Showing posts with label Los Jornaleros de San Quintin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Los Jornaleros de San Quintin. Show all posts

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ring Them Bells: Another Jornalero Battle-Riot in San Quintin, Ensenada - 05/12: Updates from CNN and Proceso

It was a relief to read this evening that the reports of three Jornaleros being killed and many injured including one 14 year old left in grave condition by State Police attacks have been taken down from most of the news sources, including Zeta's report from about 10:40 am. At this hour, the Transpeninsular Highway is open.

The demonstrations actually started on Friday the 8th with the Transpeninsular highway shut down for about an hour -  almost as if  some the Jornaleros were anticipating Saturday's events after the scheduled meeting with Luis Enrique Miranda Nava, Subsecretario de Gobierno with the leaders of the Jornaleros fell through.  Miranda Nava who it was hoped would be open to talks on the slave labor conditions and low pay was a no show - which rubbed the Jornaleros the wrong way, a snub of the worst sort.  Some agencias have reported that Miranda Nava had commented that the meeting wasn't necessary.  It was then that some Jornaleros initiated moving huge cement blocks to blockade the Highway - and interestingly as Zeta points out, there seemed to be rift in the organization and communication within the Jornaleros with some of the leadership objecting to violent protest, and another faction if not entirely promoting it, gave it a wink and a nod.

 - Ensenada, San Quintin:  Saturday, May the 10th:

Courtesy El Mexicano

7:00am:  El Mexicano reports an attempted burning down of one of the ranches (see Frontera's update below) by a group of Jornaleros.  PEP officers who attempted to stop this group were met with rocks thrown at them injuring at east three officers. Municipals likewise were attacked, with the Chief of Police of Ensenada and his two body guards and vehicle injured  and damaged by rock throwing.  State and Municipal Police retreat leaving behind the armored vehicle "tiburon", which is destroyed and burned by the protestors. During the course of events, a number of other police units are also burned and destroyed. Here is a video of the initial confrontation between Jornaleros and police in San Quintin:

This group of Jornaleros take refuge in different colonias: colonia Nuevo San Juan Copala (home to a large majority of the Triqui indegenous group), colonia San Ramon, and colonia La 13.  The area is surrounded by Army, State Police and Municipal Police.

9:07 am:  Riots and violence breakout throughout the area, reports are coming in that clashes have broken out between the Triqui Jornaleros and State Police who have stormed their homes in the colonias; reporters and photographers who are attempting to document the events are also pelted with rocks.   Here is a video of injuries received by the Jornaleros which has been circulating on the internet - are those live ammo shells?

Courtesy El Mexicano

9:27am:  The Command headquarters at Vicente Guerrero is burned, Transpeninsular Hwy. in Ejido Diaz Ordaz blocked and two patrol units burned.

9:28am:  Frontera reports the situation in San Quintin has turned critical, Transpeninsular Hwy @ Punta Colonet is blocked.

 - Tijuana: This evening at the Glorieta de Cuauhtemoc there was a demonstration in solidarity with the Jornaleros by teachers, the MRE and the Union de la Juventud Revolucionaria.

It was early afternoon when order was restored, however it is unknown what impact Saturday's demonstrations will have on the upcoming talks of May the 13th with Miranda Nava.  It is also unknown when the next outbreak of violent demonstrations in the San Quintin area will occur and what measures the ranch owners, authorities and others will take against the Jornaleros for participating in Saturday's demonstrations.


UPDATE/EDIT:  Frontera itemizes the damage and injuries from yesterday's riots. There is no mention of the Jornaleros attempting to burn down a ranch (Rancho Seco) which prompted the owners to call the PEP (State police) and request assistance.  According to one of the leaders of the Jornaleros, Justin Herreno, there was a confrontation between the owners of Rancho Seco and a group of Jornaleros pertaining to firing some Jornaleros.  The owners did call the PEP for back up. Herreno said that when the PEP arrived, they shot rubber bullets at the crowd of workers where women and children were present which basically catipulted into more heated emotional demonstrations throughout the morning and early afternoon.

Regarding the injuries, thirty people were injured including women and children.  Amongst those injured is a 14 year old who was seriously injured; waiting for the update on his condition.  More coverage and photos on Frontera's sidebar.

end edit.


05/12 :  Updates - two articles from CNN and Proceso.

One of the main concerns I am hearing from Mexican people is that if the Government will not act to help the Jornaleros and meet their basic demands is that the Jornaleros and others will turn to more extreme measures to seek remedies. Others are worried over repercussions which the Jornaleros may suffer because of the riots - which will only worsen matters.  Here are two National reports, with the most recent accounts of injuries, arrests and damages from last weekend's riots in San Quintin:

According to Lucila Hernandez of the Alliance, the people in the colonias which were raided by the police were caught off guard and surprised - keeping in mind that these people were not involved in the Rancho Seco affair.  From their perspective then, the police raided for "no reason" - these raids included entering at least five homes where women, children and the elderly lived, and as we all know now, beatings and rubber bullets were sprayed on the Jornaleros.

We keep receiving different numbers of injuries, but this is the second time Proceso has printed that 70 people were injured, 60 of these are Oaxacans, 7 are still hospitalized because of their injuries and 2 of those in the hospital are in serious condition.

As far as the 11 people who were arrested, 4 of those were minors who were released.  3 of the initial eleven are from Oaxaca and have had their bail set at 7 MILLION pesos each.  One other person's bail has been set at 500K pesos

The reality of the situation is that, "There is social tension, a serious situation exists in the south of the city of Ensenada, Baja California" according to Antonio Heras. Although the problems of the Jornaleros goes back years and years - still, Heras notes the state government has been late if not altogether refusing to listen to their demands  and the police over re- action on last Saturday can be considered barbaric and repressive, devoid of protocol. More of this interview here.


UPDATE/EDIT 05/13:  This morning local news sources are reporting in TIJ two human heads located in a cooler and a little 4 year old boy and his mother shot.  The little boy is dead.  On Monday, there were multiple killings in Tijuana - and these are just the tip of the iceberg since this year's start.  The Jornalero story has taken precedence over the other violence in Baja California which is mounting daily.  Over the next few days will post where we are at with executions.

end edit.



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Update on Jornaleros: March on the Transpeninsular Hwy scheduled for Friday 04/10 - Narco Tunnel in Otay - Narco Mantas in TIJ said to be authored by the CTNG & The CJNG - Sinaloa Cartel is no longer Number One, position taken by the CJNG

Courtesy AFN: Fire destroys "living quarters" of Jornaleros in Colonet 

 - Ensenada:

 AFN and Zeta report fire in Campo Las Brisas of Punta Colonet completely destroyed forty "living quarters" of the Jornaleros Monday night which housed fifteen families, no one was injured.  Campo Las Brisas is located on the property of Rancho San Vicente Camalu. Officials say that the fire ~ possibly ~ was started by a burning candle. BTW, here's an idea - we usually pack things up for the Red Cross twice or three times a year but are thinking that clothes, blankets and usable items need to go directly down to the Jornaleros.  Anyway, we're going to give it a go.

 - Oxnard, California:

Frontera reports 100 people protested outside of the Driscoll Distributorship of Oxnard in solidarity with the Ensenada Jornaleros. The demonstration was peaceful and lasted about three hours with the protestors temporarily blocking the trucks which were loaded with produce from San Quintin. Various groups were represented by the demonstrators including Union del Barrio, Power to the People and Organizational Project for the Indigenous/Mixtec community (MICOP) and the Indigenous Front for Binational Organizations (FIOB). It was  noted the United States is manipulating the information regarding the actual wages paid to the Ensenada Jornaleros in Mexico which appears on printed corporate papers of the Driscoll Distribution Center. This reminds me of when we first lived south of Ensenada in Punta Banda and were told by the gringos who lived there not to pay the workers more than seven to eight dollars per day (for a full days work). "If you pay them more, they'll expect it!", they said. Of course, we could not and did not do this which landed us on the shit list.

 - Calexico, California:

Courtesy La Jornada Michoacan

Here's one I missed; reported 03/28 dozens of "Ceasarchavistas" marched in the streets of Calexico, California in solidarity with the Ensenada - San Quintin Jornaleros. That the employers of the Jornaleros and the State and Federal government of Baja California will have to deal with the United National Farmworkers of America (AFL-CIO)  and its offshoots like the Ceasar Chavez Club of Calexico should not be a point minimized - these groups are super powerful and influential in the United States, do not piss them off. On edit:  my neighbor noted that all it would take is for the United National Farmworkers to spread the word to the Mexican-American communities in California and throughout the US do not go to Baja California until the Ensenada-San Quintin Jornaleros are clearly satisfied with pay and living improvements.  Well, he is correct - after all, there aren't any guerros around, the only folks who come down here are the Mexican-Americans.

Update 04/09:

 - Ensenada:  Scheduled for Friday (04/10) another march by the Jornaleros on the Transpennisula Highway which will begin at 7:00AM in Vicente Guerrero and end at the Centro de Gobierno en San Quintin.

 - Ensenada:  Also on Friday lawmakers from the Comision de Asuntos Indigenas del Congreso de la Union will be meeting with authorities of the three levels of government and the representatives of the Jornaleros hoping to find solutions to the still unresolved issues of the Jornaleros. Participating at this meeting will be representatives of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, the Comision Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indigenas, and both Federal and State Secretatios de Trabajo.

 - Mexico City:  Yesterday the Mayor of Mexico City Miguel Angel Mancera's letter from 04/07/15 was publicized where he threw his support to the Jornaleros instructing members of his Cabinet to be in contact with the leaders of the Jornaleros and the conditions of their employment. More articles on Mayor Mancera here.

end edit.


The Narco-Tunel

 - Tijuana:

Yesterday just two blocks away from the Federal Police station in colonia Aeropuerto of Otay a narcotunel was discovered by the Ejercito and the Agencia de investigacion Criminal (AIC) of the PGR after complaints of drug dealing in a house (#40) on calle Constelacion.  Nine people who were working on the tunnel tried to flee but were arrested.  Early reports stated the tunnel accessed the United States, but later reports are unclear on this point.

AFN noted that this tunnel is about 100 meters from the huge sophisticated 2011 tunnel, and that the current tunnel was equipped with ventilation and lighting.  Excellent video on this report from AFN.

So far, there is no information on which cartel this tunnel belongs to.  I'll be back shortly, we'll take a look to see if there is new information regarding a relationship between this tunnel and the rash of Narco-mantas which have appeared throughout the city or perhaps if there is a link to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) believed responsible for the slaughter of fifteen law enforcement officers in Jalisco a few days back and potentially involved in the attack on the Gendarmes in Ocotlan, Jalisco where eleven were killed.


10:55 PM: The Narco-Mantas

At this point there have been no new reports on the Narco-tunnel, so we'll move on to the three Narco-Mantas which appeared in Tijuana on Easter Sunday and the following Monday morning.

Courtesy AFN:  One of the two Narco Mantas in TIJ on Easter Sunday 

On Easter Sunday two Narco-Mantas appeared over bridges in Tijuana spelling out that the Cartel Tijuana Nueva Generacion (CTNG) and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) are angry over kidnappings and extortions carried out by "Tomate" (Jesus Israel de la Cruz Lopez) and his allies and affirm that they will clean the streets of him, his narcomenudistas and his allies but not target regular citizens or the government. AFN attaches two reports from 2011 on Jesus Israel de la Cruz, who was an operative of "El Teo" of the Sinaloa cartel.

Then the next morning on Monday, another Narco-Manta was located hanging from a bridge in Otay in what some police describe as exactly the same format: this time again addressing kidnappings and extortions, but threatening Aquiles and La Rana of the Sinaloa cartel. Again this Narco Manta was signed by the CTNG and the CJNG.

Zeta reports that authorities have basically been closed lipped over the Narco Mantas however some members of the State Security Council assured Zeta's investigators that there was no recent presence that they were aware of that the CJNG is in Baja California. They believe those ties were severed in 02/13 after the torture and murder of Manuel "El Gordo" Garibay.  Their present analysis is focused on if the Cartel Nueva Tijuana, the Cartel Jalisco and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion has actually allied with the remaining members of the CAF - but they noted they have only just started this study.

In an earlier report on the CJNG, Zeta describes them as the "big threat" where despite the continued detention of heads of cell groups, the criminal group is very rapidly recovering including conquering territories and trafficking routes which were thrown into disarray by recent kingpin arrests of the Sinaloa, Gulf and Knights Templar leaders. A complete chronological history of the CJNG with notations of their current territories at this report, "CJNG La Gran Amenaza" from Zeta.  And according to that report from Zeta, the CJNG has never been one to show mercy to regular citizens or government employees.

Meanwhile, the US government has lowered the boom to include cartel leaders of the CJNG on the OFAC list - which means the US can confiscate and seize the properties of these men which are on US territory.  Rio Doce reported that no longer is the Sinaloa cartel "Numero Uno" - that position now has been taken by the CJNG along with the Organizacion de Los Cuinis .

 Although Baja California has not experienced the carnage which the CJNG imposed on the state of Jalisco and other areas during their ruthless ascent as they seized  opportunities, there has been a resurgence of executions (which I'll get to a bit later) which is making people nervous. The setting then is cause for a sense of uneasiness where on the one hand some people simply do not believe these threats from the Narco Mantas were real, nor do they believe the Narco Mantas were actually left by the CTNG and especially the CJNG.  On the other hand, others are not sure and keeping in mind the history and rapid rise of the CJNG (now designated Numero Uno)  are praying that we are not in for another long and extended battle for territory and dominance which could even be worse than the early drug war years here. The question on many people's minds or at least in the back of their minds is if Baja California is facing a possible quagmire of destabilization with the rise of the CJNG, or is a deal in the works?

Dr. Victor Clarke Alfaro wonders where the authorities are with the appearances of the Narco Mantas and the resumption of executions noting the fluid situation of the the drug business in Baja California where it not only flourishes but permeates and feeds the streets and the business and political class.  It is unclear if Governor Kiko read that particular article, but he did state there is concern over these Narco Mantas and noted that all three levels of government are working and analyzing the issue.

The entire situation of course has left many people wondering due to the anticipated results of the kingpin strategy if it is an entirely wise policy.  With more billions of dollars poured into Mexico to continue the fight against the cartels from the US and the recent purchase by Mexico of several US Blackhawks - not to mention the approval of the amendment which would allow custom and immigration agents and diplomatic agents from other countries including the US to carry weapons in Mexico, what lies ahead could be interpreted as more of the iron fist approach rather than creating much needed social programs including drug treatment centers in both countries and the legalization of some of the illegal substances. But in truth we are not privy to security information from either country, perhaps there are other groups aside from the cartels which the authorities are preparing for.

We'll take a look at the crimes of high impact since the beginning of the year which have affected all of the Municipalities when I come back. (It might be in a few days - just really busy here in the middle of about a dozen projects. )


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday: Leaders of the Jornaleros Say They Have Not Given Up

Courtesy El Mexicano: The Davids vs. the Goliaths

You can see by the expressions on their faces from two days ago that the leaders of the Jornaleros look beaten down, but not completely broken.  Fidel Sanchez Gabriel, Fermin Salazar Santiago, Bonifacio Martinez Cruz and Justino Herrera Martinez of the "Alianza de Organizaciones Nacional, Estatal y Municipal por Justicia Social" have returned by now to San Quintin.

There was no meeting with Governor during their three day stay in Mexicali, nor was there a meeting arranged with Interior Minister Osorio Chong to discuss a raise in pay and the horrid working conditions of the laborers, the squalid living conditions, child labor and sexual abuse of the women workers. These leaders have not accepted the 15 % pay increase - which would mean that instead of making roughly $7.14 for a full  twelve hours days work of hard back breaking labor, they would be receiving $8.21. The leaders have asked the authorities to continue the dialogue.

There were however in the past few days swift attacks on these men accusing them of being politically motivated and basically a "guerilla" movement. They deny these charges and Justino Herrera Martinez noted their return to San Quintin does not mean that they are giving up, as far as they are concerned the dialogue remains open on their part with the State and Federal Government and the employers.  He went on to say that if their demands are not addressed, they will implement new actions.

Perhaps it wasn't so much the riots and rebellion which broke out in San Quintin that kept the gringo touristas away during Semana Santa - but a combination of local and national events which jarred the consciousness - or awareness - of the gringos that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. And despite the fact that there has been hardly any coverage of the Jornaleros since that last report, I can't stop thinking about them.  Mike believes when you do something "bad" to another person (and this would include any injustice), it always catches up to you in your lifetime.  Our friend Norman at the Border and I were discussing this, and he was not firmly convinced that your comeuppance will happen in this lifetime, but it will eventually in the eternal hereafter.

So this one's for Norman (I hope we don't have to wait this long for justice, right?).  Have a Happy Easter everyone and I'll be back next week with another roundup of events. Still coloring eggs.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday: The Ghost of Tom Joad in Baja California: He's Ridin' With Los Jornaleros de Ensenada - 03/30: Jornaleros arrive in Mexicali

Courtesy El Mexicano

If you thought there is no such thing as hatred and discrimination towards the Jornaleros and people of a more darker color from a good measure of Mexican citizens, think again. I mentioned in an earlier post the hateful anti-jornalero web site which was created a few days back; now take a look at some of these comments after Governor Kiko's remark that if the Jornaleros are paid more, more of them will come to Baja California which can be inferred to mean that they are unwelcome here.

 Fortunately for all of us both the National and Local Mexican press have been hammering away daily for all to see the horrid working and living conditions of the Jornaleros of Ensenada - in fact if you go to You Tube and do a search for "Ensenada Jornaleros" there is video after video describing their plight - so obviously there is a very strong resistance to the hatred and discrimination which exists here in Mexico by Mexican citizens.

 We watched as negotiations for a decent pay increase, improved living conditions and medical treatment for the Jornaleros broke down continuously last week, with the final offer of a mere 15% pay increase laid on the table, which was firmly rejected by the Jornaleros who then went on - at least a thousand of them to march down the Transpeninsular Highway with no violent incidents. At the border last week our friend Norman the Zeta Magazine guy said as he handed me a copy of El Mexicano in almost jubilant disbelief: "...they're going to get 270 pesos a day!" No Norman I replied, no they are not.

 In the vegetable departments of Sprouts and Vons on Thursday no one seemed to care - there was no hesitation in buying produce, people were loading their carts up. There was no discussions of the Jornaleros of Ensenada, there were no signs or stickers above produce imported from Ensenada Mexico to boycott it. And, had there been signs or stickers placed above the tomatoes and all the produce imported from Ensenada Mexico to boycott these items until the demands of the Jornaleros were met I am not so sure that American consumers would comply.

 Late yesterday the reports started coming in that the Jornaleros were organizing and en route to Tijuana and Mexicali to continue their battle to have their demands heard again and met. This morning El Mexicano reported that 700 Jornaleros in over 20 trucks mobilized in San Quintin and Camalu, made a stopover to protest at the Government offices in Ensenada, held another rally and camped out in Parque Revolucion. Some stayed behind because they had to work in order to pay the "rents" on their uninhabitable squalid living quarters and watch the kids. This morning they are on their way to Tijuana and Mexicali where they hope to hold meetings in the Capital with Governor Kiko Vega mediated by a representative of the Human Rights Organization of the United Nations. El Mexicano notes that so many of these people neither have any money nor even a change of clothes.

 Also this morning an interesting conversation between Mike and one of our Mexican neighbors who both feel it is morally unjustifiable for gringos to party and vacation (even to live) down here while there is still so much and in fact increases in human rights abuse, censorship, and the gamut of atrocities associated with corruption and the drug war. Something to think about during Semana Santa.


  - The Jornaleros kick off their demonstrations at the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT) then march on the San Ysidro border crossing and continue to the border fence in the Playas. On this link you can see the Jornaleros marching at the San Ysidro border crossing chanting "...Fuera Kiko Vega, fuera Pena Nieto" (out or leave Kiko, ditto Pena). From this point they went to the border fence at the Playas. On this link, you can see the Jornaleros on one side of the fence, their U.S. supporters on the other side. Here too they are demanding the resignation of Governor Kiko Vega for what they describe as his non-response to their needs. But obviously there is a great deal of organization within the Ensenada Jornaleros which many people noted at the beginning of these demonstrations on St. Pat's Day (03/17).


 - There are two reports which appeared almost simultaneously which state that most of the Jornaleros - at least thousands of them - have returned to the fields of San Quintin, that all is "normal". The first report is basically the point of view from the Agricola de Baja California which presents the argument that it is unaffordable to give the Jornaleros the pay raise they want (300 pesos a day as opposed to 100 pesos a day) and that there are available agencies in place to attend to the needs of the Jornaleros. A similar report states that thousands of jornaleros have returned to work with the work levels registering between 85 - 90%. According to this article, 64 agreements were met during the almost two week long negotiations and that these thousands of workers who have returned to the fields have accepted the 15% pay raise.

 -  In the spirit of MexicoLeaks it has been noted that a grievance module originated by STPS is in full operation even over the weekends and holidays to receive complaints or reports from the Jornaleros of irregularities in the slave camps..

 -  At any rate, it is unclear at this point if the Jornaleros will actually be meeting with Governor Kiko Vega the man who they have denounced with the representative of the Human Rights Organization of the UN present in Mexicali to hear their demands.  We'll just have to wait and see.

UPDATE/EDIT 03/30: Summary of articles:

Courtesy El Mexicano: Yesterday the Jornaleros and supporters at CECUT TIJ

 - Mostly throughout the day the reports have centered around the statements made by the spokesperson of the Jornaleros, Fidel Sanchez Garcia of the Alianza de Organizaciones por la Justica Social. We are beginning to see the other side of the story which is quite a bit different than the statements issued by the state government. 

Sanchez Gabriel noted that there are 80,000 (not 50K) workers from San Quintin who joined the initial strike.  He estimates that about 10% of them have returned to the fields - but only under duress due to threats made to them that they would not be re-hired if they did not return.

He called Governor Kiko Vega a "liar" and accused both him the Consejo Agricola de BC of deceiving the public as far as arriving at a solution to this problem and of spreading misinformation.  So, at this moment it is unclear if in fact the Jornaleros who were pressured into returning to the fields are actually receiving that 15% pay raise however it is clear that there is a huge division between the Jornaleros and the State government with emotions running high and the Jornaleros feeling indignant.  The Jornaleros now want to meet with the Federal Government because they feel that the Governor and his Cabinet have shown no desire to resolve the issue (s). That said, Gabriel Sanchez acknowledged  they still have to leave the possibility open of resuming talks at the state level.

He affirmed that it is Rancho Los Pinos owned by the Rodriquez brothers (the one brother held the office of Secretary of Agricultural Development under Governor Osuna Millan.) ( remember the Marosi interview a couple blogs back that basically described the same situation although not person specific) He went on to say that the labor abuses at Rancho Los Pinos are tolerated by the  state government.

This is at least the third time that a spokesperson for the Jornaleros   has rebuked the charges from Governor Kiko Vega that the Jornaleros are "Guerrilleros" influenced by certain business people or political parties.  In his view the main solution to the problem is to grant the Jornaleros a decent wage of 200 pesos per day, stating that they never did approve the paltry 15% offered.  They also want 20 pesos for each "canastilla" of strawberries and 17 pesos for each "canastilla" of blackberries they pick.  Unsure on the translation here - whether this means a flat or a basket full.

Courtesy El Mexicano:  Jornaleros arrive in Mexicali
Finally around 5pm the Jornaleros (now numbered at 500) arrive in Mexicali. It is unclear which officials they will be meeting with since Governor Kiko Vega and the State authorities according to these latest interviews have shattered their expectations with favoritism granted to the big agricultural-businesses.  As far as the Jornaleros are concerned, the issue (s) are unresolved and they were dealing with a stacked deck from the get go. On a Federal level then they would hope to meet with Osorio Chong.  From that perspective, this strike could potentially go on indefinitely.

Here are some links you can check up on the developments, I have some running around to do the next few days:


El Mexicano


Thousands (15K) of indigenous Catholic citizens from Chiapas made a four day pilgrimage to Tuxtla Gutierrez ( 03/27 - 03/31) marching against the violence, narcotrafico, impunity and corruption:

Aristegui Noticas  (more videos, scroll down)