The Lost Moral Compass of a Harvard Mexican Councilman Part I

By Javier Rodriguez   from La Plaza Del Mariachi 15 August 2014

  • BREAKING: The FBI Revealed Today the Identity of One of the “Perps” in the Racist Bombing of Four African American Families on May 12 in Boyle Heights.
  • The Corruption of the Historical Casa del Mexicano and our Playboy Councilman Huizar,

The violence in the poverty stricken Eastside Latino quarter of Boyle Heights continues unabated. Recently however, it was tainted with racist terrorism when allegedly, eight Latinos bombed the homes of four African American families. The terrifying scene erupted in the Ramona Gardens Public Housing Projects located three miles northeast of the Mariachi Plaza.

Caught on video from the start as they entered the vicinity of the Housing Projects, the eight “perps” have not been arrested nor identified until today. In a news breaking story of this morning, the FBI reported the department had used testing of finger prints on glass and bingo, the scientific DNA search revealed Carlos “Big Tricker” Hernandez, age 29, was already in custody for robbery in Riverside. According to FOX NEWS, Hernandez a known member of Big Hazard, either constructed the bomb or threw it against the apartments at  Ramona Gardens.

With the clock ticking and the fact the crime was obviously racially motivated, not long after, the LAPD, accompanied by mostly Latino community leaders, staged a press conference inside the housing complex offering a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the criminals involved in the bombings.

Upon scanning the news reports of the media event then, including the large photo published in La Opinion the following day, Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the 14th District, did not appear in the picture nor is he quoted in the article. More, egregiously, he failed to personally visit the stunned community to show compassion and provide leadership to assure the victims a prompt investigation and protection. As with all the violent murders and constant weekly shootouts of the last 18 months in Boyle Heights, all indicators point to Jose Huizar, the Harvard and immigrant councilman, once again “was missing in action.”

The area sits between the County General Hospital and the USC School of Medicine on the Westside and Cal State L.A. on the East and like most Latino barrios, the Southern wing is divided by the San Bernardino Fry. Along with El Sereno and Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights is part of the 14th Council District in the City of LA. The Gardens is also a long time bastion of the Hazard St. Gang, composed of several hundred hard core members and lest not forget, it is also one of the intense pockets of poverty in the city. The subsidized public complex houses 1791 residents of which 78 are African Americans, most which I presume, are part of the now noticeable multiracial Diaspora migrating into the district since around the start of the millennium.

I have lived and been an activist in LA for decades and with a few exceptions, my grass roots home base has been the Heights. I first began to get acquainted with Huizar at La Serenata de Garibaldi Restaurant which my family co founded back in 1985 and where the councilman is a regular customer. But it’s not until late 20I0 when I began to get somewhat closer to him and it was due to two personal developments. The first took place at a Latino Piano Bar Restaurant where I sing as a hobby with live music and one evening, Jose arrived with a group of people, so I introduced him to the packed crowd and he received a loud ovation. I also sang a highly popular ranchero love song which, coincidentally, was his late father’s favorite song and he was touched.

The second is the story of two late night murders in an unsavory neighborhood bar on East 1st Street called “Oscar’s”. The incident hit the news and soon after through the barrio grapevine, the word was out that Jose’s mother was a regular client there and she may have been inside the “cantina” when the shooting ensued. I had met her about two months prior when I was invited to an afterhours house party located a half of mile from the bar. When I arrived with some friends, I was introduced to the hostess and owner of the home and she claimed to be Huizar’s mother. I was there for approximately an hour and while there and I observed the ambience was racy and very liberal. Before leaving, I was also introduced to the owner of the mentioned bar, who minutes before had exited a bedroom with a female companion.

A few weeks after the killings, as a member of a board of directors for a planned charter school to be housed at La Casa del Mexicano, also in Boyle Heights, I attended an early morning meeting at Philippe’s Restaurant to meet with the Councilman and his staff to request his support for the school venture. When the school business was over, I pulled Jose to the side and in full confidence I conveyed to him the information I had about the bar tragedy and the afterhours house party at his mother’s. He seemed clearly touched and impressed and looking directly at my eyes, he thanked me and said “I won’t forget this Javier.” He then called Ana Cubas, his Chief of Staff and a recent candidate for City Council, over and told her, “let’s stay very close to this man. He has his ears to the ground.” If you’re reading this, you logically could deduce, like I did, the story leads to the beginning of a bond. The following narrative conveys what are some of the contemporary issues that I have lived or have observed here

The Corruption at the Historical Casa del Mexicano

El Comite de Beneficencia Mexicano CBM-Mexican Benefit Corporation is historically considered the oldest existing Mexican solidarity organization in Los Angeles and it was organized by the Mexican community with the guidance of the LA Mexican Counsel in 1932. According to the news reports of the time and the CBM bylaws that I translated, it was founded as a nonprofit organization with a large dues paying membership, an executive staff and a twenty plus board of directors elected annually by the members at its monthly general meetings. Its stated mission was to assist the large Mexican community in Los Angeles.

The historical context of this social development for the Mexican community was dramatic and it included the fact that Mexico had just concluded its social and armed revolution of 1910 and the war of the Cristeros that followed immediately; the Great Depression of the thirties was full blown; The threat of fascism and the 2nd World War were on the rise; The Mexican government stunned the world and filled the nation with pride when under the Presidency of General Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico confronted the American and English oil giants and nationalized its oil resources; and most important, these were the years of the repatriation and deportation of more than I million Mexicans, many born in the United States. In this same period, the CBM founded La Casa del Mexicano and its first offices were opened on the corner of Brooklyn and Gage Ave(Think Self Help Graphics). Later in 1949, through a community wide fundraising campaign, the CBM purchased the old church on Euclid Pl. -now known as Calle Pedro Infante- and this transaction was fully paid in cash.

For the activists that follow my blog, La Rayuela de Javier.Wordpress.Com, 1932 is also the year that my oldest brother Jose was born in the mining town of Basis in the high North Sierra of Durango. Before the end of that decade, my father, a miner and union leader, a Cardenista and a member of the Communist Party, with my mother, Jose and Jacobo still a baby, began the trek on horseback towards the north that finally, after 18 years, landed the Rodriguez Hernandez Family unto the City Los Angeles. A year later as a member of the Guadalajara Juniors Soccer Team, the first Mexican youth soccer team founded in LA, I attended my first meeting at La Casa del Mexicano.

Understandably, for decades the CBM and La Casa were a center of humanitarianism, solidarity, political and cultural activity. Many events, fiestas, charity, beauty contests, visits by major international Mexican stars such as Cantinflas and presidents set foot in the house of Mexicans. But probably one of the most important contemporary political activities sponsored by and held at La Casa, was hosting the March 25 Coalition in the making of the May 1st Great American Boycott of 2006. The historical event was organized in defense of all undocumented immigrants and the 55 million Latinos in the US against the anti immigrant Republican far right campaigns of the time. The M25C organized and staged a one day national boycott of the economy -which I directed- that moved millions of Latinos in Los Angeles and nationally to boycott work, schools, shopping, and shut down tens of thousands of businesses. According to pundits, it also stopped an estimated 20 industries, including gardening and landscaping, garment, construction, meat packing, restaurant and hotel services, home care, shipping, etc. Additionally, many coalitions organized their boycotts and an estimated 100 mega marches in as many cities from coast to coast. La Casa was an integral part of this and the rest of the marches and events that followed until 2009.     

However, at the same time, I’ll say from the nineties up to 2010, gradually the CBM lost its moral compass. In August 2001 I served as the political advisor to a group of dozens of dissidents and in a month’s time, with about 100 community leaders, activists and residents of Boyle Heights, we successfully stormed the building, cut the locks and chains, forced our way in and secured it by camping inside 24 hours a day for a whole month.

Unfortunately though, ten years later the corruption was again rampant and the board of directors had been reduced to three persons: President Martha Soriano, the Secretary Ruben Soriano and the Treasurer Martha Velazquez. There were no more members and there was zero legal or public accountability. The Committee to Rescue La Casa was organized and on September 15, 2011 the campaign to publicly denounce the high level corruption, the violation of the CBM bylaws and California corporate laws kicked off successfully.

The Committee was composed of many ex members, ex officers, including former presidents, Real Estate crack shots Joe Adame and Lucy Diaz, progressive lawyers, community leaders, activists and several Rodriguez’. As a priority, a delegation met with Councilman Huizar and we were promised a letter calling for a government investigation on La Casa. Time passed and the committee lobbied in good faith, but the weeks turned to months and it was obvious he was not going to move on our behalf. For all of us and especially for me, it was a major disappointment.

Then the political graffiti appeared in the neighborhood streets that said “Corruption in La Casa del Mexicano and Councilman Huizar is asleep.” In less than 24 hours, his office issued the letter signed by him and addressed to the California Secretary of State Debra Bowen. By the following afternoon his area director called informing me the letter was ready. However it was a weak undemanding document but we exploited it anyway.

The letter was not only weak, it had been directed to a government institution which had no jurisdiction over the matter. But by then we had successfully lobbied Sen. Kevin de Leon and his office wrote to Attorney General Kamala Harris and officially requested the coveted investigation. The differences between both politicians were like night and day. The information was massively emailed to the media, it was placed on line through several websites and sent widely to thousands of social activists and other sectors.

With press releases, statements and articles, plus protests and investigation by the campaign Committee public opinion was mobilized. La Opinion alone, through the energy, passion and investigative approach of reporter Jorge Morales, published a record 12 articles, plus photos on the case. Of course we had to also lobby the Attorney General’s office and the prosecutor assigned to the case and so did Sen. de Leon’s staff and we all succeeded. The official investigation took off. But Councilman Huizar never issued a press release nor gave a media interview to take a stand on the issue. In fact, his letter or any type of official demand from his office ever reached the Secretary of State. This, along with the other fact that this State Department had no jurisdiction, no authority to investigate the case, was uncovered through our investigations.

Essentially he had sided with his ally LASUD President Monica Garcia and the failed non union charter school project. As well, he didn’t understand, believe or cared about the serious allegations of violations against the CBM’s bylaws and State Corporate Law, carried out for years, by the CASA administrators. Moreover, Jose did not show any interest in the ongoing investigations and the condemning facts the reporter Morales and the Legal and Real Estate Eagles we had in our ranks, revealed. Unbelievably, the bottom line, he tacitly leaned with the Sorianos, who were to receive a $10,000 monthly rent payment for the rental of the historic building to the Charter School. To reiterate conclusively, he sided with continuing the corruption in the Heights.

*Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. A long time social activist, He founded the Committee to Rescue La Casa del Mexicano; he is also co founder of the Millions of Voices Coalition in LA that on Sept. 22, 2013 organized one of the largest marches with thousands of people in Downtown LA for Immigration Reform; He was also the initiator and directed the making of the 1.7 million historical immigration march in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006, as well as the May 1st 2006 Great American Boycott;

Back in 1982-86, he directed the mass street mobilizations in LA that led up to the Amnesty Law IRCA of 1986;  a journalist, he traveled for 5 ½ months throughout Mexico in 2012, observing and writing about the country’s political process, the aftermath of a highly questioned presidential election, visited several war zones and his family, as well as the State of Tabasco, at the border with Guatemala, where the Central American migrants catch the train they call “La Bestia-The Beast.” Between 1987 and 1996, his son Jesus, his nephew Jaramillo and his brother Jesus all fell victim to similar neighborhood violence in the area. His blog is Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com; A victim of hacking his old email  bajolamiradejavier@yahoo..com has been recovered.

Javier will attempt to publish, on a weekly basis, all the pieces on the issues relating to his work as a full time activist or as a journalist on Boyle Heights and Latinos in general

 The continuing topics in a series consist  of: The Harvard Councilman.

The conclusions on the investigation and the charges of corruption at La Casa del Mexicano and the CBM brought about successfully by the State Attorney General.

The violence and barrio Capital Punishment.

The conflict and divisions within the LA Latino political class brought about in the last Mayoral election, The  major sexual harassment scandal and the costs to the City and taxpayers.

Hecho en Mexico $1,000,000,Lawsuit against Semillas Charter School where once again Huizar was MIA.

The questionable auto accident with an official City Car, the unexplained delayed drug and alcohol mandatory police test, the $175,000 settlement and the lack of deeper investigative reporting by the media, especially the Latino Media.

The sex scandal has already cost us and the city $200,000 and a future court verdict or a settlement will perhaps cost us an added costly sum in the hundreds of thousands.

The opinions of the community, the mariachis, activists, priests, media circles, etc.

September 22 Millions March and the broken $10,000 donation promise to publish 1 million flyers and posters.

By Javier Rodriguez, Isabel Rodriguez, Antonio Rodriguez, Jacobo Rodriguez, Francisco Paco Rodriguez, Ricardo Rodriguez, Jaime Rodriguez and Marianna Herrera

From Mariachi Plaza       15Image April 2014            Please Post

  • Obama to Hispanic Caucus: “If Congress doesn’t act on reform in 90 days, I will use bold executive authority.”
  • Chicago calls for 90 days of action and move millions to march.
  • Arellano: “On May 1st No Work, No School and no Deportations.”
  • The road to passing legislation leads through the White House door of executive action.
  • The national pressure is on: NDLON led activists protest in 80 cities; After 27,000 miles and 92 Congressional Districts, the Fast for Families and We Belong Together tour arrives in DC; from coast to coast, civil disobedience increases; Deported DREAMers and families Xross the border and demand asylum.The Chicago demonstration, the largest to date, definitely marks the pace for the movement as a whole, because it calls for an increase of targeted political pressure on the president through out the 90 days he asked for in a recent meeting with Gutierrez and other members of the Hispanic Caucus.  As expected, the president finally committed, for the first time, to take “bold executive action” if Congress fails to pass the awaited legislation on reform. The bold executive decrees expected by these leaders are the coveted protection given to the DREAMers in 2012 for all the undocumented now living within the USA, in addition to extending those rights to all deportees with no serious criminal record, to return and unify with their families.Clearly -as we the Rodriguez brothers and sisters recently wrote in a lengthy article that was published nationally, pointing out, that what was missing in the struggle for reform was the massive street movement of 2006, the call from Chicago proposes to the nation to mobilize the masses of the people, by the millions.  Additionally, the strategy of popular political pressure on the President inherently carries the double objective of cracking the back of reactionary Republicans in Congress to wrest the big prize of comprehensive reform:   We have wasted too much time knocking at the door of Republican Congressmen. Our unified vote convinced Republican Party leaders that their party can never win the White House unless they pass immigration reform, but they cannot act without rank and file Republicans. Those rank and file Republicans will never act to pass immigration reform as long as the President is deporting 1100 people a day – as long as the President is doing what they want.”At this moment the Chicago plan appears to be the most comprehensive: A) Politically it maintains a clear line on demanding a stop to deportations and the brutal separation of families, calling for executive action and the same kind of protection the President decreed for the 1.7million DREAMers in 2012, and b) Not allowing the immediate crisis to cloud their vision and leave out the long term goal of comprehensive immigration reform, the Grand Prize of this 28 year old struggle. They see clearly the political pressure has to be exerted on both fronts, Obama and the Republicans, and c) organizationally, as we do, they probably see the existing favorable conditions for the mass mobilization of millions  unto to the streets, to engage the whole country in support of the demands. In comparison2) The Fast for Families circle, reeling from the success of last year’s national fast for families which moved large and important sectors, including clergy and top politicians –Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi to name a few- just completed a national caravan which traveled 27,000` miles and visited 92 Congressional Districts, primarily speaking out for immigration reform and strategically targeting the pressure on the Republicans in their home bases.  4) The radical DREAMers which instituted the border which allowed almost 200 deportees to return to the US including Arellano have set a radical creative bar bringing new alternative tactics to the strategy of reuniting families and exposing the brutality and senseless deportations of non criminal immigrants. These groups and their leaders essentially –and there are more- exhibit a high moral ground in national public opinion and a vast national network which if pulled together, can probably succeed in reaching the goal of mobilizing millions as Chicago proposes. We speculate Elvira’s remarkable return to the US will add a much needed voice of national leadership, meaning another figure of popular stature which has also been one of the missing pieces in the equation of this epical struggle. Especially because she is charismatic, undocumented, a woman and a mother who with her son spent a year in a progressive activist sanctuary church defying a deportation order. Heroically, she then left the protective spot in August of 2007 and clandestinely traveled directly to Los Angeles -the city that initially placed her on the national map and made her and her son Saul national figures- because she wanted to spark life into the movement.  Today she is a former deportee who took advantage of the border opening created by the radical wing of the dreamer movement and like a miracle of struggle, is now back in the good old USA and once again in high gear. Proof of this is the unmatched homecoming gathering described above with 300 clergy and the mass of people motivated with her return to the windy city that saw her rise.Unfortunately,  in contrast in LA, the divisions are so marked that for this year’s May 1st opportunity to contribute and build an unequivocal show of force, with a unified massive march, and also set the pace for the rest of the nation, once again the movement is fractionalized and several marches are scheduled. Instead of strengthening our position against the Republican far right, the anti immigrant national organizations and ICE, they will take notice. Essentially the same “2009” mentality of Sharks and Coyotes is prevalent and continues unabated, ZAZ. *Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. His blog is Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com. Isabel is a long time activist, a member of the Millions of Voices Coalition and presently is on her final year at Cal State University LA Masters on History and Latin America. Antonio is also a long time activist, a civil rights attorney and a former contributor to LA Times and La Opinion Op-Ed pages. Jaime is a long time social activist and presently serves as a field deputy in California’s Senate District 30th?  Jacobo is a retiree, a bail bondsman, a long time  community activist and a former labor organizer. Ricardo,  a former student leader,  just led and completed a successful union drive for 500 workers in Barstow with United Electrical and Machine Workers Union-UE, a Gourmet Chef and Caterer. Mariana is also an activist, an  MA Therapist, has two masters and is a Theater Playwright for CASA 0101 in Boyle Heights.
  •  
  • To be truthful, when the request made to President Calderon to give her diplomatic status to return to the United States failed, and the fact that she was removed during the presidency of George W. Bush, a reactionary Republican, because she was a recognized leader with no criminal record, we didn’t expect her back.
  • When she was arrested in LA and deported in less than 12 hours to Tijuana, she was already a relentless and intrepid national figure and that trajectory was immediately placed in high gear in Mexico. Her spectacular arrival galvanized public opinion to the point that it forced President Felipe Calderon to grant her a private meeting. He offered her a home and scholarships for her son, and though she was living in utter poverty in Michoacán, a highly dangerous place, she graciously rejected them, informing him she was meeting with him on behalf of the people. To our knowledge and Javier traveled and spent time with her in 2012 in Mexico City and Tabasco border where thousands of Hondurans cross into Mexico and begin their long journey to America on “The Beast,” in her 7 year stay in her home country, she was probably the spokesperson that was most interviewed by the mainstream local and internationally media on the issues of Central American migration through Mexico, the struggle to defend them as well as the fight -in Mexico- for immigration reform in the US.
  • In her most recent article, Arellano calls for a May 1st with No Work, No School and No Deportations and we propose NO REPUBLICANS. If the one day boycott materializes, it will be a first for Chicago.
  •  5) The organizational and political success exhibited in the March 27 Chicago Homecoming for Elvira events by the Chicago circle composed of Gutierrez, Arellano, Rev. Lozano and Rev. Coleman, which is one of three city factions, has the campaign trail experience in mobilizing national public opinion through several tours,  as well as co-leading the mass marches of 2005 and 2006 in Chicago and a vast reserve of contacts in several levels. With Cong. Gutierrez, the most recognized and popular figure in this struggle, it is also the only one with direct access to the White House. 
  • 3) The FIRM Coalition, considered the largest amalgam of organizations in the country, as soon as the Republicans backtracked on the principles, began setting up the punishment phase leading to the November elections. It should be noted that this is the D.C. based organization that emanated from a 2008 national conference that set up the massive petitions, organized telephone conferences of over 60, 000 activists and convened the 200,000 people national march on March 21, 2010 in the Capitol. 
  • 1) the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, the leading group behind the grass roots recent protests in 50 to 80 cities primarily stands on the abolition of deportations demand.
  •  
  •  
  • “What is clear now is that the road to passing legislation leads through the White House door of executive action. The threat of executive action is the only hope of bringing the congress to act. The reality of executive action is the only way reactionary members of the Republican caucus can be brought to the table.
  • However, the movement leaders are not waiting. They are clearly defining a path of action to get to the Promised Land:  Familias Latinas Unidas Co-Chair Emma Lozano joined Elvira Arellano in calling for 90 days of action. “We must stand against every single deportation and we must stand with every single family that has been separated to reunite them. We must organize mass civil disobedience. We must march and march and march until the streets are filled with our millions.”
  • At the rally, Gutierrez explained his recent negotiations with the President. “The president has asked for 90 days to see if the Republican Congress will finally act. If not, he has committed to the use of bold executive authority.”
  • In a spectacular comeback Chicago homecoming for Elvira Arellano held on March 27, 2014, over 300 pastors plus 1500 immigrant rights leaders and activists, including Cong. Luis Gutierrez and Rev. Emma Lozano, staged a rally, then marched to ICE headquarters where a reported 50 participants were arrested in another major demonstration of Civil Disobedience. The organizers envision the multifaceted strategy and militant actions will set the pace for the national movement for the next 90 days.  Obviously, injected with the energy of social adrenaline, the pastors pointed to “Elvira’s miraculous return as cause for new hope in the [immigration reform] movement in Chicago.”

LA RAYUELA DE JAVIER Elvira Arellano is Back in Chicago and Dramatically Sparks the Movement  

By Javier Rodriguez, Isabel Rodriguez, Antonio Rodriguez, Jacobo Rodriguez, Francisco Paco Rodriguez, Ricardo Rodriguez, Jaime Rodriguez and Marianna Herrera

From Mariachi Plaza       14 April 2014            Please Post

  • Obama to Hispanic Caucus: “If Congress doesn’t act on reform in 90 days, I will use bold executive authority.”
  • Chicago calls for 90 days of action and move millions to march.
  • Arellano: “On May 1st No Work, No School and no Deportations.”
  • The road to passing legislation leads through the White House door of executive action.
  • The national pressure is on: NDLON led activists protest in 80 cities; After 27,000 miles and 92 Congressional Districts, the Fast for Families and We Belong Together tour arrives in DC; from coast to coast, civil disobedience increases; Deported DREAMers and families Xross the border and demand asylum.The Chicago demonstration, the largest to date, definitely marks the pace for the movement as a whole, because it calls for an increase of targeted political pressure on the president through out the 90 days he asked for in a recent meeting with Gutierrez and other members of the Hispanic Caucus.  As expected, the president finally committed, for the first time, to take “bold executive action” if Congress fails to pass the awaited legislation on reform. The bold executive decrees expected by these leaders are the coveted protection given to the DREAMers in 2012 for all the undocumented now living within the USA, in addition to extending those rights to all deportees with no serious criminal record, to return and unify with their families.Clearly -as we the Rodriguez brothers and sisters recently wrote in a lengthy article that was published nationally, pointing out, that what was missing in the struggle for reform was the massive street movement of 2006, the call from Chicago proposes to the nation to mobilize the masses of the people, by the millions.  Additionally, the strategy of popular political pressure on the President inherently carries the double objective of cracking the back of reactionary Republicans in Congress to wrest the big prize of comprehensive reform:   We have wasted too much time knocking at the door of Republican Congressmen. Our unified vote convinced Republican Party leaders that their party can never win the White House unless they pass immigration reform, but they cannot act without rank and file Republicans. Those rank and file Republicans will never act to pass immigration reform as long as the President is deporting 1100 people a day – as long as the President is doing what they want.”At this moment the Chicago plan appears to be the most comprehensive: A) Politically it maintains a clear line on demanding a stop to deportations and the brutal separation of families, calling for executive action and the same kind of protection the President decreed for the 1.7million DREAMers in 2012, and b) Not allowing the immediate crisis to cloud their vision and leave out the long term goal of comprehensive immigration reform, the Grand Prize of this 28 year old struggle. They see clearly the political pressure has to be exerted on both fronts, Obama and the Republicans, and c) organizationally, as we do, they probably see the existing favorable conditions for the mass mobilization of millions  unto to the streets, to engage the whole country in support of the demands. In comparison2) The Fast for Families circle, reeling from the success of last year’s national fast for families which moved large and important sectors, including clergy and top politicians –Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi to name a few- just completed a national caravan which traveled 27,000` miles and visited 92 Congressional Districts, primarily speaking out for immigration reform and strategically targeting the pressure on the Republicans in their home bases.  4) The radical DREAMers which instituted the border which allowed almost 200 deportees to return to the US including Arellano have set a radical creative bar bringing new alternative tactics to the strategy of reuniting families and exposing the brutality and senseless deportations of non criminal immigrants. These groups and their leaders essentially –and there are more- exhibit a high moral ground in national public opinion and a vast national network which if pulled together, can probably succeed in reaching the goal of mobilizing millions as Chicago proposes. We speculate Elvira’s remarkable return to the US will add a much needed voice of national leadership, meaning another figure of popular stature which has also been one of the missing pieces in the equation of this epical struggle. Especially because she is charismatic, undocumented, a woman and a mother who with her son spent a year in a progressive activist sanctuary church defying a deportation order. Heroically, she then left the protective spot in August of 2007 and clandestinely traveled directly to Los Angeles -the city that initially placed her on the national map and made her and her son Saul national figures- because she wanted to spark life into the movement.  Today she is a former deportee who took advantage of the border opening created by the radical wing of the dreamer movement and like a miracle of struggle, is now back in the good old USA and once again in high gear. Proof of this is the unmatched homecoming gathering described above with 300 clergy and the mass of people motivated with her return to the windy city that saw her rise.Unfortunately,  in contrast in LA, the divisions are so marked that for this year’s May 1st opportunity to contribute and build an unequivocal show of force, with a unified massive march, and also set the pace for the rest of the nation, once again the movement is fractionalized and several marches are scheduled. Instead of strengthening our position against the Republican far right, the anti immigrant national organizations and ICE, they will take notice. Essentially the same “2009” mentality of Sharks and Coyotes is prevalent and continues unabated, ZAZ. *Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. His blog is Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com. Isabel is a long time activist, a member of the Millions of Voices Coalition and presently is on her final year at Cal State University LA Masters on History and Latin America. Antonio is also a long time activist, a civil rights attorney and a former contributor to LA Times and La Opinion Op-Ed pages. Jaime is a long time social activist and presently serves as a field deputy in California’s Senate District 30th?  Jacobo is a retiree, a bail bondsman, a long time  community activist and a former labor organizer. Ricardo,  a former student leader,  just led and completed a successful union drive for 500 workers in Barstow with United Electrical and Machine Workers Union-UE, a Gourmet Chef and Caterer. Mariana is also an activist, an  MA Therapist, has two masters and is a Theater Playwright for CASA 0101 in Boyle Heights.
  •  
  • To be truthful, when the request made to President Calderon to give her diplomatic status to return to the United States failed, and the fact that she was removed during the presidency of George W. Bush, a reactionary Republican, because she was a recognized leader with no criminal record, we didn’t expect her back.
  • When she was arrested in LA and deported in less than 12 hours to Tijuana, she was already a relentless and intrepid national figure and that trajectory was immediately placed in high gear in Mexico. Her spectacular arrival galvanized public opinion to the point that it forced President Felipe Calderon to grant her a private meeting. He offered her a home and scholarships for her son, and though she was living in utter poverty in Michoacán, a highly dangerous place, she graciously rejected them, informing him she was meeting with him on behalf of the people. To our knowledge and Javier traveled and spent time with her in 2012 in Mexico City and Tabasco border where thousands of Hondurans cross into Mexico and begin their long journey to America on “The Beast,” in her 7 year stay in her home country, she was probably the spokesperson that was most interviewed by the mainstream local and internationally media on the issues of Central American migration through Mexico, the struggle to defend them as well as the fight -in Mexico- for immigration reform in the US.
  • In her most recent article, Arellano calls for a May 1st with No Work, No School and No Deportations and we propose NO REPUBLICANS. If the one day boycott materializes, it will be a first for Chicago.
  •  5) The organizational and political success exhibited in the March 27 Chicago Homecoming for Elvira events by the Chicago circle composed of Gutierrez, Arellano, Rev. Lozano and Rev. Coleman, which is one of three city factions, has the campaign trail experience in mobilizing national public opinion through several tours,  as well as co-leading the mass marches of 2005 and 2006 in Chicago and a vast reserve of contacts in several levels. With Cong. Gutierrez, the most recognized and popular figure in this struggle, it is also the only one with direct access to the White House. 
  • 3) The FIRM Coalition, considered the largest amalgam of organizations in the country, as soon as the Republicans backtracked on the principles, began setting up the punishment phase leading to the November elections. It should be noted that this is the D.C. based organization that emanated from a 2008 national conference that set up the massive petitions, organized telephone conferences of over 60, 000 activists and convened the 200,000 people national march on March 21, 2010 in the Capitol. 
  • 1) the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, the leading group behind the grass roots recent protests in 50 to 80 cities primarily stands on the abolition of deportations demand.
  •  
  •  
  • “What is clear now is that the road to passing legislation leads through the White House door of executive action. The threat of executive action is the only hope of bringing the congress to act. The reality of executive action is the only way reactionary members of the Republican caucus can be brought to the table.
  • However, the movement leaders are not waiting. They are clearly defining a path of action to get to the Promised Land:  Familias Latinas Unidas Co-Chair Emma Lozano joined Elvira Arellano in calling for 90 days of action. “We must stand against every single deportation and we must stand with every single family that has been separated to reunite them. We must organize mass civil disobedience. We must march and march and march until the streets are filled with our millions.”
  • At the rally, Gutierrez explained his recent negotiations with the President. “The president has asked for 90 days to see if the Republican Congress will finally act. If not, he has committed to the use of bold executive authority.”
  • In a spectacular comeback Chicago homecoming for Elvira Arellano held on March 27, 2014, over 300 pastors plus 1500 immigrant rights leaders and activists, including Cong. Luis Gutierrez and Rev. Emma Lozano, staged a rally, then marched to ICE headquarters where a reported 50 participants were arrested in another major demonstration of Civil Disobedience. The organizers envision the multifaceted strategy and militant actions will set the pace for the national movement for the next 90 days.  Obviously, injected with the energy of social adrenaline, the pastors pointed to “Elvira’s miraculous return as cause for new hope in the [immigration reform] movement in Chicago.”

La Rayuela de Javier

For 20 Million People and their Families, American Deportation Policy is Living Under a Harsh Dictatorship “Democracy.”  

By Javier Rodriguez   from Plaza del Mariachi   20 March 2014

To friends and family, the country’s deportations of our people is about to hit 2 million deportations, and yes the suffering is devastating. The most immediate comparative I can provide is the unequivocal fact the millions of deportees and the almost 20 million people directly affected by the failed  hard line repressive dogmatic approach to immigration, that is the 12 million undocumented, their  5 million US born sons and daughters, plus their 2.5 to 3 million spouses, are living a harsh dictatorship “democracy.” However as the Americas Voice press release so emphatically clarifies, the grand prize for all of us is not just succeeding in getting the executive presidential order to protect the people from the  “ICE wrath,” but to also succeed in exerting enough political pressure on the Republican Far Right to concede a vote for immigration reform in the House of Representatives.  So read on, ZAZ, Javier

The Devastation of Needless Deportations

America’s Voice | Released on 03/20/2014 at 10:27am

On the Cusp of 2 Million Deportations, New Video Highlights American Families Being Ripped Apart

As House Republicans stall progress on immigration reform, American families continue to pay the price. The Obama Administration has been deporting immigrants at a reckless pace—over 1,000 a day—and is set to make history in the coming days when it hits the 2 million mark on deportations.  Two million is too many.

A new video from America’s Voice documents the case of one such family. Brigido Acosta-Luis was deported this past November even after his U.S. citizen wife, Maria Perez, waged a grueling battle to keep her family together. Despite the fact that he qualifies for “prosecutorial discretion” under a 2011 memo from former ICE Director John Morton, and is eligible for a green card based on his marriage to Maria, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied all of Brigido’s legal options to stay and he is now living in Mexico, thousands of miles away from his wife and kids.

As Maria says in the video:

We did everything together.  We cooked together.  We did the laundry together.  So when you take a part of that team out, it just breaks up the family.  My son needs him.  My daughter needs him.  And I need him.

ICE targeted Brigido on an “expedited removal” order from 2002.  Back then, Brigido entered the United States with a valid tourist visa but was inexplicably detained, stripped him down to his underwear, and interrogated for hours at the airport.  He was bullied into signing a paper and flew back to Mexico on his own ticket.  According to ICE, this counted as a deportation.  So when he was found living in the United States in 2013, ICE reinstated that prior order of deportation and took him into custody.

This story is just one family in two million, but it provides a small glimpse into the aftermath of deportation so many families are experience across the country (see here for a collection of other heart-breaking stories of families fighting deportation on America’s Voice’s new action page).  Many of these targeted individuals would qualify for legal status and citizenship under pending legislation House Republicans are blocking in Congress.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

House Republicans are to blame for stopping immigration reform in its tracks. The Senate has taken action, the public supports reform with a path to citizenship and the votes exist today in the House if only House Leadership would give us a vote. Their inaction comes with far-reaching political consequences that could well doom the GOP future.  But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. The President has the power to stop the bleeding and roll back the deportation machine. He can and must use his executive authority to take immediate, temporary and common sense actions to change course and stop the egregious deportation of people that would qualify for citizenship under legislation he supports.

Watch the video and learn more about similar paces on America’s Voice’s new action page here:  http://americasvoice.org/2million/     

Tagged as: Deportations, Highlights, Immigration, Immigration 2014, Immigration Reform, President Obama and the White House

If you keep your hopes and faith in the system, perhaps by the year 3,000, we will see these criminals rot in prisons

by Javier Rodriguez  from Plaza del Mariachi 20 March 2014

To friends and family, HERE WE GO AGAIN, “ANOTHER BILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT,” and “Although no individuals at Toyota were charged, the case was the first federal criminal case of its kind since the passage of the first U.S. auto safety law 48 years ago.

“It means at the highest levels of the auto company, they have to worry about going to jail if they don’t report a defect,” said Joan Claybrook, a former president of the nonprofit Public Citizen who favors stricter safety standards.”

At this rate with over 300,000 similar cases, purportedly court filings, by the coming of the 3rd millennium, in the year 3,000, we may see these sociopaths and members of the ruling corporate class, serve life terms in prison, or even sentenced to the death penalty. Just like the over 2 million working class Latinos, African Americans, whites, the Guantanamo prisoners and the 12 million undocumented immigrants,their 5 million US born children and their estimated 3 million wives  who exist in a living hell, no different than a dictatorship, rotting away in the prisons and jails or in the hundreds of massive urban settings, ZAZ, Javier

Toyota’s $1.2 billion settlement may be model for U.S. probe into GM

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EL CONTRASTE MIGRATORIO nacional no solo se refleja entre las fuerzas oficiales, gubernamentales, politicas y populares por un lado y por el otro la ultra derecha republicana y su aneja xenofobia en contra los inmigrantes y la tan cotizada reforma migratoria. Este contraste, de anos, se ve mucho mas claro ahora en las mismas paginas de La Opinion de Los Angeles, el periodico Latino de habla hispana mas importante del pais. Los editoriales de Henrik Rhebinder y y el consejo editorial que reflejan la linea official de La Opinion sobre la tematica de inmigracion y la epica lucha politica, desde hace un tiempo, son de lo mejor que se detecta en la conversacion nacional mediatica, porque los canones apuntan, ya sin la timidez del pasado, hacia los que por anos han estado deteniendo la aprobacion de la reforma “los republicanos,” ultras o moderados.

Los canonazos que surgen de ese pequeno pero importante espacio de la pagina editorial son hoy frecuentemente citados por las organizaciones del movimiento nacional pro inmigrante en Washington D.C. Esta linea editorial contrasta con las posiciones confusas, anti democratas y derechistas de Pilar Marrero, un tal Delgado, etc.

Aunque en terminos generales, y mas en politica internacional (como el reportaje sobre el bloque progresista latinoamericano), no estoy de acuerdo con la creciente inclinacion del periodico hacia la derecha, me atrevo a opinar que si La Opinion siguiera mas la marcada pauta de los editoriales y fuera completamente bilingue se antoja especula que seria mas influyente en el debate nacional. ZAZ, Javier

Contraste migratorio Editorial La Opinion de Los Angeles  

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Por:

 PUBLICADO: Mar, 17, 2014 12:01 am EST         Mar 17, 2014 12:01 am EST             <!–print article
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El camino para mejorar la situación de los indocumentados en Estados Unidos presentó la semana pasada un marcado contraste que no debe ser ignorado,  a pesar de la decepción que existe por los obstáculos para obtener este año una reforma migratoria.

 

Por un lado,  la Casa Blanca reaccionó a la queja de la comunidad latina que, ante la ausencia de una reforma, pide con  urgencia  tomar algún tipo de acción para reducir la cantidad de deportaciones.  La orden del presidente Barack Obama para que su Gobierno revise qué medidas internas o acciones ejecutivas puede tomar para hacer “más humano” este proceso debe ser bien recibida.

 

Por el otro, la Cámara de Representantes, que tiene detenida la reforma migratoria, votó en favor de la medida HR 4138, que le facilitaría  a los legisladores llevar ante los tribunales  al presidente cuando ellos consideren que el presidente no hace cumplir cabalmente las leyes. Esto es consecuencia de la percepción errónea de que Obama dirige una presidencia imperial que ignora al Poder Legislativo. En la práctica este proyecto,  que por ahora no tiene ninguna posibilidad de ser promulgada,  puede impedir  renovar la deportación diferida (DACA) para los  “soñadores”.

 

¡Qué contraste! Mientras Obama se reune con líderes latinos para ver las maneras de reducir las deportaciones, al mismo tiempo en el Congreso se afirma que el mandatario no respeta las leyes migratorias por no deportar más gente. Las palabras y las intenciones hacia los inmigrantes no pueden ser más diferentes.

 

Además, los argumentos detrás de la ley en la Cámara Baja  son una cachetada a la verdad, porque Obama es el presidente que menos usó en los últimos 30 años las opciones que le da la ley para implementar legislación a su manera.

 

Hay una gran diferencia, en medio de la decepción del inmigrante, entre el que lo  escucha y el que lo quiere echar del país. No se puede perder esa perspectiva.

 

La Cámara Baja con sus acciones ratifica el antagonismo que su  mayoría tiene  hacia todo indocumentado; ahora la Casa Blanca, también con sus acciones, debe confirmar la intención expresada de reducir  las deportaciones.

ZAZ Communications

  Javier rodriguez 213-446-0228 bajolamiradejavierr@gmail.com blog Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com

MEDIA ADVISORY

Entertainment/Espectaculos Depts.

  • St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
  • A 6 HOUR MARIACHI EXTRAVAGANZA
  • Plus La Sonora Dinamita

Featuring the best and rising talent of LA:

  • All Womens-Mujeres “Mariachi Las Colibrí”
  • Mariachi Fiesta Mexicana
  • Mariachi Jaguares de Mendez High School
  • Especial Guest “Deyra Barrera”

 

What: Special St. Patrick’s Day Celebration with a Touch & Mexican Flavor  

When: Monday March 17, 2014   Show starts at 7 PM dancing to 2 AM

Where: Fiesta Mexicana Bar & Grill 1105 W. Whittier Blvd Montebello, Ca.

 

St. Patrick’s Day is also a special day for Mexican people in the US and in Mexico because of a significant historic event. During the US Mexico War of 1846-48, a Battalion of Irish immigrant soldiers –Los San Patricios- switched sides and joined Mexico in the fight against US occupation and annexation.

from Google: Mexicans, however, see them in a vastly different light. To Mexicans, the San Patricios were great heroes who defected because they could not stand to see the Americans bullying a smaller, weaker Catholic nation. They fought not out of fear but out of a sense of righteousness and justice. Every year, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Mexico, particularly in the places where the soldiers were hanged. They have received many honors from the Mexican government, including streets named after them, plaques, postage stamps issued in their honor, etc.

 

More information call Rebecca Saldana 323-728-3097 or visit www.fiestamexicanabarandgrill.com, saldanarebecca@yahoo.com

This press release was conceptualized and prepared by Javier Rodriguez ZAZ Communications.

Fiesta Mexicana Bar & Grill serves fine food and has a full bar. It is owned and operated by Jesus Jimenez and Rebecca Saldana. She originates from Santa Ana, California and Jesus is a native of Jalisco.  He is a former and legendary union organizer from the 80s, a successful realtor, a restaurateur and both are avid supporters of immigration reform for the millions of undocumented immigrants.

 

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