Tag Archives: Borderlands

Transitions and Continuities in Contemporary Chicana/o Culture

19 Jun

On 24-25 of June, University College Cork will hold the first major Chicana/o conference in Ireland. A host of academics from across Europe and the Americas are due to present papers on a diverse range of topics under the rubric of “Transitions and Continuities in Contemporary Chicana/o Culture”.

Running concurrently to the two day conference are two art exhibits by Chicana artists Alma Lopez and Celia Herrera Rodriguez. Lopez’s exhibition, “Our Lady and Other Queer Santas” ties in to the European book launch of “Our Lady of Controversy”, edited by Alma Lopez and Alicia Gaspar de Alba.

our lady of controversy

Our Lady of Controversy

This book hosts a collection of essays by Chicana writers who respond to the controversy surrounding the first exhibition of Lopez’s digital print “Our Lady” in New Mexico in 2001. On Friday 24th she will also be presenting a video screening of “I Love Lupe”, a video that accompanies the book and records interviews by Chicana visual artists who have also re-envisioned and re-imaged La Virgen de Guadalupe in their own art.

Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness

Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness

Celia Rodriguez’s work “enAguas enTlalocan / Prayers for Mother Waters” accompanies the worldwide release of “A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness” by award winning Xicana lesbian, feminist, writer, educator and dramaturgist, Cherrie Moraga. The book is a collection of Moraga’s writing that spans over a decade and is her first publication since her 1997 biographical work “Waiting in the Wings: Portrait of a Queer Motherhood”. Rodriguez’s images appear and compliment Moraga’s writings throughout the book, using a contemporary twist on the style used in ancient Aztec codex. Her watercolours will also be on display Friday and Saturday in the same room as Lopez’s pieces.

The exhibition will be small but is free to the public and definitely worth a visit for any Chicano/a researcher in the country, or indeed anybody interested in contemporary Mexican American art.

Xicana Caminante

Xicana Caminante by Celia Herrera Rodriguez

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SB 1070 hits Arizona economy and Arpaio gets Hollywood posse

18 Nov

It’s official, SB1070 has created economic havoc within the cash strapped state. While the national and global economic downturn certainly played their part in Arizona’s current situation, the immigration bill signed into law by Senator Jan Brewer this year has exacerbated the problem. A recent study by the Center for American Progress (CAP) [conducted by economic firm Elliot D. Pollack & Co.] reports an estimated loss of over 140 million dollars in the tourism industry in the four months since the bill was passed. Much of this comes from the cancellation of conferences and meetings from outside of Arizona in protest at SB1070. An estimated 15 million people visit Arizona each year and, according to the state’s tourism board, 16.6 billion dollars was brought into Arizona by conferences and other tourist related activities in 2009. Arizona’s Hotel and Lodging Association has reported losses of 15 million dollars, but CAP calculated these lodging cancellations as costing treble this – about 45 million dollars. It then also calculated the cumulative costs of food, beverage, transportation, entertainment and tax revenue which would also be lost due directly to the cancellation of these lodgings. This resulted in the overall 16.6 billion dollar figure. It has also led to the loss of 2,700 jobs.

According to the Pew Hispanic Centre (a nonpartisan organisation which draws from the national U.S. census bureau) the Hispanic community forms 30% of the state’s population, or around 1, 965,000 citizens. Ponte al Dia reports that 60,000 Latin American owned businesses have generated 34 billion dollars in Arizona in the last five years. The same article claims that the state of Arizona boasts the fifth largest birth rate of Hispanic born children – following New York, Florida, Texas and California and that as the Hispanic population is more optimistic about the recovery of the U.S. economy in general, they are the largest consumer market in Arizona at this time – many of those interviewed listed material or luxury items such as computers, digital cameras, televisions and package holidays as things they were planning to buy in the next six months.

So reports of an exodus of 100,000 Hispanics since the bill was written into law has given businesses and politicians a genuine cause for concern. After U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked some of the measures within the law on constitutional grounds some opponents of the law, like U.S. Rep Raul Grijalva, called for an end to the boycott. So far, this seems to have fallen on deaf ears, with sports and music ventures still opting out or simply not adding Arizona on their tour dates for the foreseeable future.

However, supporters of the bill have said that these short term costs do not outweigh the long term costs of illegal immigrants. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Arizona will pay 2.8 billion dollars on the health care, education and incarceration of illegal immigrants in 2010 alone. Time, and legal proceedings, will tell.

Meanwhile, controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio has been joined by some well know names from the entertainment industry to create the Maricopa County Sheriff’s 60th posse of illegal immigrant fighters. Steven Seagal, a deputy in New Orleans, and Lou Ferrigno (of “Hulk” fame), a reserve deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, were sworn in last week. They were also joined by actor Peter Lupus (from “Mission Impossible”), a man named Wyatt Earp – nephew to the famed lawman – and a retired Chicago police officer named Dick Tracy. Of the 56 new members 33 are already qualified to carry weapons. Arpaio hope the “high profile” of these recruits will help raise awareness of the illegal immigration issue.

 

What a difference an election makes….

6 Nov

In the same week as Obama reels from a “shellacking” by the electorate and Chihuahua elects a nineteen year old chief of police, the Washington Post reports that the U.S. has finally agreed to subject its Human Rights record to review by the U.N. council.

The GOP (Grand Old Party) as the Republican Party is also known, have taken the House of Representatives while the Democrats have retained the majority in the Senate.  A breakdown of the voting results is attached below, courtesy of electoral-vote.com

An interesting side note to the elections is the historic number of minorities and LGBT candidates winning races. US News writes, for example, about Nikki Haley the first female South Carolina representative elected by either party. She is also the first Indian American governor elect of the area. Allen West became the first African American House Representative of Florida since 1870. Susana Martinez became the first woman Hispanic governor from either party while Brian Sandoval became the first Hispanic governor ever of the state of Nevada. The New York Times has a full and thorough run down of the wins and losses of Latino politicians across the country.

The Tea Party also won 32% of the seats they ran for, an overview of which can be found on BBC News, though there is speculation as to whether or not they will actually be able to deliver on some of the promises they have made to their electorate. It is will also be curious to see how a small government political party will in fare in a political institution as large as the US.

With no one party having complete control it is now more crucial than ever for co-operation between the two main political parties in order to address important issues such as the economy, immigration and security.

The New York Times does an excellent run down of the election results. Below is the House map:

On November 1, 2010 Diane Dimond wrote an article for the Huffington Post entitled “A Mexican Savior or Sitting Duck?”. This may seem rather unkind given that the article is about the election of the new Chief of Police in Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrero in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. However, when you realise that this is a city a mere 35 miles southeast of Ciudad Juarez, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, and that the previous Chief of Police was kidnapped and beheaded, you begin to see where the writer is coming from.

Marisol Valles Garcia, a twenty year old criminology student has been elected to this new position. She boasts a squad of 13, nine of whom are women. They have one squad car and four guns. They patrol a population of approximately 9,149 who live terrorised by cartel violence. A Mexican Savior or Sitting Duck?

The plan seems simple enough – leave the cartels to the military and create a better relationship with the community. But with the fate of her predecessor and the rising death toll due to the cartels (two major cartels, the Sinaloa and Juarez are battling for control over the city’s main highway) combating fear in the community will not be an easy task, especially with events including the recent massacre in the nearby city of Juarez of a children’s birthday party (death toll at the time of writing was 16).

What seems evident from elections on either side of the border is the thirst for change and the drive of a younger generation to create it.

The Drug Cartel’s Diamond-Studded Gun Cache

5 May

The Mexican Attorney General’s office uncovered an interesting cache this week in a raid on one of the hideouts of Oscar Nava Valencia aka “El Lobo.” El Lobo is recognised as one of the lead operators of the Milenio cartel, aka “La Familia Michaocana“.

According to the Attorney General’s Office Press Release among the cache were

• Un arma larga calibre AR-15, calibre .223 con lanza granadas.
• Una subametralladora MP-5, calibre .9 mm.
• Dos fusiles AK-47, calibre 7.62X39 de los conocidos como “cuerno de chivo” uno de ellos chapado en oro con silenciador.
• Dos Fusiles AR-15, calibre .223 chapados en oro y plata.
• 31 armas cortas de diferentes calibres, con incrustaciones en diamante y chapadas en oro y plata, además de constar con las leyendas “Lobo Valencia”.
• 706 cartuchos de diferentes calibres.
• 76 cargadores de diferentes calibres.
• Una bolsa con 200 gramos de marihuana.
• Un vehículo Escalade modelo 2009 con placas de circulación JHH-8323 del Estado de Jalisco.
• Joyería diversa.

  • An AR-15 long gun, .223 with a grenade launcher.
  • An MP-5 submachine gun, 9 mm.
  • Two AK-47 “goat horn” rifles, 7.62X39, one of them gold-plated with a silencer.
  • Two AR-15 rifles .223 caliber, silver and gold plated.
  • 31 handguns of various calibers, inlaid with diamonds, plated in gold and silver, and engraved “Lobo Valencia.”
  • 706 cartridges of different calibers.
  • Magazines of 76 different calibers.
  • A bag containing 200 grams of marijuana.
  • A 2009 model Escalade vehicle.
  • Various jewelry.

Photos are available from Gawker (English) and the PGR (Castellano)sites.

Borderstories.org

29 Mar

Found a great site recently at www.borderstories.org

Travelling the length of the U.S.-Mexican border, the crew have masterfully collected a mosaic of mini-documentaries revealing the lives of those who populate the politically charged border area.

They also have a blog here