Skip to content

Well worth reading

3 July 2014

“Children on the Run” (United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees).  This situation is neither new, nor unexpected (nor unprecedented) and while it is not going to be resolved without looking at the reasons for what the U.S. media calls a “surge” (suggesting a military invasion), those advocating some quick fix (like”send em back”) need to have some understanding of the reason the refugees cannot just go home without major changes in the region.  And that the refugees are not simply a U.S. “problem” but that other nations have stood up and done what they reasonably can.  Not enough, but something.

From the Executive Summary:

ScreenHunter_07 Jul. 03 17.16Since 2009, UNHCR has registered an increased number of asylum-seekers – both children and adults – from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala lodging claims in the Americas region. The United States recorded the largest number of new asylum applications out of all countries of asylum, having receiving 85% of the total of new applications brought by individuals from these three countries in 2012. The number of requests for asylum has likewise increased in countries other than the U.S. Combined, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Belize documented a 432% increase in the number of asylum applications lodged by individuals from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. In the United States, the number of adults claiming fear of return to their countries of origin to government officials upon arriving at a port of entry or apprehension at the southern border increased sharply from 5,369 in fiscal year (FY ) 2009 to 36,174 in FY 2013.

Individuals from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico account for 70% of this increase. Beginning in October 2011, the U.S. Government recorded a dramatic rise – commonly referred to in the United States as “the surge” – in the number of unaccompanied and separated children arriving to the United States from these same three countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The total number of apprehensions of unaccompanied and separated children from these countries by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) jumped from 4,059 in FY 2011 to 10,443 in FY 2012 and then more than doubled again, to 21,537, in FY 2013. At the same time, a tremendous number of children from Mexico have been arriving to the U.S. over a longer period of time, and although the gap is narrowing as of FY 2013, the number of children from Mexico has far outpaced the number of children from any one of the three Central American countries. For example, in FY 2011, the number of Mexican children apprehended was 13,000, rising to 15,709 in FY 2012 and reaching 18,754 in FY 2013. Unlike the unaccompanied and separated children arriving to the U.S. from other countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, most of these children were promptly returned to Mexico after no more than a day or two in the custody of the U.S. authorities, making it even more difficult to obtain a full picture of who these children were and why they were coming to the U.S.

A burro, Porfirio Diaz, and a pyramid…

3 July 2014

… but not Mexico.


Don Porfirio was in Egypt when Victoriano Huerta overthrew Francisco Madero and had the “apostle of democracy” shot (19 February 1913).

Don Porfirio sent a congratulatory telegram from Cairo :

The consideration you have shown me in my divorcement from public life is of inestimable satisfaction to me, and even more so is the delicate manner and kindly words in which you have been pleased to advise me of your elevation to the presidency ad interim of Mexico.

Accept this as an assurance of my deepest gratitude and as a hope that your self-effacement and patriotism may bring to the conscience of the people the realization that only in the shadow of peace can our country prosper and be happy and respected.

Boy, did he get that wrong.

Don Porfirio died in June 1915 peacefully… of old age it seems… but deeply disillusioned about the long shadow Huerta’s brief, but neither delicate nor kindly, regime had cast over Mexico. Huerta himself would follow Porfirio to the grave eight months later, a prisoner of the United States, his attemps to reinsert himself into the unhappy situation in Mexico neither self-effacing, nor … financed by the Imperial German Army… all that patriotic.


(photo:; telegram text:  San Francisco Call, Volume 113, Number 91, 1 March 1913)

We’ll get over it… eventually

3 July 2014

The young lady (who calls herself “dizzymissdc”) says she’s not homophboic, nor anti-Dutch. SHe is, however, a Mexican. Which means she’s going to see the results of the Netherlands-Mexico game in a certain light, and… like any other Mexico… she’s going to swear. A lot.

Some restrictions apply

1 July 2014


(Translation by Jorge E. Sanint)

(Translation by Jorge E. Sanint)

American exceptionalism?

30 June 2014

The United States is not alone in seeing this spike in refugees. There is a 720% increase in asylum claims in both Nicaragua and Belize, as people flee violence in the Northern Triangle.
The UNHCR found that 58% of these youth coming to the United States qualify for specific international protection due to their legitimate claim of fear and violence.

(Crisis on the Border: Unaccompanied Migrant Children. Sisters of Mercy of the Americas)

Obabma could have saved himself a lot of trouble if instead of “at my direction, [having] the Vice President convene… leaders from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as Mexico,” he’d first talked to the Sisters of Mercy, who like the U.S. goverment have been in the business of providing “assistance” in the region, although the nuns admittedly have much less background in sending military “advisers”, weapons and “biometric identification software” (the latter something the U.S. seems to think Mexico will install on their southern border… just because).  The short (three page) document from the Sisters of Mercy is probably the best and simplest overview of the situation I’ve read.

Mexico 1935… two films

30 June 2014

The first, from the Penn Museum (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthopology) seems to be three travel films run together… of Mexican City (most of which should be recognizable to anyone with any familarity with the city today), of someone’s trip down the canals of Xochimilco, and a minute or two of men cutting agave.


The second, “Mexico Revisited” is allegedly, travel films taken by the producer’s grandfather of a road trip from Laredo to Mexico City and back.  Obviously, “provincia” has changed radically in the last 80 years, but what’s fun is recognizing how many of the stereotypes still presented about Mexico were seen even then as “colorful”.  It also suggests to me why the Cardenas administration (1936-42) was so concerned about modernization.

I don’t doubt that the film really was shot by tourists back in the 30s, though it crossed my mind to ask who was filming all those scenes of the car going down the road, crossing streams, etc.  While the “time capsule” introduction is cute, the producer might want to re-edit .  The flag supposedly filmed by his ancestor in 1935 (at 3:33) is one that didn’t exist until 1968, when the national seal was redesigned.


Going out with a song: Los Tres Tristes Tigres

30 June 2014

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 465 other followers