Sunday, October 21, 2012

Building a Multi-Cultural, Multi-Constituency, Human Rights movement in the U.S., to insure Political, Racial, Gender, Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Justice

Building a Multi-Cultural, Multi-Constituency, Human Rights movement in the U.S., to insure Political, Racial, Gender, Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Justice

Southwest Regional US Human Rights Network Conference
Oct 19-20, 2012 Oklahoma

Dorthy Pearly...remembrance


The starting premise of this position paper and presentation starts from the so called Doctrine of Discovery, used by Columbus and other imperialisms, to invade, occupy and militarily by force submit the people into 'subjects' or 'objects' owned by the 'Absolute Monarchy' and the Colonizers. My assumption here is that US social movements have to go back to the original question of Indigenous identity and sovereignty. We must reclaim our own sovereignty. So the lens I use on Human Rights goes back to the question of sovereignty of the body, family, community or people, and that every action and law placed here by the occupiers and invaders is a dilution of negation of our full sovereignty. So to be free, liberated, and and to put a stop to all and every kind of Human Rights violation we must reclaim our Indigenous sovereignty. We must undo colonialism and the colonialist, racism, patriarchy, and other forms of oppression to start thinking and acting liberated, emancipated and sovereign.

  1. The Illegal Border (US-MX)

It is often not said, that the US-Mexico border is one of the most contested borders because it is an 'illegal' border. It was established illegally through violence, military invasion, war and destruction. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was forced on Mexico at gunpoint by the US expansionism (Manifest destiny & Monroe Doctrine). The almost 3,000 mile border is an imposed border that divided families and people artificially. The slogan of 'we did not cross the border, but the border crossed us' comes to mind here. Pertinent to this discussion is the fact that many of the US government's border policies are molded and guided by this fact: it is an illegal border therefore we have to hold it and defend it, by what ever means necessary. The border divides at least 7 Indigenous Peoples land making it impossible for even the holding of ceremonies that have been done for thousands of years. The Tohono 'Odem lands have been completed ruined by the Border Patrol and has created a state of siege for the people that live there. The same region where historically the Yaqui were removed and enslaved by force as part of the Indian removal policies starting with the Spanish, the Mexico government for a short period and continued and intensified under US policies and actions.
  1. The Southwest region

The Southwest (& West) region is Indigenous peoples' lands. As Indigenous to this region we lived under Spanish Colonial rule for 300 years (1521-1821), Mexican government rule 15 years (1821-1836), and then 176 years (1836-2012) under US imperialist rule. This is the reality of this region. Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and California including Nevada, parts of Oregon and Montana. This means that the land grab has to be addressed as a human rights violation for without land and water we go from producers to consumers.

  1. Border killings fields (US-MX) and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)

The US-Mexico borders have become the 'killing fields' where thousands have died crossing the border, killed by law enforcement and border patrol, and assassinated by right wing fascist groups and by unknown killer of nearly a thousand young women maquiladora workers in CD Juarez, Chihuahua and many other points on the border. So after 1994 signing of the NAFTA, we have thousands of dead innocent people, and we have thousands of millionaires and a few billionaires in the US, Mexico and Canada.

NAFTA is the worst Human Rights violator; first in violation of environmental justice, worker justice, Women's reproductive rights, and the right to organizae as workers and as communities. The exploitation of poor workers by multi-national and trans-national rich corporations is another Human Rights violation. Where products have more freedom to migrant than do people, the same people who were uprooted from their lands, community, culture, language and family to end up in the belly of the metropolis.

  1. Militarization of the Border and violence (US-MX)

In 1924, about the same time 'Natives' received US citizenship, the US government established the Border Patrol, an armed military-federal police, to patrol the borders of the US. Since that time, the southern border with Mexico has undergone a 'militarization'. The Army, the Green Berets, the National Guard, and other military organizations, including intelligence units attached to Border Patrol and Customs which are now fused together under Homeland Security as ICE.

Mass deportations & illegal detentions (privatized industry) has been military operations including mass raids, and deportations of millions and millions,

  1. CD Juarez: Ground Zero of killing fields

One of the most condemning proof of the failure of the Border Industrialization Program (BIP), the so called twin-plants started the maquiladora (assembly) industry in CD Juarez in 1965. The trade zone allowed tax free imports to US after being assembled in Mexico at cheap wages of 4 dollars a day. The BIP was negotiated into a broader trade and finance agreement know as the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) 1994. As part of the globalization plan [new world order] and policies by the US government and corporate and finance giants from Wall Street, NAFTA expanded the trade zone to Canada, Mexico and US. Today we have hundreds of billionaires and millions of poor and working people displaced by the NAFTA and the free trade that is nothing but free.

  1. Arizona: Ground Zero of Racism & Xenophobia

Janet Napolitano, ex governor of Arizona, Republican, Right ideology is head of Department of Homeland Security and she was put there by them powers coming from Arizona now the ground-zero for deportations, racial profiling, law enforcement run amok, and racist right wing organizations and movements of white supremacy. The Goldwater plan started in the 1980' and became the nucleus of Republican right revolution uplifted by Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove.

  1. Human Rights and Border Justice

While numerous Human Rights and Border Justice organizations are active and have been for some time doing cross-border organizing, from California to the tip of Texas, but they are not united in a single Border-Human Rights Network, alliance of Coalition, thereby fragmenting the efforts to document Human Rights violations and establishing a Archive Center on Human Rights to document violations systemically. The US-Mexico border is a bi-national region and showed be seen and treated as such establishing a bi national zone or open borders.

  1. Environmental racism & Human Rights

Starting with the maquiladora industry environmental contamination of ground, water and air, the border wall impact on the environment and the ecological impact on wildlife. Families have become divided by a metal wall 16 feet tall between their homes and ranches in some cases. The huge stadium lights that go along the border wall of death. The whole of the impact of environmental racism extends to US companies setting up waste incinerators on the Mexico side, disregarding laws there and escaping US environmental regulations. The ASARCO lead smelter in El Paso. The waste dumps in Matamoros across Brownsville on the estuary. Additionally workers are subjected to environmental toxic chemicals and solvents resulting in the Mallory children, the contamination of the Rio Grande River, and children born without brains.

  1. New paradigm for Systemic Social Change: Multi-paradigmatic

The Southwest region offers many possibilities for change and this conference demonstrates the fact. To build a human rights social movement regionally, we must approach it as we are building new knowledge of the present situation of the region but determine new strategies and tactics; really a multi-paradigmatic approach.

Multi cultural
Multi national
Multi-gender and trans gender
Multi-families (several families in one single parents etc)
Multi-health and food sovereignty
Multi-abilities (inclusive)

A movement that thrives on diversity to form a new community, communities, and make a new world possible where everyone fits.

Establish a SW region network for human, border, environmental justice
Establish an Archive on Human Rights Violations (Bi national border region)

Organize a University Sin Fronteras/USHRN a series of course (diverse campuses on the concept of University with out walls) on Human Rights and Liberation/sovereignty/emancipation/freedom movement & leadership building(growing) bridging the veteran leadership with young leaderships coming up in the social movements.

Border Patrol Abuse Since 2010
Killed by Customs and Border Protection
1. Jorge Solis-Palma
Age: 28
Nationality: Mexican
Cause of Death:Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 1-4-2010
Incident Location: Douglas, Az.
Border Patrol agents spotted three men traveling north near the border fence. The men separated. Several agents pursued Jorge Alfredo Solis-Palma. He allegedly got into a physical altercation with an agent and then escaped. As he ran, the agent pursued and fatally shot Solis-Palma.
2. Victor Santillan de la Cruz
Age: 36
Nationality: Mexican
Cause of Death: Fatal Shooting
Incident Date: 3-31-2010
Incident Location: Texas
A Border Patrol agent shot Santillan de la Cruz after he was apprehended on U.S. side of the Rio Grande allegedly transporting drugs.
3. Anastasio Hernandez Rojas

Age: 42
Nationality: Mexican, San Diego resident since age 18
Cause of Death: Tortured to death by CBP
Incident Date: 5-28-2012
Incident Location: San Diego, Ca.
Border agents apprehended and intended to deport Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a long time San Diego resident who did not have legal status. While in custody over a dozen agents beat and Tased him to death. His family is now suing the government, there is a pending DOJ investigation, a Grand Jury hearing in process, and U.S. lawmakers have called for an agency wide investigation on the use of force.
4. Sergio Adrian H. Huereca

Age: 15
Nationality: Mexican
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 6-7-2010
Incident Location:  Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
A Border Patrol agent shot Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande canal between El Paso and Juarez. Hernandez peeked out from behind a concrete pillar on the Mexican side of the border. The agent claimed the boys were throwing rocks and he fired at Hernandez allegedly in self defense.
5. Juan Mendez
Age: 18
Nationality: Unknown
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 10-5-2010
Incident Location: Eagle Pass, Texas
A Border Patrol agent stopped a truck that Juan Mendez was driving and began to question him. A 15-year-old boy fled the truck, and Mendez allegedly struggled with the agent. He was shot twice and declared dead at the scene. Authorities allegedly found 325 pounds of marijuana in the truck.
6. Ramses Barron Torres

Age: 17
Nationality: Mexican
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 1-5-2011
Incident Location: Nogales, Mexico
Barron Torres was allegedly climbing the border fence from Mexico when an agent shot him. He was pronounced dead upon his arrival at a Mexican hospital.
7. Roberto Pérez Pérez

Age: 63
Nationality: Mexican
Cause of Death: Lack of medical care after being beaten.
Incident Date: 1-13-2011
Incident Location: San Diego, CA
Pérez Pérez attempted to cross without inspection through the San Ysidro Port of Entry when he was tackled, beaten and Tasered repeatedly by CBP officials.  He was taken into custody and died months later while still in custody due to lack of adequate medical attention. He was charged with allegedly assaulting a federal agent.
8. Alex Martinez
Age: 30
Nationality: U.S.
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 2-27-2011
Incident Location: Washington State
Martinez family members called 911 requesting medical assistance.  Border Patrol responded to the call and shot Martinez upon seeing him come out of his home with what they believed was a weapon and turned out to be a flashlight.
9. Carlos Lamadrid

Age: 19
Nationality: U.S.
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 3-21-2011
Incident Location: Douglas, Az
Lamadrid, a U.S. citizen, was shot in the back by Border Patrol agents while he was climbing the border fence into Mexico. Agents claimed he was throwing rocks and they fired in self defense. He died five hours after the shooting in a hospital. The family has filed a lawsuit.
10. Jose Alfredo Yañez Reyes

Age: 40
Nationaility: Mexican
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 6-21-2011
Incident Location: Tijuana, Mexico
Yañez Reyes was in a tree overlooking the border fence in Mexico when he was shot in the eye by Border Patrol agents on the U.S. side who claimed he was throwing rocks.  He died at the scene.
11. Gerardo Rico Lozano
Age: 20
Nationality: Mexican
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 11-3-2011
Incident Location: Texas
Rico Lozano was shot and killed after agents pulled over his vehicle on a rural stretch of road. Other occupants and the driver fled, but Lozano allegedly got behind the wheel and drove the vehicle toward the agent. The agent claimed they shot and killed Rico Lozano in self defense.
12. Byron Sosa Orellana

Age: 28
Nationality: Guatemalan
Cause of Death: Fatal Shooting,
Incident Date: 12-6-2011
Incident Location: Arizona
Migrants were attempting to cross the border into Arizona when Border Patrol agents encountered them. Sosa Orellana allegedly became combative and an agent shot him in the chest. He died at the scene.
13. Alexander Martin
Age: 34
Nationality: U.S.
Cause of death: Death in vehicle explosion
Incident Date: 3-15-2012
Incident Location: San Diego County
Martin was driving a rental car from Texas to San Diego. He was allegedly driving the wrong way on Interstate 8. Border Patrol agents pursued him and he did not pull over. Agents set up a trap that flattened his car tires. When Martin did not get out of the car, an agent deployed a Taser. The car exploded into flames, killing him.
14. Charles Robinson
Age: 75
Nationality: U.S.
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 6-23-2012
Incident Location: Maine
Three Border Patrol agents responded to a domestic dispute after receiving a call for help from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department. Customs and Border Protection said a person in the house opened fire on the agents, who shot back. State police later entered the home and found Charles Robinson dead. The Maine Attorney General is investigating.
15. Juan Pablo Santillán
Age: 30
Nationality: Mexican
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 7-7-2012
Incident Location: TX
Santillán was shot and killed for allegedly throwing rocks at a border agent while standing on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.
16. Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza
Age: 37
Nationality: Mexican
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 9-3-2012
Incident Location: Nuevo Laredo, México
While patrolling the Rio Grande on a river boat, Border Patrol agents opened fire on a group of men, women and children who were at a family gathering on the Mexican banks of the river. Arevalo Pedraza was struck in the chest and died.
17. Valeria Munique Tachiquin

Age: 32
Nationality: U.S.
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 9-28-2012
Incident Location: Chula Vista, CA
A plain-clothed Border Patrol agent shot and killed Tachiquin in a residential suburb of San Diego.  The agent alleged she had struck him and was carrying him on top of her car prompting him to fire in self defense.
Witnesses tell conflicting stories.
The border agent involved had a very troubling record when he worked as a sheriff’s deputy. The Imperial Valley Sheriff’s Department ultimately issued the agent a notice of termination for “unprofessional conduct, dishonesty, violation of or refusal to obey reasonable regulations, insubordination, violation of rules, incompetence and failure to follow proper procedures for arrest, search and seizure and treatment of persons in custody.”
18. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie

Age: 30
Nationality: U.S.
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 10-2-2012
Incident Location: Naco, AZ
Ivie was killed by another Border Patrol agent while they were on patrol on horseback. The circumstances are still being investigated.
19. Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez

Age: 16
Nationality: Mexican
Cause of Death: Fatal shooting
Incident Date: 10-13-2012
Incident Location: Nogales, México
Border Patrol agents who were standing on the U.S. side shot at a group of youth near downtown Nogales, Mexico, after allegedly telling them to stop throwing rocks. Elena Rodriguez was struck with several bullets and died at the scene.  He had been standing in front of a doctor’s office.
Non-Lethal Cases of Border Brutality
1. Jesus Enrique Castro Romo

Age: 30
Nationality: Mexican
Incident: Survived shooting
Incident Date: 11-16-2010
Incident Location:  Santa Cruz County, AZ
Castro Romo was shot in the stomach by a Border Patrol agent who alleged he threw rocks. He survived the shooting.

2. Jose Gutierrez Guzman

Age: 41
Nationality: Mexican
Incident: Tased and beaten into a comatose state
Incident Date: 3- 30- 2011
Incident Location: San Luis Port of Entry, AZ
While attempting to enter without inspection Gutierrez Guzman was Tased and beaten.
For further reading, videos and information please visit the Investigative Newsource site: Deadly Patrols.

Human Rights News
Group Calls for Border Security Oversight

An El Paso-based immigrant advocacy and human rights organization has renewed a demand for Washington to establish an independent oversight and review commission tasked with examining transparency, institutional violence and “the overall border enforcement strategy and its impact on border communities and families.”

The Border Network for Human Rights made the call following last week’s shooting death of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez allegedly by a Border Patrol agent at the international line separating Nogales, Arizona, from its sister city of Nogales, Sonora.

The young man was shot six times from the U.S. side of the border while he was in Mexico, according to a lawyer representing the victim’s family. Quoted in the local press, the Border Patrol said shots were fired from U.S. territory when its agents were accosted by rock throwers after observing smugglers toss drugs over a border fence.

Verbal commands from agents to cease were ignored,” the Border Patrol said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Victor Brabble added that video footage of the incident was turned over to the FBI.

The Mexican Embassy in the U..S. swiftly condemned the October 10 shooting, adding that preliminary information “once again raises serious doubts about the U.S. of lethal force by Border Patrol agents..”  

Elena Rodriguez was buried Sunday, October 14, after 200 people paid their last respects at a Nogales mass. His relatives have retained a U.S. attorney and are considering legal action.

We are waiting for the investigation to conclude on both sides of the border,” family lawyer Luis Parra said this week. “The family wants justice, transparency and an answer to the doubts they have about the young man’s death.”

Parra described Elena Rodriguez as “a very good young man” with no criminal record who had plans  of finishing school and joining the Mexican military. The teen might have been on the way to meet his brother when he was shot and killed, Parra said.

The Nogales shooting was the third reported killing of a Mexican national by the Border Patrol since the summer. On July 7, Border Patrol bullets were blamed for the death of 29-year-old Juan Pablo Perez Santillan on the Brownsville-Matamoros border of Texas and Tamaulipas. Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza, 36, was killed in a Border Patrol shooting September 3 at the border of Laredo/Nuevo Laredo, again in the Texas and Tamaulipas corridor.  

The Border Network questioned rock throwing as a standard justification for lethal shootings, expressing concern that a U.S. judge’s adverse ruling in a lawsuit filed by relatives of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, who was shot to death on the Ciudad Juarez side of the border by a Border Patrol agent in 2010 after allegedly throwing rocks, could result in a miscarriage of justice in this month’s Nogales incident.

In a statement, Border Network Executive Director Fernando Garcia placed the shootings in the larger context of a “failed” U.S. border strategy. “We have been insisting that the consequences of massive border enforcement and militarization, specifically in the lack of accountability and oversight, have led us to a disastrous human rights and civil rights situation at the U.S.-Mexico border,” Garcia contended.

According to Garcia’s group, previous demands that President Obama use his executive power to set up an independent body to monitor, investigate and oversee the activities of the Department of Homeland Security and other border-related security agencies have gone unanswered.

Additional sources:, October 16, 2012. Nuevo Dia/El Universal,  October 16, 2012., October 15, 2012. Article by Jonathan Clark., October 15, 2012. Proceso/Apro, October 11, 2012., October 11, 2012. La Jornada, September 7, 2012. Article by Martin Sanchez, Carlos Figueroa and Notimex.

Frontera NorteSur: on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico

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