Category Archives: Politics

A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays

Remember how I said that I was writing a survival guide for women moving to Mexico? Well, the project has become enormous. So I’ve decided to publish the sections as separate books so that the sheer volume of information doesn’t become overwhelming.

Today I’d like to announce that the first section of the survival guide is now available at Amazon.  A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays in Mexico answers how, when, and why these festivities are observed not from abstract research, but personal experience. Because moving to a new country can be daunting, learning about the patriotic, religious and civil festival days will help you understand some of what makes up the Mexican culture and allow you to become more fully immersed in the amazingly diverse world of Mexico. Viva! holidays

This informative book is available for your reading pleasure on Kindle, as a full colored paperback (which is a bit pricey) and as a black and white paperback.

And in celebration of its release, the Kindle version is FREE for the next few days!

As for my other books……

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The paperback version of  Wascally Wabbits and Zombie Babies: Animal Antics South of the Border has also just been released.  The Kindle version of this book has been updated with a few new adventures.

La Yacata Revolution: How NOT to Buy a Piece of Heaven in Mexico and A to Z Reasons Why La Yacata is the Place to Be in Any Disaster: A Prepper’s Guide to Mexico have had updates recently as well.

la yacata revolution cover  atozcover

So, that ought to keep you busy while I keep working on another installment of the Woman’s Survival Guide series.  Happy reading!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Mexican Cultural Stories, Mexican Holidays, Politics, Religion

The Honduran Migrant Caravan in Mexico

Families, women, and children, young girls, teenage boys….these are the desperate and hungry people who make up this caravan of refugees crossing Mexico with the hope of finding safety in the United States.

It’s not an invasion, no matter what the hysterical president might say. And it’s entirely legal. Under both U.S. and international law, those fleeing violence from Central American countries are allowed to apply for asylum in both Mexico and in the U.S.

For safety, these families have banded together to search out a secure place for their children to go to school, play, grow up. This human caravan is reported to have begun in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, known as the murder capital of the world. The group grew to more than 1,600 Hondurans by the time they reached the Guatemalan border. Although Guatemala first attempted to deny the refugees entrance, the government later relented. By the time this caravan reached the Mexican border, it was a group of over 4,000.

On October 19, these desperate men, women, and children were attacked with pepper spray by Mexican forces at the border. Nine children, 18 women, two of them pregnant and six men were injured during the attack. Although Mexico has since allowed the caravan to enter, even issuing 45-day visas with the idea that they should be able to reach the US border within that time frame, the government is not making any official efforts to assist the group. In fact, an arrangement that would have allowed the group to take buses to Mexico City was denied, with many saying it was government pressure that caused the plan to fall through. Although the first caravan has finally arrived in Mexico City despite it all. 

The residents of small towns in Mexico along the route have been generous with their support. Volunteers have been providing food, clothing, and medicine to the refugees. The Mexican President has also made some concessions. As long as these migrants remain in Chiapas and Oaxaca, two of the nation’s poorest states and far, far from the U.S. border, they will be given temporary ID cards, work permits, medical care, schooling, and housing in hostels under the Estás en Tu Casa proposal.

Of course, this proposal doesn’t take into account that some areas of Mexico are just as dangerous as the countries these refugees are fleeing. Or address the fact that the U.S. has commissioned Mexico to keep these migrants from its borders. It is estimated that 950,000 Central Americans have been deported from Mexico in the past few years and there is reason to believe that thousands more have disappeared. The enormous number of mass graves found in Mexico give credence to that. Even with these reasons against staying in Mexico, many have applied for permission to remain. Others, however, are determined to reach the U.S.

There are an estimated 2,300 children in this huddled mass of homeless humanity. Some are ill, all are hungry and tired, yet the caravan moves on step-by-step. These parents must know that the chances of their families being allowed to stay together is remote. Perhaps, their thought is that even if their children are taken from them, maybe adopted or placed in child detention centers, as awful as that may be, there is a chance that their children will survive, something these parents did not believe would happen in their native countries.

So instead of all this mass hysteria, why not take a moment to walk a mile in the shoes of these anxious parents and exhausted children and consider the lengths you would go for your family?

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Filed under Politics, Safety and Security

Surviving Terrorism in La Yacata

The first step in surviving terrorism is to identify the terrorists and the modus operandi that the group employs.

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There’s been a lot of hype recently about Islamic factions in Mexico. In December 2012, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was heard to say that “Iran exports Terrorism to Mexico.” And as she admits that the US created Al Qaeda and as she had a part in all that, she’d know all about Terrorism.

One of these groups that Mexico is reportedly hosting is Hezbollah. In 2010, the Tuscon Police Department reported the arrest of Jameel Nasar, a Hezbollah recruiter in Mexico and South America. The fact that the accused terrorist was arrested by the Tuscon Police caused panic in the US. It was believed that terrorists were crossing the border from Mexico with nefarious plans to cause mayhem in the US. But is that really the case?

Not really. Experts at Homeland security agree that there are more efficient ways to get into the US where you don’t have to violate the US law or cross a desert for that matter. It’s more likely they’d get their tourist visa and fly in. In one study, out of 94 arrests for illegal entry, only two had any affiliation with known terrorist groups and one of those two detained entered from Canada.

So, Islamic groups aside, is Mexico safe from terrorism? It does rank 44 out of 124 on the risk list. For comparison sake, it’s interesting to see that the US ranks higher as a risk zone coming in at 35.

So why is Mexico even on the list at all if there is no credible evidence that Islamic groups have a foothold here? Terrorism by definition is the “systematic use, as well as threatened use, of violence to intimidate a population and thereby effect political, religious or ideological change.” There are two distinct groups within Mexico are responsible for most of the terrorist attacks. The government and narcotraficantes (drug traffickers).

mexico_homicides

From 2006 to 2012, narcotraficantes have caused between 60,000 to 100,000 deaths in Mexico. Between 2007 and 2014, the Mexican government has been linked to 23,272 disappearances. As not all disappearances are reported because of the fear of repercussions, this number could be significantly higher. Mass graves throughout Mexico are the final resting place for the bodies of thousands of those who have disappeared.   (See Hidden graves count: 1,143 in last 10 years Rights Commission also found that 57,861 people have been reported missing in 20 years)

disappearancesbyzones

In reality, these are not two separate terrorist groups, but two sides of the same coin. Without the narcotraficantes, Mexico would not be able to keep afloat financially. Drug trafficking is extremely profitable.

mexican-drug-cartels-map-lg

Ties between the political party of Mexico’s current president (PRI) and illegal drug traders can be traced to the beginning of the 20th century during the US period of Prohibition. The political, police and military infrastructure were subsequently designed to support the cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana for export. The Dirección Federal de Seguridad (DFS) organization was formed to organize and control drug trafficking. So is there really any surprise that El Chapo was allowed to escape?

ayotzinapa-terrorism

For decades, this system functioned without restriction. In the 1990’s PRI‘s 70-year reign ended. The addition of new political players with no prior connection with the cartels upset the system. Sections of the Mexican government began to challenge the set-up. Thus began the government sanctioned assassinations of drug-enforcement agents, governors, mayors, clergy, citizens, lawyers, judges, and journalists. And there we have narcoterrorism in a nutshell. While cartels battle over territories, dissenters are silenced by the government.

Partial List of Battle over cartel territories and state sanctioned massacres

between 2008 and 2015

Monterrey Casino Attack in 2011

Puebla Oil Pipeline Explosion in 2010

Ciudad Juárez rehab center attack in 2009

Morelia Grenade Attacks in 2008

Cadereyta Jiménez massacre in 2012

Iguala Mass Kidnapping in 2014

Mexican Federal Police Implicated in Massacre of 16 People in 2015

Tlatlaya Massacre in 2014

Coahuila Mass Graves in 2011

San Fernando Massacre in 2011

San Fernando Massacre in 2010

Nuevo Leon Mass Graves in 2010

Guerrero Mass Graves in 2010

Villas de Salvárcar massacre in 2010

List of Politicians killed 

List of Journalists and Media Workers killed

List of massacres in Mexico

So now that it’s been established who the terrorists are in Mexico and what their tactics are, it’s time to think about survival.

#1–Be aware of your surroundings. This will enable you to possibly identify a threat before it becomes active, locate exits and find cover.

In Mexico, it is now law to employ the use of deadly force in a protest situation. (See Ley de Atenco) Mexico has a history of staging public protests in order to garner attention for unjust laws and social reform. The results have often been bloody when government forces have stepped in.

oaxaca

Oaxaca 2016

With that in mind, ANY protest manifestation in Mexico becomes a potential terrorist situation. (See Nochixtlan massacre witnesses: Mexican police fired automatic weapons at demonstrators)

#2–Once you have identified a potential terrorist situation, flee. It’s the single most important thing you can do to survive.

So how does La Yacata become the place to be in the event of terrorist attacks? It’s not a central location, thus not a prime place for protest marches. You can wave your billboard all you want in La Yacata and no one cares. There isn’t anything of value to blow up or hold hostage by narcos or federales (federal police). It has a low population made up of poverty stricken people. You can’t get blood from a stone, so there’s little risk of extortion–another method often used by terrorists.

So when I am asked if I feel safe in Mexico, I can say that in spite of the experiences I have had so far in Mexico (See Safety and Security, Justice for all, Fighting for flowers) I can honestly say that I do.

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Surviving Martial law in La Yacata

tyranny

Martial law occurs when the highest-ranking military officer becomes head of government, negating the powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. In Mexico, the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces is the current president, Enrique Peña Nieto,

On May 3, 2006, while Sr. Peña Nieto was governor, police officers forcibly prevented 60 flower sellers from displaying their merchandise at the Texcocolocal market just outside of Mexico City. The flower sellers took refuge in the small nearby town of San Salvador Atenco. Residents and sellers set up a roadblock. Hundreds of state and federal police were sent to remove the blockade but were unable even after 5 confrontations. These confrontations were extremely violent. Two protesters died. 207 were arrested including 10 children and received what the National Human Rights Commission determined was cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment while in custody. 145 arbitrary arrests were made, that is to say without cause. Five people were illegally deported from Mexico. At least 26 women were raped by police. The NHRC determined that the police involved used excessive force, smashed windows and furniture, hauled people from their beds, molested women and children and abused the elderly and disabled. (See Video, Documentary, Commentary)

Unbeknownst to the Mexican people, on March 29, 2016, the Mexican Constitution was amended granting Sr. Peña Nieto dictatorial powers to establish a state of emergency and suspend other constitutional rights without congressional approval. Those rights that can be revoked include the freedom of association, the freedom of the press, and the right to a trial and due process.

Article 29 of the constitution now reads:

“In cases of invasion, serious disturbances to the public peace, or anything else that places society in grave danger or conflict, the president of the United States of Mexico, with the approval of the congress or the permanent commission when congress has not been assembled, can restrict or suspend, throughout the entire country or in limited places, those rights and guarantees that are obstacles to confronting, quickly and easily, the situation.

The amendment further clarifies the authorization of the use of deadly force in order to arrest or prevent the escape of suspects including the use of firearms, electric shock, and spray irritants.

All major Mexican political parties (PRI, PAN, PES, Partido Verde, PRD, Movimiento Ciudano) approved what is known as the Ley de Atenco (Atenco’s Law) with only the representative of the Morena political party opposing. (See Politicking)

Thus, all the pieces are in position for martial law in Mexico. How can you survive?

Wikihow suggests being a good citizen in the event of martial law. That implies unconditional obedience. I’ve learned quite a bit about trying to right wrongs with our ongoing battle for public utilities (See You can lead a horse to water) especially how people have their own interpretations of what is right and it usually is contrary to my own interpretation. So I don’t think I’d be able to be a good enough citizen to survive that way.

With this in mind, it would be prudent to consider the second method of survival Wikihow lists–grab your bug-out bag and flee. Fleeing without an ultimate destination may extend your life and liberty for a time, but it would be a difficult life, similar to that portrayed in the movie Defiance. While that sort of nomad existence is sustainable for a time, it’s important to educate yourself about the potential magnitude of the state of emergency. Will it be temporary or has martial law been implemented permanently? It’s very likely that once established, martial law will be hard to repeal. In the event that martial law is now the norm, what then?

Looking over the list of other suggestions of what to do in the event of martial law shows that La Yacata is a pretty good bug-out location after all.

*Become self-reliant. This is our ultimate goal in living in La Yacata. (See About)

*Avoid populated areas. Riots and violent military confrontations are centered in urban areas. La Yacata is rural as rural can be. As it is not connected to the electric, water or sewer systems, disruptions or limitations in these services will not seriously affect us. (See La Yacata still has no electricity) Most consider it bleak living and would choose to relocate to another less inhabitable area. That works for us.

*Create a community. This seems in contrast with the self-reliant advice. Perhaps it should read “Create a self-sufficient community.” The less you depend on the government, the better off you will be. We, in La Yacata, are still working on that establishing a community bit. (See Hate Thy Neighbor) Maybe we’ll be able to pull together in the event of such a disaster. Stranger things have happened.

Other than that, experts have no advice. I suppose it’s a situational sort of thing. If the occasion calls for it, can you keep your head down and remain unnoticed or is it something that calls for a stand against the atrocities? Only you can decide. Mexico has already proven itself to be violently intolerant to any sort of opposition, whether from flower sellers or student teachers (See El Dia del Estudiante). Thus, the outcome to any perceived defiance is understood.

die feet

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