Photo Gallery: March for Truth in El Paso

A coalition of 40 organizations, possible presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke and U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar marched about a mile with some 10,000 people to Delta Park as part of a March for Truth to counter the President Donald Trump’s rally at the nearby El Paso County Coliseum on Monday evening. Carrying homemade signs in English and Spanish, the crowd  called for improved human rights, peace and an end to lies about the border. The march ended at the park with speeches by O’Rourke, Escobar and live music.

Photo Gallery: Trump Rally in El Paso

Thousands of cheering people joined President Donald Trump for a Make American Great Again rally – his first of the year – at the El Paso County Coliseum on Monday evening while thousands more outside the building watched his speech on a big screen erected in the parking lot. Trump was joined on stage by Texas GOP Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, as well as Donald Trump Jr. prior to the rally. The nationwide audience carried Build the Wall and Finish the Wall signs as the president extolled the virtues of a wall and reducing illegal immigration in one of the safest cities in the United States.

Gallery: Portrait of the Lower Rio Grande

The Lower Rio Grande in New Mexico extends from Elephant Butte Dam to the border of Texas and Mexico. These photos were part of a student photography project in the spring 2018 semester at UT El Paso when the river flow was reduced for the season. The images were taken along the river between Las Cruces and Sunland Park, New Mexico. According to the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer Interstate Stream Commission: “The Rio Grande Project consists of Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoirs, multiple diversion dams and several hundred miles of canals and drains within New Mexico and Texas. The project was designed to provide a reliable supply of surface water to specific lands in what are now Elephant Butte Irrigation District (EBID) and El Paso County Water Improvement District No.

Gallery: Little Havana 2018 photos

Little Havana – a neighborhood immediately west of Downtown Miami – was once the placeholder for thousands of political exiles who fled Cuba. Now, the enclave remains home to many Cubans, but also is home to bars and restaurants like the Ball and Chain, El Pub, La Carreta, Versailles and other popular spots where locals and tourists alike gather for a taste of the old country. Several Cuban cigar shops dot the landscape, but the now diversified neighborhood has become a spot to see and be seen. One of the area’s many highlights is Domino Park where primarily Cuban men gather to play the game, often accompanied by families seeing the ivory pieces move across the table as other play chess.

Photo gallery: Atomic bomb’s 70th anniversary packs Trinity Site

Trinity Site drew thousands from across the nation and the world April 4 to the spot where the first atomic bomb exploded on July 16, 1945. The site, located on White Sands Missile Range outside Soccorro, N.M., is only open to the public two days a year – in April and October. An obelisk made of lava stones marks the spot where the first atomic bomb was exploded on on July 16, 1945. Photo by Kate Gannon,

Visitors at the entrance to Trinity Site take pictures of Jumbo, a steel container that was on site when the bomb exploded. Photo by Kate Gannon,

The bomb blast at Trinity Site super heated the sand to create a glassy green substance known as Trinitite.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Street Art (Photo Gallery)


EL PASO – On December 12 Catholics the world over, especially in Latin America, celebrate the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In Mexico this is one of the most important holidays of the year. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico. She is called La Reina de Mexico the Queen of Mexico and is quite a cultural icon. In 1999 Pope John Paul II proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe a patron saint of all the Americas. Photography students at UT El Paso compiled this gallery of images of Our Lady of Guadalupe seen on murals and signs throughout the city.  

Gallery: The Street Photography of David Smith-Soto

Images from David Smith-Soto’s 60-years of street photography were taken during his travels as a journalist in Latin American, European and U.S. cities.  They include images from Oaxaca, Ciudad Juarez, Guatemala, Tangier, Paris and Madrid. Related Story: Street Photography exhibit, rare Beatles print to help journalism students



Fifty years later, it’s déjà vu all over again in Madrid


MADRID, Spain — Fifty years ago I walked into the Palace Hotel here looking for a cup of coffee and was promptly escorted out by two burly guards. It was Spain at the height of the fascist Franco dictatorship and, at 19, my buddy Mike and I probably looked like communists or worse, like the hippie kids we were, backpacking through Europe, sleeping in youth hostels for 30-cents a night and bathing once every couple of weeks. I carried two Leica cameras with me, my only possessions other than the shirt on my back, and I documented every step of our wanderings from Luxembourg where Icelandic Airlines dropped us off, across the Mediterranean to North Africa where penniless in Tangier we had to scrounge to get back to Madrid. In Madrid, we avoided the museums and any semblance of establishment culture, after all we were following in Hemingway’s footsteps and we spent our time guzzling raspy red wine at the bullfights, scouring for señoritas and scratching poetry on napkins in the cafes. After shooting the bird at the Palace hotel, we walked back to the center of town to our usual haunts near the Plaza Mayor.

One last round – Juarez boxing legend considers a last fight

EL PASO — With fading tattoos over his body and muscles giving way to extra body fat, the once middleweight underdog champion coaches young kids in a brand new downtown Juarez boxing gym arguing with himself whether he should fight one last time to say farewell to his longtime fans. “I don’t really care for being a champ or regaining fame,” said Juarez boxer Kirino Garcia. “What I need is a good offer to have a farewell fight.”

The prospect of getting back into shape after five years without stepping into the ring is challenging and expensive. The 46-year-old Kirino says he’s waiting for the right offer to resume his training regimen. The beloved underdog boxer grew up in the poorest colonias of Juarez and was able rise up to the top of his profession by acquiring a bunch of prestigious titles: Mexican light middleweight title, WBB light middleweight title, WBC International Light Middleweight title, and the Mexican Light Heavyweight title.

Undergraduates learn to explain each others’ research to a lay audience

EL PASO – Computer science and special education majors do not normally meet to discuss each other’s research, but Amanda Sepulveda and Garrett Shaw met throughout the spring 2014 semester to share research in preparation for a competition funded by the Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives (COURI). Sepulveda is a special education major researching autism spectrum disorder, and Shaw is a computer science major researching optimization of high performance computing. They made up the winning team among the 50 that competed in COURI’s, “Explaining Research to a Non-Expert Audience” competition April 16-17. The competition was a prelude to a two-day undergraduate research symposium hosted by COURI that gave undergraduates the chance to present and discuss their research with faculty, peers, and the El Paso community. COURI was founded to help engage undergraduates in scholarly research.

Juárez es una ciudad hostil para los discapacitados, con calles que son trampas mortales para los ciegos

Sabina Olivas también contribuyó en este reportaje.  

CIUDAD JUÁREZ — Con ropas sucias, peinado descuidado y lentes oscuros  Armando Martínez, 62, deambula y encuentra cobijo entre las calles del Centro Histórico de la ciudad. Dice que es ciego, pero asegura que la diabetes que padece desde que tenía treinta años de edad no fue la causa. Junto a las escaleras de la céntrica sucursal Bancomer de la  Avenida Juárez, Martínez sostiene en su mano derecha la mitad de una botella de plástico en la que los transeúntes colocan las pocas monedas que le dan. Con un audífono en el oído derecho y un cable que le recorre el pecho, canta con tono desafinado una melodía que no se llega a comprender.

Sticks and stones can break your bones but cyberbullying can kill you

EL PASO — Rudy Sanchez’ sad eyes peered through tears below the beanie that nearly covered them as he stood in the empty living room of his Lower Valley home where his 14-year-old daughter, Viviana Aguirre, had committed suicide after being bullied online by a friend. Sanchez, 43, described how Viviana went to bed the night of January 2and left one final message on her Facebook account. “Before I do this, thank you to all who tried to keep me up. But hey, it didn’t work. Bye.”

Although most cases of bullying don’t usually end in death, it is a growing and serious problem among students, experts say.

Phony lawyers calling themselves notarios continue to scam unsuspecting immigrants

EL PASO — A “Now Renting” sign and an empty office is all Irma Castañeda found when she went to ask her immigration attorney how her deferred action petition was proceeding. She had paid the man who turned out not to be a lawyer at all $2000 to solve her immigration problem. Had the scam never happened, Castañeda would be done with her deferred action process. In the meantime, she is not allowed to work and she is desperate because her husband was deported recently, the house he started to build for them at Horizon City is unfinished, and she cannot feed or provide any comfort to her two daughters — Rosalva, 12, and Jackeline, 9, who was born with a developmental disability. According to immigrant advocates, individuals setting up phony legal offices on the bilingual U.S.-Mexico border are taking advantage of the frequent confusion between the term notario público understood to usually denote a lawyer in Mexico and notary public, which in the U.S. is a person with no legal training, with the very limited legal authority of a licensed notary public to basically attest to the validity of a signature on a document for a $6 fee.

New technology bridges US-Mexico border at Columbus school

By Lindsey Anderson

COLUMBUS, N.M. — The sun hasn’t yet risen when the first children arrive. Most are middle and high school students, beginning the bleary-eyed walk just after 6 a.m. Then come the youngsters, the elementary school children, accompanied by mothers and fathers and tías and tíos. The families walk through the opening in the wall, running indefinitely in either direction, and up to a small patio and the Columbus Port of Entry. The parents help their students slip on backpacks, zip up coats and plant kisses on little cheeks, then they send their children off to the United States of America. More than 300 young U.S. citizens living in and around Palomas, Mexico, cross into the United States each day to attend public school in southwestern New Mexico’s Luna County.

Waiters feel the pinch as the IRS changes the rules on restaurant tips

EL PASO — Shirt tucked in, apron on, sipping her morning coffee15 minutes past opening, Vanessa Parralounges on the restaurant’s takeout bench waiting for her shift to begin scrolling through the social media on her phone. Briefly scanning the front entryway for any approaching guests, she couldn’t be any more prepared for the day’s lunch crowd. But the unpredictability of the amount of income she will receive that day from tips worries her. It’s a constant worry. The job puts money in her pocket at all times and that is a plus, however, she never knows how much that will be.

Religiosas católicas de Nuevo México crean un oasis en el desierto para los niños con discapacidades

CIUDAD JUÁREZ — Las risas y llantos de los niños se mezclan con las voces de sus padres y voluntarias en Proyecto Santo Niño, una humilde construcción de concreto, conformada por tres habitaciones con piso de cemento donde las madres se preparan para dar terapia a sus hijos. Afuera, una hermosa Virgen de Guadalupe pintada del tamaño de la pared blanca adorna la fachada. En este humilde lugar hace 13 años las religiosas católicas Hermanas de la Caridad de Cincinnati prestan sus servicios gratuitamente a niños con alguna discapacidad física o mental, en la colonia Anapra, una de las áreas más pobres de Ciudad Juárez. El común denominador de los 52 niños que se benefician de los servicios gratuitos de la clínica es que viven en extrema pobreza. En un país con un sistema de salud pública percibido como deficiente y rebasado por la demanda de servicios médicos, los niños con incapacidades físicas y mentales son los más desprotegidos.

The Mustard Seed Cafe feeds the hungry and demands little in return

EL PASO—Since its grand opening in December of last year, the Mustard Seed Café near downtown has worked hard to keep its commitment to the El Paso community by assuring that “everyone eats.”

Founded by close friends Christi Brown, Patsy Burdick, and Shelley Speicher, the pay-what-you-can eatery is the only one of its kind in the Sun City. It allows patrons to enjoy nutritious entrées and side dishes for less than full price. Customers can also pay for meals by briefly volunteering their time in the kitchen or garden. “We want to make this quality of food available to everybody in the community regardless of their ability to pay for it,” said Brown. The café is non-profit, which allows guests to pay well below the suggested price of $3 for a side dish to $10 per entree.

Hipólito López, “Polo”, spent 12 years in prison at Beaumont, Texas, where he learned various crafts. (Jessica Salcedo/

La talabartería nació en la carcel, florece en la libertad

Read this story in English

DURANGO, México — Hipólito López nunca pensó que su experiencia en la cárcel lo ayudaría a aprender un oficio y en el futuro crear su propio negocio. “Polo”, como la gente comúnmente lo conoce, estuvo 12 años en la prisión de Beaumont, Texas. Ahí pasó su tiempo aprendiendo a hacer varios trabajos artesanales como hacer brochas para pintar, hacer accesorios de chaquira y la talabartería. “Yo, este arte lo aprendí ahí en la prisión en Estados Unidos. Estudié y trabajé 12 años haciendo eso ahí en la prisión”, expresó López.

Here to make the border safe again. (Sergio Chapa/

Fin del viaje por la frontera Texas-México

La frontera central México-Estados Unidos: El Paso, Texas y Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua
Lo que sigue es el último episodio del viaje por la frontera Texas-México que realicé con mi amigo, el periodista Sergio Chapa, a mediados del año pasado. Hoy describiré nuestra experiencia en las ciudades de El Paso, Texas y Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. Este último tramo resultó ser uno de los más interesantes de nuestro recorrido fronterizo. La importancia de la frontera central México-Estados Unidos es evidente desde que uno se va acercando a la ciudad de El Paso, Texas. La frontera “central” —como le suelo llamar yo a la zona de El Paso-Ciudad Juárez— es una zona de gran desarrollo económico, de evidente complejidad y sobretodo de contrastes.

Mural at the Stanton Street Bridge in downtown El Paso. (Sergio Chapa/

Last stop, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez

I’m going to admit now. There is no way to describe El Paso in a single blog but I’ll try my best. With close to one million residents, El Paso is the biggest city on the Texas side of the border. But it’s also filled with many contrasts making it one of the most complex and intriguing. The border city is home to four international bridges and one international railroad crossing.

Blimp used for border security just west of Marfa. (Sergio Chapa/

El trayecto de Presidio al El Paso, Texas: Una tormenta en el camino, la guerra por el agua y los puentes del futuro

Ahora contaré mis impresiones sobre el último tramo de nuestro viaje por la frontera México-Texas. Dejamos Presidio con dirección hacia las ciudades de El Paso, Texas y Ciudad Juárez (Chihuahua). Este episodio es corto, pero interesante. Al salir de Presidio (Texas) hacia el norte, tomamos la carretera 67 que nos llevaría de nuevo a la ciudad de Marfa —aquella ciudad donde pudimos apreciar, por la noche, una misteriosas luces bajo un gran cielo estrellado. En ese trayecto el paisaje estuvo dominado por montañas.

Storm clouds rolled in from the mountains and then over Highway 90. (Sergio Chapa/

Highway to El Paso

After several days on the road, Lupita and I realized that we had fewer days ahead of us than behind us. It was more than 100 degrees when we left the Rio Grande River plain in Presidio. But it was a steady climb into the mountains as we headed north on U.S. Highway 67 back to Marfa. In the rear view mirror, storm clouds could be seen coming in over the mountains of Mexico. The wind was picking up and the higher the elevation, the cooler the temperature.

Seok-Kiew Koay — Jewelry in the right place at the right price

EL PASO – A group of people gathered at the Union Plaza downtown on a recent Saturday morning to browse through and buy arts, crafts and food delicacies at the weekly Downtown Artists and Farmers Market. One vendor in particular stands out from the displays of original, unique hand-made art works because it doesn’t have a canopy overheard like the others. This stand belongs to Seok-Kiew Koay, 58, a designer and maker of bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rosaries who has been a regular at the farmer’s market since 2011. “I’ve been doing this (jewelry) for 15 years and this hobby has become my job. I enjoy it,” said Koay as she held up one of her necklaces.