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/Borderzine.com)

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

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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/Borderzine.com)

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/Borderzine.com)

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/Borderzine.com)

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/Borderzine.com)

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.