Pregnant woman dies at Trump’s border wall

This 15 March 2020 video says about itself:

Pregnant Woman Dies Climbing Border Wall

There has been another tragedy at the border. Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola, and Erin Ryan, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“A 19-year-old Guatemalan pregnant woman died of her injuries Tuesday after climbing and falling from part of the U.S. border wall near El Paso, Texas.

A woman, identified as Mirian Stephany Girón Luna, is said to have fallen more than 19 feet from a steel mesh border barrier Saturday, landing on her back according to Guatemalan and U.S. authorities.”

Read more here.

US Deported 138 Salvadorans Home to Their Death: here.

COMPANY WINS $1.28 BILLION WALL CONTRACT AFTER WOOING TRUMP ON FOX NEWS A construction company whose CEO regularly went on conservative news shows to appeal to Trump was awarded a $1.28 billion contract to build a large section of the border wall in Arizona earlier this month. Fisher Sand and Gravel, a firm from North Dakota, has drawn scrutiny over its unusual strategy to win the bid. The Washington Post reported that CEO Tommy Fisher was initially passed over when the government requested bids to build the structure, but went on a media blitz on networks including Fox News and appealed to allies of the president, including former advisor Steve Bannon. [HuffPost]

Guatemalan children dying in United States detention

This 27 December 2018 video says about itself:

Human Tragedy While In US Custody

Two Guatemalan children have died this month while in US custody in a serious violation of human rights and a gross act of irresponsibility.

Guatemala’s government and its entire ruling establishment have responded to the recent deaths of two Guatemalan children under US custody with an indifference that not only reflects their disdain for the country’s impoverished masses, but also their efforts to demonstrate loyal submission to the Trump administration: here.

MIGRANT BORDER CHILDREN SLAPPED AROUND Surveillance videos obtained by The Arizona Republic show migrant children being slapped, pushed and dragged by employees at a shelter run by Southwest Key Programs. [HuffPost]

More than 70 years ago, US researchers infected Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea, then left without treating them. US federal judge allows lawsuit over illegal experimentation on Guatemalan subjects: here.

A 45-year old man taken into custody by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents in early February has died in a medical facility in McAllen, Texas. This is the third reported death of migrants in the custody of CBP in the past few months and yet another horrifying illustration of the inhumane anti-immigration policies of the US government: here.

”My story belongs to every single human being who has sacrificed and risked their life in search of a better life”. Mexican migrant details harrowing journey across the Sonoran desert following deportation: here.

On Friday, the Trump administration forced the Guatemalan government to sign a two-year agreement to become a “safe third country,” whereby the United States can deport migrants who reach its southern border to Guatemala and force them to apply for asylum there to the US or Guatemala. In effect, the Guatemalan state is being turned into an extension of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with the US promising to “cooperate to strengthen the institutional capacities of Guatemala,” that is, to militarize the borders and build concentration camps as part of a network that already spans across Mexico and the United States: here.

Eight-year-old Guatemalan boy killed in United States detention

This 26 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Another Migrant Child Dies in US Custody

Ashlee Banks reports on how a second migrant child, 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo from Guatemala has died under border patrol custody. Ashlee speaks with Enrique Morones, the founder and director of non-profit human rights organization for undocumented immigrants Border Angels on how this tragedy on the border happened again, the conditions of detention centers potentially causing illness and what can be done to prevent child deaths in the future.

By Eric London in the USA:

The death of Felipe Alonzo-Gómez: A crime of US imperialism

27 December 2018

Minutes before midnight on Christmas Eve, in a rural New Mexico hospital 2,000 miles from his home in Guatemala, an eight-year-old boy named Felipe Alonzo-Gómez died in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody.

Though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a statement calling the death an “unfortunate incident”, the boy’s death was the product of calculated state cruelty inflicted each day on the tens of thousands of immigrants caught crossing the US-Mexico border.

Six days earlier, on December 18, Felipe’s long journey north came to an end when he and his father were captured in the desert west of El Paso, Texas. They were taken to the Paso Del Norte processing center, where they were placed in what is known as “La Hielera”—the ice box—a warehouse dungeon where temperatures are deliberately kept near freezing and prisoners are kept in cages under glaring halogen lights. Spoiled food, abusive guards and excrement-covered walls are commonplace.

According to CBP, Felipe was kept in the Paso Del Norte processing center for a day and a half and was then transferred to another dungeon, the El Paso Border Patrol Station. On December 22, the El Paso station was crammed full of immigrants–many of whom were likely sick from La Hielera, the journey north and the cold December desert temperatures–and so Felipe and his father were driven 80 miles north to the Alamogordo Border Patrol Station.

After six days of this, Felipe was coughing and looked seriously ill. It is unclear from official CBP reports when the boy developed his illness, but it wasn’t until the morning of his death that he received any medical attention.

Felipe was driven to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center. Three hours later he was misdiagnosed as suffering from a common cold. In mid-afternoon, despite having a 103-degree fever, he was released from the hospital, given ibuprofen and amoxicillin, and driven to another holding jail on the side of the interstate highway.

That evening, Felipe began to vomit uncontrollably. There were no medical staff present at the holding jail, and as Felipe’s condition worsened, he was transferred back to the hospital, where he lost consciousness and died.

Felipe is the second Guatemalan child to die in CBP custody in recent weeks. The body of seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died in El Paso on December 8, was buried on Christmas day in her impoverished mountainous hometown of San Antonio Secortez. Her 27-year-old mother, who is Q’eqchi Mayan, was too distraught to attend.

Felipe was from the municipality of Nentón, in the department Huehuetenango, located near the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Nentón’s poverty, which Felipe and his father sought to escape, is the product of American exploitation and imperialist plunder.

Huehuetenango forms the westernmost part of what is now known as the Franja Transversal del Norte (Northern Transversal Strip), a resource-rich area in the center of the country containing the country’s wood, oil and mineral deposits. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, poor peasants in the region engaged in some of the fiercest efforts to seize farmland from the control of wealthy landowners and corporations such as the United Fruit Company.

After a US-backed coup overthrew President Jacobo Árbenz in 1954, the strip, including Huehuetenango, was opened up to unprecedented levels of exploitation by American corporations. Thousands of peasants were killed to break the land movement. In the late 1970s and 1980s, when the civil war reached its most violent stage, many of the worst atrocities committed by the Guatemalan government and its CIA-backed death squads took place in Huehuetenango.

One of the worst took place in Felipe’s home municipality. In 1999, researchers uncovered a mass grave at the San Francisco finca (land estate) in the municipality of Nentón, revealing a horrific government attack on the village as retribution for peasant land seizures. A New York Times report from 1999 describes what happened:

On the morning of July 17, 1982, a convoy of army trucks made its way up a nearly impassable trail to this remote Mayan Indian hamlet and unloaded a company of troops. Soon afterward a helicopter arrived with the unit’s officers.

The US-trained soldiers rounded up the villagers with the promise of a feast. What happened next was an act of butchery that left all but four of the village’s inhabitants dead and all the buildings razed.

According to contemporary accounts by people who lived in neighboring communities, many of the women were ordered to disrobe and raped. Children were torn from mothers’ arms and eviscerated with knives or beheaded with machetes. The rampaging troops killed all they found—shooting villagers, blowing up others with grenades, hacking some to death, burning some or crushing them under the walls of falling buildings.

Location of part of the 1982 massacre (Negreaba de Zopilotes website)

According to public records, it appears that Felipe Alonzo-Gómez’s relatives may have been among the tortured and killed. Though this is difficult to verify, a list of the victims of the massacre shows that 24 members of the Gómez family and 3 members of the Alonzo family were killed. If Felipe’s father lived in or near Nentón at the time, he would have been roughly 11 years old.

Children in Nentón in years preceding 1982 massacre (Negreaba de Zopilotes website)

The devastating role played by American imperialism in creating the conditions from which millions are trying to escape—including Central Americans, Middle Easterners and North Africans—has been concealed by the political establishment in the coverage of Felipe’s death.

2004 ceremony to inter the victims of the massacre (Negreaba de Zopilotes website)

The Democratic Party directs its fire against Trump not at his administration’s role in killing immigrant children, but from the standpoint of demanding further intervention abroad.

While the Democrats will do nothing beyond issuing a few tweets over the death of Felipe Alonzo-Gómez, they respond with fury to Trump’s decision to pull soldiers out of Syria and Afghanistan. The Democratic Party … has portrayed the resignation of Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis, the butcher of Fallujah, as the departure of “the last adult in the room.”

The strategy of the Democrats and pseudo-left in pressing for an escalation of imperialist war will mean more US-instigated massacres, more bombings, more drone strikes, and thousands more refugees drowned in the Mediterranean en route to Europe.

There can be no defense of the rights of immigrants without a fight against imperialist war and the capitalist system that is its source.

HOMELAND CHIEF BLAMES CHILD’S DEATH ON TRUMP’S OPPONENTS Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called the Christmas Eve death of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who was held by Customs and Border Protection “deeply concerning” — and partially blamed the influx of immigrant children on “those who seek open borders.” [HuffPost]

Again, child arrested for immigrating dies in the USA

This 19 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Greg Grandin: How U.S. Policies Punished Central Americans, Long Before Jakelin Caal Maquín’s Death

As public outrage grows over the death of Jakelin Caal Maquín, a 7-year-old indigenous Guatemalan girl who died in Border Patrol custody, we discuss U.S. policy in Central America with Greg Grandin, prize-winning author and professor of Latin American history at New York University.

Searching for answers after Jakelin’s death, Grandin points to border militarization policies dating back to the Clinton administration and the closure of safer urban routes to the U.S. border. He also links the displacement of Jakelin’s family to the U.S.-backed coup in Guatemala in 1954 and economic policies that destroyed subsistence agriculture in her region. Grandin’s latest piece in The Nation, co-authored with Elizabeth Oglesby, is titled “Who Killed Jakelin Caal Maquín at the US Border?”

From Common Dreams in the USA, 25 December 2018:

An eight-year-old Guatemalan boy died in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shortly after midnight on Christmas Day, the second death of a migrant child detained by the agency this month alone.

From CNN, 26 December 2018:

Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman-elect of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, identified the child in a statement as Felipe Alonzo-Gomez.

The boy, who was detained with his father, died shortly before midnight at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, about 90 miles north of the border crossing in El Paso, Texas.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 25 December 2018:

In the United States, another child from Guatemala, detained by the US border police, has died. He is a boy, 8 years of age. Earlier this month, a girl from Guatemala died in a US American detention center. …

It has not been announced how long the two were in the US and how long they had already been detained in a detention center. In a statement, the border patrol has said they will publish more information “as soon as it is available and appropriate”. …

Second case

More than a week ago, a scandal arose about the death of a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala. She was with her father in a group of migrants who had illegally crossed the border between the US and Mexico.

The group was arrested shortly after crossing the border. A few hours later the girl became ill. She had to vomit, had a high fever and had difficulty breathing. She died in a hospital. Her funeral was in Guatemala today.

According to the border police officers they did everything to help the girl, but she had not eaten or drunk anything for days. The father said through a lawyer that that is not true and that the girl had eaten and drunk. Civil rights lawyers and activists were also critical: they thought that the conditions in the jails were bad.

This 24 December 2018 Spanish language video is about the arrival of the coffin of 7-year-old Jaklin in Guatemala.

Denouncing 7-Year-Old’s Death, UN Rights Expert Demands US Halt Child Detentions. “As repeatedly stated by a series of U.N. human rights bodies, detention of children based on their migratory status is a violation of international law.” By Andrea Germanos.

‘Reckless Disregard for Very Vulnerable People’: Just Before Christmas, ICE Quietly Drops Hundreds of Migrants at Bus Stop With Nowhere to Go: here.

Trump’s xenophobia killed 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, investigation petition

This 14 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

7-year-old Jakelin Caal died in Border Patrol custody

Jakelin Caal died of dehydration, shock, and finally, cardiac arrest, in Border Patrol custody. Kirstjen Nielsen, Fox News, and the Trump administration blame the father who tried to deliver her from certain death back home, but look.

From Latino Victory in the USA today:

Last week we learned the shocking news that 7-year-old Jakelin Caal died while in Customs and Border Patrol custody.

While the government has blamed Jakelin’s journey to the U.S. from Guatemala with her father for her dehydration and death, there’s much we don’t know about her care in CBP custody, including why she wasn’t given medical care for at least 90 minutes. It also took the Department of Homeland Security a week before they publicly announced this horrific news.

We know Jakelin isn’t the first child to die in our government’s custody, and as long as this Administration continues its cruel and inhumane treatment of immigrants and asylum-seekers, including throwing out thousands of jugs of water left for migrants in the desert, it’s likely more innocent lives will be lost in their hands.

If you’re as disturbed and angry by this as we are, add your name to our petition and demand Congress investigate the deaths of children while in our government’s custody.

Add your name here.

Together, let’s work together and fight for justice for Jakelin and innocent children like her who come to this country for a safer, better life, only to tragically meet their death in detainment.

Thank you,

Jorge Silva
Vice President of Communications, Latino Victory

CONGRESS CAN’T INTERVIEW BORDER AGENTS The Department of Homeland Security has informed members of Congress that they cannot interview Border Patrol agents who detained and processed a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in their custody. [Reuters]

BORDER BABY HOSPITALIZED A 5-month-old girl who traveled with the migrant caravan has been hospitalized with pneumonia after spending five days inside freezing cells operated by border authorities in California. [BuzzFeed]

The Trump administration announced a new policy that effectively guts the right of asylum for refugees from Central America. From now on, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin expelling non-Mexican refugees as soon as they have made application for asylum after crossing the US-Mexico border. They will be immediately deported to Mexico instead of being allowed to stay in the US pending the adjudication of their asylum claims: here.

CARLSON DOUBLES DOWN ON MIGRANT RACISM Fox News host Tucker Carlson refused to walk back his claim that immigration makes the U.S. “poorer and dirtier,” doubling down on his racist rhetoric about the migrant caravan in Mexico, telling viewers: “It’s true.” In response, several advertisers have ditched the show. [HuffPost]

SOME ADVERTISERS STICK WITH TUCKER A string of advertisers have bailed on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson after he said immigrants make the country “poorer, and dirtier.” Here are the advertisers that have not. [HuffPost]

Guatemalan rock band against racism

This video says about itself:

A Rock Band Fights Back Against Racism and Xenophobia

23 July 2018

The Guatemalan rock band Alux Nahual is fighting against recent attacks against Latinos simply for speaking Spanish in the United States with the song “I speak Spanish, y qué?!”. They hope they will raise awareness on racism and xenophobia.

Guatemalan woman, killed in Texas, buried

This 3 June 2018 video from Guatemala is called Claudia Gomez Funeral: Teenager Killed by U.S. Border Patrol.

Resisting Trump’s child snatching border policy, by John Wojcik and Earchiel Johnson.

Trump’s Border Patrol kills Guatemalan woman

This 26 May 2018 video from the USA is called Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzales.

By Alec Andersen in the USA:

US Border Patrol agent executes Guatemalan woman

28 May 2018

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is seeking to whitewash the extrajudicial execution of an unarmed Guatemalan woman by a Border Patrol agent on Wednesday, in the Texas border town of Rio Bravo, 15 miles southeast of Laredo.

The woman, identified as 20-year-old Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, left her home town of San Juan Ostuncalco, Guatemala, more than two weeks before in the hope of joining her boyfriend and finding work in Virginia. She was traveling through Rio Bravo as part of a group of Central American migrants who had just made the treacherous journey across the Rio Grande and into the United States without immigration documents, when they were confronted by an as yet unidentified Border Patrol agent at about 12:30 p.m. local time.

Under circumstances that remain unexplained, the agent fired a single shot from his handgun into the back of Gomez’s head, killing her instantly.

CBP has since given multiple accounts attempting to justify the agent’s actions. An initial statement issued by the agency claimed that one of its agents was investigating reports of “illegal activity” in the town when he was attacked by immigrants wielding “blunt objects,” later identified as two-by-four pieces of lumber. In response, the agent “fatally wounded one of the assailants.”

Two days later, on Friday, CBP released another statement, making no mention of any objects used to attack the agent, but instead claiming that the officer commanded the immigrants to “get on the ground,” but “the group ignored his verbal commands and instead rushed the officer.” In this latest version of events, CBP no longer claims that the victim was an “assailant”, but merely a “member of the group.” The three men traveling with Gonzalez were apprehended and may be deported before they can provide statements or testify in the event that charges are ultimately brought against the agent.

CBP has refused to comment further on the incident and canceled a press conference scheduled for Friday. The agent has been placed on administrative leave while the killing is investigated by the FBI and the Texas Rangers.

Marta Martinez told the Los Angeles Times that she was inside her house at the time of the shooting and ran outside upon hearing the gunshot. When she emerged, she saw a woman lying face-down on the ground, her head covered in blood, and a uniformed Border Patrol agent standing over her, gun in hand. In a video broadcast on Facebook Live, an officer can be seen flipping the woman’s body over and performing chest compressions, though it is apparent the woman is dead.

Martinez said she watched as an agent captured two men who had tried to run away and heard him telling the men in reference to their murdered companion, “This is what happens. You see? Look what happened.” Martinez also heard the agent telling the men, “Be quiet, you have weapons” in an apparent attempt to justify the shooting.

She noted that although she did not witness what happened prior to the shooting, “There was no weapon. They were hiding.”

In a statement Friday, Guatemala’s secretary of the National Council for Migrant Assistance, Carlos Narez, called for an “exhaustive, impartial investigation” and made an impotent plea for the US to observe international human rights law, saying: “Guatemala is saddened by whatever violence and excess use of force was used by the Border Patrol and calls to respect, at all times, all the rights of our people and whomever may be held by immigration, especially with respect to life.”

In a Friday interview with the news channel Guatevision, Claudia’s mother, Lidia Gonzalez Visquez, said that her daughter had earned a degree in accounting but was unable to find work for the past two years. “She left home 15 days ago, saying, ‘Mamita, we’re going to go on ahead. There’s no work here.’ But shamefully, they killed her. US immigration police killed her.”

At a Friday press conference, Claudia’s aunt, Dominga Vicente, denounced her niece’s killing and the anti-immigrant policies of the US government. She said: “We want justice to be done and for her murderer to pay with prison… I think it is the [US] government that is giving these orders. This isn’t the first person to be dying in the country. They have treated them like animals and it is not the way people should be treated. I ask that the authorities and institutions hand down a punishment or that attention is called to the US government so that they will no longer treat us like animals.”

This is an apparent reference to Trump’s recent tirade against immigrants, whom he referred to as “animals” and “rapists”. Trump has used such fascistic rhetoric to whip up an anti-immigrant atmosphere and incite violence against immigrant communities in conjunction with an escalating campaign of state terror waged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP agents. In effect, the administration has given the more than 21,000 Border Patrol agents a blank check to stop the flow of immigrants into the United by whatever means necessary.

Karina Alvarez of the Laredo Immigrant Alliance told the Los Angeles Times, “We’ve been seeing a lot more Border Patrol because of all this anti-immigrant narrative that’s going on”, noting the effect of Trump’s description of migrants as “animals and rapists and murderers” on the attitudes and behavior of Border Patrol agents. She continued: “That is ultimately how they see us. We see that in this, and this is not an isolated case. This has happened before. The exception in this case is that it was videotaped.”

This is just the latest in a series of killings by Border Patrol agents in recent years, most of which go largely unreported. Last November, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed a man he claimed had tried to grab his gun, though this claim was never substantiated.

In April, Border Patrol officer Lonnie Swartz was acquitted of murder in connection with the 2012 cross-border shooting death of 16-year-old Mexican citizen Antonio Elena Rodriguez, despite the incident being captured on video. The boy was allegedly throwing rocks at Swartz, who was behind a 20-foot-high elevated fence. The agent shot Rodriguez in the back 10 times.

The Democrats have largely dropped even the pretense of defending immigrants against the attack being carried out by the Trump administration. They have consistently voted to increase the number of Border Patrol agents and provide funds for border fencing, drone surveillance and other “border security” measures that force desperate migrants into ever more dangerous routes to the US border. Though there is no reliable source of data, it is estimated that at least 10,000 people have died trying to cross the southern US border since 1994.

The summary execution of Claudia Gonzalez at the hands of the Border Patrol underscores the need for an independent working class struggle for the right of all workers to live and work where they choose with full legal and citizenship rights.

The US government recently admitted to losing track of almost 1,500 unaccompanied immigrant children who were placed in foster care. Steven Wagner, a top official from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), told a Senate subcommittee last month that the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is tasked with placing immigrant children in the homes of sponsors, could not account for 1,475 missing youths in the last three months of 2017: here.

Guatemala war cimes and the USA

This video says about itself:

28 December 2016

Washington’s bloody fingerprints were all over the genocide and war crimes that defined Guatemala 36-year internal conflict, which ended on Dec. 29, 1996, with the signing of the country’s Peace Accords.

Good endangered salamander news from Guatemala

Long-limbed salamander

From Wildlife Extra:

Endangered salamander habitat saved in Guatemala

The last remaining forest home of two species of salamander, lost to science for nearly 40 years, has been saved following the completion of a land purchase supported by World Land Trust (WLT) and a consortium of funders.

The purchase of Finca San Isidro in the western highlands of Guatemala was finalised by WLT’s Guatemalan partner, Fundación Para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO) in September 2015, following WLT’s donation towards the purchase earlier in 2015.

Among others, the species that are now protected are Finca Chiblac Salamander (Bradytriton silus), categorised by IUCN as Critically Endangered, and the Long-limbed Salamander (Nyctanolis pernix), categorised as Endangered.

High in Guatemala’s Cuchumatanes mountain range, the salamanders’ forest home had been slated for coffee production. Land clearance would have certainly gone ahead if it hadn’t been for the intervention of international funders.

FUNDAECO identified the importance of the property back in 2009. Finca San Isidro measures 2,280 acres (922.5 hectares) and of the total area, WLT funding has secured more than 800 acres (324 hectares). FUNDAECO will oversee the conservation management of the property.

“Thank you for the invaluable support we have received from World Land Trust in creating San Isidro Reserve, in the Western Highlands of Guatemala,” said Marco Cerezo, Director of FUNDAECO. “This important effort among research academics, local conservationists and organisations to fund the protection of unique ecosystems will help avoid the rapid degradation of this unique biological treasure and also assist the fight against poverty by supporting livelihoods for local communities.”