10:32 (hace 1 hora)
10:32 (hace 1 hora)
People, you really ought to look at Hillary's foreign policy as secretary of state before you vote for her. There is a pile of destructive actions (to be polite). The most recent reported on is in Haiti. Before that there is Libya -- I'm not talking about Ben Ghazi -- as reported in two NY Times articles here and here and a video here. Googling Hillary Libya will get you many more critical articles. Then there is Honduras here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/03/10/hillary-clinton-needs-to-answer-for-her-actions-in-honduras-and-haiti/. there are plenty of other articles if you google Hillary Honduras. Then there's Mexico. Mexico's narcoquagmire owes at least some of its mess to Clinton's stands and actions. Here . is one article: http://fpif.org/hillary-clintons-dark-drug-war-legacy-mexico/ I know more about this because I live in Mexico and read about it and talk about it all the time. But this article is a good start, and again, googling will get you a lot more. Then there's her push for a no-fly zone over Syria, which was criticized for being unfeasible and was something Obama himself didn't want. Then of course there's her vote for war in Iraq.
When I watch her in debates and town hall meetings, she seems too confident, not introspective, deaf to cultural and local political issues, unaware that she is involved in decisions to take human lives. I just don't trust her to be president.
In their usual condescending way, in their Sunday Review, the editors of The New York Times dissed Bernie Sanders and chances he might have to get things done if he were elected president. I wonder just how effective Hillary would be: how many enemies she has; who would cross the party divide to support her; what her big corporate donors would do if she turned on them out of principle, say to stop fracking or to do away with privately financed prisons. First of all, in that very same New York Times you can find an article offering some insight into Bernie´s effectiveness here. Furthermore here is a summary of some of the things Bernie could do without having to get the support of Republican legislators: http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-bernie-sanders-solutions-would-dramatically-improve-wages-poverty-and-inequality
In their editorial in the Sunday Review, the Times said that Revolutions are bottom up, not top down. This is silliness. Revolutions have LEADERS who often are the ones who give form to the inchoate yearnings of the people. In the US, I don´t think Sanders means a Cuban-style revolution, but rather movements that give voice to the very legitimate claims people have about the dominance of corporate wealth in our economy, about climate change, about unequal chances. I don´t trust Hillary to help these voices make changes.
Consulta Mitovsky does many surveys of life and attitudes in Mexico. Below I´ve translated the recent survey of attudes towards gays and lesbians. Here is the link to the PDF file of the survey. . As usual, I would like to remind you that there are various places in the country more liberal than others, but that there haven´t been any of the angry demonstrations nor angry rhetoric that you find in the US, especially now, where in the US gay marriage has once again turned into a campaign issue accompanied by the usual vitriol. I´ve translated "homosexual" as "gay or lesbian" because they are the more common terms in the US.
Don´t know/No opinion 2.8%
2. Are gays and lesbians born being gays and lesbians?
Strongly agree: 55%
Agree a little or not at all: 32.2%
Don´t know/no opinion
3. A gay/lesbian couple ought to have the same rights as a heterosexual copy.
Strongly/somewhat in agreement: 51.1%
A little/not at all in agreement: 39.7%
Don't know/no opinion 9.2%
Strongly or somewhat agree by age group:
18 to 29 years old: 62.0%
30 to 45 years old: 47.7%
46 and more years old: 46.1%
4. A lesbian couple should be permitted to adopt.
Strongly/somehwat in agreement: 47.6%
A little/not at all in agreement: 43.3%
Don't know/no opinion: 9.1%
5. A gay couple should be permitted to adopt,
Strongly or somewhat agree; 41.8
A little/not at all in agreement: 48.1
Don't know/no opinion: 10.1%
6. A gay couple should be permitted to get married.
Strongly or somewhat agree: 47.6%
A little or not at all in agreement: 43.3%
Don´t know/know opinion: 9.1%
Attitude by sex: Men
Very/somewhat in agreement: 42.3%
Little/not at all in agreement: 47.7%
Don´t know/no opinion: 10.0%
Attitude by sex: women
Very/somewhat in agreement: 52.3%
Little/not at all in agreement: 39.6%
Don't know/no opinion: 8.1%
Attitude by age
Very/somewhat in agreement:
18 to 29 years: 50.8%
30 to 45 years: 47.3%
46 years and over: 45.5%
7. Would you be willing to meet the partner of a gay or lesbian son or daughter?
Prefer not to meet the partner: 26.7%
Do not want to meet the partner: 16.7%
Here is a link to an article in Patheos discussing opposition to Girl Scout Cookies by the St. Louis Archdiocese and Franklin Graham because of the Girl Scout positions on gays.
Although we live at the very edge of a village and can just cross the small river at the bottom of our property and be in coffee growing country, we also live very near -- maybe eleven miles -- from Xalapa, the capital of the State of Veracruz.
Xalapa is a real city with urban delights and urban problems. We often go for a lot of reasons. Recently I discovered a site for a local online newspaper called Buzón Xalapa on which pictures of the capital are often posted, along with news, columns, local requests and so forth. The articles and photos -- most of the stuff, in fact -- gives me ideas for blog posts, though as usual, I don't follow through that much. Since so many people in the US are interested in crime in Mexico (they seem more interested in that than in so much else worth knowing about this country), I picked a piece on crime in Xalapa to talk about.
An aerial view of the Palacio del Gobierno. The roof is being painted.
A view looking over the main highway looking toward Macuiltepec
Macuíltepec, a dormant volcano, is now an ecological park. We haven't been up it in many years, but it has a lovely, long, circling path to the top and its vistas. This area is on the western side of Xalapa and gives you a feel for the newer, sprawling, densely packed urban area with houses and tiendas and other small businesses packed cheek-by-jowl.
Urban complaints about Xalapa will be familiar to city dwellers everywhere. I use italics for my translation of Brenda Caballero's piece.
It's hard to figure out exactly what the rates of various crimes are in Xalapa. The state government insists they are going down and that it is not that high to begin with, but I don´t have that much confidence in the statistics the state government publishes to polish its image. But to me, an old dangerous-city dweller in the US, it doesn't feel particularly scary in Xalapa. Of course, you shouldn't confuse it up with some idyllic rural area or even one of the so-called ten most desireable small cities to live in in the US. And when you've been assaulted or know someone who has been, suddenly the whole city can seem dangerous. Thus far, we haven't been assaulted in Xalapa. Jim was, in fact, the object of a pick-pocketing scheme a few years ago which did not succeed. Fortunately (or probably not) he was the victim of the same trick in Barcelona, Spain. Here´s how it goes: You are walking along a crowded sidewalk when some very respectable looking man stops you and says, Oh, Sir, how unfortunate! A bird has deposited his droppings on your pants! Here, let me help. You can use my handkerchief. And while you and he are bending over to clean your pants leg, a nimble-fingered accomplice is taking your wallet out of the pocket on your other side. Since Jim was immediately aware of what was happening as we walked down the book-selling arcade in Xalapa's El Centro, we foiled the plot. But we were still mad.
While there are narcos living in Xalapa (I'm pretty sure), and probably in the surrounding areas (there are some incredible mansion-like structures in local cemeteries), most complaints of crime don't point directly to narcos, but rather to more ordinary types. The crimes I've heard of are assaults and robberies, virtual kidnappings, extortion. And so forth. I know of one person who was murdered in Xalapa.
INEGI, the National Institute of Geography and Statistics has, for the past five years, conducted surveys to report and analyze victimization by and perception of crime in Mexico and the individual states. This survey, called ENVIPE, is linked to UN studies. I trust INEGI surveys.They publish their methodology, their sources, everything. But I can't give you data on Xalapa by itself, only about the State of Veracruz.
I am not any statistics expert, so you have to take what I say with a fat grain of salt and check these things for yourself. I have only one non-Mexican statistic for comparison: that is NYC´s reported crime for 2014. In 2014 in NYC, there was very roughly one serious crime per 100 people in 2014. This rate is, by the way, drastically lower than the crime rate was in the early 1990s in New York.
In Veracruz, I estimate (roughly, remember) that 1/80 people were victims of some crime, probably not serious, in 2014. Specific crimes reported were extortion, robbery and assault in the street or on public transport, and fraud. So I don't at this point know how many murders, for instance, were committed or whether anyone made distinctions between demographic groups or narco-crime and non-narco-crime in the final reports. The statistics for Veracruz are blanket statistics. There is no distinction between rural, town and city people, or income groups or anything in the summary information I was looking at, but all pertinent demographic information is collected. And the crime rates also included estimates, called cifra negra, or unreported crime figures. In Veracruz, it is thought that in 2014, 86.3% of crime went unreported. The 86.3% is based on surveys and statistics.
Now back to Buzón Xalapa.
In an article called Assaults, Robberies and Statistics, Brenda Caballero first reports that the wife of a friend was on her way to her car when she was threatened by two people who stuck what might or might not have been a gun or a knife in her back. "Everything happened so fast that she couldn't identify if it was a gun or a knife. They pushed her against a wall and began to paw her; in the face of her resistance, they hit her, and next began to take various of her things like her wallet. Since she could, she managed to escape, running and yelling for help.
The police? Thanks but no thanks, no one saw anything.
The writer continues saying that this is not an isolated incident. She says, and it´s true, that insecurity is the most worrisome issue for all Mexicans. In Veracruz, the percentage of people who claim insecurity is their biggest fear is 53%. (1)
The worst thing to do with feelings of insecurity is to panic and withdraw The best thing is to see what you sensibly should feel insecure about and take precautions. We used to call this having street smarts where I grew up, and in St. Louis where we lived, too.
Brenda Caballero presents the summary statistics for the State of Veracruz: 58% of people cite insecurity as their biggest problem. And where do they feel most insecure? The bank 68.4%)? The street (67.6%)? Public transport (67.4%)? The highway (62.1%)? The market (56%)? The commercial center(43%)? the car(39.95? At work (30.8%) At school?(26.2%)? At home (22.6%)? You could give as many answers as you wanted to as to where you felt insecure.
She lists responses to a sense of insecurity. I think she is often talking about people here who may be upper middle class living in gated communities which exist here, too. I remember when we first arrived here almost ten years ago, some friends living in Las Animas, a suburban sort of development which would be familiar looking to USA folks with some of the houses planted in the midst of big lawns, almost all set back from the street. These friends commented that they and their neighbors would never allow their kids to play outside alone. And indeed, when you drive through Las Animas, it lacks kids outside and pedestrians, and groups of neighbors chatting on stoops, appealing features of our colonia and lots of less prosperous environs.
So Sra Caballero says, Maybe because of this situation we Mexicans have changed our behavior. According to ENVIPE 2015, the changes in descending numbers of frequency are: Now we don't permit younger children to go into the street. Now we don't wear jewelry. Now we don't go out at night. Now we avoid carrying cash, credit or debit cards. Sadly we don't go out walking. We avoid visiting family and friends.We avoid taking taxis. There are those who avoid going to the movies, the theater, to restaurants to eat, to go to a party, or to travel by highway to another state or city.
What do we do in the face of these statistics and numbers? What can we do as citizens?
Well. I have to say that throughout its history as an independent country, and before as well, Mexico has never been a crime-free or violence-free haven. What is different now is the people affected, perhaps, and maybe the numbers.
And the nature of society has changed. There are I am willing to bet, many more people without decent work, without close ties to family, who have had to break their ties to place. And there are, simply, many more people. These are incredibly serious social and economic problems, not only in Mexico but throughout the world wherever the corporate world, the modern apparatus of state, vast fortunes controlled by a few have become dominant and where cities are packed with poor people who often migrate there to make the living they can no longer make in agriculture.
What to do? These problems are very real.
Here is what Sra Caballero offers as commentary.
In fact, it's a complicated answer since although we are each of us dealing with our own grain of sand taking care of ourselves in a personal or collective way, although we groups of vigilant citizens buy ourselves a dog, padlocks and alarms if we don't have the support of the authorities in charge if security, if impunity and insecurity continue to be the rule, the lack of jobs or of salaries that are adequate, the perception of citizens a will not diminish. On the contrary, it will increase to the extent that we run the risk of finding ourselves a weary people who only free themselves through the lynchings of criminals, encountering justice by our own hand. Then yes, the authorities will want to intervene. We hope that it won't be too late...
PLEASE NOTICE THERE IS NO SUGGESTION THAT THE CITIZENRY ACQUIRE ITSELF GUNS. Lynching is mentioned. Lynching has always seemed to me to be an act of mob rage.
(1) The Survey itself can be found here. As I said, the demographic questions were extensive. Just five of the questions about what was most worrisome follow. It's worth looking at the whole thing.
A. Of the issues below, what are the three which worry you most?
Poverty, unemployment, narcotrafico, price increases, Insecurity, natural disasters, water scarcity, corruption, education, health, lack of criminals being punished, and "other".
B. In terms of crime, tell me if you feel secure (1) or insecure in
Your house, your work, the street, the school, the market, the commercial center, the bank, the automatic teller located on a public street, public transit, the automobile, the highway, the park or recreation center.
C. Do you know or have you heard if in the area around where you live the following situations have occurred?
Alcohol is consumed in the street, gangsterism or violent gangs, quarrels between neighbors, sale of illegal alcohol, sale of piraed goods, police violence against citizens, invasion of property, drug consumption, frequent gunshots, prostitution, kidnappings, murders, extortion, none of the above, don't know, no response.
D. During 2014, out of fear of being a victim of a crime (robbery, assault, kidnapping, etc), did you stop doing (response of yes, no, or does not apply):
Go out at night; permit minors who live with you to go out alone; visit family or friends; take taxis; use public transport; carry cash; go to school; go to the movies or the theater; go out walking; wear jewelry; carry credit or debit cards; go out to eat; go to the stadium; frequent commercial centers; travel by highway to other states or cities.
E. During 2014, to protect yourself from crime, in this home, has anything been done to take measures against crime?
Change doors or windows? Change or place locks and padlocks? Put up or reinforce bars or outside walls? Install alarms and/or videocameras? Hire a security guard or guards? Buy a watchdog? Get fire arms? Change where you lived? Other measures?
A part of Peña Nieto's speech at the UN in which he warned of the dangers of extremist populism made up most of my last post. Today the columnist Raúl Flores Rodríguez comments further on it in Sin Embargo. Flores says that when Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto warned against these extremes of left and right, he didn't name names, but "since he was standing on American soil, he was directing his comments without doubt to Mister Miss Universe, Donald Trump, with a message encrypted for the gringos and Andrés Manuel López Obrador [the leader of the left in Mexico]."
More important of course was the fact that the address before the UN confronted discourse against migrants, since it also said that the UN should assume a leading role in a global force to protect the rights of migrants.
"EPN said, 'In every continent, in all latitudes, migrants live stories of risk, rejection, discrimination and abuse....In the entire world, millions of migrants need a collective and effective answer, a global answer which must come from the United Nations'
Flores continued, "We must remember that the subject of 'populism' is now part of the Government of the Republic's and the Partido Reviolucionario Institucional´s agenda, since its been some days since the PRI official and member of the Mexican Senate Manlio Fabio Beltrones said, "I call on us to confront with ideas and proposals the demagogic populists who are surging in various places and wearing different masks, which generate violence and bad blood, and are a social risk to democracy....Let us go to meet the citizens with ideas and proposals which unmask the populists.
Flores asks "Do we really believe that our President has sufficient influence over our neighbor (the US)?
Flores goes on to remind us of the problems of corruption, deterioration of political parties and institutions, etc. which weaken EPN, and in fact other Latin American leaders when they address issues of extreme populism.
What is truly sad is that it was a very good speech.
You all must have heard of Ayotzinapa by now. It's been in US papers as well as Mexican ones. It has been one year since the murder and "disappearance" of 43 students from the normal school in Ayotzinapa. The parents of the missing and dead have kept the issue in the headlines by their demonstrations and meetings and speeches. Peña Nieto's government has not been able to push past it. Unlike the clichéd belief that what's news today disappears tomorrow, Ayotzinapa, has remained front and center.
Yesterday Peña Nieto spoke at the United Nations. Maybe he was trying to discredit the Ayotzinapa families, perhaps not. They must have been on his mind in any case.
As reported in Aristegui Noticias,* "at the UN General Assembly, he called on society to be on the alert for populists who can 'take advantage of their fears.'
"He continued, 'With growing inequalities, a world economic crisis that hasn't eased up, and with the social frustrations these provoke, the world today is threatened with new populist movements on the right and on the left, the risks from both being the same.'
"Without mentioning names, he said that 'the twentieth-century already has lived through and suffered the consequences of people who are lacking understanding, a sense of responsibility and an ethical grounding and thus try to divide their people.´
"For that reason, he considered that ´societies must be alert facing those who take advantage of fears and concerns, in the face of those who sow hatred and rancor, with the sole end being to fulfill political agendas and to satisfy personal ambitions.'
"The president stressed that we must not repeat the errors that have caused so much pain to the world in the past.' Peña Nieto said that 'division is not the solution', and he fought to recover the value of trust in institutions.
"The president indicated that in the UN, 'Mexico is a nation committed to human rights and peace,' at the same time, he spoke about the challenge that climate change represents and urged an international response to the problems that illicit drugs cause in the world."
*Spanish Text and photo from Aristegui Noticias. I translated the text.
I guess John Kerry still believes in US exceptionalism and US superiority (a tad different from exceptionalilsm) and that everyone wants the US´s help.. In Washington on the 23rd of February, he spoke about what he called"Cuba´s possibility of a transformation", thanks to the US's new policy toward Cuba.
Then he said, surprise, surprise, that the lifting of the embargo means that the Cuban government won't be able to blame the United States for the embargo. "They will have to assume responsiblilty for their own mistakes."
He acknowledged that the embargo, which lasted sixty years, had accomplished nothing. He finished up saying that the new policy doesn't ask what "the Cubans can do for the United States, but what the United States can do for the Cubanos and for Americans." This seems an echo of John Kennedy saying "Ask not what you can do for your country...." Who knows? In any case, it sure sounds like arrogance to me, but maybe I'm prejudiced.
Which corporations are jumping up and down with glee right now?
Take a look at Kerry's photo in La Jornada. Here´s the link.
And I think it is arrogance which permits the US to say the embargo accomplished nothing. First of all, what did the various US governments want it to accomplish, realistically? Did they think that since the Cubans couldn't get cake or new cars, an embargo would drive them to overthrow Castro? And at what price? Rather, I think the embargo hurt Cuba in economic ways, but the country was not anxious to substitute US hegemony for Castro. Are they now?
He also said, "I just pray that they [immigrants in the US] might be treated with the same dignity and respect as those who arrived before and built this incredible nation of immigrants."
Quite a lot of people in Gringolandia as in Mexico noticed and commented. My favorite column is by Jorge Ramos writing in Reforma. Anderson Cooper is the US version of Jorge Ramos, but Jorge Ramos has Andersoon Cooper beat by a mile (or maybe 1.61 kilometers), although maybe because he has such varied places to express himself and those places don't mind references to writers like Octavio Paz..
Among other things, Ramos said,
'It is significant that a country as sad as ours has so many and such lively fiestas. For us, the fiesta is an explosion, an outburst ... There is nothing more lively than a Mexican fiesta.'"But, also, our fiestas are a form of protest. We take advantage of them to complain and let off steam. Once again Paz:
"In the swirl of the fiesta, we explode. More than opening up, we tear ourselves open."
'I just pray that they might be treated with the same dignity and respect," said Birdman's director, "as those who arrived before and built this incredible nation of immigrants.'
In at least two important areas Mexico has seemingly managed to put the kibosh on China's efforts here. The first was the cancellation of its winning bid to build high spped rail here.The second was shutting down the Dragon Mart development near Cancún because of serious environmental damage.
But China has many tentacles. Now China is overwhelming Mexico's artesanal production. With Chinese junk, of course. Today's La Jornada quotes Socorro Oropeza the director of the Unión Nacional de Productores Artesanales Coyolxauhqui which claims 15000 members as saying "We [artesans] are being extinguished" by the cheap Chinese imports. Although Mexican artesans have won international prizes, most live on the edge of poverty, without land. Rodrigo Gutiérrex from the indigenous community of El Rosario in Jalisco said that artesans had stopped making ceramics because of Chinese "junk". Instead, almost all the artesans in his area collect plastic bottles for which they get 12 pesos a kilo. (That would be empty plastic bottles.)
As far as I know, there is no official national government support for Mexican craftsmen. Here in our area, there is a government store, but I don't know about anything else. I do know we still buy lovely pots and casseroles and dishes from Puebla and our area. But tourists are the big market. Tell any you see to BUY MEXICAN.