KPBS’s Jean Guerrero was in Tijuana Sunday to report on the situation with the migrants that have been arriving from Central America. Here is some footage capturing the conditions around the municipal sports facility where the city is attempting to accommodate the arriving migrants. She also interviews a person who salvaged a spent tear gas canister from an earlier event where migrants approached the U.S. border. [Read more…]
Flames of Ignorance and the Wisdom of the Snail | Seeds of Rebellion, Part 3
After wandering through the Schools for Chiapas Mayan Food Forest incubator in Part I, and witnessing the resistance by the First Peoples of southern Mexico to powerful corporate and governmental forces intent on destroying their autonomy and culture in Part II, we conclude with a look back to a past marvelous and shameful and towards a future carved on the shell of a snail.
“The diet of the people here before the Spanish conquest was so much more than corn and beans,” explains Paco Vazquez, a coordinator with Prodmedios, a media company based in San Cristóbal that empowers local communities all over Mexico to tell their own stories using a wide variety of media. Raised on the outskirts of what was once the Aztec capital, Paco is a direct descendant of the Nahuatl water architects who constructed the floating gardens and aquaculture the Spanish marveled at, and then destroyed. Five centuries have transformed a city once laced by clear running canals into a diesel-choked metropolis; so Paco knows something about lost knowledge. [Read more…]
The Invasion of North American GMO Corn and the Price of Resistance | Seeds of Rebellion, Part II
In Part 1, we met Armando, the Schools for Chiapas coordinator of the effort to restore the ancient Mayan system of sustainable food forests in the regions of Chiapas, Mexico, in consultation with Zapatista educators. In Part Two we explore the mortal threat posed by NAFTA and the heroic resistance to the attempts to culturally, and at times physically, exterminate the First Peoples of southern Mexico.
The mortal threat posed by U.S. corn to the people who first domesticated it is not the cheapness of Midwestern maize but its bio-engineered genetic uniformity. According to a 2017 study by scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), GMO corn from north of the border has infiltrated up to 90 percent of corn tortillas and 82 percent of all corn based products throughout Mexico.
Wind riding GMO corn pollen contaminates non GMO fields with ease leading to a loss of genetic diversity that makes any living system less resilient and at greater risk for catastrophic plagues. And the myriad creatures who live in the rivers and streams that absorb run off from nearby GMO fields when the rains come? Collateral damage, whose numbers and health can only be guessed at.
Super weeds are already appearing in GMO fields in the U.S., descendants of hardy survivors who passed their immunity to Roundup weed killer onto future generations. Loathe to listen to any messages coming from lifeforms not [Read more…]
Zapatista Food Forests | Seeds of Rebellion, Part I
“If the Malanga is split at the top, or tears easily, it’s poisonous.” Seizing the tip in his hands, Armando tried to rip the leaf along its central axis. Three feet long and nearly two feet across the translucent green leaf lives up to the plant’s alternate name, elephant ear. “This is a good one. If you cut the root into thin strips you can boil or fry them. Malanga is rich in potassium and provides three times the nourishment of the potato; and it tastes better.”
We’re inside the Schools for Chiapas building in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, walking through the experimental heart of a project that’s recreating the Mayan perennial food forests destroyed by enslavement in Spanish encomiendas (roughly equivalent to plantations in the U.S. South) and “development”. Jointly sponsored by Schools for Chiapas and educators from Morelia, one of five autonomous zones, or caracoles, run by the Zapatistas, the food forest project seeks out ancient earth-based wisdom by using the latest technology to connect with farmers, herbalists and healers all over the world.
[Updated 2108-07-18] [Read more…]
La Llorona Cries Out
Embracing the Border: Gloria Anzaldua’s ‘Borderlands/La Frontera’ | Women’s History Month
Suzanne Sanders / Women’s Museum of California
According to the common understanding, a liminal state is supposed to be one we use to pass from one phase to the next. It’s a threshold, so to speak. But what happens when that liminal state is a permanent residence?
Gloria Anzaldua, the noted Chicana, tejana-originating, lesbian-feminist poet and fiction writer (who also spent a great deal of her life in California), explores this state in her seminal 1987 cultural criticism Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza.
Although Anzaldua passed away in 2004, her ideas may be even more relevant today. As an American-born Chicana, Anzaldua explores the contradictions and challenges of being considered neither one nor the other. She notes often in her writing that this Otherness is socially and culturally – and sometimes – infrastructurally constructed. She writes in Borderlands, “The U.S.-Mexican border es una herida abierta [an open wound] where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms, it haemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country—a border culture” (25). We must question, then, the effects on this third country, this border culture, when President Trump’s physical wall becomes a reality. [Read more…]
How Artist Rocio Hoffmann Silva Painted My Portrait
By George Howell
So, I find myself sitting in an old stuffed chair with worn arm rests, waiting for artist-activist Rocio Hoffmann to paint my portrait (video). As she preps her canvas with a wash of flat red acrylic, Rocio chuckles. “I always start with rojo, red, because this is the name of my gallery, ‘Roho!’”
A small, round-faced woman with a permanent smile and a sharp sense of humor, Hoffmann regularly interviews Baja artists, musicians and dancers while she does their portraits, posting the live feeds to her Facebook page as part of a project called “Conversaciones in ROHO.” Galeria RoHo, her small, but vibrant studio-school-market space, is located in the artisanal district along Boulevard Popotla, just south of the big hotels and tourist shops of downtown Rosarito.
Today, we’re switching roles. Ever since I met Rocio a few years ago at Festiarte, Tijuana’s exuberant celebration of the arts, I have wanted to interview her because she is a rich source of information about art and culture in Baja Norte. [Read more…]
Veteran Miguel Pérez’s Last Deployment
Massive Tijuana Sewage Flows Into San Diego Beaches: A Timeline of Events
On Wednesday, April 5th, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina — a life-long IB resident and avid surfer — went on KUSI News to expose another sewage spill from Mexico into the Tijuana River after a resident complained of a renewed fetid smell.
Only days before, the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) published “Report of Transboundary Bypass Flows into the Tijuana River,” a subdued 56-page explanation of events with no immediate relief for residents on either side of the border. [Read more…]
The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Not-So-Great Depression and WW II Come to Logan Heights – Part I
The Mexican Repatriation and hard times
Editor Note: “Build a wall” and “Send them all back” have become the mantra of the Trump campaign and Republican party. This is not the first time in our history that racism and xenophobia have threatened our democracy and the lives of our citizenry.
Between 1929 and 1944, over two million people of Mexican descent were repatriated to Mexico. Sixty percent of these individuals, 1.1 million, were American citizens. This encore presentation of Maria Garcia’s article originally published in 2015 provides insight into how this policy affected the lives of people living in San Diego at the time.
As William Faulkner observed “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” [Read more…]
As Resistance Grows, Trump’s Deportation Plans Unravel
Cost, impossible logistics, political opposition, and community resistance could spell the end of the president-elect’s anti-immigrant scheme
By Lauren McCauley / Common Dreams
President-elect Donald Trump built his campaign on a pledge to build a wall and deport two to three million undocumented immigrants, but the likelihood that his promises will be kept are looking increasingly slim, as reality takes hold and lawmakers and community leaders begin to build their resistance.
The failure to execute Trump’s oft-repeated deportation plans could “be one of the first reality checks on his administration,” Politico reported Friday.
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the average cost for each deportation is $12,213, excluding personnel salaries. So, to deport two million people, would add up to more than $24.4 billion over four years. [Read more…]
From the Berlin Wall to a Border Wall: Humanity Will Prevail
By Robert Terrell
Two of the largest mural collections in the world are on the remnants of the Berlin Wall and the architecture that encompasses San Diego’s Chicano Park.
One adorns a wall that for decades stood for the division of Europe and Cold War animosity, and has since come to symbolize the enduring spirit of freedom and peaceful revolution. The other is a memorial to another history of power, exploitation, and marginalization. It is a space that remains contested in the city of San Diego just as our president-elect promises to build a new wall to keep Mexicans out.
Twenty-seven years to the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Donald Trump began his transition to power, his long effort to deliver on many divisive promises. Border wall included. [Read more…]
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