Destino: Georgia

Por Mario Guevara

La frontera entre México y Estados Unidos en Texas se convirtió este año en el área con mayor número de arrestos de indocumentados en EE.UU., superando a la de Arizona, que por dos décadas fue la que más detenciones registró. MundoHispánico viajó hasta esa zona fronteriza para indagar sobre este fenómeno, especialmente porque una buena parte de los inmigrantes que tratan de cruzar ilegalmente planean llegar a Georgia y los estados vecinos, según reportes de las autoridades federales. “Muy pocos son los que buscan quedarse aquí, porque la mayoría creen que tendrán mejor oportunidades de hallar trabajo yendo más hacia el norte”, aseguró a este medio Ramiro Cordero, uno de los portavoces de la Patrulla Fronteriza en Texas y quien está destacado en El Paso. Una de las personas que venían rumbo a Georgia y que fue descubierta recientemente atravesando la frontera en busca del ‘sueño americano’ fue Reina Martínez, de 20 años. La joven nativa de El Salvador llevaba un mes presa en un centro de detención en Texas, hasta que Inmigración le concedió la libertad bajo la condición de comparecer ante un juez.

El Paso Zoo curator Rick LoBello’s mission is to share his love for animals with students

EL PASO – As a child growing up in the northeast part of the country, Rick Louis LoBello fell in love with wild animals when mountain gorillas jumped out at him from the pages of National Geographic. Today as the El Paso Zoo’s education curator, he shares that childhood fascination with new generations. LoBello, 60, grew up two miles from Lake Erie. As a child he spent his days bird watching, searching for salamanders along the creek and reading about nature in Angola, New York. “I could get on my bicycle, go down to the creek and study the animals,” he fondly reminisces his childhood years.

The call for humane immigration reform resonates with my Hispanic heritage

SUNLAND PARK, NM – I attended the Solidarity Prayer Service held September 7 here at the border fence that separates Mexico from the U.S. at end of Anapra Road organized by local catholic churches. Marchers came to both sides of the fence. It was heart wrenching to see the small children standing at the fence. They told me they hoped to be able to come to El Paso one day. We should be building bridges not walls.

Catholics gather at the U.S.-Mexico border fence to pray for fair and humane immigration reform

Lea esta historia en español. SUNLAND PARK, NM – With their fingers sticking out through the chain-link border fence from the Mexican side, Johan 10, and his brother Irving, 11, squint their eyes against the penetrating afternoon sun to make out the people who drive up on this side of the fence. About 150 members of area Catholic congregations and the bishops of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso gathered on Saturday, September 7th along the fence that separates two countries in the neighborhood region of Anapra to pray for immigration reform. With leaders of the dioceses of Ciudad Juarez on the other side, and the dioceses of El Paso, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Brownsville, San Angelo, Piedras Negras and San Antonio on this, the U.S. side, the Catholic community showed its support for immigrant human rights by gathering for a solidarity prayer on the border desert. Nuevo Laredo bishop, Gustavo Rodriguez Vega, and archbishop of the San Antonio archdioceses, Gustavo Garcia-Siller, conducted the prayer and said the purpose of the event was to acknowledge the necessity for an ample and fair immigration reform, according to the teachings of the Catholic society.

Los hermanitos Johan,10, e Irving, 11, sonríen cuando hablan de todas las cosas que harán cuando su padre les compre la visa que les prometió. (Vianey Alderete/

Marcha católica al pie de la frontera reza por la reforma inmigratoria

Read this story in English. SUNLAND PARK, NM – Con los dedos enganchados en los diamantes de metal que forman la malla fronteriza, Johan, 10, y su hermano Irving, 11, luchan contra los penetrantes rayos del sol desde el lado mexicano para poder abrir sus ojos y observar en detalle a la gente que ya empieza a llegar por carro de este lado de la frontera. Unos 150 feligreses católicos y los obispos de Ciudad Juárez y El Paso se reunieron el sábado 7 de septiembre junto a la malla que separa dos países en el vecindario Anapra, para orar por la reforma migratoria. Con líderes de la diócesis de Ciudad Juárez del otro lado y las diócesis de El Paso, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Brownsville, San Ángelo, Piedras Negras y San Antonio de este, la comunidad católica mostró  su apoyo por los derechos de los inmigrantes al reunirse en el desierto fronterizo celebrando una misa de solidaridad. Las oraciones fueron dirigidas por el obispo Gustavo Rodríguez Vega de Nuevo Laredo y el arzobispo de la arquidiócesis de San Antonio, Gustavo Garcia-Siller, quienes mencionaron claramente que el evento era para señalar la necesidad de una amplia y justa reforma migratoria americana, según los principios de la enseñanza social católica.

Having skate parks for El Paso’s action sports enthusiast also draws them more into the community, and according to Robertson, helps encourage good citizenship. (David A. Reyes)

Local nonprofit propels skateboarding into area parks

EL PASO – El Paso City Council approves a $1.4 million bond for the construction of the largest skate park in the region with help from a tireless local organization. The new state-of-the-art skate park in Northeast El Paso, began construction in June financed by the 2012 Quality of Life bonds approved by City Council. The park is scheduled to be completed by August 30, 2014. “We firmly believe that skateboarding, BMX, and all action sports are here to stay,” said Bill Robertson, assistant professor at the University of Texas at El Paso and member of the El Paso Skatepark Association, “[these sports are] part of our culture, and by making parks available you’re actually extending opportunities not only to young people, but also to families.”

Part of this skate-park project stems from an idea that Robertson, Paul Zimmerman, and Gabe Lawler devised back in 2008, when skateboarders and El Paso City Hall got together to build more “high quality” concrete facilities for skateboarders, according to the association. The El Paso Skatepark Association has ushered in 17 skate parks in El Paso County, with 10 within city limits.

The barrier that divides: One city, dos lenguas

EL PASO – Blue-eyed, brunette, and light-complexioned Michael Alden has called El Paso his home for nearly all his life. Alden, 24, was born and raised in El Paso, graduated from Franklin High in 2007 and attended UTEP before leaving to live in California. Although El Paso is recognized as a bilingual and bicultural community, Alden does not speak fluent Spanish, the language that many of us hear on a daily basis. While he is not Hispanic, he has on more than one occasion been in a situation where Spanish speakers assumed he spoke Spanish. “It is difficult sometimes,” Alden said.

“This whole area I thought was just kind of mysterious for me. I liked the culture. I liked the desert. I found it fascinating,” said Welsh. (David A. Reyes/

Lawrence Welsh – Digging for verse in the deserts of the Southwest

EL PASO – The watercolor on the wall in Lawrence Welsh’s office gleams with warm sun spilling across the panorama, as if light lived inside every leaf, every strand of grass, every inch of wood and tin. The Associate Professor of English at El Paso Community College said it reminds him of his own deep “digging” for art, poetry and history in the desert lands of the Southwest. In his new collection of poems written from 1994 to 2009, Begging for Vultures, Welsh sweeps readers through voices and landscapes of the Southwest. His personal excavation began in Los Angeles where he was raised, and where he began uncovering his love for words and music, co-founding the punk rock band, The Alcoholics in the late 1970’s, then writing and editing on newspapers, and writing fiction and poetry. Now, he teaches at the community college.

Newcomer Republican Barbara Carrasco talks to the press. (Francis Regalado/

Distinct stands on major political issues mark the El Paso congressional race

EL PASO – Fresh from winning one of the biggest upsets in local political history last May against eight-term U.S. Rep. Sylvester Reyes, Democrat Beto O’Rourke now faces political newcomer Republican Barbara Carrasco in a run for Reyes’ Congressional District 16, seat. O’Rourke won the Democratic primary election with a margin of less than five percent of the vote and he says he did it with legwork. He explained that what made his team the best was that people of all ages and all walks of life came together with the same idea to better the community and did what it took to make it happen. “We were able to put together one of the best teams in campaign history in El Paso,” O’Rourke said. Democrat O’Rourke and Republican Carrasco have different positions on the following issues important to the El Paso community, such as job creation and the economy, education and healthcare.

Hundreds of friends and family of victims of violent crime gather in Yucca Park at the annual reading of more than 1,500 names engraved into the memorials granite walls.(Danya P. Hernandez / Borderzine)

El Paso’s violent crime rate belies its top ranking as a safe city

EL PASO — In El Paso’s Lower Valley four granite disks hold the names of more than 1,500 victims of violent crime, a memorial linking the shattered lives of thousands who have witnessed how this city is not as safe as everyone believes. This year 67 names were added to the wall, 15 of them killed by a drunk driver. This statistic is not being factored in when El Paso is ranked one of the safest cities in the United States every year by the CQ press, an independent publisher of a book titled City Crime Rankings. “Every day, I listen to the news. I hear the radio.

Working full time and going to college full time is hard, but it’s the only way

EL PASO – Attending college is difficult enough, but imagine going to school full-time and working full-time. Many of us at the University of Texas at El Paso are living proof that this is very possible, but it is one tough trek. Affordable tuition makes it accessible to students who cannot afford more expensive universities and its location as a border city gives more people the chance to attend UTEP. The university is diverse in culture and in the ages of its students, since many of them take more time to graduate than expected because they are working full time. Going on my fifth year of college, I have felt a little ashamed at times that I wasn’t able to finish it in four years.

The Plaza Theatre reopened as the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center on March 17, 2006. (Oscar Garza/

The Classic Film Festival to welcome Al Pacino at El Paso’s historic Plaza Theatre

EL PASO – Nostalgia is a wonderful thing when you are well along in life. The memories of youth many times built around classic films are resurrected during the very rare film festivals held from time to time. Well, more than 80 classic films will be shown in El Paso in August. The Plaza Classic Film Festival will be held August 2 – 12 at the historic Plaza Theater. The festival was created in 2008 to celebrate this country’s rich cinema history and rekindle the joy of going to the movies.

El caballo es considerado símbolo de orgullo y cultura. (Kristopher Rivera/

Caballos de la frontera

EL PASO – En las alturas del desierto de El Paso una figura que decora al occidente de Texas es el caballo. Alguna vez usado como método de transporte por los colonos, ha evolucionado para simbolizar cosas diferentes pero importantes en nuestra época. Para muchos permanece en estas tierras como símbolo de orgullo y cultura. El caballo ha influido hasta el cantar popular a través de canciones y rancheras como las de Vicente Fernandez. Esta es el mismo tipo de influencia que los caballos tienen en el oficio de muchos residentes de la ciudad bicultural de El Paso, Texas.

Students from the all-girls academy wait in line to get a glimpse of the inside of StoryCorps’ recording trailer.(Amanda Duran/

El Pasoans find their place in the American oral history

EL PASO – Eighty-nine year-old Rita Don attended the Loretto Academy here from kindergarten until she graduated from high school in 1939 and her story will now become a chapter in recorded history. Don said she was excited for the opportunity to leave a little piece of herself behind recorded in StoryCorps’ cross-country oral history archive tour. “I wanted to give a little of my time back to the community that gave so much of their time to me.”

StoryCorps, a non-profit organization, has spent the last nine years touring the country in order to fulfill its mission of gathering and organizing a vast collection of oral histories from everyday Americans. And after almost a decade, the organization’s MobileBooth tour will give Sun City residents the opportunity to have their stories make history. Don’s time at Loretto Academy, her years in college, her career as a medical technologist, her dream of becoming a doctor, and the eventual realization of those aspirations are topics she planned to discuss in her recording session.

Stands were scattered across Lincoln Park as people danced, enjoyed oldies music, savored delicious Mexican food, and enjoyed a variety of artwork. (Cassandra Morrill/

Community groundswell advocates for the preservation of the historic Lincoln Center

EL PASO — Hundreds of El Pasoans gathered here recently in a peaceful protest to  remember Chicano activist César Chávez and to demand that the city reopen the Lincoln Cultural Arts Center, El Paso’s first school and the city’s first Hispanic art center. The Lincoln Center, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, first opened as a school and later changed into an art gallery. It is located near the Chamizal neighborhood, were 97 percent of the population is Hispanic. Traditionally a place for children to keep busy, instead of causing trouble on the streets, the Lincoln Center  also provided the community with computers and Internet access. The Center was shut down by the city due to a mold infestation after heavy rains in 2006 and  according to Hector Gonzalez, the head of the Lincoln Park Conservation Committee, which is dedicated to saving the center, city officials say it will cost $3.6 million to reopen the center.

A family having dinner at Little Jimmis mobile food truck, parked at his usual spot in El Paso’s Lower Valley in front of the K-mart on Zaragosa. (Kristian Hernandez/

Roach coach, lunch truck or mobile food vendor?

Mobile food vendors in El Paso – Radio story


[Natural sounds: Cooking food on a the stovetop inside mobile food truck]

KRISTIAN HERNANDEZ (Reporter): Mr. and Mrs. Trejo stand patiently on the side of a busy street in far-east El Paso waiting for some beef tacos they just ordered from a mobile food vendor by the name of “Tacos el Charlie” that has made this dirt lot his spot for the night. YVETTE TREJO: You can’t really see what is in there so you are taking a chance. You don’t really know how clean they are but our experience off the trucks has always been good. I guess we are going off of imagination and pictures, how about that and hope. RAUL TREJO: And hunger.

Roberto Perezdíaz.... (Oscar Garza/

Más sabe el diablo que el escritor Roberto Perezdíaz

Read this story in English

EL PASO – El viejo ­que solo puede ver en blanco y negro, mientras que platica con un muchacho se da cuenta de las diferencias de la vida para poder experimentar y entenderlas. Un rito de pasaje de la niñez a la vejez es un tema fuerte en las escrituras de Roberto Perezdíaz. Él describe cómo a través de la madurez una persona es capaz de recorrer los senderos de la vida y los coloca en el desierto de la frontera. Con el lanzamiento de su nuevo libro Más sabe el diablo, Perezdíaz ha reunido una colección de cuentos que exploran temas de inocencia y cinismo, a través de cuentos que incorporan el humor y la introspección. “Cada cuento con la excepción de El papalote y Tomasito es de una verdadera idea independiente.

Opus World Bistro está localizado en el 7128 N. Mesa St. (Courtesía de Robert Corral, Motionless Photography)

Opus – Un viaje gastronómico alrededor del mundo

De boca en boca

EL PASO – El restaurante Opus es una de las más recientes propuestas culinarias que ofrece nuestra ciudad, con un chef que ha cocinado en muchas partes alrededor del mundo y por ahora ha decidido asentarse en El Paso para darnos una muestra de sus platillos, desde una tradicional ensalada Caprese hasta el sofisticado plato de escalopas de ternera con camarón en crema de pernod. El espacio está recién remodelado donde antes estaba un restaurante de comida italiana, las modificaciones son muy afortunadas con mucha más luz natural en el salón privado y un vestíbulo que invita a quedarse. Los colores son más claros pero siguen siendo tonos tierra, estilo mediterráneo. El Chef y propietario es Michael Ross, de apariencia amable y paciente, pero una vez que empezamos a conversar, es evidente que es un hombre lleno de ideas, experiencias y un constante deseo de crear nuevos conceptos. Mike viene de una familia grande (nueve hermanos y la abuela), en la que sus padres inculcaron la buena costumbre de sentarse a la mesa a cenar, sin televisión o alguna otra distracción (de ahí los nueve hermanos…), donde intercambiar las experiencias del día, el padre, ingeniero químico y con un gusto por los viajes, los llevó a conocer muchas partes del país, y a degustar platillos en cada lugar, con una mamá que al regresar siempre trataba de cocinar aquello que más le había gustado.

Downtown El Paso. (Alejandra Matos/

Downtown El Paso


Editor’s note: This is another in a series of El Pasoans sharing their favorite places in El Paso. A series that we named Mi querido El Paso.

Bashar Abu and his family attend The Islamic Center of El Paso to pray for his siblings in Syria. (Anoushka Valodya/

The killing of ordinary people in the streets of Syrian cities hits home in El Paso

EL PASO – Bashar Abu doesn’t know if his six siblings are still alive in the Syrian city of Homs, which has been ravaged for about a week by rocket bombings, tank shells, sniper bullets and grenades. Abu, 50, the former engineering design manager for the City of El Paso, said that he feels helpless because it has been days since he heard from them. His somber face and sharp eyes reveal that he has a lot of worry on his mind. “My wife is walking around with red eyes from constantly crying since her mother is in Homs. I check the online news like every five minutes, looking for any updates. We just want to know what’s going on,” he said.

Female impersonator, Nathan Knight Jones, is better known on stage as Serena. (Erica Mendez/

Gender change is a form of self-expression for Serena

EL PASO – Dripping in diamonds, teased hair, and false lashes, she looks like a beauty queen singing and dancing, but the performer onstage is a creation by female impersonator Nathan Knight Jones. “I’m very flirtatious when I perform. The music that I choose is usually music that is going to let me interact with whomever is in the audience,” said Jones. Known as Serena when in drag, Jones has been a female impersonator in El Paso for the past two years. Competing against nine other contestants, he won the 2010 Newcomer of the Year title awarded by The New Old Plantation, or The Op, one of the more popular gay clubs in the El Paso’s LGBT scene.

Café Central, ubicado en el 109 N. Oregon St. ofrece un menú variado y estacional además de un servicio orientado al detalle. (Raymundo Aguirre/

Café Central – Como los buenos vinos…

De boca en boca

EL PASO – Ubicado en el mero centro de El Paso, con una historia de casi 100 años, el Café Central es una de esas raras y afortunadas excepciones donde la calidad en lugar de disminuir, mejora con el tiempo, como los buenos vinos…

La historia de este clásico fronterizo empieza en 1918, del otro lado, en Juárez, durante la turbulenta época de la Prohibición, al terminar, el restaurante se muda a El Paso, pero con otro nombre: “Miguel’s Café”, mucho tiempo después, en 1998, con el cambio de dueño regresa a su nombre original hasta la fecha, 93 años después… El Café Central es un restaurante elegante, donde se ofrece un servicio impecable, orientado al detalle, con una decoración que le da un aire distinguido, que de alguna manera te hace sentir que cambiaste de tiempo y espacio; aunque parece pequeño, hay un área de comedor, un bar con pantallas y una barra bellísima, dos salones privados y una pequeña zona al aire libre cubierta con toldos y chimeneas para aquellos que gustan pedir del humidor y fumarse un puro de calidad mundial. El menú es variado y estacional, aunque siempre mantiene algunas de sus recetas de autor, que han hecho este bello espacio tan famoso como para ser mencionado en magazines y periódicos de fama mundial: su deliciosa crema de chile poblano, el róbalo chileno (Chilean Sea Bass) y las croquetas de cangrejo son infaltables. La oferta actual en el menú abarca desde un tiradito de pulpo, un ceviche verde con varios tipos de pescado, hasta una pechuga de pato cubierta de nuez de la India, gnocchi de trufas con cangrejo, sin faltar los cortes especiales de carne y las chuletas de cordero. Uno se imaginaría que el Chef Ejecutivo de un lugar así es un señor de mediana edad de mejillas sonrosadas y mirada condescendiente, de origen anglosajón, sin embargo, el Chef Armando Pomales es joven y latino, de madre mexicana y padre puertorriqueño, sin aires pretenciosos, que no duda un momento para decir que se considera un producto de El Paso, nacido y criado aquí.

El Paso, the safest city in the U.S. by fact, the most dangerous by media coverage. (José Luis Trejo/

El Paso is still the safe, prosperous Sun City it has always been

EL PASO – As editor-in-chief of The Prospector and Minero Magazine, reporter for Borderzine and the occasional freelance journalism work I have been able to take around El Paso, I find hard to believe the image many have of this city. As the drug-related violence continues in our sister city, Ciudad Juárez, the borderland has been in the national spotlight with various media outlets focusing on the drug-war. Even though El Paso was ranked as one of the safest cities in the U.S. by CQ press in 2010, the city is still perceived as a dangerous city due to its proximity to Juárez. When I went on an internship at the Houston Chronicle in 2010, once people found out I was from El Paso they all would ask the same questions: how dangerous is El Paso? Is it true that the violence has spilled over to El Paso?

“Should I allow myself to live like this any more and let this injustice continue?” asks an Occupier. (Jacqueline Armijo/

Occupy El Paso demonstrators demand social justice

EL PASO – Protesters crawled out of their tents and stretched as the morning sun greeted them at San Jacinto Plaza, all of them sharing a passion for banning corporate greed. At first I didn’t know how to feel about Occupy Wall Street, which is a movement that has gained momentum and spread to other parts of the U.S. and even the world. You have people protesting in Rhode Island, California, and Virginia and even in England. The movement is made up of people who established a peaceful protest although they come from different political backgrounds and religions. They argue that there should be an end to the corruption and self-indulgence of the wealthiest one percent of the U.S. population, which is inflicting a wrong upon the rest of the U.S. – the other 99 percent of Americans.

The El Paso Occupiers mingle next to Los Lagartos sculpture. (Luis Hernández/

El Paso’s Occupy movement seeks justice, but their expectations may be too great

EL PASO – There are small herds of them scattered between the trees, some shirtless and tanned from the sun, sitting around in cozily crammed circles that are set-up between their tents along with various handwritten signs they have made and carried for weeks. I went into the San Jacinto Park completely convinced that I would be called to join their ranks of Occupy El Paso and come out smelling like the downtown streets of El Paso. I thought that they would try to convert me and convince me to go pro-hippy, sleeping in the grass with them, and laughing over text messages out loud to each other while a siren goes streaking by, but that’s before I stumbled into the red and white-striped food tent and got a taste of humility. In the food tent, I timidly approached a man in a tan sun hat, with clear blue eyes that wrinkled when he proudly told me he had been Occupying El Paso for 10 days. When he started talking about his story, I nearly joined the Occupy movement on the spot – but didn’t.