ng Diyos ang paghahanap namin sa patis. Isang araw, tumawag ang Uncle Romy namin mula sa Norwalk, California. Oy, mga bagong saltang dalaga. May pupunta diyan na mga Pinoy na madre. Pitong taon na sila diyan sa Gallup. Ipinagbilin ko kayo.

Mga madreng misyonero na nagtuturo sa Catholic School dito sa Gallup. Na tulad ng ibang migrante dito, natutong mag-drive! Dinala nila kaming magkapatid sa Philippine Cuisine, isang bagong Pilipinong restaurant daw na may ilang bilihing Pilipino.

Ah! Para kaming mga batang nakakita ng mga kendi. Bumili kami ng patis, toyo, suka (hindi distilled ha!), balat ng lumpiang shanghai, tumigas na sa lamig na tilapia, tinapa at bihon!

Sa katunayan, hindi naman pala kami nag-iisa sa pananatiling Pinoy ng panlasa. Sinubukan kong i-Google minsan ang humba dahil naalala ko ang masarap na pork humba sa Rodic’s sa eskwelahang pinangungulilahan ko.

Aba! Sandamakmak na blogs at sites ang umapir! Pinoy. Pinay. Kung saan-saan. Nananatiling Pinoy at Pinay nasaan man sila ngayon. Nagpapayabangan ng mga alam na nilang lutuing Pinoy na dati-rati’y hindi pinapansin ang pagluluto at basta na lamang kinakain sa kusina ng kanilang lola/lolo o nanay/tatay o sa kalapit na karinderia.

Kaya ngayong tanghalian, habang balot ng medyas, pajama at sweater, hinihigop namin ang mainit na sinigang na mayroon nang patis. Ang tanong naming dalawang bagong migrante ngayon: anong bahagi ang hindi matitinag sa pagiibang bayan? (Photo Credits: Chboogs; nikita2471; Chotda; Jab58; http://www.tastingmenu.com; chotda; nikita2471; knottypine)=0=

Filipina is Miss Earth 2008

November 10, 2008

The Philippines’ Miss Karla Paula Henry was crowned Miss Earth 2008 at the Clark Expo Ampitheater in Pampanga Sunday besting a field of beautiful, talented and environmentally- conscious girls from 85 countries. It was the first time that a Filipina won the Miss Earth pageant which is considered as among the top 3 pageants worldwide.

Other winners are Tanzania’s Miss Miriam Odemba 25,1st runner-up, who was crowned Miss Earth Air; Mexico’s Miss Abegail Elizalde Romo 23, 2nd runner-up who was crowned Miss Earth Water and Brazil’s Miss Tatiana Kelen Alves 24, 3rd runner-up who was Miss Earth Fire. Aside from the four, those who made it to the top eight were: Spain’s Miss Adriana Reveron Moreno, 23; Colombia’s Miss Ariane Rodriguez Merchan, 22; Venezuela’s Miss Daniela Torrealba Pacheco, 19 and Switzerland’s Miss Nasanin Nuri, 19. Rounding up the top 16 were Thailand, Poland, Nigeria, Czech Republic, Romania, USA, Russia and Korea.

The question and answer portion was the clincher for the Filipina where the final four were all asked the same question, “ If you are given the chance to speak with newly-elected US President Barack Obama about the state of our global environment, what will you tell him?” Karla Henry said that she would encourage Obama to implement an environmental subject in the curriculum of schools. She added that it is important to teach the youth knowledge about the environment so that in the coming years, they will take care of Mother Earth. “I believe our future lies in the youth”, she concluded.

Karla won US$20,000 while the three others won US$2,000 each on top of other prizes and perks. Karla also won as Miss Photogenic aside from winning the very first Fashion Design competition held at the Amazing Theatre in Pasay City on November 4, 2008. She wore an Ivan Raborar creation.

Miss Venezuela’s Daniela Torrealba wearing a luscious and elegantly-designed dress which complemented her classy personality won the Best in Long Gown Award during the long gown competition held at PAGCOR, Grand Theatre in Paranaque last November 3, 2008. Miss Talent was won by Australia’s Rachael Smith during the Talent Competition held last November 2, 2008 at Tamayo’s Villa Immaculada in Manila.

The preliminary swimsuit competition was held last October 25, 2008 in three locations: Sabang Beach Resort, Puerto Princessa, Palawan; Golden Sunset, Calatagan, Batangas and Manila, Philippines. The candidates were divided into three groups and the top 15 in each group then competed in the final swimsuit competition held at the Fontana Leisure Park in the Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga last November 1, 2008. The Best in Swimsuit and Miss Fontana awards were garnered by Miss Mexico Abigail Elizalde and Miss Philippines Karla Paula Henry respectively. The National Costume competition was held at the PAGCOR Grand Theatre in Paranaque City last October 28, 2008. The Best in National Costume was won by Miss Panama Shassia Ubillus who was unanimously chosen by the members of the press.

The Miss Earth candidates have been touring the country’s different tourist destinations like the Philippines’ bets in the New 7 Wonders of the World- The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Mayon Volcano, Chocolate Hills and other sites planting trees, picking-up garbage and promoting the message to protect our Mother Earth. Several of them including Miss Earth Japan, Hungary, Netherlands, Guam, Israel, Liberia, Brazil and Mexico were here in Legazpi City last October 22-24 planting trees, promoting Mayon Volcano and joining the Parada de Legazpi last October 23. Among Legazpi’s visitors were Mexico’s Miss Earth Water Abegail Elizalde who was also the Best in Swimsuit and Brazil’s Miss Earth Fire Tatiana Alves.

Photo credits: XINHUA/ Reuters

World’s heaviest man takes a bride

October 27, 2008

The world’s heaviest man Manuel Uribe has been getting much attention lately. After shedding much weight from 560 kg to 310 kg, the world’s heaviest guy tied the knot with his 38 year old girlfriend Claudia Solis, in an unusual, but well-celebrated ceremony.

Staying on his bed, the 43 year old Mexican mechanic, escorted by the police through street traffic, was towed by a truck to the wedding.

Uribe’s special bed in the civil ceremony was merrily decorated with white canopy and flowers to the cheers and joy of about 400 friends and well-wishers.

Holding hands and moving to the tempo of a ballad, the duo had their memorable first dance. Splendid food was served and an enticing 5-tiered cake was prepared. Uribe didn’t break his diet.

Surely, the loving couple inspires the entire world. Cheers and good luck to them! (Photo Credits AP/ Monica Rueda; Flowersmadeeasy)=0=

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