La reunión de la Asociación Nacional de Periodistas Hispanos fue oro puro para la nueva generación de periodistas

EL PASO – Hace un poco más de una semana, se presentó aqui una reunión de periodistas hispanos en la Universidad de Texas en el Paso (UTEP) — la segunda conferencia de la Asociación Nacional de Periodistas Hispanos (NAHJ). La reunion congregó a una amplia gama de reporteros, productores y editores de la ciudad y el resto del país para abordar temas de interés a la comunidad hispana. Estas reuniones simplemente valen oro. No solo por las oportunidades de obtener adiestramiento adicional, o por el ‘networking’ como le llaman mis colegas más jóvenes dentro de los medios, sino por el simple hecho de poder observar y escuchar las historias que los colegas más experimentados platican. Sus historias sobre como comenzaron en los medios, las veces que tropezaron y se levantaron y las lecciones que tuvieron que aprender a las malas.

Original Time magazine cover with Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto.

Mexican government payments to Time Warner Inc. stain the journalistic integrity of the legendary magazine

EL PASO — As I woke up this past Tuesday I went through my regular routine of reading the news of the day on my smartphone. I skimmed over the spam known as CNN, and then checked NPR and Reuters’ headlines, but that particular day I came across a very interesting looking Al Jazeera English article titled “TIME magazine’s ‘Saving Mexico’ issue prompts backlash.”

The image of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN), who in my photographer’s opinion seemed photoshopped in order to look more presidential, filled the TIME’s cover page. But what struck me with an immediate sense of indignation was the cover article’s title: “Saving Mexico.”

There he was, a man whose political party was caught buying votes and still won the presidency, a man interconnected with ex-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who had one of Mexico’s most tarnished presidencies in history. This man Peña Nieto, the current president of my home country, is not someone I could ever trust. Setting aside the fact that his so called reforms jeopardize the entire country, disregarding the fact that after 75 years of sovereignty he is selling out our oil reserves to foreign investors, my immediate disgust shifted toward the TIME publication and the article written by one of their chief foreign correspondents, Michael Crowley.

El abogado Carlos Spector (derecha) junto a Carlos Gutiérrez quien liderará un grupo de 50 ciclistas que llevarán hasta Austin el mensaje de Mexicanos en Exilio. (Luis Hernández/

‘Mexicanos en Exilio’ – 700 millas de testimonio

EL PASO – Con un negocio concesionario, el cual preveía eventos deportivos en el estado de Chihuahua, Carlos Gutiérrez estaba viviendo un periodo de prosperidad económica. Pero dicha fortuna atrajo la atención indeseada de delincuentes. Y en el 2011, un grupo de narcotraficantes comenzó a extorsionarlo por la cantidad mensual de 10 mil dólares. “Te ven que estas siendo próspero en tu negocio eres blanco de una extorsión,” dijo Gutiérrez, “por mucho o poco que ganes, ya eres blanco en México.”

Al no contar con el apoyo de las autoridades locales, se vio obligado a tratar de pagar la cuota, pero después de unos meses se vio incapaz de hacerlo. El 30 de Septiembre del mismo año, Gutiérrez fue atacado por hombres armados, los cuales laceraron ambas piernas dejándolo por muerto.

Ethnic, political leaders denounce King

WASHINGTON — Reaction by leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as Hispanic and civil rights organizations, has been swift, strident and steady this week in answer to anti-Hispanic comments made by U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa. Responding to DREAMer supporters’ contentions that the contributions and potential of tens of thousands of undocumented Latino youths are undervalued, the six term Republican Congressman told the conservative Website Newsmax July 18 that for every “illegal immigrant” who becomes a valedictorian, “there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and have calves s the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Fellow Republican Raúl Labrador of Idaho quickly characterized King’s comments as “irresponsible and reprehensible,” adding, “I hope that if he thought about it, he wouldn’t say such a thing again.”

But he already has. Since then, King has elaborated in a July 23 Radio Iowa interview with O. Kay Henderson , “It’s not something that I’m making up. This is real. We have people that are drug mules…You can tell by their physical characteristics what they’re doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back.”

“What he said is wrong.

(Luis Hernandez/

Demonstrators in Washington led by U.S. Rep. Steve King decry immigration reform

Special to Borderzine

WASHINGTON – With the U.S. Senate-passed immigration bill facing political limbo in the U.S. House of Representatives, conservative factions are voicing their opposition loudly here before any compromise can be reached. Travel buses full of mainly older white attendees, from mostly southern states, representing the Tea Party Community group along with the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) spearheaded by Leah Durant gathered here at Freedom Plaza recently during the “March for Jobs” rally. They carried homemade anti-immigration reform signs demanding “No Amnesty”, “American Jobs are for Americans”, “Close our Borders” and simply, “Deport.”

“All Democrats and all Independents in the Senate believe that there ought to be Amnesty, a handful of Republicans believe that also,” U.S. Representative Steve King a Republican from Iowa told them. “Whatever our heart says about people that want to be Americans but sought about doing it the illegal way, we can’t give them that legal status without sacrificing the rule of law.”

Braving the scorching heat, close to 1000 demonstrators led by King marched along Pennsylvania Ave. toward Capitol Hill’s upper Senate Park chanting slogans like “Kill the Bill” (referring to the Senate immigration bill 744) and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the Gang of Eight must go.” The drafters of the bill are known as the Gang of Eight.

Prerna Lal, 28, and Lindsay Schubiner, 28, a same-sex bi-national couple, participate in the "first National DREAM wedding. (Luis Hernández/

Wedding joins two persons and two causes – LGBT advocacy and the DREAMers movement

Special to Borderzine

WASHINGTON – In the quaint and inconspicuous Lutheran Church of the Reformation, situated right next to the Supreme Court, a wedding is about to take place. A crowd of media, LGBT advocacy groups and hundreds of National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) DREAMers, begins to find its way to the seats, setting aside signs and banners. The couple arrives minutes later. The bride is wearing a slim-fitting white dress, while the groom is sporting a blue tie and shirt. Both are wearing white flower tiaras.

"Stand with families" was the clamor of students members of United We Dream. (Luis Hernandez/

DREAMers march on Capitol Hill to put a human face on the struggle for immigration reform

WASHINGTON – A group of college students dressed in blue graduation gowns sit in a gallery during a U.S. Senate hearing, their eyes fixed on the Senate floor, watching attentively as a steady stream of yay votes are tallied and read out loud by the clerk. They’re not the usual student visitors on a school-sanctioned field trip to the Capitol – they’re DREAMers and the vote they are witnessing will ultimately decide the legality of their residency in this country. The Senate Bill 744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act more commonly known as the Immigration bill, passed its first hurdle June 11 on an 82-15 vote, with 54 Democrats and 28 Republicans voting to move the bill to the floor. With congressmen all around Washington voicing their opinions to anyone who would listen, the DREAMers sought to place a human face on immigration and let them know the repercussions of their rhetoric. The students are members of United We Dream (UWD), a nonpartisan network made up of 52 affiliate organizations in 25 states, and one of the largest immigrant youth-led organizations in the nation.

Artists Arturo Damasco painted legendary Mexican actor Carlos López Moctezuma. (Luis Hernández/

New art brings good memories back to the old Juárez mercado

CD. JUAREZ – Driving through downtown Juárez has always been somewhat of a treat for me. The sights and sounds of the everyday hustle and bustle, the lingering aroma of what can only be defined as tradition, and the looming sense of that which is no longer there. Yet what most captivates me to this day are the numerous decaying buildings situated in one single area. These remnant monoliths weathered down by the years serve as a reminder of my city’s heritage, a heritage that I never fully knew.

Phtographs from “The Beatles Illuminated: The Discovered Works of Mike Mitchell” were auctioned by Christie's on the 20th of July, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Mike Mitchell)

Light itself is a spiritual quest for famed Beatles photographer Mike Mitchell

EL PASO – A sense of adventure, a camera and a little bit of luck marked the beginning of a young photographer’s career, tools that paid off nearly 50 years later for Mike Mitchell. At the age of 18, Mitchell was living in Washington, D.C, and starting his career as a photojournalist. Having already developed a love for photography in his early teens, he set off to do what naturally comes next –find a way to get paid for doing what he loved. In 1964 he began an internship at the Washington Star newspaper and also did freelance photography for magazines and other publications. That year also saw the first Beatles U.S. concert tour.

The devotion to the Holy Death incorporates many elements from Ctaholic Church's iconography even though this is not recognized as legit by the Church. (Luis Hernandez/

Some worship the Saint of Death in a city plagued by violence

Lea esta historia en español

Just a few steps from the historic cathedral devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Juárez, the Mercado Cuauhtémoc shopping center houses stores that specialize in the sale of paraphernalia dedicated to a different holy entity they call Santa Muerte. Like any Sunday, the main plaza and its different mercados in the historic heart of the border city of Juárez are rich with activity and flowing with movement. This is in complete contrast to other sectors of the city where businesses are run down or abandoned, lacking clientele, who fear the violence currently plaguing the city. These shops dedicated to the sale of various goods depicting Santa Muerte – the Saint of Death or just Holy Death – are mixed in with other shops that sell everything from produce and clothing, to electronic goods. In these shops you can find statues and amulets adorned with the saint’s image and you also can say a prayer to her in one of the mini-worship spots set aside in the shops to venerate  “La Huesuda” or “the skeletal saint” as it is also known.

Jeremy Robbins, representative for Partnership for a New American Economy and Special Counsel for New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg addressing a crowd of local entrepreneurs and dignitaries during a meeting in The Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. (Luis Hernandez/

Immigration equals economic prosperity, according to a new study

EL PASO – The ongoing immigration reform debate – either in favor of or against any drastic legislative change, – usually focuses on the influx of undocumented immigrants, while ignoring its effect on the U.S. economy. The way current immigration laws are written and executed is making it harder for companies to compete, according to a new report published by the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), an organization created to highlight the contributions made by foreign entrepreneurship in Fortune 500 companies, 40 percent of which were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants. “We are having the wrong immigration debate,” said Jeremy Robbins, of the PNAE and special counsel to New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. The benefits the immigrant labor force provide the U.S. is substantial, said Roberto Rodríguez Hernández, Mexican consul general in El Paso. “Ninety-nine percent of immigrants are people who are not criminals, who don’t wish to cause any problems and don’t come to this country to steal from healthcare services or collapse the social security program.

El culto a la Santa Muerte incorpora muchos elementos de la iconografía de la Iglesia Católica aunque esta última no reconozca su veneración como legítima. (Luis Hernandez/

La ‘Santa Muerte’ es venerada en una ciudad castigada por la violencia

A pocos pasos de la histórica catedral dedicada a la Virgen de Guadalupe en el centro de Cd. Juárez se encuentra el Mercado Cuauhtémoc y dentro de éste varios puestos dedicados a vender toda una parafernalia de artículos consagrados al culto de la figura denominada la Santa Muerte. Como en cualquier otro día domingo la plaza principal y los puestos comerciales dentro del Centro Histórico de esta ciudad fronteriza mexicana fluyen abundantes de actividad y movimiento. Ello contrasta con la imagen que mantienen muchos otros sectores de esta ciudad en donde los negocios lucen abandonados y carentes de clientes que no acuden por el miedo a la violencia y crimen que actualmente castigan a esta ciudad. En estos puestos dedicados a la Santa Muerte, mezclados entre locales comerciales que expenden una variedad de frutas y legumbres, artesanías, ropa y artículos de origen extranjero, no sólo se pueden encontrar figuras, amuletos, cuadros y otras iconografías de “La Huesuda”, hay también espacios específicos para rendirle culto.

Alejandro Hernández Pacheco es el segundo periodista en recibir asilo político en los Estados Unidos. (Luis Hernandez/

Conseguir asilo político en EU es difícil para periodistas mexicanos amenazados

EL PASO – El incremento de amenazas y de violencia en contra de periodistas mexicanos, así como la falta de apoyo por parte del gobierno mexicano y de las propias empresas que los emplean, han llevado a varios reporteros a buscar apoyo internacional. Alejandro Hernández Pacheco es el segundo periodista mexicano en recibir asilo político por parte de los Estados Unidos. El primer periodista en recibir asilo por amenazas fue Jorge Luis Aguirre, editor del sitio electrónico noticioso “La Polaka”, en el 2010. El caso de Hernández Pacheco fue atendido por el abogado paseño, Carlos Spector, que se especializa en casos migratorios. Él afirma que las decisiones que definen el estado migratorio de los solicitantes de asilo político generalmente suelen ser rápidas, en el caso de Hernández Pacheco esto no fue así.

UTEP President, Dr. Diana Natalicio, opens the 8th Border Security Conference. (Luis Hernandez/

8th Border Security Conference examines benefits and dangers along the U.S.-Mexico borderline

EL PASO — Under the umbrella ideal of fostering a new era of bi-national collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico, the University of Texas at El Paso was once again home to the annual Border Security Conference. This two-day event marked the 8th straight year public officials, politicians, scholars and the general public gathered to share concerns, progress, and ideas pertaining to border security and how the border should meet 21st. century challenges. The conference was a joint endeavor of the University and the Office of U.S. Representative Silvestre Reyes (D.,Texas). “It is terrific to have the opportunity to host this conference.