By John Grant
As gullible North Americans were warned of disease-ridden Mexican and Central American rapists, killers and ISIS terrorists invading America from the infernal regions of the western hemisphere, on November 17 and 18, Veterans For Peace and other activist organizations sponsored a two-day border-straddling demonstration in Ambos Nogales, the term that covers both Nogales, Arizona (population 20,000) and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico (population 220,000).
Speaking for myself, every Mexican or Central American I ran into was clean and quite nice. Having spent time in Honduras in the 1980s, myself, and being well aware of the cruel and bloody aftermath of the 2009 coup in Honduras that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton covered over like a cat covering her business — well, let’s just say, even in a post-truth world reality does exist. It just may not be armed to the teeth like the US/Mexico border is when one is poor, facing north and between a rock and a hard place.
This is the third year of the Encuentro, which involved up to 500 people from all over the United States and Mexico. As in past years, it was a demonstration (or manifestacion in Spanish) that was split between the US and Mexico with a stage on the Mexican side of the wall made up of 20-foot-tall rusting, square steel poles four inches apart. In the past, one could reach a hand through to a person on the other side or even stick your face through to kiss another, if that was in order. But no more: This year, the US Border Patrol had put up rigid steel meshes to prevent that; they also installed a steel fence ten feet from the wall on the US side, preventing people from getting next to the wall. This, however, did not stop people from effectively doing civil disobedience and going up to the wall.
On the US side of the demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday, Border Patrol SUVs kept an eye on the peaceful demonstrators. The Border Patrol agent I spoke with spent the day parked (above) overlooking the demonstration. The man seemed quite bored. He explained to me that the steel meshes all over his SUV were because, “They like to throw rocks at us.” This SUV was parked at the spot where, across the border in Mexico, there is a large painting of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodrigueza (top) who was shot dead in 2012 by a US Border Patrol agent for throwing rocks through the wall. The agent was charged with second-degree-murder but was acquitted in April. It was 11PM; the agent claimed there was drug activity in the area and that he was scared due to the rocks coming at him; he emptied his pistol and re-loaded, firing a total of 20 rounds — 10 of them hitting the boy. The Border Patrol agency has gone from 4000 agents in the late ‘90s to over 21,000 currently…
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