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Indigenous and Latina Women & Children's Human Rights News from the Americas


¡Feliz Día International de la Mujer 2012!

Happy International Women's Day 2012!


 

Indigenous & Latina Women & Children's Human Rights News from the Americas 


 

 
Latin America
Women & Children at Risk
 
Title: 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance
Publisher: Oh-Toh-Kin Vol. 1 No. 1 
Publish Date: 1992 Winter-Spring Issue
(1992 was the 500th anniversary of the Columbus voyage)
URL: http://www.dickshovel.com/500.html
(Jump to section on anti-Latina and anti-indigneous Sterilization campaigns)

 

This article is intended as a basic history of the colonization of the Americas since 1492, and the Indigenous resistance to this colonization continuing into 1992. The author admits to not having a full understanding of the traditions of his own people, the Kwakiutl (Kwakwaka'wakw); as such the article lacks an analysis based in an authentic Indigenous philosophy and is instead more of a historical chronology.

Numbers in brackets indicate footnotes, fully documented at the end of this article.


INTRODUCTION

Throughout the year 1992, the various states which have profited from the colonization of the Americas will be conducting lavish celebrations of the "Discovery of the Americas". Spain has spent billion of dollars for celebrations in conjunction with Expo `92 in Seville. In Columbus, Ohio, a $100 million quincentennial celebration plans on entertaining several million tourists. CELAM, the association of South America's Catholic bishops, has organized a gathering to celebrate the "fifth centenary of the evangelization of the Americas" to be presided over by the Pope. As well, there is a wide selection of museum exhibits, films, TV shows, books and many other products and activities focusing on Columbus and the "Discovery", all presenting one interpretation of the 500 years following 1492. The main thrust of this interpretation being that the colonization process -- a process of genocide -- has, with a few "bad spots", been overall a mutually beneficial process. The "greatness" of European religions and cultures was brought to the Indigenous peoples, who in return shared the lands and after "accidentally" being introduced to European disease, simply died off and whose descendants now fill the urban ghettos as alcoholics and welfare recipients. Of course, a few "remnants" of Indian cultures was retained, and there are even a few "professional" Indian politicians running around.

That was no "Discovery" -- it was an American Indian Holocaust!

Until recently, commonly accepted population levels of the indigenous peoples on the eve of 1492 were around 10-15 million. This number continues to be accepted by individuals and groups who see 1492 as a "discovery" in which only a few million Indians died -- and then mostly from diseases. More recent demographic studies place the Indigenous population at between 70 to 100 million peoples, with some 10 million in North America, 30 million in Mesoamerica, and around 50 to 70 million in South America.

Today, in spite of 500 years of a genocidal colonization, there is an estimated 40 million Indigenous peoples in the Americas. In Guatemala, the Mayan peoples make up 60.3 percent of the population, and in Bolivia Indians comprise over 70 percent of the total population. Despite this, these Indigenous peoples lack any control over their own lands and comprise the most exploited and oppressed layers of the population; characteristics that are found also in other Indigenous populations in the settler states of the Americas (and throughout the world).

 

THE PRE-COLUMBIAN WORLD

Before the European colonization of the Americas, in that time of life scholars refer to as "Pre-history" or "Pre-Columbian", the Western hemisphere was a densely populated land. A land with its own peoples and ways of life, as varied and diverse as any of the other lands in the world.

In fact, it was not even called "America" by those peoples. If there was any reference to the land as a whole it was as Turtle Island, or Cuscatlan, or Abya-Yala.

The First Peoples inhabited every region of the Americas, living within the diversity of the land and developing cultural lifeways dependent on the land. Their numbers approached 70-100 million peoples prior to the European colonization.

Generally, the hundreds of different nations can be summarized within the various geographical regions they lived in. The commonality of cultures within these regions is in fact a natural development of people building life-ways dependent on the land. As well, there was extensive interaction and interrelation between the people in these regions, and they all knew each other as nations.

In the Arctic region live(d) the Inuit and Aleut, whose lifeways revolve(d) around the hunting of sea mammals (Beluga whales, walruses, etc.) and caribou, supplemented by fishing and trading with the people to the south.

South of the Arctic, in the Subarctic region of what is today Alaska, the Northwest Territories, and the northern regions of the Canadian provinces, live(d) predominantly hunting and fishing peoples. The variations of these lands range from open tundra to forests and lakes, rivers, and streams. The Cree, Chipewyan, Kaska, Chilcotin, Ingalik, Beothuk, and many other nations inhabit(ed) this region, hunting bear, goats, and deer in the west, musk oxen and caribou further north, or buffalo further south in the prairies.

Altogether in the Arctic and Subarctic regions there lived perhaps as many as 100,000 people.

On the Pacific Northwest coast, stretching from the coasts of Alaska and BC down to northern California, live(d) the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Kwa-Kwa-Ka'wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, Nuxalk, Salish, Yurok, and many others. These peoples developed a lifeway revolving around fishing. The peoples of this region numbered as many as four million.

Between the Pacific coastal mountain range and the central plains in what is today southern BC, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, live(d) the Sahaptin (Nez Perce), Chopunnish, Shoshone, Siksikas (Blackfeet), and others. These peoples numbered around 200,000.

To the east were people of the plains, encompassing a vast region from Texas up to parts of southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, eastward to North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Arkansas. Here, the Lakota (Sioux), Cheyenne, Arapaho, plains Cree, Siksikas (of the Blackfeet Confederacy, including the Blood and Peigan), Crow, Kiowa, Shoshone, Mandan, and many others, numbered up to one million, and the buffalo as many as 80 million before their slaughter by the Europeans.

Further east, in the lands stretching from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic coast, live(d) hunting, fishing, and farming peoples; the Kanienkehake (Mohawks), Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca (these five nations formed the Haudenosaunee -- the People of the Longhouse -- also known as the Iroquois Confederacy), Ojibway, Algonkin, Micmac, Wendat (Huron), Potowatomi, Tuscarora, and others. In this woodland region, stretching from Ontario, Quebec, and New York, down to the Carolinas, lived up to two million peoples.

South of this area, from parts of the Virginias down to Florida, west of the Gulf of Mexico including Mississippi and Louisiana, live(d) The Muskogee-speaking Choctaw, Creek, and Chikasaw, the Cherokee, Natchez, Tonkawa, Atakapa, and others. One of the most fertile agricultural belts in the world, farming was well established supplemented by hunting and fishing. These peoples numbered between two and three million.

East of this area, in the south-western United States, extending down to northern Mexico and California, live(d) agrarian and nomadic peoples; the Pueblo, Hopi, Zuni, the Yumun-speaking Hualapai, Mojave, Yuma, and Cocopa, the Uto-Aztecan speaking Pimas and Papagos, and the Athapascans consisting of the Navajo (Dine) and Apache peoples. These peoples, altogether, numbered about two million.

In the Mesoamerican region, including Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, live(d) the numerous agricultural peoples, whose primary staple was maize; the Aztecs, Texacoco, Tlacopan, and the Mayans -- in the Yucatan peninsula. Here, large city-states with stone and brick buildings and pyramids, as well as extensive agrarian waterways consisting of dams and canals were built. Written languages were published in books, and the study of astronomy and mathematics was well established. A calendar system more accurate than any in Europe during the 15th century was developed. Altogether, these peoples numbered around 30-40 million.

In the Caribbean basin, including the coastal areas of Columbia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, and the many small islands such as Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico etc., live(d) hunting, fishing, and agrarian peoples such as the Carib, Arawak, Warao, Yukpa, Paujanos, and others. These peoples numbered around five million.

In all of South America there were as many as 40-50 million peoples.

In the Andean highlands of Peru and Chile live(d) the Inca peoples, comprised of the Quechua and Aymara. In the south of Chile live(d) the Mapuche, and in the lowland regions -- including the Amazon region -- live(d) the Yanomami, Gavioe, Txukahame, Kreen, Akarore, and others. South of the Amazon region, in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, live(d) the Ayoreo, Ache, Mataco, Guarani, and many others. In the southernmost lands live(d) the Qawasgar, Selk'nam, Onu, and others.

With a few exceptions, the First Nations were classless and communitarian societies, with strong matrilineal features. The political sphere of Indigenous life was not dominated by men, but in many cases the responsibility of women. Elders held a position of importance and honour for their knowledge. There were no prisons, for the First Nations peoples had well developed methods of resolving community problems, and there was -- from the accounts of elders -- very little in anti-social crime. Community decisions were most frequently made by consensus and discussions amongst the people.

But the First Nations were not perfect, being humans they had, and still have, their inconsistencies and practises that are not positive.

Some examples can be seen as the armed conflicts between nations throughout the Americas, and practises of slavery amongst the Pacific Northwest coast peoples and in the Mesoamerican region. However, even here the forms of warfare reflected similar developments throughout the world, and in any case never approached the genocidal methods developed, in particular, in Europe. Warfare was the practise of explicitly warrior societies. The accounts of slavery, although there is no way to explain it away, differed sharply from the Europeans in that it was not based on racism, nor was it a fundamental characteristic which formed the economic basis of these societies.

The history of the First Nations must always be analyzed critically; those who tell us that history are rarely ever of the Indigenous peoples.

 

THE GENOCIDE BEGINS

"Their bodies swelled with greed, and their hunger was ravenous."
- Aztec testimonial

On October 12, 1492, sailing aboard the Santa Maria under finance from the Spanish crown, Cristoforo Colombo stumbled upon the island of Guanahani (believed to be San Salvador), in the Caribbean region. Initially charting a new trade route to Asian markets, the outcome of Colombo's voyage would quickly prove far more lucrative than the opening of new trade routes, as far as Europe was concerned.

It was on Guanahani that Colombo first encountered Taino Arawaks, whom he titled `Indians', believing he had in fact reached Asia. For this initial encounter, Colombo's own log stands as testimony to his own greed:

"No sooner had we concluded the formalities of taking possession of the island than people began to come to the beach... They are friendly and well-dispositioned people who bear no arms except for small spears.

"They ought to make good and skilled servants... I think they can easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion. If it pleases Our Lord, I will take six of them to Your Highnesses when I depart" (from Colombo's log, October 12, 1492) [1].

True to his word, if little else, Colombo kidnapped about 9 Taino during his journey through the Bahamas, and anticipated even more kidnappings and enslavement,

"...these people are very unskilled in arms. Your Highnesses will see this for yourselves when I bring you the seven that I have taken. After they learn our languages I shall return them, unless Your Highnesses order that the entire population be taken to Castille, or held captive here. With 50 men you could subject everyone and make them do what you wished" (Colombo's log, October 14, 1492) [2].

Throughout Colombo's log of this first voyage, there is constant reference to the notion that the Taino believe the Europeans to be descended from heaven, despite the fact that [neither] Colombo nor any of his crew understood Arawak. Another consistency in Colombo's log is the obsession with gold, to which there are 16 references in the first two weeks alone, 13 in the following month, and 46 more in the next five weeks, despite the fact that Colombo found very little gold on either Guanahani or any of the other islands he landed on.

In a final reference to Colombo's log, one can also find the dual mission Colombo undertook,

"...Your Highnesses must resolve to make them (the Taino - Oh-Toh-Kin ed.) Christians. I believe that if this effort commences, in a short time a multitude of peoples will be converted to our Holy Faith, and Spain will acquire great domains and riches and all of their villages. Beyond doubt there is a very great amount of gold in this country... Also, there are precious stones and pearls, and an infinite quantity of spices" (Colombo's log, November 11, 1492) [3].

The duality of Colombo's mission, and the subsequent European invasion that followed, was the Christianization of non-Europeans and the expropriation of their lands. The two goals are not unconnected; "Christianization" was not merely a program for European religious indoctrination, it was an attack on non-European culture (one barrier to colonization) and a legally and morally sanctioned form of war for conquest. "Even his name was prophetic to the world he encountered -- Christopher Columbus translates to `Christ-bearer Colonizer'" [4].

Still on his first voyage, Colombo meandered around the Caribbean and eventually established the first Spanish settlement, `Natividad', on the island of Hispaniola (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Leaving about 35 men on Hispaniola, Colombo and his crew returned to Spain to gather the materials and men needed for the coming colonization, and to report to the crown on his journey.

In September, 1493, Colombo returned to Hispaniola with a fleet of 17 ships and 1,200 men. The detachment that had been left on Hispaniola had been destroyed following outrages by the Spaniards against the Taino. The resistance had already begun.

Colombo would make four voyages in all, the remaining two in 1498 and 1502. His voyages around the Caribbean brought him to what is now Trinidad, Panama, Jamaica, Venezuela, Dominica, and several other islands -- capturing Native peoples for slavery and extorting gold through a quota of a hawks bell of gold dust to be supplied by every Native over the age of 14 every 3 months. Failure to fill the quota often entailed cutting the `violators' hands off and leaving them to bleed to death. Hundreds of Carib and Arawak were shipped to Spain as slaves under Colombo's governorship, 500 alone following his second voyage. Indeed, the absence of a "great amount of gold" in the Caribbean had Colombo devising another method of financing the colonization: "The savage and cannibalistic Carib should be exchanged as slaves against livestock to be provided by merchants in Spain."

Colombo died in 1506, but following his initial voyage to the Americas, wave upon wave of first Spanish, then Portuguese, Dutch, French and British expeditions followed, carrying with them conquistadors, mercenaries, merchants, and Christian missionaries.

Hispaniola served as the first beachhead, used by the Spanish as a staging ground for armed incursions and reconnaissance missions, justified through the `Christianization' program; one year after Colombo's first voyage, Pope Alexander VI in his inter cetera divina papal bull granted Spain all the world not already possessed by Christian states, excepting the region of Brazil, which went to Portugal.

While the Spanish laid the groundwork for their colonization plans, other European nations began to send their own expeditions.

In 1497, Giovanni Caboto Motecataluna (John Cabot), financed by England, crossed the Atlantic and charted the Atlantic coast of North America. Under the commission of Henry VII to "conquer, occupy, and possess" the lands of "heathens and infidels", Cabot reconnoitered the Newfoundland coast -- kidnapping three Micmacs in the process.

At around the same time, Gaspar Corte Real, financed by Portugal, reconnoitered the Labrador and Newfoundland coasts, kidnapping 57 Beothuks to be sold as slaves to offset the cost of the expedition.

Meanwhile, Amerigo Vespucci -- for whom the Americas were named after -- and Alonso de Ojedo, on separate missions for Spain, reconnoitered the west Indies and the Pacific coast of South America. Ojedo was actively carrying out slave raids, and was killed by a warrior's poisoned arrow for his efforts.

From the papal bull of 1493 and a subsequent Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), Portugal had been given possession of Brazil. In 1500, the Portuguese admiral Pedro Alvares Cabral formally claimed the land for the Portuguese crown.

Now that the initial reconnaissance missions had been completed, the invasion intensified and expanded. In 1513, Ponce de Leon, financed by Spain, attempted to land in Florida, but was driven off by 80 Calusa war canoes.

From 1517 to 1521, the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes laid waste to the Aztec empire in Mexico, capturing the capital city of Tenochtitlan and killing millions in a ruthless campaign for gold.

Shortly afterwards, in 1524, Pedro de Alvarado invaded the region of El Salvador, attacking the Cuscatlan, Pipeles, and Quiche peoples. In Guatemala Alvarado conducted eight major campaigns against the Mayans, and while he and his men were burning people alive, the Catholic priests accompanying him were busy destroying Mayan historical records (that is, while they weren't busy directing massacres themselves). Alvarado's soldiers were rewarded by being allowed to enslave the survivors.

In 1531, the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro invaded the region of the Incas (now Peru). Taking advantage of an internal struggle between two Inca factions led by the brothers Huascar and Atahualpa, Pizarro succeeded in subjugating the Incas by 1533.

Ten years later, Pedro de Valdivia claimed Chile for the Spanish crown, although fierce resistance by the Mapuche nation restricted the Spanish to the northern and central regions. Valdivia was eventually killed in battle by Mapuche warriors.

During this same period, Jacques Cartier, financed by France in 1534, was reconnoitering the eastern regions of what would become Canada, and Spaniards such as Hernando de Sotos, Marcos de Niza and others began penetrating into North America, claiming the lands for their respective countries, as was their custom.

 

EXPANSION, EXPLOITATION, AND EXTERMINATION

"I am Smallpox... I come from far away... where the great water is and then far beyond it. I am a friend of the Big Knives who have brought me; they are my people."
- Jamake Highwater, Anpao: an Indian Odyssey

The formulative years of the colonization process were directed towards exploiting the lands and peoples to the fullest. To the Europeans, the Americas was a vast, unspoiled area suitable for economic expansion and exploitation.

The primary activity was the accumulation of gold and silver, then a form of currency among the European nations. This accumulation was first accomplished through the crudest forms of theft and plunder (ie. Colombo's and Cortes' methods). Eventually, more systematic forms were developed, including the encomiendas -- a form of taxation imposed on Indigenous communities that had been subjugated, and the use of Indigenous slaves to pan the rivers and streams. By the mid-1500s, the expropriation of gold and silver involved intensive mining. Entire cities and towns developed around the mines. Millions of Indigenous peoples died working as slaves in the mines at Guanajuato and Zacatecas in Mexico, and Potosi in Bolivia. By the end of the 1500s, Potosi was one of the largest cities in the world at 350,000 inhabitants. Peru was also another area of intensive mining. From the time of the arrival of the first European colonizers until 1650, 180-200 tons of gold -- from the Americas -- was added to the European treasury. In today's terms, that gold would be worth $2.8 billion [5]. During the same period, eight million slaves died in the Potosi mines alone.

Slavery was another major economic activity. Not only for work in the mines, but also for export to Europe. In Nicaragua alone, the first ten years of intensive slaving, beginning in 1525, saw an estimated 450,000 Miskitu and Sumu peoples shipped to Europe. Tens of thousands perished in the ships that transported them. Subsequently, the slave trade would turn to Afrika, beginning in the mid-1500s when Portuguese colonists brought Afrikan slaves to Brazil to cut cane and clear forest area for the construction of settlements and churches. An estimated 15 million Afrikan peoples would be brought as slaves to the Americas by 1800, and a further 40 million or so perished in the transatlantic crossing in the miserable conditions of the ships holds.

In areas such as the highlands of northern Chile, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico, where the climate was more suitable, the Spanish were able to grow crops such as wheat, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, radish, sugar cane, and later grapes, bananas, and coffee. By the mid-1500s, using slave labour, many of these crops -- particularly wheat and sugar cane -- were large-scale exports for the European markets.

In other areas, sprawling herds of cattle were established. Herds which rarely exceeded 800 or 1,000 in Spain reached as many as 8,000 in Mexico. By 1579, some ranches in northern Mexico had up to 150,000 head of cattle [6].

The effects of extensive land-clearing for the crops and ranches and intensive mining culminated in increasing deforestation and damage to the lands. More immediately for the Indigenous peoples in the region, particularly those who lived on subsistence agriculture, was the dismantling of destruction of agrarian ways replaced by export crops.

In order to carry out this expansion and exploitation, the subjugation of the First Nations was a necessity, and the task of colonizing other peoples was one in which the Europeans had had plenty of experience.

 

"In a sense, the first people colonized under the profit motivation by the use of labour...were the European and English peasantry. Ireland, Bohemia and Catalonia were colonized. The Moorish nation, as well as the Judaic Sephardic nation, were physically deported by the Crown of Castille from the Iberian peninsula...All the methods for relocation, deportation and expropriation, were already practised if not perfected" [7].

Prior to Colombo's 1492 voyage, the development of a capitalist mode of production emerging from feudalism had dispossessed European peasants of independent production and subsistence agriculture. Subsequently, they were to enter into a relationship of forced dependence to land-owners and manufacturers, leading to periods of intense class struggle, particularly as the Industrial Revolution (fueled by the expropriation of materials from the Americas and Afrika) loomed ever larger.

Indeed, the majority of Europeans who emigrated to the Americas in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries were impoverished merchants, petit-bourgeois traders, mercenaries, and Christian missionaries all hoping to build their fortunes in the `New World' and escape the deepening class stratification that was quickly developing. However, the first permanent settlements were limited, their main purpose being to facilitate and maintain areas of exploitation. During the entire 16th century, only an estimated 100,000 Europeans were permanent emigrants to the Americas.

Their effects, however, were overwhelming; in the same 100 year period, the populations of the Indigenous peoples declined from 70-100 million to around 12 million. The Aztec nation alone had been reduced from around 30 million to 3 million in one 50 year period. The only term which describes this depopulation is that of Genocide; an American Indian holocaust.

Apologists for the Genocide attribute the majority of deaths to the introduction of disease epidemics such as smallpox and measles by unknowing Europeans.

While attempting to diminish the scale and intensity of the Genocide (other forms of this diminishment are claiming the population of the Americas was a much smaller portion than generally accepted demographic numbers), such a perspective disregards the conditions in which these diseases were introduced. Conditions such as wars, massacres, slavery, scorched earth policies and the subsequent destruction of subsistence agriculture and food-stocks, and the accompanying starvation, malnutrition, and dismemberment of communally-based cultures.

These conditions were not introduced by "unknowing" Europeans; they were parts of a calculated campaign based on exploitation in which the extermination of Indigenous peoples was a crucial factor.

European diseases introduced into these conditions came as an after-effect of the initial attacks. And their effects were disastrous. Once the effects of the epidemics were realized however, the use of biological warfare was also planned in the form of infected blankets and other textiles supplied to Indigenous peoples.

 

THE PENETRATION OF NORTH AMERICA

While the Spanish were destroying the Caribbean and Mesoamerican region, the Portuguese were carrying out similar campaigns in Brazil. The patterns established by the Spanish would be repeated by the Portuguese during the 16th and 17th centuries in Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

By the beginning of the 17th century, the Spanish and Portuguese had penetrated virtually every region in the southern hemisphere, establishing numerous settlements facilitated with the help of Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries, as well as mines, ranches, and plantations. Despite all this, there were still large areas in which European claims to lands remained a theoretical proposition; these areas remained outside of European control with fierce Indigenous resistance. This was particularly so in the southern regions.

During this period, French, Dutch, and advance elements of the British also established settlements in the Caribbean.

In 1604, the French occupied the island of Guadaloupe, followed by the island of Martinique and various smaller islands in the West Indies. In 1635 they occupied what is now French Guiana.

Meanwhile, the Dutch occupied a coastal region that would eventually become Surinam (Dutch Guiana) as well as settlements established by the Dutch West India Company in the area of Belize (which would later become a British colony).

The Dutch, French, and British were relatively limited in their exploits in the South Americas, and it would be in North America where their main efforts would be directed.

As has already been noted, French expeditions had penetrated the north-eastern regions of what would become Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, in the 1530s. In 1562 and 1564, the French attempted to establish settlements in South Carolina and Florida, but were driven out by the Spanish (who had claimed Florida in 1539 during de Soto's perilous expedition).

In 1585 the British also attempted settlements, on Roanoke Island in North Carolina, and again in 1586. Both attempts failed when the settlers-to-be were unable to survive.

In the period up to 1600, more reconnaissance missions were conducted; in 1576 Martin Frobisher charted the Arctic coasts encountering Inuuk, and in 1578 Francis Drake charted the coast of California.

Meanwhile, the Spanish were pushing into North America from their bases in southern Mexico, encountering resistance from Pueblos and others.

In the beginning of the 1600s, as the horse spread throughout the southwest and into the plains, Samuel de Champlain expanded on Cartiers' earlier expedition, penetrating as far west as Lake Huron and Lake Ontario. his attacks on Onondago communities, using Wendat (Huron) warriors, would turn the Haudenosaunee against the French.

In 1606, the British finally succeeded in establishing their first permanent settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia. In 1620, Pilgrims (English Puritans) landed on the east coast also, establishing the Plymouth colony.

Meanwhile, Beothuks in Newfoundland had retaliated against a French attack in clashes that followed killed 37 French settlers. The French responded by arming Micmacs -- traditional enemies of the Beothuks -- and offering bounties for Beothuk scalps. This is believed to the origin of `scalp-taking' by Native warriors; the stereo-type of Native `savagery' was in fact introduced by the French and, later, the Dutch. The combined attacks by the French and Micmacs led to the eventual extermination of the Beothuk nation.

In 1624, the Dutch established Fort Orange (later to become Albany, New York) and claimed the area as New Netherland.

While the Atlantic coast area of North America was becoming quickly littered with British, French and Dutch settlements, substantial differences in the lands and resources forced the focus of exploitation to differ from the colonization process underway in Meso- and South America.

In the South, the large-scale expropriation of gold and silver financed much of the invasion. As well, the dense populations of the Indigenous peoples provided a large slave-labour force to work in the first mines and plantations.

In contrast, the Europeans who began colonizing North America found a lower population density and the lands, though fertile for crops and abundant in fur-bearing animals, contained little in precious metals accessible to 17th century European technology.

The exploitation of North America was to require long-term activities which could not rely on Indigenous or Afrikan slavery but in fact which required Indigenous participation. Maintaining colonies thousands of miles away from Europe and lacking the gold which financed the Spanish armada, the colonial forces in North America would have to rely on the gradual accumulation of agricultural products and the fur trade.

In this way, the initial settlements relied largely on the hospitality afforded them by the Native peoples. Earlier attempts at European settlements had failed for precisely this reason, as the Europeans found themselves almost completely ignorant of the land.

The growing European colonies quickly set about acquiring already cleared and cultivated land, and their expansionist policies led to fierce competition between the colonies. This bitter struggle for domination of land and trade frequently began and ended with attacks against Indigenous communities. One of the first of these `strategic attacks' occurred in 1622 when a force from the Plymouth colony massacred a group of Pequots. In retaliation, Pequote warriors attacked a settler village at Wessagusset, which was then abandoned and subsequently absorbed into the dominion of the Plymouth colony, which had coveted the trade and land enjoyed by the Wessagusset settlers.

By 1630, the Massachusetts Bay colony had been established, and `New England', once only a vague geographical expression came to apply in practise to the colonies of New Plymouth, Salem, Nantucket, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Haven and others.

The expansionist drives of the Massachusetts colonists consisted of massacres carried out against first the Pequot and eventually the Narragansetts between 1634 and 1648.

It was in this period that the transition between European dependence on Native peoples began to be reversed. Through the establishment and expansion of European colonies, increased contact with First Nations brought extensive trading, as well as disease epidemics and conflict.

Trade gradually served to break up Indigenous societies,

"Indian industry became less specialized and divided as it entered into closer relations of exchange with European industry. For the Indians, intersocietal commerce triumphed by subordinating and eliminating all crafts except those directly related to the European-Indian trade, while intertribal trading relations survived only insofar as they served the purposes of intersocietal trade" [9].

Thus, trade with European industry developed a relationship of growing dependence on the European colonists. The items traded to Natives -- metal pots, knives, and occasionally rifles -- were of European manufacture and supply. The trade also disrupted and changed traditional Native methods in other ways, with the introduction of alcohol and exterminationist forms of warfare -- including torture -- under the direction of the colonialists, as well as an overall escalation in warfare in the competition-driven fur trade and introduction of European rifles.

While disease epidemics began to spread throughout the Atlantic coastal area, the colonialists also relied to a large extent on exploiting and exaggerating already existing hostilities between First Nations, as the Spanish and Portuguese had also done in their campaigns,

"The grim epics of Cortes and Pizarro, not to speak of Columbus himself, testify to the military abilities of Spanish soldiery, but these need to be compared as well with the great failures of Narvaez, Coronado and de Soto... (The conquistadors) did not conquer Mexico and Peru unaided. Native allies were indispensable... North of New Spain, invasion started later, so Frenchmen, Dutchmen, and Englishmen found native communities...already reduced by epidemic from base populations that never approached the size of Mexico" [10].

It was at this time that the concept of treaty making began to take hold. In keeping with the English colonists early plans of keeping some level of peace with the Natives, as in 1606 when

"the Virginia Company of London instructed its colonists to buy a stock of corn from the `naturals' before the English intention to settle permanently should become evident. The Company's chiefs were sure that `you cannot carry yourselves so towards them but they will grow discontented with your habitation'" [11].

The initial English (and Dutch) settlers began the process of purchasing land, supplemented as always with armed force against vulnerable Indigenous nations (such as those decimated by disease or already engaged in wars with more powerful First Nations).

It remains unclear as to what the First Nations understood of the local purchasing process, but some points are clear; there was no practise of private ownership of land, nor of selling land, among or between the Peoples prior to the arrival of the colonialists; there were however agreements and pacts between First Nations in regards to access to hunting or fishing areas. This would indicate treaties were most likely understood as agreements between First Nations and settler communities over use of certain areas of land, as well as non-aggressiveness pacts. In either case, where First Nations remained powerful enough to deter initial settler outrages the treaties were of little effect if they turned out to be less than honourable, and there was enough duplicity, fraud, and theft contained in the treaties that they could not be considered binding. Practises such as orally translating one version of a treaty and signing another on paper were frequent, as was taking European proposals in negotiations and claiming that these had been agreed upon by all -- when in fact they were being negotiated. As well, violations of treaty agreements by settlers was commonplace, particularly as, for example, the Virginia colony discovered the profitability of growing tobacco (introduced to the settlers by Native peoples) and began expanding on their initial land base.

Gradually, First Nations along the Atlantic found themselves dispossessed of their lands and victims of settler depredations. One of the first conflicts that seriously threatened to drive the colonialist forces back into the sea broke out in 1622, when the Powhatan Confederacy, led by Opechancanough, attacked the Jamestown colony. Clashes continued until 1644, when Opechancanough was captured and killed.

By the mid-1600s, clashes between Natives and settlers began to increase. Tensions grew as the Europeans became more obtuse and domineering in their relationship with the First Nations. In 1655 for example, the so-called `Peach Wars' erupted between colonialists of New Netherlands and the Delaware Nation when a Dutchman killed a Delaware woman for picking a peach tree on the colonies `property'. The settler was subsequently killed and Delaware warriors attacked several Dutch settlements. The fighting along the Hudson River lasted until 1664 when the Dutch forced the Delaware nation into submission by kidnapping Delaware children as hostages.

In 1675 the Narragansetts, Nipmucs, and Wapanoags, led in part by Metacom (also known as King Philip by the Europeans) rebelled against the colonies of New England following the English arrest and execution of three Wapanoags for the alleged killing of a Christianized Native, believed to be a traitor. The war ended in 1676 after the English colonialists -- making use of Native allies and informers -- were able to defeat the rebellion. Metacom was killed, and his family and hundreds of others sold to slavers in the West Indies. The military campaign carried out by the colonial forces decimated the Narragansett, Nipmuc, and Wapanoag nations.

Meanwhile in 1680, a Pueblo uprising led in part by the Tewa Medicine man Pope succeeded in driving out the Spanish from New Mexico. By 1689, Spanish forces were able to once again subjugate the Pueblos.

By the late 1600s, the competition between European states would dominate the colonization process in North America.

 

THE EUROPEAN STRUGGLE FOR HEGEMONY

Although colonial wars had been fought in the past between France, Spain, The Netherlands, and England, and conflicts had erupted between their colonies in the Americas, the late 1680s and the following 100 year period was to be a time of bitter struggle between the Europeans for domination. This period of European wars was to be played out also in the Americas, "To a great extent, the battle for colonies and the wealth they produced was the ultimate battlefield for state power in Europe" [12].

Beginning in 1689 with King William's War between the French and the English, which evolved into Queen Anne's War (1702-13), to King George's War (1744-48) and culminating in the so-called `French and Indian War' (1754-63), the battles for colonial possessions in the Americas mirrored those raging across Europe in the same period, except that in North American and in the Caribbean, the European struggle for hegemony in the emerging world trade market would employ heavy concentrations of Native warriors.

While the British emerged victorious from the `Great War for Empire', and the French defeated ceding Hudson Bay, Acadia, New France and other territories in a series of treaties, those who were most affected by the European struggles were the Native peoples of the Atlantic regions. The fallout from those wars was the virtual extermination of some Indigenous peoples, including the Apalachees in Florida, the establishment of colonial military garrisons and outposts, a general militarization of the region with heavier armaments and combat veterans, and the subsequent expansion of colonial settlements, extending their frontiers and pushing many First Nations further west.

During the period of the colonial wars, Indigenous resistance did not end, nor was it limited to aiding their respective `allies'.

In 1711, the Tuscaroras attacked the English in North Carolina and fought for two years, until the English counter-insurgency campaign left hundreds dead and some 400 sold into slavery. The Tuscaroras fled north, settling among the Haudenosaunee and becoming the Sixth Nation in 1722.

In 1715, the Yamasee nation rose up against the English in South Carolina, but were virtually exterminated in a ruthless English campaign.

In 1720, the Chickasaw nation warred against French occupation, until France's capitulation to England in 1763. Similarly, Fox resistance to French colonialism continued from 1920 to around 1735.

In 1729, the Natchez nation began attacking French settlers in Louisiana after governor Sieur Chepart ordered their main village cleared for his plantations. In the ensuing battles, Chepart was killed and the French counter-insurgency campaign left the Natchez decimated, although guerrilla struggle was to continue along the Mississippi River.

In 1760 the Cherokee nation began their own guerrilla war against their `allies' the English, in Virginia and Carolina. Led by Oconostota, the Cherokee fought for two years, eventually agreeing to a peace treaty which saw partitions of their land ceded after the English colonial forces had razed Cherokee villages and crops.

In 1761, Aleuts in Alaska attacked Russian traders following depredations on Aleut communities off the coast of Alaska (the Russian colonizers eventually moved into the Pribilof and Aleutian islands in 1797, relocating Aleuts and virtually enslaving them in the seal hunt).

Against British colonization, the Ottawa leader Pontiac led an alliance of Ottawas, Algonquins, Senecas, Mingos, and Wyandots in 1763. The offensive captured nine of twelve English garrisons and laid siege to Detroit for six months. Unable to expand the insurgency or draw in promised French assistance, Pontiac eventually negotiated an end to the conflict in 1766.

Added to this period of warfare was the continuing spread of disease epidemics. In 1746 in Nova Scotia alone, 4,000 Micmacs had died of disease.

With the defeat of France, the British had acquired vast regions of formerly French territory, unbeknownst to the many First Nations who lived on those lands, and with whom the French never negotiated any land treaties nor recognized any form of Native title.

At this time,

"...the British government seized the opportunity to consolidate its imperial position by structuring formal, constitutional relations with...natives. In the Proclamation of 1763, it announced its intention of conciliating those disgruntled tribes by recognizing their land rights, by securing to them control of unceded land, and by entering into a nation-to-nation relationship" [13].

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 provided for a separate `Indian Territory' west of the Appalachians and the original Thirteen Colonies. Within this territory there was to be no purchasing of land other than by the crown. In the colonies now under British control, including Newfoundland, Labrador, Quebec, Nova Scotia, as well as the Thirteen Colonies, settlers occupying unceded Native lands were to be removed, and private purchases of lands occupied by or reserved for Natives was prohibited -- these lands could only be purchased by the crown in the presence of the First Nations.

As grand as these statements were, they were routinely violated by colonialists and rarely enforced. Indeed, one year following the proclamation, Lord Dunmore -- the governor of the Virginia colony -- had already breached the demarcation line by granting to veterans of the `French and Indian War' who had served under him lands which were part of the Shawnee nation. The Shawnee retaliation was not short in coming, but Dunmore's challenge to British control was to precipitate in form and substance another period of conflict that would see the colonization process expand westward. And that period of conflict would underline the real intent of the Royal Proclamation as a strategic document in the defense of British colonial interests in North America.

 

TRAGEDY: THE UNITED STATES IS CREATED

With the dominance of British power on a world scale, the European struggle for hegemony in the Americas was nearing its end. Subsequently, the 18th and 19th centuries were to be a period of wars for independence that would force the European states out of the Americas. Foremost among these wars was the independence struggle that would lead to the birth of the United States.

Emerging from the `Great War for Empire', Britain found itself victorious but also heavily in debt. To defray the cost of maintaining and defending the colonies, Britain substantially changed its colonial policies. Large portions of the financial costs of the colonies were placed directly on the colonies themselves through a series of taxes. The imposition of the taxes incited the settlers to demand taxes be imposed only with their consent. In fact, the question of taxes was part of a wider debate; who should control and profit from colonialism, the colonies or the colonial centres.

By 1775, settler protests and revolts had culminated into a general war for independence that continued until 1783, when the British capitulated and ceded large portions of its territories along the Atlantic.

That the British colonial forces did not lose more territory can be attributed much to the participation of numerous First Nations on the side of the British; the Royal Proclamation was thus a strategy to dampen Native resistance to British colonialism (as in the eruption of King George's War in 1744 when Micmacs allied themselves with the French and, following the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, continued fighting the British, who then concluded a treaty of "Peace and Friendship" with the Micmacs), as well as a method of forming military alliances with First Nations, if not at least their neutrality in European conflicts.

As in previous European struggles, Indigenous peoples were used as expendable troops, and the extensive militarization further consolidated settler control,

"The end of the war saw thousands of Whites, United Empire Loyalists, flock to Nova Scotia. They came in such numbers and spread so widely over the Maritime region that it was considered necessary to divide Nova Scotia into three provinces to ease administrative problems; New Brunswick, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia...and Ile St.-Jean, soon to be renamed Prince Edward Island" [14].

To the south, the rebellious settlers were establishing their newly-created United States. For the First Nations in this region, the war had been particularly destructive; the colonial rebels had carried out scorched-earth campaigns against the Shawnee, Delaware, Cherokee, and the Haudenosaunee (which had suffered a split with the Oneidas and Tuscaroras allying themselves with the revolutionaries).

Here again the Royal Proclamation remained a useful tool in re-enforcing the British colonial frontier and retaining Native allies,

"Adherence to the principles of the...Proclamation...remained the basis of Britain's Indian policy for more than half a century, and explains the success of the British in maintaining the Indians as allies in Britain's wars in North America... Even when Britain lost much of its North American territory after 1781, and its Indian allies lost their traditional lands as a result of their British alliance, the Crown purchased land from the Indians living within British territory and gave it to their allies who moved north..." [15].

Having consolidated the Thirteen Colonies along the Atlantic seaboard, the independent United States quickly set about expanding westward, launching military campaigns to extend the frontiers of settlement.

One of the first of these campaigns began in 1790 under the order of President George Washington. Consisting of about 1,100 Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky militiamen led by Brigadier General Josiah Harmar, the force was quickly defeated by a confederacy of Miami, Shawnee, Ojibway, Delaware, Potawatomi, and Ottawa warriors led by the Miami chief Michikinikwa (Little Turtle). A second force was dispatched and defeated in November, 1791. Finally, in 1794, a large force led by General Anthony Wayne defeated the confederacy, now led by Turkey Foot, near the shores of Lake Erie. Warriors who survived made their way to the British Fort Miami garrison. But the British -- former allies of many of the First Nations in the confederacy during the revolutionary war -- refused them shelter, and hundreds were slaughtered at the gates by Wayne's soldiers. Although the confederacy was essentially broken, the Miami would continue armed resistance up to 1840.

The `Indian Wars' launched by the US continued for the next 100 years, following an exterminationist policy that was aimed at destroying Native nations and securing those remnants who survived in (what was then believed) barren and desolate reserves. Once the People were contained in these Bantustans, the next step was the destruction of Native culture under the auspices of then-emerging governmental agencies.

As the US moved to a higher level of war against First Nations, it also began moving against competing European powers still present in the Americas.

In 1812, using the pretext of Native raids along its northern frontier from British territories, US forces attempted to invade British North America. Here again, Britain's colonial policies proved effective; an alliance of Native nations (who had their own interests in full implementation of the 1763 Proclamation) and European settlers succeeded in repulsing the US expansion. Among those who fought against the US invasion were the Native leaders Tecumseh -- a Shawnee chief who worked to form a Native confederacy against the Europeans (and who argued that no one individual or grouping could sell the lands, as it belonged to all the Native peoples); Black Hawk -- a leader of the Sauk who would also lead future Native insurgencies; and Joseph Brant -- a leader in the Haudenosaunee who was rewarded with a large territory by the British and promptly began selling off partitions to European settlers (in history, he is regarded as a "hero" by Euro-Americans but a traitor by his people). Tecumseh was killed in battle in the Battle of Moraviantown in Ontario in 1813.

In 1815, hostilities between Britain and the US were formally ended in the Treaty of Ghent, though neither the US war on Natives, or Native resistance, subsided.

 

REVOLUTIONS IN THE 'NEW WORLD'

Following the American Revolution, movements for independence began breaking out in South and Central America.

Despite the seemingly monolithic appearance of Spanish or Portuguese colonialism in the first three centuries following the European invasion, and despite the genocidal policies of the conquistadors, Native resistance continued. Particularly in, for example, the interior region of the Yucatan Peninsula, the lowland forests of Peru, the Amazon region, and even in the Andean highlands -- which had suffered such a severe depopulation; between 1532 and 1625, the population of the Andean peoples is estimated to have declined from 9 million to 700,000. In these regions, colonial domination was continually challenged and formed the base for resistance movements that began even in the 1500s.

Among the first of these revolts was the Vilacabamba rebellion of 1536 led by Manqu Inka. Although the insurgency was unable to expand and failed to drive the Spanish out, the rebels were able to establish a "liberated zone" in the Vilacabamba region of present-day Bolivia for the next three decades [16]. The ending of the initial revolt is recognized as the execution of another leader, Tupac Amaru I in 1572.

Other major insurgencies also broke out in Ecuador in 1578, 1599, and 1615. The Itza of Tayasal in the Yucatan Peninsula remained unsubjugated until 1697.

 

"Europeans found it particularly difficult to establish effective transportation and communication facilities in the forest lowlands of the Maya area... Though the Spaniards achieved formal sovereignty over Yucatan with relative ease, many local Maya groups successfully resisted effective domination...for centuries" [17].

Keeping pace with colonial developments in North America, the Spanish introduced a series of laws in the 17th century known as the Leyes de Indias. Similar to the later 1763 Proclamation introduced in British North America, the laws partitioned the Andean region into a `Republic of Spain' and a `Republic of Indians' -- each with its own separate courts, laws and rights. The Leyes de Indias were, "from the point of view of the colonial stat...a pragmatic measure to prevent the extermination of the (Indigenous) labour force..." [18].

Despite its seeming "liberalism", forced labour accompanied by tax laws remained in place, and the regulation was never fully enforced.

In 1742, Juan Santos Atahualpa led an Indigenous resistance movement in Peru comprised largely of Yanesha (Amuesha) and Ashaninka (Campa) peoples that fought off Spanish colonization for more than a century.

In the 18th century, Indigenous resistance broke out in a major revolt in the colony of Upper Peru (now Bolivia), led by Jose Gabriel Tupac Amaru.

 

"Much has been written about the 1780 Indian rebellion led by Jose Gabriel Tupaq Amaru and his successors; less is known about the Chayanta and Sikasika revolts which occurred at the same time, the latter led by Julian Apasa Tupaq Katari. For more than half a century, colonial tax laws had provoked a groundswell of protest... In mid-1780, an apparently spontaneous revolt broke out in Macha, in the province of Chayanta, to free an Indian cacique, Tomas Katari, jailed after a dispute with local mestizo authorities... Then in November 1780, Jose Gabriel Tupaq Amaru led a well-organized rebellion in Tungasuca, near Cuzco. Julian Apasa Tupaq Katari, an Indian commoner from Sullkaw (Sikasika) rose up and laid siege to La Paz from March to October 1781 during which one fourth of the city's population died. After the defeat in April 1781 of Tupaq Amaru in Cuzco, the rebellion shifted to Azangaro, where his relatives Andres and Diego Cristobal led the struggle. Andres successfully laid siege to Sorata in August of that year, but by November he and Diego Cristobal were forced to surrender to the Spanish authorities. The rebellion was crushed by the beginning of 1782" [19].

The leaders, perceived or real, were captured and executed; they were quartered, decapitated, or burned alive.

While Indigenous resistance continued and frequently sent shock-waves throughout the ranks of the colonialists -- including Spaniards and Creoles (descendants of Spanish settlers in the Americas) -- the colonies themselves began to experience movements for independence comprised of Creoles and Mestizos.

The backgrounds to the movements for independence -- like in the US -- are found in the oppressive taxation and monopolistic trade laws imposed by the colonial centers, both of which constrained the economic growth of the colonies. As well, Creoles were generally by-passed for colonial positions which went to agents born in Spain.

The first major settler revolt was in 1809 in the colony of Upper Peru (Bolivia), which succeeded in temporarily overthrowing Spanish authorities. In 1810 Colombia declared its independence, followed one year later by Venezuela. In 1816, Argentina declared its independence, and the next year General Jose de San Martin led troops across the Andes to "liberate Chile and Peru from the Royalist forces". Wars for independence spread quickly, and Spanish royalist forces lost one colony after another in decisive conflicts, culminating in the Battle of Ayacucho in 1824 in Peru, which effectively diminished Spain's domination in the Americas (which was already dampened by Napoleon's invasion of Spain in the same period).

Although the independence movements succeeded in overthrowing Spanish and Portuguese forces, they were led by, and in the interests of, Creole elites -- with the assistance of land-owners and merchants,

"...the revolutions for independent state formation in the Americas in the late 18th and early 19th centuries must be seen as being in the mode of European nation-state formation for the purpose of capitalist development. Although they were anti-`mother country', they were not anti-colonial (just as the formation of Rhodesia and South Africa as states were not anti-colonial events)" [20].

The present-day Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) describes the independence of Ecuador, for example, as

"not mean(ing) any change in our living conditions; it was nothing more than the passage of power from the hands of the Spaniards to the hands of the Creoles" [21].

As in the US example, the newly-independent states quickly set about consolidating their positions politically and militarily and pursuing economic expansion.

The result was an eruption of wars between the independent states over borders, trade, and ultimately for resources. In 1884 the War of the Pacific began, involving Bolivia, Chile, and Peru in a dispute over access to nitrate resource. From 1865-70, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay allied themselves against Paraguay in the bloody War of the Triple Alliance -- a war in which Paraguay lost a large amount of its male population -- primarily Guarani.

As in North America, these and other conflicts most adversely affected the First Nations peoples. The majority of those who died in the War of the Triple Alliance were Native. As well, the militarization that occurred created large reserves of well-equipped, combat-experienced troops. In Argentina and Chile, these military reserves were directed against invading then unsubjugated regions where Mapuche resistance had persisted for centuries. Between 1865 and 1885, a militarized frontier existed from which attacks against the Mapuche were conducted. Tens of thousands of Mapuche were killed, the survivors dispersed to reservation areas.

In the 1870s, the development of vulcanization in Europe led to an invasion of the Upper Amazon regions of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia -- where rubber trees would eventually supply the world market. In the Putumayo river region of northern Peru and Colombia alone, 40,000 Natives were killed between 1886 and 1919 (by 1920, it's estimated that the depopulation of the rubber areas had reached 95% in some areas) [22].

It was in this post-independence period that -- arising from the complete transition from Feudalism to capitalism in Europe -- new forms of European domination were being introduced. Briefly, this consisted of the introduction of bank loans directed primarily at developing infrastructures for the export of raw and manufactured materials: roads, railways, and ports, particularly in the mining and agricultural industries. In the 1820s, English banks loaned over 21 million pounds to former Spanish colonies. Through the debts, and the subsequent import of European technology and machinery necessary for large-scale mining and agribusiness -- necessary to begin repayment of the loans -- dependence was gradually established (and continues today in the form of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, controlled by the G-7 [23]).

During the same period, the US was also setting footholds in the region. In 1853, five years after gold was discovered in previously unknown areas in Central America, US marines invaded Nicaragua. In 1898, following the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico and Cuba were annexed to the US (Puerto Rico remains today as the last US colonial nation). As well, US forces occupied the Philippines -- carrying out massacres of men, women, and children -- and Hawaii came under US control in 1893. With these actions the US established itself as an emerging capitalist power, and the eventual extent of US imperialism was beginning to take shape.

On a global scale, the development of imperialism had now established itself internationally; the full division of the world between predominantly European powers and the US was complete (and would subsequently lead to two world wars).

 

MANIFEST DESTINY AND THE US 'INDIAN WARS'

While the US was in the process of establishing itself as an imperialist world power, it was still struggling to consolidate itself as a continental base and countering armed resistance by First Nations.

Prior to the US-British War of 1812, Louisiana was purchased from France, in 1803, and Spain had ceded Florida in 1819. By 1824, the Bureau of Indian Affairs was organized as part of the War Department. Military campaigns were launched against First Nations, from the Shawnee of the Mississippi Valley to the Seminole in Florida. At the same time, the legalistic instruments for occupation were being introduced. In 1830 the Indian Removal Act was implemented, and in 1834 Congress reorganized the various departments dealing with Indian repression by creating the US Department of Indian Affairs, and the Indian Trade and Intercourse Act which redefined the `Indian Territory' and `Permanent Indian Frontier'. The `Indian Territory' had been previously defined in 1825 as lands west of the Mississippi. Following the formation of the territories of Wisconsin and Iowa, the frontier was extended from the Mississippi to the 95th meridian.

The Indian Removal Act was directed at forced relocation of Natives east of the 95th meridian to the west of it. In 1838, US troops forced thousands of Cherokee into concentration camps, from which they were forced westward on the Trail of Tears. In the midst of winter, one out of every four Cherokees died from cold, hunger, or diseases. Many other nations were forcibly relocated: the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, Shawnees, Miamis, Ottawas, Wendats and Delawares. The `Permanent Indian Frontier' was a militarized line of US garrisons, similar to that in Argentina and Chile during the same period.

But the `Indian Frontier' was not to hold. Like the British Royal Proclamation of 1763, the restrictions on Europeans settling or trading in these regions were routinely ignored. With the US annexation of northern Mexico in 1848, the US acquired the territories of Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. The same year, gold was discovered in California. With these two events, the large-scale invasion of the `Indian Territory' was underway. Under the ideology of Manifest Destiny, the US was to launch a renewed period of genocidal war against those regions and First Nations which remained unsubjugated. The theatre of war extended from the Great Lakes region around Minnesota, south of the Rio Grande, and west to California, extending north to Washington state. It was a period of war which involved many First Nations: the Lakota, Cheyenne, Commanche, Kiowa, Yakima, Nez Perce, Walla Walla, Cayuse, Arapaho, Apache, Navajo, Shoshone, Kickapoos, and many others. It was also a war from which many Native leaders would leave a legacy of struggle that, like those struggles in South and Mesoamerica, would remain as symbols of resistance to the European colonization: Crazy Horse, Tatanka Yotanka (Sitting Bull), Ten Bears, Victorio, Geronimo, Quanah Parker, Wovoka, Black Kettle, Red Cloud, Chief Joseph, and so many others.

Although the `Indian Wars' of this period were by no means one-sided -- the US forces suffered many defeats -- the US colonial forces succeeded in gradually and ruthlessly gaining dominance. Various factors contributed to this, following the patterns of previous campaigns against Native peoples: the continuing spread of diseases such as measles, smallpox, and cholera (between 1837-70, at least four major smallpox epidemics swept through the western plains, and between 1850-60 a cholera epidemic hit the Great Basin and southern plains); the use of informers and traitors; and the overwhelming strength of US forces in both weaponry and numbers of soldiers. Combined with outright treachery and policies of extermination, these factors continued to erode the strength of once-powerful First Nations.

One of the major turning points in this period can be seen as the US Civil War.

 

AFRIKAN SLAVERY, AFRIKAN REBELLION, AND THE US CIVIL WAR

Ostensibly a moral crusade to "abolish slavery", the US Civil War of 1861-65 was in reality a conflict between the commercial and industrial development of the North against the agrarian stagnation based on Afrikan peoples' slave-labour of the South.

By the 19th century, 10 to 15 million Afrikan peoples had been relocated to the Americas by first Portuguese, then English, Spanish, and US colonialists. These peoples came from all regions of Afrika: Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Angola, Mozambique, etc. -- and from many Afrikan Nations: the Yoruba, Kissi, Senefu, Foulah, Fons, Adjas, and many others.

Enslaved, these peoples were forced to labour in the mines, textile mills, factories, and plantations that served first the European markets and, after the wars for independence, the newly-created nation-states of the Americas.

The slave-trade in both American and Afrikan Indigenous peoples was absolutely necessary for the European colonization of the Americas. The forced relocation of millions of Afrikan peoples also introduced new dynamics into the colonization process; not only in the economics of European occupation, but also in the development of Afrikan peoples' resistance.

As early as 1526, Afrikan slaves had rebelled in a short-lived Spanish colony in South Carolina, and after their escape took refuge amongst First Nations peoples. In the Caribbean and South America, where Afrikan slavery was first centered, large revolts frequently broke out and escaped Afrikan slaves took refuge amongst Caribs and Arawaks. In Northeast Brazil, an Afrikan rebellion succeeded in organizing the territory of Palmares -- which grew to one-third the size of Portugal.

Probably one of the most famous Afrikan and Native alliances was the example of the escaped Afrikan slaves and the Seminole in Florida. The escaped Afrikans had "formed liberated Afrikan communities as a semi-autonomous part of the sheltering Seminole Nation" [24]. Together, these two peoples would carry out one of the strongest resistance struggles against the US. The so-called Seminole Wars began in 1812 when Georgia vigilantes attempted to recapture Afrikans for enslavement, and continued for thirty years under the US campaign of relocations. The Seminole Wars, under the fanatical direction of President Jackson, were the most costly of the US `Indian Wars'; over 1,600 US soldiers were killed and thousands wounded at the cost of some $30 million. Even after this, the Seminole-Afrikan guerrillas remained unsubjugated. The solidarity between the Afrikans and the Seminoles is most clear in the second Seminole War of 1835. The Seminoles, under Osceola, refused to accept relocation to Oklahoma -- one of the key disagreements also being the US insistence on separation of the Afrikans from their Seminole brothers and sisters. The US forces relaunched their war, and were never able to achieve a clear victory.

By the mid-1800s, slavery was viewed by some parts of the US ruling class as an obstacle to economic growth and expansion. The anti-slavery campaign, led by the North, was a practical effort to free land and labour from the limitations of the closed system of plantation agriculture based on slave labour;

"Slavery had become an obstacle to both the continued growth of settler society and the interests of the Euro-Amerikan bourgeoisie. It was not that slavery was unprofitable itself. It was, worker for worker, much more profitable than white wage-labour. Afrikan slaves in industry cost the capitalists less than one-third the wages of white workingmen... But the American capitalists needed to greatly expand their labour force. While the planters believed that importing new millions of Afrikan slaves would most profitably meet this need, it was clear that this would only add fuel to the fires of the already insurrectionary Afrikan colony. Profit had to be seen not only in the squeezing of a few more dollars on a short-term, individual basis, but in terms of the needs of an entire Empire and its future. And it was not just the demand for labour alone that outmoded the slave system. Capitalism needed giant armies of settlers, waves and waves of new European shock-troops to help conquer and hold new territory, to develop it for the bourgeoisie and garrison it against the oppressed" [25].

The "insurrectionary fires" had already dealt the occupation forces a shocking blow in 1791 in the Haitian Revolution. Afrikan slaves, led in part by Toussaint L'Ouverture, rebelled and defeated Spanish, English, and French forces, establishing the Haitian Republic that offered citizenship to any Native or Afrikan peoples who wanted it.

There were also increasing revolts within the US, including the 1800 revolt in Virginia led by Gabriel Prosser, and Nat Turner's revolt in 1831 which killed sixty settlers.

 

"The situation became more acute as the developing capitalist economy created trends of urbanization and industrialization. In the early 1800s the Afrikan population of many cities was rising faster than that of Euro-Americans" [26].

The revolts led by Gabriel and Turner had caused discussions in the Virginia legislature on ending slavery, and public rallies had been held in Western Virginia demanding an all-white Virginia.

Combined, these factors led the North to agitate for an end to slavery as one specific form of exploitation. In turn, the Southern states, led by plantation owners and slavers, threatened to secede from the Union. The Civil War began.

 

BLACK RECONSTRUCTION AND DECONSTRUCTION

The beginning of the US Civil War in 1861 posed various problems for the northern Union ruling class. Not only was the war for the preservation of an expanding continental empire, but it also opened up a second front: that of a liberation struggle by enslaved Afrikan peoples. With a population of four million, the rising of these Afrikans in the South proved crucial in the defeat of the Confederacy. By the tens of thousands, Afrikan slaves escaped from the slavers and enlisted in the Union forces. This massive withdrawal of slave-labour hit the Southern economy hard, and the Northern forces were bolstered by the thousands.

Towards the end of the War in 1865, those Afrikans who did not escape began a large-scale strike following the defeat of the Confederacy. They claimed the lands that they had laboured on, and began arming themselves -- not only against the Southern planters but also against the Union army. Widespread concerns about this `dangerous position' of Afrikans in the South led to `Black Reconstruction'; Afrikans were promised "democracy, human rights, self-government and popular ownership of the land".

In reality, it was a strategy for returning Euro-American dominance involving:

"1. The military repression of the most organized and militant Afrikan communities.
2. Pacifying the Afrikan peoples by neo-colonialism, using elements of the Afrikan petit-bourgeoisie to led their people into embracing US citizenship as the answer to all problems. Instead of nationhood and liberation, the neo-colonial agents told the masses that their democratic demands could be met by following the Northern settler capitalists..." [27].

Following this strategy, Union army forces attacked Afrikan communities who were occupying land, forcing tens of thousands off collectively held land and arresting the "leaders". Afrikan troops who had fought in the Union army were quickly disarmed and dispersed, or sent to fight as colonial troops in the ongoing "Indian Wars". White supremacist terrorist organizations formed, one of the most infamous -- but not the only -- being the Ku Klux Klan.

Under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, Afrikans became US citizens, including the right to vote. Through the neo-colonialist strategy of Reconstruction, Afrikans were able to push through reforms including integrated juries, protective labour reforms, divorce and property rights for women, and an involvement in local government.

However, even these small reforms were too much for Southern Whites. Reconstruction was vigorously resisted -- not only by former slaves and planters but also by poor Whites who flocked to organizations such as the KKK, White Caps, White Cross, and the White League. Thousands of Afrikans were killed during state elections as the White supremacist groups conducted terrorist campaigns aimed at countering the gains of Reconstruction and preserving White supremacy.

 

"In 1876-77, the final accommodation between Northern capital and the Southern planters was reached in the `Hayes-Tilden deal'. The South promised to accept the dominance of the Northern bourgeoisie over the entire Empire, and to permit the Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes to succeed Grant in the US Presidency. In return, the Northern bourgeoisie agreed to let the planters have regional hegemony over the South, and to withdraw the last of the occupying Union troops so that the Klan could take care of the Afrikans as they wished. While the guarded remnants of Reconstruction held out here and there for some years (Afrikan Congressmen were elected from the South until 1895), the critical year of 1877 marked their conclusive defeat" [28].

Not insignificantly during this same period, Northern working class Whites were engaged in a vicious class struggle for an 8 hour work day, even as Afrikans were under attack by the KKK and other racist organizations. And, at the same time, little notice was made of the military extermination campaigns being carried out against Native peoples.

During the War, many First Nations attempted to remain "neutral" in the South, although some promises by the Confederacy for land stimulated some First Nations to side with the South. But "neutrality" is not the same as passive; Native peoples continued their own resistance to colonization. From 1861-63 the Apaches led by Cochise and Mangas Colorado fought occupation forces, a resistance that would continue until 1886 when Geronimo was captured. The Santee also engaged the US military from 1862-63 led by Little Crow. In 1863-64, this war would shift to North Dakota under the Teton. In 1863, the Western Shoshone fought settlers and attacked military patrols and supply routes in Utah and Idaho. That same year, the Navajo rebelled in New Mexico and Arizona.

With the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, settlement of the West increased rapidly. The militarization from the Civil War, and the ability to supply and facilitate large-scale military operations, opened up the final period in the "Indian Wars". In the post-Civil War period, the genocidal process of colonization was to enter a new phase, even at the price of thousands of US troops dead and wounded, and each dead Indian coming at the price of $1 million. By 1885, the last great herd of buffalo would be slaughtered by Euro-American hunters -- this also forming a part of the counter-insurgency strategy of depriving the Plains Indians of their primary food source. Five years later, 350 Lakotas would be massacred at Chankpe Opi Wakpala, the creek called Wounded Knee.

 

THE COLONIZATION OF CANADA

In contrast to the US campaign of extermination, the colonization process in Canada lacked the large-scale military conflicts that characterized the US "Indian Wars". Although many Euro-Canadians [29] would like to believe that these differences in colonization lie in fundamentally different values, cultures, etc., they are no more than the result of differences in colonial practises rooted in basic economic needs and strategies. As can be seen in the aftermath of the US War for Independence, there followed a period of rapid expansion and settlement. Following the consolidation of the "13 British colonies along the North Atlantic, and armed with a pre-imperialist thrust (the Monroe Doctrine and the ideology of `manifest destiny'), the entrepreneurs controlling the new state machinery dispatched their military forces rapidly across North America" [30].

Canada, on the other hand, did not fight a war for independence and remained firmly a part of the British Empire.

As previously discussed, the first major colonization of what would become eastern "Canada" was carried out by France. Between 1608 and 1756, some 10,000 French settlers had arrived in Canada. The "French and Indian Wars" of the 18th century resulted in the defeat of the French forces; the subsequent Treaty of 1763 established British rule over New France (now Quebec). With the Quebec Act of 1774, the province of Quebec was expanded, British criminal law established, and the feudal administration implemented by France remained largely unchanged. Conflicts related to civil matters and property remained regulated under French civil law. The seigneurial system, a feudal system in which the land of the province was given in grant from the King to seigneurs (usually lower nobility and from the Church), who, in turn, rented the land to peasants in return for an annual rent (called tithes, payable in goods of products raised on the land), was continued. As with the 1763 Royal Proclamation, the Quebec act secured the loyalty of the French clergy and aristocracy in the US War for Independence.

As a result of the wars of the 18th century, French settlement had grown to 60,000 as soldiers employed by France swelled the French population. The expansion of the province under the Quebec Act had seized a large portion of the "Indian territory" and placed it under Crown jurisdiction. Following the US War for Independence, some 40,000 loyalists fled the former British colonies and settled in Canada, occupying more Native lands -- particularly that of the Haudenosaunee. British colonial authorities went to some lengths to acquire land while placating the still geo-militarily important Indians [30].

While the colonialists were busy consolidating the administration of "British North America", the Pacific Northwest was coming under increased reconnaissance.

Beginning in 1774, the first recorded colonizers into the area of British Columbia came aboard the Spanish ship Santiago. Four years later, an expedition led by James Cook descended upon the area, leading to the establishment of a large and profitable fur trade. The dominance of the fur trade would last until around 1854 when European settlement began to increase rapidly along with the mining and logging industries. As a result of the early dominance of the fur trade, which relied on Native collaboration, British colonizers curtailed their military operations. Nevertheless, conflicts did erupt, primarily against British depredations. As more ships frequented the area, clashes spread with attacks on colonial vessels and the shelling of Native villages.

Even before European settlement in BC, the impact of the traders was disastrous. For example, from 1835 when the first census was taken of the Kwakwaka-wakw nation, to 1885, there was between a 70 to 90 percent reduction in population (from around 10,700 to 3,000) [32]. In an all too familiar pattern, the intrusion of European traders had set into motion disease epidemics, even as early as the 1780s and `90s. In 1836, a smallpox epidemic hit the northern coast, and the fur trade was "depressed all that winter and the following spring" [33]. Following an invasion of gold hunters into the region in 1858, one of the most devastating epidemics struck in 1862, killing at least 20,000 Indians [34].

Meanwhile, in British North America, the geo-military importance of the First Nations was quickly being eroded. With the influx of loyalists after the US War for Independence, the European population had grown and was strategically garrisoned in key military areas -- conflicts with the US were predicted. As well as further increasing the European population in the region, the War of 1812 and US policies of moving Natives from the northern frontier had broken up confederacies and greatly diminished the power of the First Nations in the area. After this, British colonial policies changed from essentially forming military alliances to a higher level of colonization through policies of breaking down the collective power of First Nations. Christianization and an overall Europeanization of Native peoples was developed as official policy. By the 1850s, an instrument had been created to this end: "The Gradual Civilization Act of 1857".

 

"The Act was based upon the assumption that the full civilization of the tribes could be achieved only when Indians were brought into contact with individualized property... Any Indian...adjudged by a special board of examiners to be educated, free from debt, and of good moral character could on application be awarded twenty hectares of land..." [35].

Here, the "civilization of the tribes" should be read as the elimination of the basis of Native cultures and de facto the First Nations as nations. The twenty hectares of land was to be taken from the reserve land base, subsequently breaking up the collective and communitarian land practises of Native peoples and replacing these with individual parcels of land; all the easier, from the viewpoint of the colonizer, to achieve the long-term goal of completely eliminating First Nations as nations and leaving nothing but dispersed, acculturated, peoples to be assimilated into European society. The patriarchal dimensions of forced-assimilation were also clear: only males could be so enfranchised [36]. A Commission of Inquiry had further recommended that reserve lands be restricted to a maximum of 25 acres per family, and that Native organization be gradually replaced with a municipal form of government.

At the same time, new methods in acquiring land were developed. Beginning on 1850 and continuing into the 20th century, a series of treaties were "negotiated" in which Native nations ceded immense tracts of land in return for reserve land, hunting and fishing rights, education, medical care, and the payment of annuities. The first such treaties were the Robinson treaties, which would be renegotiated in 1871 as Treaties No. 1 and No. 2.

 

"The relationship between the immediate requirements of the internal imperialist expansion and the treaties is remarkable. The first of these treaties was sought, according to a 19th century historian's first-hand report, `in consequence of the discovery of minerals on the shores of Lake Huron and Superior'... The prairie treaties were obtained immediately in advance of agricultural settlement, and the treaty which includes parts of the Northwest Territories was negotiated immediately upon the discovery of oil in the Mackenzie Valley" [37].

While the colonizers knew what they wanted in proposing the treaties, Native peoples were unprepared for the duplicity and dishonour of the treaty-seekers. When a commission journeyed to the Northwest Territories to investigate unfulfilled provisions of Treaties 8 and 11, they found that

"At a number of meetings, Indians who claimed to have been present at the time when the Treaties were signed stated that they definitely did not recall hearing about the land entitlement in the Treaties. They explained that poor interpreters were used and their chiefs and head men had signed even though they did not know what the Treaties contained" [38].

The treaties were important aspects of the plan for the expansion of Canada westward and economic development based on resource extraction and agriculture. Indeed, the Confederation of Canada in the British North America Act of 1867 was aimed primarily at consolidating the then-existing eastern provinces and facilitating in this westward expansion; the primary instruments seen as a trans-Canada railway, telegraph lines, and roads. Expansion as seen not only as economically necessary but also politically urgent as the US was expanding westward at the same time.

The invasion of the prairie regions was not without conflict. The most significant resistance in this period was that of the Metis peoples -- descendants of primarily French and Scottish settlers and Cree -- in what would become Manitoba. The Red River Rebellion, also known as the First Riel rebellion after Louis Riel, a Metis leader, erupted following an influx of Euro-Canadian settlers and the purchase of the territory from the controlling Hudsons Bay Company, by the government of Canada. The rebellion was directed against the annexation of the territory over the Metis -- who numbered some 10,000 in the region. A force of 400 armed Metis seized a small garrison and demanded democratic rights for the Metis in the Confederation. The following year the Manitoba Act made the territory a province. However, fifteen years later in 1885 the Metis along with hundreds of Cree warriors under the chiefs Big Bear and Opetecahanawaywin (Poundmaker) were again engaged in widespread armed resistance against colonization. For almost four months the resistance continued against thousands of government troops which, unlike in 1870, were no transported quickly and en masse on the new Canadian Pacific railway. After several clashes the Metis and Cree warriors were eventually defeated; the Cree and Metis guerrillas imprisoned, killed in battles or executed. Another Metis leader, Gabriel Dumont, escaped to the US.

The Metis and Cree resistance of 1885 was the final chapter of armed resistance in the 19th century. However, the use of military force in controlling Native peoples was already being bypassed by the Indian Act of 1876, itself a reaffirmation and expansion on previous legislation concerning Native peoples. This Act, with subsequent additions and changes, remains the basis of Native legislation in Canada today.

Under the Indian Act, the federal government through its Department of Indian Affairs is given complete control over the economic, social, and political affairs of Native communities. More than just a legislative instrument to administer "Indian affairs", the Indian Act was and is an attack on the very foundations of the First Nations as nations. Besides restricting hunting and fishing, criminalizing independent economic livelihood (ie. in 1881 the Act made it illegal for Natives to "sell, barter or traffic fish"), the Act also declared who was and who was not an Indian, it removed "Indian status" from Native women who married a non-Native, and criminalized vital aspects of Native organization and culture such as the potlatch, the sun-dance, and pow-wow. Everything that formed the political, social, and economic bases of Native societies was restricted; the culture was attacked because it stood as the final barrier of resistance to European colonization. In the area of political organization,

"The Indian Act (of 1880) created a new branch of the civil service that was to be called the Department of Indian Affairs. It once again empowered the superintendent general to impose the elective system of band government... In addition, this new legislation allowed the superintended general to deprive the traditional leaders of recognition by stating that the only spokesmen of the band were those men elected according to...the Indian Act" [39].

In 1894, amendments to the Act authorized the forced relocation of Native children to residential boarding schools, which were seen as superior to schools on the reserves because it removed the children from the influence of the Native community. Isolated children in the total control of Europeans were easier to break; Native languages were forbidden and all customs, values, religious traditions and even clothing were to be replaced by European forms. Sexual and physical abuse were common characteristics of these schools, and their effects have been devastatingly effective in partially acculturating generations of Native peoples.

The Indian Act followed earlier legislation in that the long-term objective was the assimilation of Christianized Natives, gradually removing any "special status" for Native peoples and eliminating reserves and treaty rights; all of which would make the complete exploitation of the land a simple task. As part of this strategy of containing and repressing Native peoples who did not assimilate, and who were thus an obstacle to the full expansion of Canada, the Indian Act also denied the right to vote to Native peoples and implemented a pass system similar if not the forerunner to the Pass Laws in the Bantustans of South Africa (it should also be noted that Asian peoples were denied the right to vote as well and were subjected to viciously racist campaigns in BC by both the government and the labour movement; only in 1950 were Native and Asian peoples given this "illustrious" right).

 

EXTERMINATION - ASSIMILATION: TWO METHODS, ONE GOAL

In the early 1900s, the population of Native peoples in North America had reached their lowest point. In the US alone this population had declined to some 250,000. As in Canada, Native peoples had been consigned to largely desolate land areas and the process of assimilation began through government agencies such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Here too, residential schools, criminalization of Native cultures, and control of political and economic systems were the instruments used. Native peoples, like those in Canada, were viewed as obstacles to be crushed in the drive for profits.

In both countries, resistance to this assimilation continued in various forms: potlatches and sun-dances were continued in clandestinity and the elected band councils opposed. As well, Native peoples began forming organizations to work against government polices. In 1912, the Alaska Native Brotherhood was formed by the Tlingit and Tsimshian at Sikta. That same year, the Nishga Land Claims Petition was presented to the Canadian government concerning the recognition of aboriginal title; no treaties had or have been signed with First Nations in BC -- with the exception of a north-eastern corner of BC included in Treaty No. 8 and some minor treaties on Vancouver Island. Yet Natives in BC had found themselves dispossessed of their territory and subjected to the Indian Act. In 1916 the Nishga joined with the interior Salish and formed another inter-tribal organization, the Allied Tribes of BC. Funds were raised, meetings held, and petitions sent to Ottawa. In 1927, a special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons found that Natives had "not established any claim to the lands of BC based on aboriginal or other title" [40]. That same year Section 141 was added to the Indian Act prohibiting "raising money and prosecuting claims to land or retaining a lawyer".

While the European nations would lead the world into two great wars for hegemony, political instability and economic depredations formed the general pattern in South and Central America. Military regimes backed by US and British imperialism carried out genocidal policies and severe repression against Indigenous peoples. As in North America, Indigenous peoples were consigned to desolate reserve lands where the state or missionaries retained control over political, economic, social and cultural systems. However, in contrast to the colonization of North America, where Native peoples were viewed as irrelevant to economic expansion, the Indians of South and Central America remained as substantial sources of exploited labour. With the large-scale investments from the imperialist centres in the form of loans, the export of primary resources took priority. The "rubber boom" was one example, where tens of thousands of Indians died in forced labour, relocations, and massacres carried out by large "land owners", companies, and hired death squads.

 

"In the wake of the rubber boom, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru became battlegrounds for a war between oil companies. Subsidiaries of Shell and Exxon fought for exploration rights in the Amazon, even to the extent of becoming involved in a border war between Ecuador and Peru in 1941... In Brazil...87 Indian groups were wiped out in the first half of the 20th century from contact with expanding colonial frontiers -- especially rubber and mining in the northwest, cattle in the northeast, agriculture in the south and east, and from road building throughout all regions" [41].

While policies of forced assimilation were occasionally articulated, military and paramilitary forces were to remain an essential part of controlling Native communities and opening up territories to exploitation. The most violent manifestation of this repression came in El Salvador in 1932, where as many as 30,000 people, primarily Indian peasants, were massacred following an uprising against the military dictatorship that took power the year prior. While the massacres were carried out under the guise of "anti-communism", US and Canadian naval vessels stood offshore, and US Marines in Nicaragua were put on alert. However, "It was found unnecessary for the US...and British forces to land" the US Chief of Naval Operations would testify before Congress, "as the Salvadoran government had the situation in hand" [42]. During the same period in Colombia, the Indian leader Quintin Lame helped initiate struggles for land and developed an Indigenous philosophy of resistance; in the early 1980s, his legacy would live on in the Indian guerrilla group "Commando Quintin Lame". Gonzalo Sanchez was another leader who helped organize the Supreme Council of Indians in Natagaima, Colombia, in 1920.

After World War 2, significant changes in the world capitalist economy would see increased penetration of the Amazon and other lowland forest regions in South America. In the post-War period, the US emerged in a dominant position in the world economy and would subsequently move to open up markets for economic expansion. In Western Europe and Japan, as part of the Marshall Plan, some $30 billion in loans and aid was pumped into the economies to rebuild these countries as US markets and, not insignificantly, as a base of containment against the USSR (military alliances were also created through NATO and SEATO, positioned against the East Bloc).

South and Central America were to be brought firmly under US control, a process begun during the early 1900s as the US moved to replace Britain as the dominant imperialist nation in the region, even paying off debts owned to Britain. As part of the US post-War plans, South and Central America would also receive billions of dollars in direct financial aid from the US and from private transnational banks. This aid allowed the "underdeveloped" countries to industrialize by importing modern technology from the US (in fact, as part of US financial aid, the loans had to be spent in the US). The enormous debts incurred in this process guaranteed dependence and opened up these countries to multinational corporations. As well, international organizations such as the World Bank, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Agency for International Development (AID) were formed to provide multilateral funding aimed largely at the agro-export sectors, resource extraction, hydro-electric projects and infrastructure (roads, communications, etc.) necessary for the development of those industries. Linked to this "aid" scheme is the International Monetary Fund, which doesn't fund specific projects but instead steps in with balance of payments support when a country is unable to pay its debts.

These projects and the overall industrialization opened up areas for further exploitation; penetration of areas such as the Amazon and large-scale expropriations accelerated in the 1960s, further devastating Indigenous peoples and leading to renewed campaigns of extermination.

Of course, all this economic restructuring did not occur without growing resistance. With growing movements against imperialism, including peasant unions, students, workers, guerrillas and Indians, a substantial part of the "aid" included military training, weapons, and equipment. US Special Forces troopers were not only in Southeast Asia, they were also quite busy in Central America, training death squads and directing massacres. As part of an overall counter-insurgency campaign, the militarization alone precipitated an upward spiral of violence. In Guatemala alone, between 1966-68, some 8,000 people were slaughtered by Guatemalan soldiers under the direction of US Green Beret advisors; US pilots flew US planes on bombing missions. Paramilitary groups/death squads hunted down "subversives" in collaboration with the government, military, multinationals, and land-owners [43]. The main targets of this campaign, dubbed "Operation Guatemala", were the Mayan peoples.

Another aspect of the counter-insurgency plans was that of population control. Primarily the focus of US state-funding, the Agency for International Development (AID) was established in 1961. Using the false pretext of an "over-population problem" being the cause of mass poverty and starvation -- instead of imperialism -- population control came to be championed as the most important dilemma facing the "modern world". 

[Sterilization]

Under the guise of "family planning", AID began funding for a wide-range of public and private organizations, foundations, and churches who provided training, equipment, and clinics for birth control programs. Between 1968 and 1972, "funds earmarked for population programs through legislation and obligated by AID amounted to more than $250 million" [44]. South America received the largest percentage of this funding. Besides educational material, birth control pills, IUDs, and other pharmaceuticals developed by a profitable gene and biotechnology industry in the imperialist centres, the main thrust of population control remains sterilization. Between 1965-71, an estimated 1 million women in Brazil had been sterilized [45]. In Puerto Rico, 34% of all women of child-bearing age had been sterilized by 1965 [46]. Between 1963-65, more than 40,000 women in Colombia had been sterilized [47]. In contrast to these programs in the "Third World", the imperialist centres see restrictions on abortion and struggles for women's reproductive choice. But even here there is a double standard for non-European women:

"Lee Brightman, United Native Americans President, estimates that of the Native population of 800,000 (in the US), as many as 42% of the women of childbearing age and 10% of the men...have been sterilized... The first official inquiry into the sterilization of Native women...by Dr. Connie Uri...reported that 25,000 Indian women had been permanently sterilized within Indian Health Services facilities alone through 1975...

"According to a 1970 fertilization study, 20% of married Black women had been sterilized, almost three times the percentage of white married women. There was a 180% rise in the number of sterilizations performed during 1972-73 in New York City municipal hospitals which serve predominantly Puerto Rican neighbourhoods" [48].

Similar results were found in Inuit communities in the Northwest Territories. Clearly, "overpopulation" is not an issue in North America, nor is it in South or Central America. Rather, it is a method for reducing specific portions of the population who would organize against their oppression and who have no place in the schemes of capital. In other words, "It is more effective to kill guerrillas in the womb".

Of all the South American countries that underwent massive industrialization after World War 2, Brazil is probably the most well known. Following a 1964 coup backed by the US, IMF and multinationals, foreign investment rose steadily. Between 1964-71, over $4 billion had been pumped into Brazil through the World Bank, AID, IDB, and others [49].

Between 1900-57, the Indigenous population of Brazil had declined from over 1 million to less than 200,000 [50], through the rubber boom, ranching, and mining industries. Following the 1964 coup and the rise in foreign investment, the penetration of the Amazon region in particular was increased. As these industries invaded even more Indian lands, a renewed campaign of extermination accompanied them. Indians were hunted down by death squads, their communities bombed and massacred, and disease epidemics purposely spread through injections and infected blankets. In the 1960s alone,

"Of the 19,000 Monducurus believed to have existed in the 30s, only 1200 were left. The strength of the Guaranis had been reduced from 5,000 to 300. There were 400 Carajas left out of 4,000. Of the Cintas Largas, who had been attacked from the air and driven into the mountains, possibly 500 had survived out of 10,000... Some like the Tapaiunas -- in this case from a gift of sugar laced with arsenic -- had disappeared altogether" [51].

All these atrocities were part of a "pacification" campaign aimed at eliminating the Indians, who here too were seen as obstacles to "development". The government agencies responsible for "Indian affairs" were some of the worst agents in this campaign, so much so that the poorly-named Indian Protection Service had to be disbanded and replaced by the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI). Not surprisingly, the only real changes were in the names. By 1970, plans for building an extensive road system for all the industries that had recently invaded the Amazon were announced. The following year, the president of FUNAI signed a decree which read "Assistance to the Indian will be as complete as possible, but cannot obstruct national development nor block the various axes of penetration into the Amazon region" [52]. The Trans-Amazonic road system resulted in the forced relocation of some 25 Indian nations and thousands of deaths. The struggle against the roads continues today.

Brazil is only one example; similar developments resulted in other South American countries.

Seemingly in contrast to these extermination campaigns, Canada appeared to be moving towards a much more "liberal" epoch; why, Natives had even been given the "right" to vote, the pass laws had been scrapped, and potlatches were once again permitted! In fact, the Indian Act itself was being viewed by some as an impediment to the assimilation of Native peoples. The combined effects of the Indian Act, the residential schools, etc. had so debilitated Native peoples that they were almost no longer needed; once powerful cultural bases, such as the potlatch, were reduced to near spectacles for the enjoyment of Euro-Canadians similar to rodeo shows. By 1969, the government went so far as to articulate its goals in the aptly-named "White Paper"; the intent was to end the special legal and constitutional status of Natives, and to deny the relevancy of treaty rights. Ostensibly a policy to "help" the Indian, the paper even suggested a total revision of the Indian Act and a gradual phasing out of the Department of Indian Affairs over a five year period. In the denial of treaty rights and land claims, the paper stated,

"These aboriginal claims to land are so general and undefined that it is not realistic to think of them as specific claims capable of remedy except through a policy and program that will end injustice to Indians as members of the Canadian community" [53].

During the same period, Canada was moving towards increased resource extraction. This had begun in the 1950s especially in the mining of uranium for nuclear energy and as export for the US nuclear energy and weapons industry. Uranium mining was centred primarily in Saskatchewan and in the US southwest. As well, there was increased oil and gas exploration in the North and the development of hydro-electric projects. What better way to push through these dangerous and damaging projects than by accelerating the government's long-term assimilation policy and denying Native land title? Clearly, extermination campaigns in Brazil and assimilation policies in Canada are two sides of the same coin: destroying Native nations and opening up the lands to further exploration. What these governments didn't count on was the continued resistance of Native peoples.

 

THE PEOPLE AIM FOR FREEDOM

Along with an explosion of international struggles in the 1960s, including national liberation movements in Afrika, Asia, and in the Americas, there was an upsurge in Native people's resistance. This upsurge found its background in the continued struggles of Native peoples and the development of the struggle against continued resource extraction throughout the Americas.

In South and Central America Native resistance grew alongside the student, worker, women's and guerrilla movements, which were comprised largely of Mestizos in the urban centres.

In Ecuador, the Shuar nation had formed a federation based on regional associations of Shuar communities in 1964, and was influential in the development of other Indigenous organizations; it would also be the focus of government repression as in 1969 when its main offices were burnt down and its leaders attacked and imprisoned. In 1971, the Indigenous Regional Council of Cauca (CRIC) was formed in Colombia by 2,000 Indians from 10 communities. CRIC quickly initiated a campaign for recuperating stolen reserve lands. In Bolivia, two Aymaran organizations were formed: the Mink'a and the Movimiento Tupac Katari. National and international conferences were held in various countries, and by 1974 a conference in Paraguay drew delegates from every country in South and Central America from a large number of Indian nations.

A primary focus of these Indigenous movements was recuperating stolen lands, and widespread occupations, protests, and road blockades were organized. In Chile, Mapuches began "fence-running" -- moving fences which separated reserve lands from farm lands and extending the reserve territory. In Mexico, Indigenous peasants carried out large-scale occupations: by 1975 there were 76 occupations in Sinaloa alone, and some 25,000 acres of land occupied in Sinaloa and Sonora. By December of 1976, tens of thousands occupied land in Sonora, Sinaloa, Durango, and Coahuila [54]. Of course, these and many other occupations and protests did not occur without severe repression. Assassinations, massacres, destruction of communities, and scorched earth policies were directed against the Indigenous movements.

Similarly, the reclaiming of traditional Indian lands was also a primary focus of struggle in North America. One of the first of these occupations in this period was the seizing of the Seaway International Bridge in Ontario by Mohawks, in December 1968. The action was to protest the Canadian state's decision to levy customs duties on goods carried across the international border by Mohawks, despite a treaty which stipulated this right and the fact that the border area was on Mohawk land. The occupation ended when RCMP and Ontario Provincial Police stormed the bridge and arrested 48 Mohawks. However, the struggle of the Mohawks was was to precipitate occupations which were to follow as a "Red Nationalism/Red Power" movement swept across both Canada and the US, alongside Black, Chicano, and Puerto Rican liberation movements.

In 1968, the American Indian Movement (AIM) was formed in Minneapolis-St. Paul. At first an organization modelled after Euro-American Left groups and inspired in part by the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 60s, as well as the Black Panthers, AIM organized against police violence, racism, and poverty. Initially urban-based and predominantly centred in the Dakotas and Nebraska, AIM quickly spread to a widespread movement represented in both urban ghettos and rural reserve areas.

Although AIM members would be involved in many of the struggles that would develop -- partly because AIM was an international movement and not regional -- AIM itself was only one part of the "Red Nationalist" movement. In 1968, the National Alliance for Red Power had formed on the West Coast, and the following year Indians occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco harbour, claiming they had "discovered" it; the occupation would last 19 months and would become known as the first major event in the struggle for "Red Power". Another aspect of this period was the continuing local and regional daily struggles, independent though not totally unrelated from the emerging Native liberation movement, in communities fighting theft of land, poverty, pollution, etc. In 1970, for example, 200 Metis and Indians occupied the Alberta New Start Centre at Lac La Biche, protesting against the federal government's cancellation of the program.

That same year, AIM participated in the occupation of Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower ship replica on "Thanksgiving Day", as well as organizing protests and actions against the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs - SISIS ed.]. In South Dakota, a protest at the Custer Courthouse was attacked by police, leading to a riot in which the court and several buildings were burned down. In 1972, AIM organized the "Trail of Broken Treaties Caravan", and prepared a 20 point position paper concerning the general conditions of Native peoples in the US. The Trail ended in Washington, DC, where demonstrators occupied and destroyed the offices of the BIA.

The following year, traditionalists in the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota requested AIM support after a campaign of terror led by Tribal President Dick Wilson and BIA thugs. On February 27, a caravan of people went to Wounded Knee for a council -- the site of the 1890 massacre. The area was almost immediately surrounded by police, and a one day meeting turned into a 71 day armed occupation in which 300 people resisted a large military and paramilitary force consisting of FBI agents, BIA police, local and state police, and military personnel. Two Natives were shot dead, two wounded, and one Federal Agent wounded. Three weeks into the liberation of Wounded Knee, the Independent Oglala Nation was established.

"The Independent Oglala Nation was more than just a brave gesture by a band of besieged Indians. It represented the gravest threat in more than a century to the plans of the US government to subdue the Native people of the US and to deprive them of their lands for the exploitation and profit of white interests" [55].

As supplied dwindled and the military prepared for a final assault, the defenders decided to withdraw. On May 7, about half the people filtered through the enemy lines, and the following day about 150 who remained laid down their arms. In the period following, the FBI, BIA, and Wilson's regime conducted a campaign of terror; by 1976 as many as 250 people in and around Pine Ridge were dead, including 50 members of AIM. Shootings, firebombings, assaults, and assassinations were carried out by Wilson's goons and in conjunction with the FBI's Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). On June 26, 1975, an FBI raid on an AIM encampment resulted in a fire-fight in which two FBI agents and an Oglala, Joseph Stuntz, were shot dead. Although Stuntz' death was never investigated, nor were the many other killings of Oglala traditionalists and AIM members during this period, the FBI launched a campaign to imprison AIM members for the two dead agents. Eventually Leonard Peltier would be convicted of the killings in a trial that showed nothing more than that the FBI had fabricated evidence and testimony.

In the same year as the liberation of Wounded Knee, AIM was also established in Canada following the Cache Creek highway blockade in BC. The blockade was against poor housing conditions on a nearby Native reserve. In November of that year, the Indian Affairs office in Kenora, Ontario was occupied for one day by Ojibways. The following year, members of the Ojibway Warrior's Society and AIM initiated an armed occupation of Anicinabe Park, near Kenora, from July 22 to August 8. Two months earlier, Mohawks from Akwesasne and Kahnawake had occupied Moss Lake in upper state New York, reclaiming and renaming the area Ganienkeh -- Land of the Flint, the traditional name for the Kanienkehake, People of the Flint. After a shooting incident between White vigilantes and Mohawks, police insisted on entering Ganienkeh to investigate but were refused entry. As the threat of a police raid increased, Natives, including some veterans from Wounded Knee, rushed to Ganienkeh. Bunkers were built and defensive lines established. In the end, police withdrew (in 1977, the Mohawks agreed to leave Moss Lake in exchange for land in Clinton County, which is closer to Kahnawake and Akwesasne).

On September 14, 1974, the "Native People's Caravan" left Vancouver, initiated by Natives who had participated in the Anicinabe Park occupation. Similar to the Trail of Broken Treaties, the Caravan demanded recognition and respect for treaty and aboriginal rights, settlement of Native land claims, an end to the Indian Act, and an investigation of the DIA by Natives aimed at dissolving it. By September 30th, the Caravan had brought around 800-900 Natives to Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Instead of a meeting with parliament, the protest faced riot police and barricades. As police attacked the demonstration, clashes broke out, leaving dozens of Natives and nine police injured.

In 1976, the "Trail of Self-Determination" left the west coast of the US as one of many anti-Bicentennial protests organized by Native peoples. Its purpose was to get the government's answer to the points raised by the 1972 caravan. As in that protest, government officials refused to meet with the people and 47 demonstrators were arrested at the BIA offices in Washington, DC.

It was also during this period that Native peoples began organizing around international bodies. In the US, members of AIM and numerous traditional leaders and elders formed the International Indian Treaty Conference, in 1974.

 

"The thrust of the Treaty Conference is for recognition of treaties by the US as a means of restoring sovereign relations between the native nations and that country. Then, there will be moves to control exploitation, return control of native lands to...the native nation, and a return of forms of government appropriate to each nation" [56].

The IITC was the first Indian organization to apply for and receive UN Non-Governmental status. Delegates from the IITC, CRIC, and other South and Central American Indigenous organizations formed the basis for developing legalistic frameworks based on international laws aimed at restoring sovereign nation status for First Nations. Conferences such as the 1977 UN-sponsored NGO meeting on "problems of Western Hemisphere Indigenous Peoples" or the Fourth International Russell Tribunal in 1980 were organized to examine and document the continuation of genocidal practises, and to develop policies concerning these issues/ The end result of these conferences appears to be a forum for documenting genocide, and, at best, exerting some level of international pressure on particular countries. As AIM member Russell Means has stated, "It appears useless to appeal to the US or its legal system to restore its honor by honoring its treaties" [57]. In light of the recent UN role in the US-led Gulf War, and its recent repeal of the condemnation of Zionism as racism, the UN itself seems useless.

 

THE STRUGGLE FOR LAND

As previously discussed, the world economic system underwent profound changes following and as a result of the Second World War. In the post-War economic boom, plans for new energy policies began to be formulated in the US and Canada. As already noted, one aspect of these plans was based on uranium mining and its application in nuclear energy and weapons systems. As well, plans for diverting water and/or hydro-electric power from Canada to the US were also formulated in 1964 through the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA). Following the 1973 "Oil Crisis", plans for developing "internal" energy sources were intensified. In the US, this energy policy was dubbed "Project Independence".

 

"It seems clear that the US government has anticipated that American natives -- like those of other colonized areas of the world who have tried to resist the theft of their natural resources -- might put up a fight... [T]his seems the most logical conclusion to draw from Senate Bill 826, an expansion of the Federal Energy Act of 1974 into a US centred `comprehensive energy policy'. Section 616 of this Bill proposes that the Energy Administrator `is authorized to provide for participation of military personnel in the performance of his functions' and that armed forces personnel so assigned will be, in effect, an independent `energy-army', under the direct control of the Department of Energy" [58].

As well, in 1971 a group of electrical power generation companies and government resources bureaucrats issued the North Central Power Study, "which proposed the development of coal strip mining in Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas..." [59].

In Canada, these plans can be seen in the hydro-electric projects built in Manitoba and in James Bay, northern Quebec. There was also the penetration of the Canadian north with oil and gas exploration, the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, uranium mining in Saskatchewan, etc. In the US, the new energy policies precipitated various attacks on Native nations.

In 1974, Public Law 93-531 was passed authorizing the partition of joint Hopi and Navajo lands in northern Arizona and the forced relocation of some 13,000 people. The purpose of the relocation was ostensibly to resolve a false "Hopi-Navajo land dispute". In fact, there is some 19 billion tons of coal in this land. Another example is that of Wounded Knee. During World War 2, a north-western portion of the Pine Ridge reservation was "borrowed" by the federal government for use as an aerial gunnery range. It was to be returned when the war ended.

"Well, the war ended in 1945 and along about 1970, some of the traditional people one the reserve started asking `Where is our land? We want it back'. What had happened was that a certain agency...NASA, had circled a satellite and that satellite was circled in co-operation with...the National Uranium Research and Evaluations Institute... What they discovered was that there was a particularly rich uranium deposit within...the gunnery range" [60].

Dick Wilson was put in place as Tribal Council President, financed, supplied and backed by the government, with the purpose of having him sign over the gunnery range lands to the US government. On June 26, 1975, Dick Wilson signed this 10 per cent of the Pine Ridge reserve land to the federal government; the same day that the FBI raided the AIM encampment.

"In a period barely exceeding 200 years, the 100% of the territory which was in Indigenous hands in 1600, was reduced to 10% and over the next 100 years to 3%. We retain nominal rights to about 3% of our original territory within the USA today. Native peoples were consigned to what was thought to be the most useless possible land... Ironically, from the perspective of the Predator, this turned out to be the land which contained about 2/3 of what the US considers to be its domestic uranium reserve. Perhaps 25% of the readily accessible low-sulphur coal. Perhaps 1/5 of the oil and natural gas. Virtually all of the copper and bauxite... There is gold. There are renewable resources and water rights in the arid west" [61].

Similar comparisons can be found in Canada and the countries of South and Central America. With massive changes in industrialization and in energy demands, along with new technologies in locating and extracting resources, the colonization process has, since the Second World War, entered a new phase. Along with these flashpoints arising from the "Last Indian War: For Energy", there is the daily demands of capital in other industries such as forestry, fishing, rubber, agriculture, ranching, etc. and in land for military weapons testing, training, etc.

Taking these developments since World War 2, and the colonization process prior t this, an understanding of the history of Indigenous resistance becomes clearer. Most importantly, however, is understanding that this resistance continues today.

 

IN TOTAL RESISTANCE

"Now that war is being forced upon us, we will turn our hearts and minds to war and it too we will wage with all our might... Our Spirits are strong. We are together at last with ourselves and the world of our ancestors; we are proud before our children and our generations unborn... We are free. No yoke of white government oppression can contain us. We are free" - Mohawk Nation Office, August 27, 1990.

In March 1990, the Mohawks of Kanesatake occupied the Pines -- traditional lands which also contain the peoples cemetery and a lacrosse field -- against the Municipality of Oka's plans to expand an adjacent golf course over the Pines. The golf course expansion was part of Oka's plans to expand a lucrative tourist industry. On July 11, over 100 members of the Quebec Provincial Police (SQ) attacked the barricades, opening fire on mostly women and children and firing tear-gas and concussion grenades. Members of the Kahnawake Warrior's Society and warriors from Kanesatake returned fire. In the exchange of fire, one SQ officer was killed. Following the fire-fight in the Pines and the retreat of the police, Warriors from Kahnawake seized the Mercier Bridge -- a major commuter bridge into Montreal -- to deter a second SQ attack. More barricades were erected on roads and highways around both Kanesatake and Kahnawake by hundreds of Mohawk women and men -- setting into motion one of the longest armed stand-offs in North America in recent history. The stand-off, which saw hundreds of police and over 4,000 troops from the Canadian Armed Forces deployed, initiated widespread solidarity from Native peoples across Canada; road and railway blockades were erected, Indian Affairs offices occupied, demonstrations held, and sabotage carried out against railway bridges and electrical power lines. The vulnerability of such infrastructure was well know, and in fact this possibility of an escalation of Native resistance was a main part of why there was no massacre carried out against the Natives and supporters who held out in the Treatment Centre. On September 26, the last remaining defenders made the collective decision to disengage -- not surrender -- and began to move out of the area. They were, in theory, walking home, refusing to surrender for they had committed no "crimes" in defending sovereign Mohawk land. Needless to say, the colonialist occupation forces disagreed and captured the defenders, subjecting some of the Warriors to torture including beatings and mock executions.

At the same time, members of the Peigan Lonefighter's Society had diverted the sacred Oldman River away from a dam system in Alberta and confronted the RCMP. Milton Born With A Tooth would subsequently be arrested for firing two warning shots into the air. He has since been sentenced to 18 months.

As well, the Lil'wat nation in BC erected road blockades on their traditional land in an assertion of their sovereignty as well as part of the solidarity campaign with the Mohawks. Four months later the RCMP would raid the blockade and arrest some 50 Lil'wat and supporters, on November 6. On November 24, a logging operation on Lubicon Cree land in northern Alberta was attacked and some $20,000 damage inflicted on vehicles and equipment. Thirteen Lubicon Cree including Chief Bernard Ominayak were subsequently charged with the action but have yet to be put on trial; a trial they have refused to recognize as having any jurisdiction on Lubicon Cree land.

During the same period, Indigenous peoples in South America were carrying forward their struggles.

In Bolivia in October , 1990, some 800 Indians from the Amazon region -- Moxenos, Yuracares, Chimanes and Guaranies -- walked 330 miles from the northern city of Trinidad to La Paz in a month-long "March for Land and Dignity". When the march reached the mountain pass that separates the highlands from the Amazon plains, thousands of Aymaras, Quechuas and Urus from across the Bolivian highlands were there to greet them. Like their sisters and brothers in North America, this march was against logging operations as well as cattle ranching on Indian land.

In Ecuador, from June 4th to 8th, 1990, a widespread Indigenous uprising paralyzed the country. Nearly all major roads and highways were blocked, demonstrations and festivals of up to 50,000 spread throughout the country, despite massive police and military repression. Demonstrations were attacked, protesters beaten, tear-gassed and shot. Through the coordination of CONAIE (Confederacion de Nacionalidades del Ecuador) -- a national Indian organization formed in 1986 -- a 16 point "Mandate for the Defense, Life, and Rights of the Indigenous Nationalities" was released. The demands included control of Indian lands, constitutional and tax reforms, and the dissolution of various government-controlled pseudo-Indian organizations. The government agreed to negotiations on the demands; the uprising had restricted food supplies to the urban areas, disrupted water and electricity supply, closed down schools, and occupied oil wells, airports, and radio stations. The Indigenous uprising had effectively shut down the country.

In the 500 years since the Genocide first landed in the Caribbean, it's clear that the colonization process continues; the killings, thefts, and destruction of natural life continues. The original conquistadors have been replaced by military forces and death squads in the South, and by military and police forces in the North. European disease epidemics continue, now joined by deadly pesticides and industrial pollutants. Slavery is gone, so we are told, but in any case Indigenous peoples, Blacks, and poor Mestizos fill the prisons in disproportionate numbers. And some things haven't really changed at all: the original peoples still exist in conditions of poverty, suicides, and the despair of alcoholism -- conditions introduced 500 years ago. But something else has also remained: the spirit of resistance and the struggle against the colonizers. The resistance against this genocide has been continuous and shows that the people have neither been defeated nor conquered.

In this way, the Campaign for 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance in 1992 forms an important point in this history: "In our continent, history can be divided into 3 phases; before the arrival of the invaders; these five hundred years; and that period, beginning today, which we must define and build" (Campaign 500 Years of Resistance and Popular Resistance).

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
In the Spirit of Tupac Katari,
In Total Resistance.

 


 

FOOTNOTES

Sources for the population of Indigenous peoples prior to 1492 include:

Henry F. Dobyns, Native American Historical Demography: A Critical Bibliography, University of Indiana Press 1976; "Estimating Aboriginal Population: An Appraisal of Techniques with a New Hemispheric Estimate", Current Anthropology, no. 7, 1966.

Pierre Chanu, Conquete et Exploitation de Nouveaux Mondes (XVIe Siecle), Paris 1969 (estimates population at 80-100 million).

William R. Jacobs, "The Tip of an Iceberg; Revisionism", in William and Mary Quarterly, No. 31, 1974 (estimates population at 50-100 million).

Woodrow Wilson Borah, "America as Model: The Demographic Impact of European Expansion Upon the Non-European World", in Actas y Memorias XXXV Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Mexico 1962 (estimates population at 100 million). Source: Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Indians of the Americas.

1. Robert H. Fuson, The Log of Christopher Colombus, International Marine Publishing Co., Maine 1987, pg. 76.

2. Ibid, pg. 80. Colombo was inconsistent on the actual number of Taino he kidnapped.

3. Ibid, pg. 107.

4. Akwesasne Notes, Vol. 9, No. 4.

5. Jack Weatherford, Indian Givers, Ballantine Books, New York, 1988.

6. Alfred W. Crosby, "The Biological Consequences of 1492", Report on the Americas, Vol. XXV No. 2, pg. 11. 7. Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Indians of the Americas, Praeger Publishers, New York 1984.

8. Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest, University of North Carolina Press. Jennings documents the activities of these first colonies, frequently relying on period manuscripts.

9. Ibid, pg. 85.

10. Ibid, pg. 33.

11. Ibid, pg. 76.

12. Ortiz, op. cit.

13. John S. Milloy, "The Early Indian Acts: Developmental Strategy and Constitutional Change", As Long As The Sun Shines and Water Flows, University of BC Press, 1983, pg. 56.

14. George F. G. Stanley, "As Long as the Sun Shines and the Water Flows: An Historical Comment", ibid. pg. 5-6.

15. John L. Tobias, "Protection, Civilization, Assimilation: An Outline History of Canada's Indian Policy", ibid. pg. 40.

16. Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, "Aymara Past, Aymara Future", Report on the Americas, Vol. XXV No. 3, pg. 20. 17. John S. Henderson, The World of the Ancient Maya, Cornell University Press, 1981, pg. 32.

18. Sylvia Rivera Cusicanqui, op. cit.

19. Ibid. pg. 21.

20. Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, op. cit.

21. Quoted in Les Field, "Ecuador's Pan-Indian Uprising", Report on the Americas, Vol. XXV No. 3, pg. 41.

22. Andrew Gray, The Amerindians of South America, Minority Rights Group Report No. 15, London 1987, pg. 8.

23. G-7: the grouping of the seven most advanced industrialized countries consisting of Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the USA. The G-7 meet annually to determine world economic policies; together they hold dominant positions in the world economic order.

24. J. Sakai, Settlers: The Myth of the White Proletariat, Morningstar Press, 1989, pg. 27.

25. Ibid, pg. 25.

26. Ibid, pg. 31.

27. Ibid, pg. 39.

28. Ibid, pg. 41.

29. Euro-Canadian: a term used to distinguish between descendants of Europeans in the US and those in Canada.

30. Ortiz, op. cit.

31. Negotiations with the Mississaugas of southern Ontario were conducted as early as 1781, providing land for communities from the Haudenosaunee, whose lands were supplied to British loyalists in a strategic defensive line along the US border. Between 1781 and 1836, 23 such land cessions were conducted. Not treaties but instead "simple real estate deals" in which the British paid with goods and later money. In 1818 the practise was adopted of paying annuities. By 1830 these annual payments were directed at building houses and purchasing farm equipment -- in line with changing colonial practises. "This was then followed by the establishment of the band fund system", see As Long as the Sun Shines, op. cit., pg. 9.

32. Dara Culhane Speck, An Error in Judgement, Talonbooks, Vancouver 1987, pg. 72.

33. Wilson Duff, The Indian History of BC, Vol. 1: The Impact of the White Man, Anthropology in BC, Memoir No. 5, 1964. BC Provincial Museum, Victoria 1965 (First Edition), pg. 42.

34. Ibid, pg. 42.43.

35. John S. Milloy, op. cit., pg. 58.

36. Kathleen Jamieson, Indian Women and the Law in Canada: Citizens Minus, Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Indian Rights for Indian Women, Canada 1978, pg. 27-28.

37. Donald R. Colborne, Norman Ziotkin, "Internal Canadian Imperialism and the Native People", Imperialism, Nationalism, and Canada, Marxist Institute of Toronto, Between the Lines and New Hogtown Press 1987, pg. 164.

38. Ibid, pg. 167. Quote from Report of the Commission appointed to investigate the unfulfilled provisions of Treaties 8 and 11 as they apply to the Indians of the Mackenzie District, 1959, pgs. 3-4.

39. John L. Tobias, op. cit., pg. 46.

40. Quoted in Wilson Duff, op. cit., p. 69.

41. Andrew Gray, op. cit., pg. 8.

42. Quoted in Noam Chomsky, Turning the Tide: The US and Latin America, Black Rose Books, Montreal 1987, pg. 44.

43. Tom Barry, Deb Preusch, and Beth Wood, Dollars and Dictators, Grove Press Inc., New York 1983, pg. 122.

44. Bonnie Mass, The Political Economy of Population Control in Latin America, Editions Latin America, Montreal 1972, pg. 8.

45. Ibid, pg. 19.

46. Ibid, pg. 41.

47. "Growing Fight Against Sterilization of Native Women", Akwesasne Notes, Vol. 11 No. 1, Winter 1979, pg. 29.

48. Ibid, pg. 29.

49. Supysaua: A Documentary Report on the Conditions of Indian Peoples in Brazil, Indigena Inc. and American Friends of Brazil, Nov. 1974, pg. 48.

50. Ibid, pg. 6.

51. Norman Lewis, "Genocide", Supysaua, op. cit., pg. 9.

52. "The Politics of Genocide Against the Indians of Brazil", Supysaua, op. cit., pg. 35.

53. Government of Canada, statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy, 1969, pg. 11.

54. Jane Adams, "Mexico -- The Struggle for the Land", Indigena, Vol. 3 No. 1, Summer 1977, pg. 28, 30.

55. "On the Road to Wounded Knee", Indian Nation, Vol. 3, No. 1, April 1976, pg. 15.

56. "North American Sovereign Nations", Akwesasne Notes, Vol. 8 No. 4, pg. 16.

57. Akwesasne Notes, Vol. 8 No. 6.

58. Paula Giese, "The Last Indian War: For Energy", Report on the Third International Indian Treaty Conference, June 15-19 1977.

59. Ibid.

60. Ward Churchill, "Leonard Peltier, Political Prisoner: A Case History of the Land Rip-Offs", Red Road, No. 2, June 1991, pg. 6.

61. Ibid, pg. 6.

 

 
 
     

   

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LibertadLatina
Key new special sections
About the crisis of forced prostitution of minor girls and young women in the largest center for organized sex trafficking in Mexico: Tlaxcala state.

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Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Former Argentine spy Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola has been accused by his adult daughter, Lorena Martins, of running a sex trafficking ring based in Cancun, Mexico.

El “caso Martins”, al Congreso de la Unión

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados del Congreso de la Unión, solicitó la expulsión de Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola del país, debido a que significa un riesgo para la sociedad mexicana su presencia por lucrar con seres humanos.

La titular de la comisión, Rosi Orozco, afirmó que es urgente concretar la expulsión del país del ciudadano argentino Raúl Luis Martins al señalar que esta persona junto con un socio "está lucrando con seres humanos", por lo que es necesario que las autoridades mexicanas investiguen a fondo su presunta participación como líder de una red de trata de personas en Cancún y la Riviera Maya...

La legisladora federal explicó que "es urgente que las autoridades tomen cartas en el asunto, pues no entiendo cómo pueden no darse cuenta que el mismo abogado que defendió a Succar Kuri es quien ha estado defendiendo a este señor", puntualizó. Indicó que el asunto debe ser investigado de manera exhaustiva ya que se tiene una procuradora comprometida contra la trata de personas, a quien no le tiembla la mano para castigar a personas que explotan a niñas, niños y jóvenes. De acuerdo con medios de comunicación argentinos Martins Coggiola es líder de una red de trata de personas en centros nocturnos en su país y en Cancún, donde jóvenes sudamericanas son enganchadas con promesas de trabajo y posteriormente las obligan a prostituirse.

Lea el artículo completo

Congress considers the case of Raúl Martins

The Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons of the lower house of Congress has called for the expulsion of Argentine citizen Raul Luis Martins Coggiola, because his presence represents a risk to Mexican society due to his [ilicit] efforts to profit from human exploitation.

The head of the commission, Deputy Rosi Orozco, said it is urgent to realize the deportation of an Argentine Raul Luis Martins, stating that both he and a partner "are profiting from human beings," so it is necessary that the Mexican authorities thoroughly investigate his alleged role as the leader of a trafficking network based in [the beach resort cities of] Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Deputy Orozco explained that "it is urgent that the authorities take action on the matter...I do not understand how they have failed to realize that the lawyer who defended [infamous convicted millionaire child pornographer Jean] Succar Kuri is the same one who has been defending this man." She added that the matter should be investigated comprehensively, given that we now have a prosecutor who is dedicated to human trafficking cases and whose hand does not tremble when it comes to the task of punishing those who exploit children and youth. According to Argentine media reports, Martins Coggiola leads a human trafficking network based in nightclubs both in Argentina and in Cancun, Mexico, where young South American women are entrapped with false promises of jemployment, and are then forced into prostitution.

Read the full article

Por Esto

Feb. 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Lorena Martins, daughter of Raul Martins

Argentine ex-spy accused of sex trafficking

The daughter of former Argentine intelligence officer Raul Martins will arrive in Mexico this week with evidence that her father is running a sex trafficking ring in the Mexican resort city of Cancun, an activist told EFE Monday.

Lorena Martins will deliver the evidence to Mexican lawmaker Rosi Orozco, who chairs a special committee investigating human trafficking, Gustavo Vera, head of the NGO La Alameda, said.

Lorena has already filed a criminal complaint in Argentina accusing her father of luring Argentine women and girls to Cancun and then forcing them into prostitution.

Read the full article

IANS/EFE

Jan. 31, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Prostitution Network Buenos Aries – Cancun case will go to the Chamber of Deputies in Mexico City

Lorena Martins daughter of Raul Martins, an Argentine former spy accused of managing a prostitution network in Cancun that has reached even the mayor of Buenos Aires of receiving money for his campaign from this illegal activity in Mexico, will flight to Mexico City to denounce her father before the Chamber of Deputies, reported the Excelsior.

Lorena Martins will present emails, cell phones and other materials as proofs of a prostitution network between Buenos Aires and Cancun that ties her father Raul Martins with several businessmen, politicians and high ranking official in Mexico.

Read the full article

The Yucatan Times

Jan. 31, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Tratan de expulsarlo por la trata

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Diputados de México pidió que Raúl Martins fuera deportado. Sus abogados apelaron. Lorena, su hija, entregó a la jueza Servini de Cubría el diario de una ex de su padre en el que relata la trata de dos niñas.

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados de México pidió ayer la expulsión de Raúl Martins. El pedido es un reflejo de la denuncia de su hija, Lorena, quien relató la forma en que la organización de su padre llevó chicas argentinas, brasileñas y de otras nacionalidades a ejercer la prostitución en Cancún. Ya en 2010, la multipremiada periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho, en su libro Esclavas del Poder, tituló el capítulo sobre Martins con el nombre de “El Intocable”. En Buenos Aires, Lorena se presentó ante la jueza María Romilda Servini de Cubría, que finalmente es quien investigará el caso, y le entregó pruebas manuscritas de un diario de una ex pareja de su padre en la que se relata cómo le trajeron dos chicas de 15 años. Otras evidencias fueron remitidas a la jueza por el procurador Esteban Righi.

Lorena Martins estuvo cinco días en México. Presentó las denuncias ante la Comisión de Lucha contra la Trata y también ante la Procuración General de la República. La joven fue recibida por la primera dama de México, Margarita Zavala, en la sede del gobierno azteca, de manera que el interés por el caso –adelantado en exclusiva por Página/12 en diciembre– llegó hasta el más alto nivel del país del Norte.

Ayer, la diputada Rosy Orozco, titular de la Comisión de Trata, pidió la expulsión de Martins de México, porque “está lucrando con seres humanos. Es urgente que las autoridades se den cuenta de que quien defiende a este señor es el mismo que defendió a Succar Kury”, un famoso pederasta, poderoso dueño de una cadena hotelera, que hasta decía en un video que mantenía relaciones sexuales con niñas, incluso de cinco años. El caso también fue investigado por Lydia Cacho en el libro Los demonios del Edén.

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Congressional members call for the expulsion of Raúl Martins from Mexico

The Special Commission to Combat Human Trafficking in the Lower House of Congress has requested that Raúl Martins be deported. Martins' lawyers have appealed. Martins' daughter Lorena has turned over evidence to a Judge Servini de Cubría

The Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons of the of the lower house of Congresss yesterday asked the expulsion of Raul Martins. The demand is a reaction to a complaint made by Martins' daughter Lorena, who recounted how her father's [ilicit human trafficking] organization has brought women from Argentina, Brazil and other nations to engage in prostitution in the city of Cancun, Mexico. In 2010, the award-winning Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho, in her book Servants of Power, mentions Martins in a chapter called "The Untouchable." In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lorena appeared before Judge Maria Romilda Servini de Cubria, who investigated the case, and provided evidence in the form of a handwritten diary written by a former girlfriend of her father, in which she relates how Raul Martins had [sex] trafficked two 15-year-old girls. Other evidence was submitted to the judge by the prosecutor Esteban Righi.

Lorraine Martins [recently] spent five days in Mexico. She presented her complaints before the Special Commission to Combat Human Trafficking [of the lower house of Congress], as well as before the federal Attorney General's Office. She was also received by the first lady of Mexico, Margarita Zavala in the seat of the Aztec [Mexican] government, showing that the case, which was releaved by Page12 reporters in December of 2011, had reached the highest level of attention. .

Yesterday, Deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the congressional anti-trafficking commission, called for the expulsion of Martins from Mexico, because, she said, "he is profiting from human exploitation. It is urgent that the authorities realize that the lawyer who is defending Martins also represented [convicted child sex trafficker] Jean Succar Kuri," an infamous pedophile and powerful hotel chain owner, who had once been recorded with hidden video admitting that he had engaged in sexual acts with girls as young as age five. The case was [first exposed by anti-trafficking activist and journalist] Lydia Cacho in her book The Demons of Eden.

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Raúl Kollmann

Page 12

Feb. 09, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina / Paraguay / Dominican Republic

Prostitution ring brought people from Argentina to Mexico

Buenos Aires.- A prostitution ring operated by former Argentine spy Raul Martins, reported yesterday in Mexico by his own daughter, started by advertising vacancies in local newspapers and culminated in the sexual exploitation of women in Cancun, Mexico.

Gustavo Vera, representative of La Alameda, a prestigious organization dedicated to denouncing people trafficking for labor and sexual slavery in the South American country, told Notimex details of the operation.

In fact, La Alameda published the photo of Martins with the mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, who is alleged to have received funding of the alleged pimp in his election campaign.

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Cecilia Gonzalez

Notimex

Feb. 02, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mayoría de víctimas de trata de personas en NY son hispanos

Nueva York - Más de la mitad de los afectados por la trata de personas y que viven en el estado de Nueva York son inmigrantes latinoamericanos obligados a realizar trabajos forzados o a prostituirse, según datos de la mayor agencia de servicios a víctimas de Estados Unidos.

Un 58% de los clientes de Safe Horizon, la agencia más importante de servicios de víctimas en el país, proviene de Latinoamérica, dijo la organización a The Associated Press. Aproximadamente un 24% de esas víctimas son mexicanos.

Las victimas de trata no tienen oportunidad de denunciar su situación por temor a ser deportados.

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The majority of human trafficking victims in New York are Hispanic

New York - According to data gathered by the largest [non profit] victim service agency in the United States, more than half of New York ressidents who are victimized by human trafficking are Latino immigrants who are forced into prostitution or labor exploitation.

Some 58% of the clients of Safe Horizon were Latin Americans, the organization told The Associated Press. Approximately 24% of those victims were Mexican.

[Many immigrant] victims of trafficking have have not had an opportunity to speak out de to their fear of being deported.

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The Associated Press

Feb. 04, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

New York City, USA / Mexico

Sex slave's story: Woman duped into leaving Mexico, forced to New York City's trafficking underworld

Sofia tells the Daily News how a "boyfriend" tricked her into leaving Mexico illegally -- and forced her into the life of a sex slave.

Her boyfriend told her they were leaving Mexico to live with his relatives in Queens, get restaurant jobs and build a happy life in America.

Instead, she was forced into a life of sex slavery — made to work as a “delivery girl” prostitute riding from john to john in a livery cab.

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Erica Pearson

New York Daily News

Feb. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexican Member of Congress and leading anti-trafficking advocate Deputy Rosi Orozco

Cada semana llegan a Tijuana decenas de niñas y mujeres de para ser forzadas a prostituirse: Rosi Orozco

Diputada Rosi Orozco: "cada semana llegan a Tijuana, Baja California, autobuses y aviones con decenas de niñas y mujeres de entre 3 a 65 años de edad para ser forzadas a prostituirse, refirió."

Distrito Federal.-La presidenta de la Comisión Especial para la Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, diputada Rosi Orozco (PAN), impulsa un punto de acuerdo para la colocación de un muro en las instalaciones del Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro, en el que se exhiban fotografías de niñas, niños y mujeres desaparecidos por posible trata de personas. Además, que el Canal del Congreso difunda, de manera permanente, cápsulas con las imágenes de las posibles víctimas, así como los datos de las instancias competentes para formular denuncias, como señal de solidaridad y efectivo auxilio, precisó la legisladora.

Señaló que la trata de personas con fines sexuales es el tercer negocio ilícito más lucrativo a nivel mundial, después del tráfico de drogas y armas; genera al año diez mil millones de dólares.

La gran mayoría de las víctimas provienen de contextos en los que difícilmente pueden conocer plenamente sus derechos, subrayó.

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Each week, dozens of girl children and women are trafficked into sexual slavery in [the Mexico/U.S.] border city of Tijuana

Deputy Rosi Orozco: "According to a study conducted by the College of the Northern Frontier (Colegio de la Frontera Norte), each week dozens of girls and women between the ages of 3 and 65 are brought by bus and by air to the city of Tijuana, in the state of Baja California so that they can be exploited sexually."

Mexico Ciy - National Actional Party deputy Rosi Orozco, who is President of the Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons in the lower house of Congress, has introduced a resolution for the placement of a mural on the premises of the Legislative Palace of San Lazaro, where the photographs of children and women who have disappeared and may be vicims of human trafficking will be displayed. In addition, Deputy Orozco proposes that the Congress Channel permanently broadcast segments that show the images of possible victims, as well as instuctions for filing human trafficking complaints, as a practical act of solidarity and assistance.

Orozco noted that human trafficking for sexual purposes is the third most lucrative illicit business worldwide, after drugs and arms trafficking, generating a year ten billion dollars.

The vast majority of victims come from contexts [situations] where it is difficult for them to fully know their rights, she said.

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El Observador Diario

Feb. 04, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

California, USA / Mexico

Human Trafficking Continues To Rise Along San Diego-Tijuana Border

San Diego - Nearly every official who attended the second annual bi-national forum to address human trafficking in Chula Vista agreed: Human trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border is on the rise.

Government figures show about 18,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year. But officials also acknowledge there are many more victims hidden in communities who are sold for prostitution, labor or other services. Often times the illegal practice goes unreported.

The goal of Thursday's forum was to improve collaboration between agencies on both sides of the border to help crackdown on human trafficking and child prostitution.

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Marissa Cabrera

Fronteras Desk

Jan. 16, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

New York City, USA / Mexico

ICE agent cites 'disturbing and subhuman' methods used to trick young women into sex slavery

"It’s very difficult for us to break through to the average American, the average New Yorker and let them know that people in 2011 and 2012 are actually held against their will," says Special Agent in Charge James Hayes, Jr., of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

G-men and cops are busting twice as many human traffickers, but advocates say a sickening number of immigrants are being forced into prostitution in the city.

Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement racked up 172 arrests for trafficking in the metropolitan area, up from 75 the previous year.

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Erica Pearson

New York Daily News

Feb. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Presentan marcas de abuso sexual, bebes recuperados en Jalisco

En entrevista con Hoy por Hoy con Salvador Camarena, Tomás Coronado Olmos, procurador de Justicia de Jalisco, ratificó que bebés adoptados ilegalmente en dicha entidad presentan huellas de abuso sexual. “De los 11 menorcitos recuperados, seis presentan marcas de violencia sexual”.

“De los 11 menorcitos recuperados, seis presentan marcas de violencia sexual”.

Derivado de las investigaciones que realiza la PGR, dijo, hay nueve detenidos pero aun no se precisa si extranjeros de origen irlandés están relacionados con las agresiones sufridas por los menores.

“Los tenemos plenamente identificados y el embajador de Irlanda en México ha estado muy al pendiente. Una vez que concluya el proceso se determinará su situación jurídica”.

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Children put up for adoption in the cityof Jalisco show signs of sexual abuse

Jalisco state Attorney General Tomás Coronado Olmos has confirmed that the babies show signs of abuse.

"Six of 11 recovered todlers show signs of sexual abuse"

According to the federal Attorney General's Office, their investigations into this case have resulted in nine arrests. The authorities have not yet determined whether prospective adoptive parents from Ireland have any connection to the abuses.

"The [couples seeking adoption] have been identified. Ireland's ambassador in Mexico has been very attentive. After completion of the process the legal status of the prospective parents will be determined."

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wradio.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco at recent anti-trafficking forum

México, segundo lugar en pornografía infantil a nivel mundial

El 45 por ciento de las víctimas de trata son indígenas, dijo la diputada Rosi Orozco. En tanto que Margarita Zavala consideró fundamental combatir de manera frontal este delito.

El 45 por ciento de las víctimas de trata son indígenas, dijo la diputada Rosi Orozco. En tanto que Margarita Zavala consideró fundamental combatir de manera frontal este delito.

México está ubicado en el segundo lugar en producción de pornografía infantil a nivel mundial, afirmó la presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, diputada panista Rosi Orozco al inaugurar el Foro Líderes de Opinión Contra la Trata de Personas.

En presencia de la presidenta del Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, la legisladora subrayó que el delito de trata de personas ocupa el segundo lugar a nivel mundial, como el negocio ilícito más redituable para el crimen organizado, con 42 mil millones de dólares, y después está el de la venta de armas.

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Mexico holds second place globally in [the production of] child pornography

Some 45% of human trafficking victims in Mexico are indigenous, according to Deputy Rosi Orozco. First Lady Margarita Zavala declares that confronting trafficking head-on is fundamental.

Some 45% of trafficking victims are indigenous, according to Deputy Rosi Orozco.

According to National Action Party Depurty Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Lower House of Congress, Mexico holds a second-place position in the global production of child pornography. Deputy Orozco made these remarks as she opened the forum Opinion Leaders Against Human Trafficking. The event was attended by Mexico's First Lady Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, who is also the president of the National System for Integral Family Development (the nation's social services agency).

Depurty Orozco explained that the global human trafficking business brings in ilicit earning of $42 billion per year, making it the most profitable criminal enterprise after illegal arms trafficking.

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Grupo Fórmula

Jan. 24, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

México, Segundo en Pornografia Infantil en el Mundo

Trata de personas y pornografía infantil, delitos graves… Al señalar que México es de los cinco países del orbe con el mayor problema en materia de trata de personas y segundo en pornografía infantil, la diputada panista Rosi Orozco previno que el delito de la trata, ya superó las ganancias que obtiene la delincuencia organizada por el tráfico de armas a nivel mundial, con más de 42 mil millones de dólares.

Al inaugurar el foro “Líderes de Opinión contra la Trata de Personas”, sostuvo que por todo ello, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas escogió a nuestro país para iniciar la campaña del Corazón Azul, donde se pretende sensibilizar a la población y a las autoridades para erradicar el delito.

En nuestro país, el negocio de la trata de personas sigue en ascenso; mientras que a la fecha, sólo 19 entidades del país tienen una Ley contra la Trata de Personas, y únicamente el Distrito Federal, Puebla y Chiapas han aplicado sentencias condenatorias.

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Mexico: The second largest producer of child pornography globally

Human trafficking and child pornography, felonies ... Noting that Mexico is among the five countries in the world with the biggest problem in terms of trafficking in child pornography and second, the National Action Party's Deputy Rosi Orozco, who is a member of the Lower House of Congress, has warned that the crime of trafficking has surpassed the profits earned through ilicit arms trafficking, and now amount to $42 billion dollars per year [in criminal profits].

During her presentation opening the forum Opinion Leaders Against Trafficking in Persons, Deputy Orozco added that the Organization of the United Nations chose Mexico to start its [global] Blue Heart campaign, which aims to sensitize the population and authorities with the goal of eradicating modern human slavery.

In our country, the business of trafficking in persons continues to rise, while to date only 19 states [out of 32 federated entities] in the country have a law against trafficking in persons, and only the Federal District [Mexico City], and the states of Puebla and Chiapas have have handed down sentences in criminal cases associated with these crimes.

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Jaime Arizmendi

Quadratín

Jan. 25, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico No. 2 Producer Of Child Porn, Lawmakers Say

Mexico is the world's No. 2 producer of child pornography and is classified as a source, transit and destination country for people traffickers involved in sexual exploitation, lawmakers said.

Child pornography is the No. 2 illegal business, trailing only drug trafficking, and generates $42 billion annually, Special Committee to Fight People Trafficking chairwoman Rosi Orozco said.

Indians account for about 45 percent of the victims, Orozco, a member of the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, said at the start of a forum in Mexico City on people trafficking.

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EFE

Jan. 26, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Estados más pobres, vulnerables a trata de personas: PAN

La diputada Rosi Orozco, apuntó que en el tema de la trata de personas, ahora se ha hecho mucha conciencia, luego que tiempo atrás se veía una marcada ignorancia de lo que sucedía. Asimismo, dijo ya hay acciones encaminadas a terminar con la pornografía infantil, "con los ciberdelitos que agreden tan fuertemente a los niños, niñas y jóvenes".

Rosi Orozco, diputada del PAN quien ha buscado combatir desde tiempo atrás la trata de personas, destacó el encuentro que se llevó a cabo el día de ayer en donde una chica por primera vez dio su testimonio sin cubrirse el rostro.

Explicó que la joven, quien en el libro "Del cielo al infierno", narró su historia de cómo la habían enganchado a través de enamoramiento, con el que se sentía en el cielo al estar con un príncipe, para después bajar a lo peor de un infierno de vida, de golpes para obligarla a prostituirse.

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Mexico's poorest states are vulnerable to human trafficking: National Action Party

During a recent event focused on the topic of human trafficking in Mexico, Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the National Action Party stated that significant public awareness of the issue has now been acheived, after a period in which ignorance about the facts had prevailed. She added legislation is being considered by Congress that will put an end to child pornography and "cybercrimes that seriously assault children and youth." First Lady Margarita Zavala and the media also attended.

Deputy Orozco, who has had long sought to combat human trafficking, said the meeting that was held yesterday included for the first time testimony by a victim who appeared without hiding her face.

Deputy Orozco explained that the youth, who's story is told in Orozco's book "From Heaven to Hell", related the story of how she was entrapped by a trafficker who pretended to fall in love with her. She felt that she was in heaven with her prince. Later, she fell into the worst depths of hell-on-earth when the same man beat her to force her into prostitution.

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Paola Rojas

Grupo Fòrmula

Jan. 25, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Avances, no descartan riesgos de frenar ley

No se descartan riesgos en San Lázaro que frenen la aprobación de la Ley para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas y los Delitos Relacionados, toda vez que al momento sólo 104 legisladores de todos los partidos la han avalado, todavía falta trecho por andar, y aunque “está bastante acordada”, todos los esfuerzos se hacen para que avance, a fin de combatir el lacerante comercio y explotación sexual de seres humanos: niñas, niños y mujeres.

La diputada del PAN Rosi Orozco, presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas aclaró: “no he politizado ninguna situación, realmente va más allá de los partidos, estamos hablando de nuestros mexicanos, de nuestros niñas y niños y protegerlos a ellos no tiene colores”, ya que es una esclavitud en pleno siglo XXI, advirtió en entrevista durante la sesión en San Lázaro.

Confió que en este último periodo ordinario de la LXI Legislatura salga la Ley para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas, “es una ley que no tiene por qué no salir, la gente que está en las comisiones está de acuerdo en que tengamos una Ley General, lo difícil fue sacar la reforma al artículo 73 y eso, pues ya se logró” apunta la legisladora albiceleste.

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Human trafficking legislation advances in Congress, members decline to reveal hidden threats to passage

Congressional lawmakers have declined to reveal the sources of hidden influences that are putting efforts to pass the proposed Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Trafficking in Persons and Related Crimes at risk. Currently, only 104 federal lawmakers from across Mexico's political parties have endorsed the proposal. Although significant work needs to be accomplished to achieve passage of the bill, basic agreement has been reached [on the need for an enforceable federal anti-trafficking law]. All possible efforts are being made to advance the bill, which will allow [a more effective federal effort to fight the damaging effects of the labor and sexual exploitation of girls, boys and women].

During an interview held in San Lazaro (the seat of Congress), National Action Party (PAN) Deputy Rosi Orozco, who is the president of the Special Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in the lower house of Congress said: "I have not politicized this effort. It [is a campaign that] really goes beyond the [interests of individual political] parties. What we are talking about here are our Mexican people, our children. They don't have colors [political affiliations]." She added that this [crisis] is a 21st Century form of slavery.

Deputy Orozco added that she hopes that, during the latter period of the 61st [LXI] Legislature's regular session, the Law to Prevent, Punish and Erradicate Human Trafficking will be passed." She noted that there is no reason why the bill should not pass, given that the members of the relevant congressional commissions [committees] are in agreement that we should have a general law against trafficking [a general law is the only form of federal law that may actually be enforced by federal authorities in the states]. The hardest part was achieving the reform of Article 73, said Orozco [During 2011, President Felipe Calderón achieved the passage of amendments to Articles 19, 20 and 73 of the Mexican Constitution to remove certain obstacles to the prosecution of human trafficking cases].

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Luz María Alonso Sánchez

El Punto Critico

Feb. 03, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Ritmoson combate con música trata de personas

Crean campaña para generar conciencia del delito y cerrarán con un concierto

El tercer delito más lucrativo en México y otros países es la trata de personas, por ello, crear conciencia entre los jóvenes y niños para no ser víctimas de él es la pretensión del canal Ritmoson Latino.

Con la campaña Música libre, la señal internacional puso a andar su tercera iniciativa social, esta vez para combatir un “grave problema”.

Ricky Martin, Calle 13, Selena Gomez y Kinky, entre otros artistas, hacen el llamado que a partir de este mes y hasta julio próximo se transmitirá por televisión restringida y redes sociales oficiales.

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Ritmoson TV channel to run anti-trafficking campaign

The third most lucrative crime in Mexico and other countries is human trafficking. Therefore, the Latino Ritmoson channel, which is a part of the Televisa network, has created a trafficking prevention campaign to raise awareness among children and youth.

The international channel's Free Music campaign is its third social initiative, directed, this time, at addressing a "grave problem."

Performing artists] Ricky Martin, Calle 13, Selena Gomez. Kinky, among other artists will promote the campaign between now and July of 2012. It will be broadcast on television and by way of social media networks.

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Josue Fabián Arellano M.

El Universal

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

California, USA / Mexico

Bill Aims to Make It Easier to Prosecute Child Sex Traffickers

As child sex trafficking expands as a source of money for San Diego gangs, there’s an effort to make it easier for prosecutors to go after pimps.

The way California law is written now, prosecutors have to prove force or coercion when a sex trafficking victim is younger than 18. Because so many victims are lured by pimps through emotional bribery or promises of work, it’s been difficult for prosecutors to prove trafficking.

Susan Munsey is with the nonprofit group Generate Hope which helps trafficking victims get back on their feet. She said Assembly Bill 90, which changes the standard of proof from forced to encouraged or persuaded, is badly needed.

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Amita Sharma

Fronteras Desk

Aug..12, 2011


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Lideraba "La Niurka" red de prostitución de menores

Tijuana.- Una orden de aprehensión por el presunto delito de trata de personas le fue cumplimentada a María Guadalupe Román Valenzuela, alias "La Niurka", señalada como quien lideraba una red de prostitución con mujeres menores de edad desde el año 2005.

Fueron agentes de la Policía Estatal Preventiva quienes finalmente le concretaron el mandato judicial que pesaba en su contra desde el año 2007 por el delito de lenocinio, cuya figura delictiva fue cambiada con motivo de la entrada en vigor de la Ley Contra la Trata de Personas en el estado.

La Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Estatal informó que la detención de la fémina, también conocida como "La Tía", se llevó a cabo la tarde del domingo al ubicarla tras semanas de investigación en el fraccionamiento La Bodega, en la ciudad de Mexicali.

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Police arrest child sex trafficker known as "La Niurka"

The city of Tijuana - An arrest warrant for the alleged crime of human trafficking ihas been carried out against Maria Guadalupe Roman Valenzuela, also known as "The Niurka." Authorities indicate that since 2005, Roman Valenzuela has lead a prostitution ring that exploits underage girls.

The [Baja California] State Preventive Police (SSPE) arrested Roman Valenzuela, who had been wanted since 2007 on charges of pimping. The charges were later modified after the enactment of the state's Law Against Human Trafficking.

The State Secretariat of Public Security reported that the arrest of the suspect, who also went by the name of "Auntie," took place Sunday afternoon following a weeks-long investigation in the La Bodega neighborhood in the city of Mexicali.

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Manuel Cordero

El Sol de Tijuana

Jan. 17, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Journalist, women's center director and anti-trafficking advocate Lydia Cacho

Lydia Cacho wins Olof Palme Prize 2011

Lydia Cacho, Mexican journalist and writer, and Roberto Saviano, Italian author, were awarded with Olof Palme Prize 2011. They both spoke about justice and human rights issues in their native countries with a great deal of courage, and currently they are living under threats and persecution.

In 2009, Lydia Cacho received a lot of attention at the Göteborg Book Fair, where she presented the translated version of her book "I will not let myself be intimidated". She wrote it based on her life experience in Mexico – her motherland, where she is known for her accusations of corruption among Mexican politicians and businessmen.

In 2005, by having written "Demons of Eden", she exposed paedophile Succar Kuri's network in Cancun and named several accomplices among high-ranking politicians and businessmen. Since that moment the author has lived under constant death threats. Besides being an author and having written seven books in total, since 2000, Lydia Cacho has been sheltering vulnerable women and children in Cancún, where they get an opportunity to retreat.

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Göteborg Book Fair

Jan. 30, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Peru

Lanzan campaña contra la trata de menores en la minería informal

La ONG Save The Children y la Unión Europea lanzaron este fin de semana una intensa campaña para erradicar la explotación sexual y laboral de niños y adolescentes en la minería informal en Madre de Dios (selva sur), una de las regiones más pobres de Perú.

La ONG Save The Children y la Unión Europea lanzaron este fin de semana una intensa campaña para erradicar la explotación sexual y laboral de niños y adolescentes en la minería informal en Madre de Dios (selva sur), una de las regiones más pobres de Perú.

"Una de las metas de la campaña es recuperar con apoyo de la policía y fiscalía a unos mil niños, niñas y adolescentes explotadas sexual y laboralmente en campamentos de la minería informal en Madre de Dios", dijo a la AFP Teresa Carpio Villegas, representante de Save The Children en Perú.

En los campamentos las menores son explotadas en cantinas convertidas en prostíbulos conocidos como 'prostibares', así como en, entre otras actividades, en la extracción de oro y la servidumbre, señaló Carpio.

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NGO launches [million dollar] campaign against child trafficking in Peru's remote informal mining camps

THe NGO Save the Children and the Earopean Union are launching a compaign this week to intensity efforts to eradicate the sexual and labor exploitation of children and youth in the informal mining camps of Madre de Dios, one of Peru's poorest regions.

The NGO Save The Children and the European Union this weekend launched an intensive campaign to eradicate sexual and labor exploitation of children and adolescents in the informal mining region of Madre de Dios (Mother of God), one of the poorest regions of Peru.

"One of the goals of the campaign is to organize police and prosecutorial support to rescue approximately 1,000 children and teens who are exploited for sex and labor in informal mining camps of the Madre de Dios," he told AFP Teresa Carpio Villegas, who Save the Children's representative in Peru.

In the mining camps, children are exploited in bars that have been converted into brothels and are known as 'prostibars.' Minors are also exploited to work in gold mining and [other forms of] servitude, Carpio said.

Read the full article

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Jan. 30, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Indigenous Mexico

Indigenous women are marginalized in Mexican society. Comprising 15-to30 percent of the population, they and their underage daughters make up an estimated 45% of all human trafficking victims in the Aztec nation (Mexico).

Voces del pueblo indígena

México-. La situación de asimetría y desigualdad ha hecho que históricamente los pueblos indígenas en México sean marginados y excluidos de los procesos de toma de decisiones en el país.

En la actualidad, con una población que se acerca a los 16 millones de habitantes, de ellos más de mitad mujeres, de acuerdo con estimados de la Movimiento Indígena Nacional (MIN), estos grupos se localizan, fundamentalmente en los estados de Yucatán (59 por ciento) y Oaxaca (48 por ciento).

También en Quintana Roo (39), Chiapas (28), Campeche (27), Hidalgo (24), Puebla (19), Guerrero (17), San Luis Potosí (15) y Veracruz (15).

Lea el artículo completo

Voices of indigenous peoples

Conditions of inequality have historically resulted in the indigenous peoples being marginalized and excluded from the decision making process in Mexico.

Today, with their population is approaching 16 million people. Over half of them are women, according to estimates from the National Indigenous Movement (MIN). These groups are located mainly in the states of Yucatan (where they are 59% of the state's total population) and Oaxaca (where they are 48%).

The indigenous population is also significant in several other states: Quintana Roo (39%), Chiapas (28%), Campeche (27%), Hidalgo (24%), Puebla (19%), Guerrero (17%), San Luis Potosi (15%) and Veracruz (15%).

Read the full article

Deisy Francis Mexidor

Prensa Latina


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Agents save 13 from sex slavery in Mexican bar

The city of San cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas state - Investigators say they have rescued a group of 13 women and girls, mostly from Central America, who were forced to have sex with clients at a bar in southern Mexico.

Chiapas state prosecutor Miguel Hernandez says at least half of the 13 women were minors, and 10 were from Central America.

Hernandez and other agents raided the bar in the town of Teopisca Saturday and arrested the manager, 42-year-old Mauri Diaz, on human trafficking, prostitution and corruption of minors charges.

Read the full article

The Associated Press

Feb. 4, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico unravels child trafficking ring

Zapopan - The Irish couples ensnared in an apparent illegal adoption ring in western Mexico thought they were involved in a legal process and are devastated by allegations organisers were trafficking in children, the families said.

"All the families have valid declarations to adopt from Mexico as issued by the Adoption Authority of Ireland," they said in a statement, which was read over the phone to The Associated Press by their lawyer in Mexico, Carlos Montoya.

Prosecutors in Mexico contend the traffickers tricked destitute young Mexican women trying to earn more for their children and childless Irish couples desperate to become parents.

Read the full article

News24

Jan. 24, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Central America

Rescatan a centroamericanos víctimas del tráfico de personas

Some 73 undocumented Central Americans have been located and rescued by army units after being held in 'safe houses' that were presumably owned by human traffickers.

El Ejército mexicano encontró a 73 inmigrantes indocumentados en presuntas casas de traficantes de personas en el nororiental estado de Tamaulipas, informó el jueves la Secretaría de la Defensa.

La acción se realizó el martes en la ciudad de Reynosa "de manera coordinada, simultánea y sorpresiva" y permitió la detención de cuatro personas. Entre los indocumentados, cuyas nacionalidades no se dieron a conocer, había 18 menores de edad, informó DPA.

Lea el artículo completo

Central American human trafficking victims are rescued

Se trata de 73 indocumentados localizados por el ejército en casas que presuntamente pertenecen a traficantes de seres humanos.

The Mexican army has found 73 illegal immigrants in alleged human trafficking safe houses located in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the Secretary of Defense announced Thursday.

The action took place on Tuesday in the city of Reynosa "in a coordinated suprise raid" that led to the arrest of four people. Among the undocumented, whose nationalities were not released, there were 18 children.

Read the full article

El Universal

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

The World

UNODC: The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons

The UNODC report focuses on the close interrelation between corruption and human trafficking, critiquing existing international legal instruments that deal only indirectly with this problem, and providing recommendations on how to strengthen these tools.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime outlines the impetus for its report:

Trafficking in persons and corruption are closely linked criminal activities, whose interrelation is frequently referred to in international fora. Yet, the correlation between the two phenomena, and the actual impact of corruption on trafficking in persons, are generally neglected in the development and implementation of anti-human trafficking policies and measures. This lack of attention may substantially undermine initiatives to combat trafficking in persons and prevent the customization of responses as needed. Only after recognizing the existence and the effects of corruption in the context of human trafficking, can the challenges posed by it be met.

Read the full article

Insight Crime

Feb. 13, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Oklahoma Human Trafficking Operation May Have Ties To Mexican Cartels

Oklahoma City - We're learning more about a human trafficking operation busted last week in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It appears to have ties to a Mexican human trafficking ring, which are said to be some of the most violent and brutal.

A search warrant obtained by News 9 reveals a victim of human trafficking, who was rescued in Tulsa, said she was also held against her will in Oklahoma City.

She told investigators she was held at the apartments off S.W. 59th Street and Harvey during the first part of January, and that she and others were forced to have sex with multiple strange men.

Read the full article

Adrianna Iwasinski

Oklahoma News 6

Feb. 06, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Pretenden regular pornografía en Baja California

Baja california es uno de los estados que ofrece más turismo sexual en México, es por esto que el Partido Encuentro Social presentará este mes una iniciativa ante el Congreso del Estado para que las compañías proveedoras de internet regulen el consumo de la pornografía.

La iniciativa pretende regular el uso de internet en el aparto de Gobierno y el sector educativo, además el que vende internet debe cuidar el acceso de los menores el uso de la pornografía reveló el presidente Estatal del PES, Javier Peña García.

“Es una iniciativa ciudadana, pero estamos invitando a las diferentes fracciones de los partidos a que se adhieran en esto para que salga en común acuerdo con todos los partidos de Baja California”, adelantó.

Lea el artículo completo

Legislators work to regulate online pornography in Baja California state

Baja California is one states that offers the most sex tourism in Mexico, which is why the Social Encounter Party will, later this month, present a proposal to the State Congress that will require Internet service provider companies to regulated the consumption of pornography.

The initiative seeks to regulate Internet use in government agencies and in the education sector. The measure will also insist that companies that provide Internet services take measures to limit that access of minors to pornography. which also sells Internet access to take care of children using pornography revealed the leader of the state branch of the Social Encounter Party (PES), Javier García Peña.

"It's a citizens' initiative, but we are inviting the different political parties in Baja California to agree to this so that we may present a common front on the issue," he stated.

Read the full article

Uni Rdio Informa

Feb. 13, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Bolivia

In Bolivia, Many Indigenous Communities Turn to Vigilantism to Fight Crime

If a man kills another man in the harsh high plains of Jesús de Machaca or the lush lowlands of Beni, the people who catch him might not call the police. Instead they might call a meeting.

Far from courthouses and police stations that may not know their languages, and despite having no jails to lock up criminals, remote villagers in Bolivia have quietly kept justice in their own hands for centuries, handling everything from malicious gossip to murder. They have demanded fines, doled out whippings, even banished people from the pueblo. These community courts have sometimes been criticized for trampling on human rights, especially when it comes to the rights of women, but indigenous leaders say they work better for them than the regular system.

To press a case in the ordinary courts, “you must hire a lawyer and spend money on paperwork,” says Justina Vélez, who represents Pando, the northernmost province of Bolivia, in an organization of female peasants named for the indigenous hero Bartolina Sisa. “All the courthouses are located in the main cities.… The indigenous authorities are right here where we live.”

Read the full article

Emily Alpert

Indian Country Today

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico Official Admits Some Areas Out of Government Control

At a military ceremony yesterday, Mexican Defense Minister Guillermo Galvan Galva described the national security situation in stark terms. “Clearly, in some sectors of the country public security has been completely overrun,” said Galvan, adding that “it should be recognized that national security is seriously threatened.” He went on to say that organized crime in the country has managed to penetrate not only society, but also the country’s state institutions.

Galvan also endorsed the military’s role in combating insecurity, asserting that although they have a responsibility to acknowledge that “there have been mistakes,” the armed forces have an “unrestricted” respect for human rights.

InSight Crime Analysis

Read the full article

Geoffrey Ramsey

InSight Crime

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Operan 47 redes de trata de personas en México

Diputados piden a los tres órdenes de gobierno crear políticas adecuadas en la materia

La Cámara de Diputados pidió a los tres órdenes de gobiernos que combatan de manera integral el delito de trata de personas, debido a que en México operan al menos 47 redes que se dedican a este ilícito, de acuerdo con datos de la Red Nacional de Refugios.

Según cifras de la red, al año hay 800 mil adultos y 20 mil menores víctimas de este delito cuyas ganancias oscilan entre los 372 mil millones de pesos.

Las rutas incluyen los estados de Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero y Quintana Roo, así como países centroamericanos como Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador.

Lea el artículo completo

Some 47 human trafficking networks are operating in Mexico

Congressional deputies ask the three branches of government to develop adequate policies to address human trafficking

Mexico's Lower House of Congress has asked the three branches of government (legislative, judicial and executive) to integrate their efforts to fight human trafficking, given that at least 47 trafficking networks exist in the nation, according to data released by the National Network of Refuges.

According to the Network, some 800,000 adults and 20,000 children are entrapped by modern human slavery each year, resulting in criminal earnings of some 372 million Mexican pesos ($28 million US dollars).

Trafficking routes exist in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Quintana Roo, as well as in Central American countries including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Read the full article

Israel Navarro and José Luis Martínez

Milenio

Feb. 05, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Costa Rica

Costa Rica lags in sex-trafficking fight

“Mariel” became a victim of sex trafficking at the age of 17. She managed to escape, but still suffers anxiety and fear. Rahab Foundation is helping her recover.

“Mariel” fears that she will be kidnapped again.

At 17, she was lured into human trafficking by an acquaintance with the promise of work. Her captor used false documents to take her from Costa Rica across the border to Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

Read the full article

Dominique Farrell

The Tico TImes

Jan. 27, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Costa Rica

La pornografía infantil existe en Costa Rica

Adultos sedientos de sentir y tocar la piel de un cuerpo junto al suyo, deseosos de pagar sumas de dinero por alquilar un rato de confort, quizás hasta hacer una película o tomar unas fotos, pero no de cualquier cuerpo ni de cualquier persona, sino de un niño o una niña costarricense.

La explotación sexual comercial -también llamada prostitución infantil- es un flagelo social que existe en Costa Rica y se concentra mayoritariamente en las zonas fronterizas y las costas, según cuentan organizaciones no gubernamentales que han dado seguimiento a los casos esta ha desembocado en una riada de producción de pornografía infantil en la que se utilizan niños y niñas costarricenses.

Según Rocío Rodríguez directora de Alianza por tus Derechos, en la actualidad las zonas más plagadas de casos –tanto de explotación sexual comercial como de pornografía- son Puntarenas, Guanacaste y Limón.

Lea el artículo completo

Child pornography exists in Costa Rica

Hungry adults feel and touch the skin of a body against thiers, eager to pay money to rent a bit of comfort, perhaps even make a movie or take some pictures, but not of any body or any person, but a boy or a girl in Costa Rica.

Commercial sexual exploitation, which is also known as child prostitution, is a social scourge that exists in Costa Rica. It is concentrated along the nation's borders and coasts, accourding to non governmental organizations who support victims. This reality has led to a flood in the production of child pornography that exploits Costa Rican children.

According to Rocio Rodriguez director of the NGO Alliance for your Rights (Alianza por tus Derechos), the cities of Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón are the regions that are the most plagued by both commercial sexual exploitation and pornography.

Read the full article

Daniela Araya

Costa Rica Hoy

Feb. 16, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Arrestan a pastor por violar niñas

De la secta Sendero de Luz.. Abusó de ellas durante años con la complacencia de sus padres

Delicias, Chihuahua.- Años de un sufrimiento en silencio fueron vividos por dos niñas desde que tenían 11 años de edad, pues un pastor de la denominada Iglesia Sendero de Luz les decía que "para ser siervas de Dios tenían que hacerle todo lo que les indicara", y eso incluía tener relaciones sexuales con él, acciones de las cuales aparentemente su padres estaban enterados.

Las familias de ambas sabían lo que pasaba con el religioso, pero su fanatismo les impedía actuar en su contra, según las jóvenes de ahora 22 años de edad, quienes comentaron que los abusos comenzaron desde el año 2001 y continuaron durante 9 años, hasta que se mudaron a la capital de estado.

Tras la denuncia impuesta por parte de las afectadas, agentes investigadores detuvieron mediante una orden de aprehensión a José Manuel Herrera Lerma, de 59 años, líder del grupo religioso previamente señalado.

Lea el artículo completo

Pastor is arrested on charges of child rape

Path of Light sect leader abused two girls over a number of years with the knowledge of the victim's parents

The city of Delicias in Chihuahua state - Two girls suffered years of sexual abuse in silence, from the time they were age 11, at the hands of their church pastor. The reverend of the Path of Light church told the girls that, "to be servants of God they had to do everything that he told them to do," and that included having sex with him. The parents were apparently aware of the pastor's behavior with their daughters.

The families of both girls knew what was happening with the pastor, but their religious fervor prevented them from acting against him. The victims, who are now both age 22, have stated that the abuse began in 2001 and continued for 9 years, until [the family] moved to the state capital.

In response to the complaint filed by the victims, investigative agents served an arrest warrant on José Manuel Herrera Lerma, age 59.

Read the full article

Marisol Marín

oem.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Children in Mexican adoption scam show signs of sexual abuse

Ten children were seized by authorities in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara after they uncovered the apparent child trafficking scam last weekend.

Eleven Irish couples hoping to adopt children in the country have been caught up in the investigation.

“There are four children who show signs of having been abused (sexually), perhaps not in a violent way but there are signs (of abuse),” the Jalisco state attorney general Tomas Coronado told reporters today.

Read the full article

TheJournal.ie

Jan. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Ecuador

148 millones invirtió el Gobierno en implementación de tres mil centros infantiles

Como parte de este proceso, 242 profesionales entre sicopedagogas, parvularias, tecnólogas en educación y especialistas en desarrollo infantil se incorporaron al trabajo en la provincia costera del Guayas, luego de un periodo de selección y capacitación.

Alrededor de 500 mil niños en Ecuador, entre 0 y 5 años, son atendidos por el Ministerio de Inclusión Económica y Social (MIES), en los Centros del Buen Vivir y el programa “Creciendo con nuestros hijos”.

La ministra de Inclusión Económica y Social, Ximena Ponce, indicó que el desarrollo infantil es uno de los seis proyectos de inversión prioritarios del gobierno del presidente Rafael Correa.

La meta es implementar un profesional por cada Centro para garantizar una conducción técnica en sus tres componentes: salud, educación y protección, especialmente en niños de 0 a 3 años.

Lea el artículo completo

Government invests $148 million to implement 3,000 children's centers across the country

As part of the initiative, 242 professionals have joined the effort in the key coastal province of Guayas

About 500,000 children, from newborns to age 5 are served by Ecuador's Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), through its Good Living Centers and by way of its program "Growing with our children."

Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion Ximena Ponce indicated that child development is one of six priority investment projects for the government of President Rafael Correa.

The goal is to provide one professional worker for each center to ensure technical leadership in its three focus areas: health, education and protection. The initiative is especially geared toward assisting children from 0 to 3 years of age.

Read the full article

eldiario.com.ec

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Guatemala

Former Guatemala dictator to give testimony in genocide trial

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt will be made to testify at his genocide trial, according to a statement by judicial officials on Saturday. Rios Montt was in control of Guatemala from 1982 to 1983 as a result of a coup and is being charged with crimes against humanity and genocide during his rule. He was protected from prosecution until this month because he was serving in congress. Rios Montt said he would cooperate with the court [EFE report, in Spanish]. The case involves at least 1,771 deaths and 1,400 human rights violations during the 36-year Guatemalan Civil War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] with much of the violations occurring during Rios Montt's rule.

The Guatemalan civil war resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, mostly among Guatemala's large indigenous Mayan population. According to a UN report [text, in Spanish] released in 1999, the military was responsible for 95 percent of those deaths. In response to these violations, the Guatemalan government founded the National Compensation Program (PNR) in 2003 to deal with claims by civilians affected by the civil war. The PNR, after setting up its administrative structure, has begun to use its $40 million budget to work through a backlog of more than 98,000 civilian complaints. Four former soldiers and two former police officers [JURIST reports] have already been convicted in relation to these crime. Spain attempted to extradite Rios Montt [JURIST report] in 2008, but failed due to a lack of jurisdiction.

Read the full article

Matthew Pomy

Jurist

Jan. 22, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Dictan prisión contra tres hombres por trata de personas en Chiapas

Un juez penal dictó auto de formal prisión por el delito de trata de personas en contra de tres hombres que operaban un bar clandestino en San Cristóbal de las Casas, donde fueron rescatadas cuatro menores víctimas.

La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) informó que los presuntos responsables Abraham “N”, propietario del negocio, el encargado Rosendo “N” y el vigilante Diego “N”, son procesados en el centro penitenciario ” El Amate”.

Agentes de la Fiscalía Especializada en Asuntos Relevantes ejecutaron un operativo en el bar ” La Sirena”, donde rescataron a cuatro menores, sometidas a trata de personas y corrupción de menores.

En el sitio fueron sorprendidos también dos menores de edad que ingerían alcohol, lo que constituye una violación a las leyes de salud.

Lea el artículo completo

Three men are sentenced to prison in [the southern border state of] Chiapas

I jusdge has sentenced three men to prison on human trafficking charges who operated a clandestine bar in the cisty of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Four minors had been rescued from the bar.

The Office of the Chiapas State Attorney General (PGJE) has announced that three suspects, Abraham "N," a bar owner, bar manager Rosendo "N" and a guard, Diego "N," have been detained and sent to the "El Amate" prison.

Agents of the Special Prosecutor's Office for Relevant Issues executed an operation at the bar "La Sirena" (the Siren), where they rescued four children who had been subjected to the crimes of human trafficking and the corruption of minors.

The authorities also encountered two other youth who were drinking alcohol in violation of health laws.

Read the full article

Provincia.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Peru

Piden cadena perpetua para acusado de violar a 15 menores en 2009

La directora del Programa Nacional contra la Violencia Familiar y Sexual, Ana María Mendieta, exhortó hoy al Poder Judicial a aplicar la pena máxima de cadena perpetua a Óscar Visalot, acusado de abusar sexualmente de 15 menores de edad en 2009.

Este pedido contra Visalot, quien fue capturado en octubre de 2010, surge ante la posible excarcelación del acusado por exceso de carcelería, precisó la funcionaria de ese programa perteneciente al Ministerio de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables (Mimp).

“Exhortamos al Poder Judicial, a la Primera Sala de Reos en Cárcel de Lima y a las autoridades penitenciarias a que el procesado sea trasladado a Lima y se le dicte una sentencia ejemplar de cadena perpetua”, sostuvo Mendieta.

Lea el artículo completo

Officials ask for a life sentence for a man accused in 2009 of the rape of 15 minors

The director of the National Programme Against Family and Sexual Violence (PNCVFS), Ana Maria Mendieta, today urged the judiciary to apply the maximum penalty of life imprisonment in the case of Oscar Visalot, accused of sexually abusing 15 minors in 2009.

The request to have Visalot, who was captured in October 2010, sentenced promptly arose from the fact that the defendant is being considered for release from prison due to a determination that the has spent an excessive amount of time in detention, said Mendieta, an official of the PNCVFS, which is a program under the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP).

"We urge the Judiciary, the First Board of Inprisoned Inmates in Lima and the prison authorities to transport the prisoner to Lima and [that the Court] hand down a sentence of life imprisonment," said Mendieta.

Read the full article

Andina.com.pe

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Ohio, USA

Man guilty of raping girl in 2005

Hamilton - The adoptive parents of a young girl raped and kidnapped by Butler County’s former “most wanted” fugitive say their daughter can finally start “healing from the nightmare she suffered at the hands of this monster.”

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for three hours Wednesday before deciding “Mario” Lopez-Cruz was guilty of one count of kidnapping and four counts of rape for his attack on a 9-year-old Hamilton girl on Fathers Day 2005.

Lopez-Cruz faces life in prison without parole until he spends 10 years in prison on the rape charges and up to 10 years on kidnapping. Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth will sentence him March 15.

Read the full article

Denise G. Callahan

The Oxford Press

Feb. 01, 2012



A sample of other important news stories and commentaries



Added: Aug. 05, 2011

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

LibertadLatina Commentary

Indigenous women and children in Mexico

During the over ten years that the LibertadLatina project has existed, our ongoing analysis of the crisis of sexual abuse in the Americas has lead us to the conclusion that our top priority should be to work to achieve an end to the rampant sex trafficking and exploitation that perennially exists in Mexico. Although many crisis hot spots call out for attention across Latin America and the Caribbean, working to see reform come to Mexico appeared to be a critical first step to achieving major change everywhere else in the region.

We believe that this analysis continues to be correct. We also recognize the fact that the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia are other emergency zones of crisis. We plan to expand our coverage of these and other issues as resources permit.

Mexico is uniquely situated among the nations of the Americas, and therefore requires special attention from the global effort to end modern human slavery.

Mexico:

  • Is the world's largest Spanish speaking nation

  • Includes a long contiguous border with the U.S., thus making it a transit point for both 500,000 voluntary (but vulnerable) migrants each year as well as for victims of human slavery

  • Has multi-billion dollar drug cartels that profit from Mexico's proximity to the U.S. and that are today investing heavily in human slavery as a secondary source of profits

  • Has a 30% indigenous population, as well as an Afro-Mexican minority, both of whom are marginalized, exploited and are 'soft targets' who are now actively being cajoled, and kidnapped by trafficking mafias into lives of slavery and death

  • Has conditions of impunity that make all impoverished Mexicans vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking

  • Has a child sex tourism 'industry' that attracts many thousands of U.S., European and Latin American men who exploit vulnerable, impoverished children and youth with virtual impunity

  • Is the source of the largest contingent of foreign victims of human slavery who have been trafficked into the U.S.

  • Has a large and highly educated middle class which includes thousands of women who are active in the movement to enhance human rights in general and women's rights in particular

  • Has a growing anti-trafficking movement and a substantial women's rights focused journalist network

  • Has a politically influential faction of socially conservative men who believe in the sexist tenants of machismo and who favor maintaining the status quo that allows the open exploitation of poor Mexicans and Latin American migrants to continue, thus requiring assistance from the global movement against human exploitation to help local activists balance the scales of justice and equality

For a number years LibertadLatina's commentaries have called upon Mexico's government and the U.S. State Department to apply the pressure that is required to begin to change conditions for the better. It appears that the global community's efforts in this regard are beginning to have impact, yet a lifetime of work remains to be done to end what we have characterized as a slow-moving mass gender atrocity.

Recent developments in Mexico are for the most part encouraging.

These positive developments include:

  • The March 31, 2011 resignation of Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez (who had earlier failed to address the crisis of femicide murders facing women in Ciudad Juarez as Chihuahua state attorney general)

  • The replacement of Chávez Chávez with Marisela Morales Ibáñez as the nation’s first female attorney general (Morales Ibáñez was recently honored by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton)

  • Morales Ibáñez’ reform-motivated purge of 174 officials and employees of the attorney general’s office, including the recent resigna-tions of 21 federal prosecutors

  • Morales Ibáñez’ recent raid in Cuidad Juárez, that resulted in the arrests of 1,030 suspected human traffickers and the freeing of 20 underage girls

  • The recent appointment of Dilcya Garcia , a former Mexico City prosecutor who achieved Mexico's first trafficking convictions to the federal attorney general's office (Garcia was recently honored by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her anti-trafficking work)

  • The July, 2010 replacement of Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont with José Francisco Blake Mora. (Secretary Gómez Mont openly opposed the creation of strong federal anti-trafficking legislation.)

  • Success by President Calderón and the Congress of the Republic in achieving the first steps to bringing about a constitutional amendment to facilitate human trafficking prosecutions

  • Recent public statements by President Calderon imploring the public to help in the fight against human trafficking

  • Some progress in advancing legislation in Congress to reform the failed 2007 federal anti trafficking law, a reform effort that has been lead by Deputy Rosi Orozco

  • The active collaboration of both the U.S. Government and the United Nations Office eon Drugs and Crime in supporting government efforts against trafficking

Taken together, the above actions amount to a truly watershed moment in Mexico’s efforts to address modern human slavery. We applaud those who are working for reform, while also recognizing that reform has its enemies within Congress, government institutions, law enforcement and society.

Mexico’s key anti-trafficking leaders, including journalist and author Lydia Cacho, Teresa Ulloa (director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean - CATW-LAC), and Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) have all raised the alarm in recent months to indicate that corrupt businessmen, politicians and law enforcement authorities continue to pressure Mexican society to maintain a status quo that permits the existence of rampant criminal impunity in relation to the exploitation of women, children and men. The fact that anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho continues to face credible deaths threats on a regular basis and must live with armed guards for 24 hours a day is one sobering indicator of this harsh reality.

The use of slavery for labor and sexual purposes has a solid 500 years of existence in Mexico and much of the rest of Latin America. Indigenous peoples have been the core group of victims of human exploitation from the time of the Spanish conquest to the present. This is true in Mexico as well as in other nations with large indigenous populations such as Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. African descendants are also victims of exploitation - especially in Colombia, and like indigenous peoples, they continue to lack recognition as equal citizens.

These populations are therefore highly vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation due to the fact that the larger societies within which they live feel no moral obligation to defend their rights. Criminal human traffickers and other exploiters take advantage of these vulnerabilities to kidnap, rape, sex traffic and labor traffic the poorest of the poor with little or no response from national governments.

A society like Mexico - where even middle class housewives are accustomed to treating their unpaid, early-teen indigenous girl house servants to labor exploitation and verbal and physical violence – and where the men of the house may be sexually abusing that child – is going to take a long time to adapt to an externally imposed world view that says that the forms of exploitation that their conquistador ancestors brought to the region are no longer valid. That change is not going to happen overnight, and it is not going to be easy.

Mexico’s current efforts to reform are to be applauded. The global anti-trafficking activist community and its supporters in government must, however remain vigilant and demand that Mexico continue down the path toward ending its ancient traditions of tolerated human exploitation. For that transformation to happen effectively, indigenous and African descendant Mexicans must be provided a place at the table of deliberations.

Although extending equality to these marginalized groups is a radical concept within the context of Mexican society, we insist that both Mexico, the United States State Department (a major driver of these reforms in Mexico) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC - another major driver in the current reforms) provide the social and political spaces that will be required to allow the groups who face the most exposure to exploitation to actually have representation in both official and NGO deliberations about their fate at the hands of the billion dollar cartels and mafias who today see them as raw material and 'easy pickings' to drive their highly lucrative global slavery profit centers.

Without taking this basic step, we cannot raise Mexico’s rating on our anti-trafficking report card.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011

Updated Aug. 11,2011

Note: Our August 4/5, 2011 edition contains a number of stories that accurately describe the nature of the vulnerabilities that indigenous children and women face from modern day sex traffickers, pedophiles and rapists.

See also:

Added: Aug. 1, 2010

An editorial by anti trafficking activist Lydia puts the spotlight on abusive domestic work as a form of human slavery targeting, for the most part, indigenous women and girls

Mexico

Esclavas en México

México, DF, - Cristina y Dora tenían 11 años cuando Domingo fue por ellas a la Mixteca en Oaxaca. Don José Ernesto, un militar de la Capital, le encargó un par de muchachitas para el trabajo del hogar. La madre pensó que si sus niñas trabajaban con “gente decente” tendrían la posibilidad de una vida libre, de estudiar y alimentarse, tres opciones que ella jamás podría darles por su pobreza extrema.

Cristina y Dora vivieron en el sótano, oscuro y húmedo, con un baño improvisado en una mansión construida durante el Porfiriato, cuyos jardines y ventanales hablan de lujos y riqueza. Las niñas aprendieron a cocinar como al patrón le gustaba. A lo largo de 40 años no tuvieron acceso a la escuela ni al seguro social, una de las hermanas prohijó un bebé producto de la violación del hijo del patrón. Les permitían salir unas horas algunos sábados, porque el domingo había comidas familiares. Sólo tres veces en cuatro décadas les dieron vacaciones, siendo adultas, para visitar a su madre enferma...

Slaves in Mexico

[About domestic labor slavery in Mexico]

Mexico City – Cristina and Dora were 11-years-old when Domingo picked them up in the state of Oaxaca. José Ernesto, a military man living in Mexico City, had sent Domingo to find a pair of girls to do domestic work for him. The girls’ mother thought that if they had an opportunity to work with “decent people,” they would have a chance to live a free life, to study and to eat well. Those were three things that they she could never give them in her condition of extreme poverty.

Cristina and Dora lived in the dark and humid basement of a mansion built during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz (1876 to 1910). Their space had an improvised bathroom. Outside of the home, the mansion’s elaborate gardens and elegant windows presented an image of wealth and luxury. The girls learned to cook for the tastes of their employer.

It is now forty years later. Cristina and Dora never had access to an education, nor do they have the right to social security payments when they retire. One of the sisters had a child, who was the result of her being raped by one of their employer’s sons.

They are allowed out of the house for a few hours on Saturdays. On Sundays they had to prepare family meals for their patron (boss).

Today, some 800,000 domestic workers are registered in Mexico. Ninety three percent of them don’t have access to health services. Seventy Nine percent of them have not and will not receive benefits. Their average salary is 1,112 pesos($87.94) per month. More than 8% of these workers receive no pay at all, because their employers think that giving them a place to sleep and eat is payment enough.

Sixty percent of domestic workers in Mexico are indigenous women and girls. They began this line of work, on average, at the age of 13. These statistics do not include those women and children who lived locked-up in conditions of extreme domestic slavery.

Mexico’s domestic workers are vulnerable to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancies, exploitation, racism and being otherwise poorly treated…

Recently, the European Parliament concluded that undocumented migrant women face an increased risk of domestic labor slavery. In Mexico, the majority of domestic slaves are Mexicans. Another 15% of these victims are [undocumented] migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. Their undocumented status allows employers to prohibit their leaving the home, prohibit their access to education or deny their right to have a life of their own. The same dynamics happen to Latina women in the United States and Canada.

For centuries [middle and upper class white Mexican women] became accustomed to looking at domestic labor slavery as something that ‘helps’ indigenous women and girls. We used the hypocritical excuse that we were lifting them out of poverty by exploiting them. [They reality is that] millions of these women and girls are subjected to work conditions that deny them access to education, healthcare, and the enjoyment of a normal social life.

We (Mexico’s privileged) men and women share the responsibility for perpetuating this form of slavery. We use contemptuous language to refer to domestic workers. Like other forms of human trafficking, domestic labor slavery is a product of our culture.

Domestic work is an indispensable form of labor that allows millions of women to work. We should improve work conditions, formally recognize it in our laws, and assure that in our homes, we are not engaging in exploitation cloaked in the idea that we are rescuing [our domestic workers] from poverty.

To wash, iron, cook and care for children is as dignified as any other form of work. The best way for us to change the world is to start in own homes.

“Plan B” is a column written by Lydia Cacho that appears Mondays and Thursdays in CIMAC, El Universal and other newspapers in Mexico.

Lydia Cacho

CIMAC Women's News Agency

July 27, 2010


Added: Aug. 4, 2011

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina applaud U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the U.S. Justice Department and all of the agencies and officers involved in Operation Delego, which shut down a grotesque  international child pornography network that glorified and rewarded the torture and rape of young children. We also wish you good hunting in taking down all child pornography rings, wherever they may exist.

We call attention to a recent story (posted on Aug. 4, 2011) on the rape with impunity of indigenous school children, from very young ages, in the nation's now-closed Indian boarding school system. The fact that the legislature of the state of South Dakota passed legislation that denies victims the right to sue the priests and nuns who raped them is just as disgusting as any of the horror stories that are associated with the pedophile rapist / torturers who have been identified in Operation Delego.

Yet neither the U.S. Justice Department nor the Canadian government, where yet more horrible sexual abuses, and even murders of indigenous children took place, have ever sought to prosecute the large number of rapists involved in these cases.

In addition, federal prosecutors drop a large number of rape cases on Indian reservations despite the fact that indigenous women face a rate of rape in the U.S. that is 3.5 times higher that the rate faced by other groups of women. White males are the perpetrators of the rape in 80% of these cases.

When former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales fired eight U.S. attorneys in December of 2006, it turned out that 5 of those targeted had worked together to increase the very low prosecution rates for criminal cases on Native reservations. Their firings did a disservice to victims of rape and other serious crimes in Indian Country.

The indigenous peoples of the Americas demand an end to the rampant sexual exploitation with impunity of our peoples, be they from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru or Canada.

We expect the United Stated Government to set the tone and lead the way in that change in social values.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011


Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit, at Wheelock College

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, speaks

Wheelock professor and anti pornography activist Dr. Gail Dines, and survivor and activist Cherie Jimenez speak at Wheelock

LibertadLatina's Chuck Goolsby speaks up to represent the interests of Latin American and indigenous victims at Wheelock College

Wheelock College anti-trafficking event

Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking

This event is part of Wheelock's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

Speakers:

•Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit and the Massachusetts Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking. She is a sergeant detective of the Boston Police Department.

•Cherie Jimenez, who used her own experiences in the sex trade to create a Boston-area program for women

•Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

•Gail Dines, Wheelock professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and chair of the American Studies Department

Wheelock College

March 30, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Wheelock College to discuss Massachusetts sex trafficking

Wheelock College is set to hold a panel discussion on the growing sex trafficking in Massachusetts.

The discussion, titled "Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking," is scheduled for Wednesday and will feature area experts and law enforcement officials.

Those scheduled to speak include Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police human trafficking unit and the Massachusetts task force to combat human trafficking.

Experts believe around 14,000 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year, including those from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The panel is part of the Brookline school's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

The Associated Press

March 30, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

On March 30, 2011 Wheelock College in Boston presented a forum that explored human trafficking and ways to end demand. Like many human trafficking gatherings held around the world, the presenters at this event provided an empathetic and intelligent window into current thinking within the different interest groups that make up this movement. Approximately 40 college students and local anti-trafficking activists attended the event.

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) spoke about current human trafficking conditions around the world. Pornography abolitionist Dr. Gail Dines of Wheelock presented a slide show on pornography and its link to the issue of prostitution demand. Survivor Cherie Jimenez told her story of over 20 years facing abuse at the hands of pimps, and her current efforts to support underage girls in prostitution. Detective Donna Gavin discussed the Boston Police Department’s efforts to assist women and girls in prostitution, including the fact that her department’s vice operations helping women in prostitution avoid criminal prosecution to the extent possible.

The presentation grew into an intelligent discussion about a number of issues that the presenters felt were impacting the effectiveness of the movement. Among these issues were perceptions on the part of Dr. Dines that a number of activists in the human trafficking movement have expressed pro-pornography points of view. She added that the great majority of college students in women’s programs with whom she talks express a pro-pornography perspective. Panelists also expressed the view that many men who lead anti-trafficking organizations also have a pro-pornography viewpoint.

Cherie Jimenez shared her opinion that U.S. born victims do not get as much visibility and attention relative to foreign born victims. She emphasized that victims from all backgrounds are the same, and should be treated as such.

Jimenez emphasized that much of her work as an activist focuses on helping young women who, at age 18, leave state supported foster care, and must then survive on their own. She emphasized that foster care is a broken system that exposes underage girls to routine sexual abuse. CATW’s Ramos, who was a victim of that system herself, agreed.

Ramos, head of the global Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Sexual Exploitation (CATW), emphasized that men who operate in the arena of anti sex trafficking activism must be accountable to women activists, because the issue was a gender issue. She also stated that she approached the human trafficking issue from an indigenous world view.

In response to a question from a Latina woman about services for transgender youth, Detective Gavin of the Boston Police Department stated that they have not run into sex trafficking cases involving males. Norma Ramos did note that sex trafficked male youth did exist in significant numbers in the New York City area.

During the question and answer period of the forum, I spent about 15 minutes discussing the issue of human trafficking from the Latin American, Latin Diaspora and indigenous perspectives.

* I noted that as a male anti-trafficking activist, I have devoted the past dozen years of that activism to advocating for the voiceless women and girls in Latin America, the United States and in advanced nations of the world in Europe and Japan where Latina and indigenous victims are widely exploited.

* I pointed out that within the Boston area as elsewhere within the United States, the brutal tactics of traffickers, as well as the Spanish/English language barrier, the cultural code of silence and tolerance for exploitation that are commonplace within Latin immigrant communities all allow sex trafficking to flourish in the Latin barrios of Boston such as East Boston, Chelsea, Everett and Jamaica Plain.

* I also mentioned that during the current climate of recession and increased immigration law enforcement operations, Latina women and girls face a loss of jobs and income, and a loss of opportunities to survive with dignity, which are all factors that expose them to the risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

* I mentioned that the sex trafficking of women and girls in Latin America focuses on the crisis in Mexico, which, I stated was the epicenter of sex trafficking activity in the Americas.

* I stated that the U.S. anti-trafficking movement cannot make any progress while it continues to treat the sex trafficking crisis in Mexico as a secondary issue.

* I mentioned that Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), was a stellar activist who has provided the vanguard of leadership in anti sex trafficking activism in the region. I added that Ulloa recently promoted statistics developed by the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, that state that 25% of the Gross Domestic Product across all Latin American nations is derived from human trafficking.

* I mentioned that a number of years ago, I called-on my local police department to enforce the law and arrest an adult man who was severely sexually harassing an 11-year-old Latina girl. These two officers told me in a matter of fact way that they could not respond to what the county Police Academy had taught them (in cultural sensitivity classes there) was just a part of Latino culture.

As is the case in most public events that I attend that address the crisis in human trafficking, the issue of Latina and indigenous victims (who are the majority of U.S. victims) would not have been discussed in detail without the participation of LibertadLatina.

The event was an enlightening experience. My perception is that both the activists and the audience were made aware of the dynamics of the crisis of mass gender atrocities that women and children are facing in Latin America, the Caribbean and in their migrant communities across the globe.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 17, 2011


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

Mexico

This map shows the number of types of child slavery that occur in the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean

Indigenous children are the focal point for underage sex and labor slavery in Mexico

Around 1.5 million children do not attend school at all in Mexico, having or choosing to work instead. Indigenous children are often child laborers. Throughout Central and South America, indigenous people are frequently marginalized, both economically and socially. Many have lost their traditional land rights and they migrate in order to find paid work. This can in turn make indigenous peoples more vulnerable to exploitative and forced labor practices.

According to the web site Products of Slavery.org, child slavery, especially that which exploits indigenous children, is used to generate profits in the following industries in Mexico:

* The production of Child Pornography

* The production of coffee, tobacco, beans, chile peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, onions, sugarcane and tomatoes - much of which is sold for export

Key facts about Mexican child sex and labor exploitation defined on the Product of Slavery:

* Many indigenous children in Mexico aged between seven and 14 work during the green bean harvest from 7am until 7pm, meaning they cannot attend school.

* Amongst Mexico's indigenous peoples, 86% of children, aged six years and over, are engaged in strenuous physical labor in the fields six days a week working to cultivate agricultural produce such as chile peppers.

* Indigenous child labor keeps costs of production down for Mexican companies as boys and girls from indigenous families are frequently denied recognition of their legal status as workers, charged with the least skilled tasks, such as harvesting cucumbers, and so receive the lowest pay.

* Child labor is widespread in Mexico's agricultural sector; in 2000, it was discovered that 11 and 12 year olds were working on the family ranch of the then-President elect, Vicente Fox, harvesting onions, potatoes, and corn for export to the United States.

[I know a couple of U.S. ICE agents who can add 'another paragraph' to the above statement - LL.]

* Mexican children who are exploited by the sex industry and involved in activities such as pornography and prostitution suffer physical injuries, long-term psychological damage with the strong possibility of developing suicidal tendencies and are at high risk of contracting AIDS, tuberculosis and other life-threatening illnesses.

* There are strong links between tourism and the sexual exploitation of children in Mexico; tourist centers such as Acapulco, Cancun and Tijuana are prime locations where thousands of children are used in the production of pornographic material and child prostitution is rife.

* Mexican street children are vulnerable to being lured into producing pornographic material with promises of toys, food, money, and accommodation; they then find themselves prisoners, locked for days or weeks on end in hotel rooms or apartments, hooked on drugs and suffering extreme physical and sexual violence.

* David Salgado was just eight years old when he was crushed by a tractor as he went to empty the bucket of tomatoes he had just collected on the Mexican vegetable farm where he worked with his family. The company paid his funeral expenses but refused to pay compensation to his family as David was not a formal employee.

The web site explores child enslavement in all of the nations shown in the above map.

Products of Slavery


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

North Carolina, USA

"For Sale" - A composite from a poster announcing Davidson College's recent event on Human Trafficking in Latin America

See the complete poster

Chuck Goolsby speaks at Davidson College

On February 3rd of 2011 I travelled to Davidson College, located in a beautiful community north of Charlotte, North Carolina, to provide a 90 minute presentation on the crisis of sexual slavery in Latin America, and in Latin American immigrant communities across the United States. I thank the members of Davidson's Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) and the Vann Center for Ethics for cosponsoring the presentation, and for their hospitality and hard work in setting up this event.

During my talk I described many of the dynamics of how sexual slavery works in the Americas. I summarized the work of LibertadLatina as one of the few English language voices engaging the world in an effort to place Latin American gender exploitation issues on an equal footing with the rest of the world's struggle against sex trafficking. I covered the facts that:

1) Sexual slavery has long been condoned in Latin America;

2) Community tolerance of sexual exploitation, and a cultural code of silence work to hide crimes of violence against women across the region;

3) The multi-billion dollar pockets of Latin American drug cartels, together with the increasing effectiveness of anti-drug trafficking law enforcement efforts are driving cartel money into major investments in kidnapping, 'breaking-in' and selling underage girls and young women into slavery globally, en mass;

4) Men in poverty who have grown up in [especially rural] cultures where women's equality does not exist, are prime candidates to participate in the sex trafficking industry - this is especially true in locations such as Tlaxcala state, just east of Mexico City, where an estimated 50% of the adults in the La Meca neighborhood of the major city of Tenancingo are involved in sex traffickers;

5) Male traffickers, often from family organized mafias of adults and teens [especially in Tlaxcala], either kidnap women and girls directly, or engage in false romances with potential victims that result in the victim's beating, gang rape and enslavement, getting the victim pregnant - and then leaving the infant with the trafficker's family as a form of bribery [threatening the baby's death if the victim does not continue to submit to forced sexual enslavement;

6) Traffickers typically take their victims from Tlaxcala, to Mexico City, and to Tijuana on the U.S. border - from which they are shipped like merchandise to Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, DC and New York City;

7) Traffickers also bring victims to farm labor camps large and small across the rural U.S.;

8) North Carolina, including the major population centers of Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte are places where Latina immigrant sexual slavery is a major problem (given the rapid growth in the local immigrant population, who see the state as a place with lots of jobs and a low cost of living);

9) Mexico's government is reluctant (to be polite) to engage the issue of ending human trafficking (despite recent presidential rhetoric), as exemplified by the multi-year delay in setting up the regulations and inter-agency collaborations needed to actually enforce the nation's 2007 Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking (note that only in early 2011 has the final element of the legislation been put into place to actually activate the law - which some legislators accurate refer to as a "dead letter.");

10) heroes such as activist Lydia Cacho have faced retaliation and death threats for years for having dared to stand-up against the child sex trafficking networks whose money and influence corrupts state and local governments;

11) it is up to each and every person to decide how to engage in activism to end all forms of human slavery, wherever they may exist.

Virtually everyone in the crowd that attended the event had heard about human trafficking prior to the February 3rd presentation. They left the event knowing important details about the facts involved in the Latin American crisis and the difficulties that activists face in their efforts to speak truth to power and the forces of impunity. A number of attendees thanked me for my presentation, and are now new readers of LibertadLatina.org.

The below text is from Davidson College's announcement for this event.

Slavery is (thankfully) illegal everywhere today. But sadly, it is still practiced secretly in many parts of the world. One persistent form of it occurs when women and girls are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery, sometimes by being kidnapped and trafficked or smuggled across national borders.

Chuck Goolsby has worked tirelessly for decades to expose and end this horrific, outrageous practice. As the founder and coordinator of LibertadLatina, much of his work has focused on sex-trafficking in the Latin American context.  Join us to hear from him regarding the nature and scope of the current problem, and what we can do to help stop it.

We have given similar presentations to groups such as Latinas United for Justice, a student organization located at the John Jay College for Criminal Justice in New York City.

We are available for conferences and other speaking engagements to address the topics of human trafficking in its Latin American, Latin Diaspora, Afro-Latina and Indigenous dimensions.

Please write to us in regard to your event.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina.org

Feb. 26, 2011


Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Tiffany Williams of the Break the Chain Campaign

Highlighting New Issues in Ending Violence Against Women; More Women Afraid To Come Forward And Access Services

Congressional leaders will participate in an ad-hoc hearing examining violence against immigrant women this Thursday on Capitol Hill Washington, DC—Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Gwendolyn Moore (D-WI) will co-chair an ad-hoc hearing this Thursday afternoon, bearing witness to the testimony of immigrant women and advocates who are speaking out about increasing barriers to ending violence against immigrant women and families. Honorable guests Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) will join the co-chairs.

Maria Bolaños of Maryland will share her personal story. Juana Flores from Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), an immigrant women’s organization in California and the Rev. Linda Olson Peebles from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington will share the perspective of community groups, and legal advocates Leslye Orloff (Legal Momentum) and Miriam Yeung (NAPAWF) will offer testimony in light of the expected 2011 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

WHAT: Ad-hoc hearing on violence against immigrant women

WHEN: Feb. 10, 2011 - 2 pm-3 pm

WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2456

WHO: Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Gwendolyn Moore, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. Napolitano, members of the press, domestic violence advocates, immigrant rights advocates, and other invited guest

Co-Sponsoring Organizations: 9to5, AFL-CIO, Family Values @ Work Consortium, Franciscan Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies, Legal Momentum, MomsRising, Ms. Foundation for Women, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, South Asian Americans Leading Together, United Methodist Women/Civil Rights Initiative, Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Contact: Tiffany Williams

Tel. (202) 787-5245; Cell (202) 503-8604; E-mail: tiffany@ips-dc.org 

The Institute for Policy Studies / Break the Chains Campaign

Feb. 9, 2011

See also:

Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Silencing human trafficking victims in America

Women should be able to access victim services, regardless of their immigration status.

Thanks to a wave of anti-immigrant proposals in state legislatures across the nation, fear of deportation and family separation has forced many immigrant women to stay silent rather than report workplace abuse and exploitation to authorities. The courts have weakened some of these laws and the most controversial pieces of Arizona's SB 1070 law have been suspended. Unfortunately, America's anti-immigrant fervor continues to boil.

As a social worker, I've counseled both U.S.-born and foreign-born women who have experienced domestic violence, or have been assaulted by either their employers or the people who brought them to the United States. I'm increasingly alarmed by this harsh immigration enforcement climate because of its psychological impact on families and the new challenge to identify survivors of crime who are now too afraid to come forward.

For the past decade, I've helped nannies, housekeepers, caregivers for the elderly, and other domestic workers in the Washington metropolitan area who have survived human trafficking. A majority of these women report their employers use their immigration status to control and exploit them, issuing warnings such as "if you try to leave, the police will find you and deport you." Even women who come to the United States on legal work visas, including those caring for the children of diplomats or World Bank employees, experience these threats.

Though law enforcement is a key partner in responding to human trafficking, service providers continue to struggle with training authorities to identify trafficking and exploitation in immigrant populations, especially when the trafficking is for labor and not sex. While local human trafficking task forces spend meetings developing outreach plans, our own state governments are undermining these efforts with extremely harsh and indiscriminate crackdowns on immigrants...

Regardless of their legal status, these women are human beings working hard to feed their families. Their home countries' economies have been by shattered by globalization. Our economic system depends on their cheap labor. Yet much of the debate about U.S. borders fails to acknowledge immigrants as people, or appreciate the numerous cultural contributions that ethnic diversity has provided this country. As a result, humane comprehensive immigration reform remains out of reach in Congress.

We're a nation of immigrants and a nation of hard-working families. An economic crisis caused by corporate greed has turned us against each other in desperation and fear. We should band together to uphold our traditional values of family unity, to give law enforcement the tools they need to provide effective victim protection and identification rather than reactionary laws, and ensure that women can access victim services, regardless of immigration status.

Tiffany Williams is the advocacy director for Break The Chain Campaign, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Tiffany Williams

The Huffington Post

Feb. 07, 2011

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina salute the Break the Chain Campaign and their advocacy director, Tiffany Williams, for bringing voice to the voiceless immigrant working women and girls (underage teens) across the United States. Latin American and other immigrant women routinely face quid-pro-quo sexual demands of "give me sex or get out" from male managers and supervisors across the low-wage service sector of the U.S. economy.

My advocacy for victims of gender violence began with efforts to provide direct victim assistance to Latina women facing workplace gender exploitation in the Washington, DC region. My work included rescuing two Colombian women from the fearful labor slavery that they faced in two diplomatic households in Montgomery County, Maryland, just north of Washington, DC. I also assisted six women in bringing complaints to police and to our local Montgomery County human rights commission (a local processor of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission cases).

Immigrant women have never had free and equal access to the legal system to address these employer abuses. The Break the Chain Campaign rightly identifies the fact that the social and political climate in the U.S. in the year 2011 is creating conditions in which immigrant women and girl victims fear coming forward.

It is encouraging that the Break the Chains Campaign openly identifies the sexual and labor exploitation of immigrant women and girls in domestic and other low wage service jobs as being forms of human trafficking. Ten years ago, local anti-trafficking organizations in the Washington, DC region did not buy into that view of the world.

Conditions have not changed for the better for at-risk immigrant women and girls since we first wrote about this issue in the year 1994 (see below).

These community continues to need our persistent help on this issue.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 10, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina

Our section covering human trafficking, workplace rape and community exploitation facing Latina women and children in the Washington, DC regional area.

See also:

Latina Workplace Rape

Low wage workers face managerial threats of 'give me sex or get out!' across the U.S. and Latin America.

See also:

On the Front Lines of the War Against Impunity in Gender Exploitation

Government, corporations and the press ignored all of these victims cases in which Chuck Goolsby intervened directly  during the 1990s.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 1  

Workplace Rape with Impunity

A major corporation working on defense and civilian U.S. government contracts permitted quid-pro-quo sexual demands, sexual coercion and retaliatory firings targeted at Latina adult and underage teen cleaning workers.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 2

Workplace Assault and Battery with Impunity

A Nicaraguan indigenous woman cleaning worker was slapped across the chest and knocked to the floor by her manager in the Rockville offices of a federal agency, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The local Maryland State's Attorney's Office repeatedly pressured the victim (through calls to Chuck Goolsby) to drop her insistence on having her assailant prosecuted.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 3 

About the One Central Plaza office complex

Workplace Rape and Forced Prostitution with Impunity

Over a dozen women were illegally fired for not giving in to the sexual demands of three Latino cleaning crew managers who forced women and underage girls into quid-pro-quo sexual relationships as a condition of retaining their jobs. 

Some women were forced to commit acts of prostitution in this office building, that housed Maryland state government and other offices.

A medical doctor who leased office space at One Central Plaza filed a formal complaint with the building owners and stated that he was finding his patient examining tables dirtied by sexual activity after-hours (cleaning managers had keys to access these offices to have them cleaned).

A pregnant woman was severely sexually harassed, and was fired and told to come back after her child was born, when she could be sexually exploited. 

The Montgomery County, Maryland County Human Relations commission in 1995 literally buried the officially filed casework of this pregnant woman and another victim, who had an audio tape of a 20 minute attempt by her manager to rape her.

Both detectives at the Montgomery County Police Department (where I worked part-time during those times) and a team of Washington Post reporters refused to investigate this crisis of workplace impunity.

A Latina Washington Post reporter, when explaining to me why she would not cover the story said, "well, after all, you are trying to accuse these guys (the perpetrators) of felonies." The same reporter stated that her manager would not allow her to cover the story because it was a "dangerous situation."

To this day I continue to ask myself, If it was a dangerous situation, was it not, then, news!

See also:

The above three cases are among those documented in my below report from 1994.

Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.'s 1994 Report on the Sexual Exploitation of Latina immigrant Women and Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC)

The LibertadLatina project grew directly out of these initial efforts to speak truth to the official and criminal impunity in our society that openly targets innocent immigrant women and girls for sexual victimization.


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

The jinxed Commonwealth Games could have done without this. After being troubled by brittle infrastructure, CWG 2010 has now been blamed for a jump in trafficking of women and children from the Northeast. The accusation has come from Meghalaya People’s Human Rights Council (MPHRC) general secretary Dino D.G. Dympep. The platform he chose on Tuesday was the general debate discussion on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and other intolerance at the 15th Human Rights Council Session at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The human rights situation of indigenous peoples living in Northeast India is deteriorating,” Dympep said, adding New Delhi has chose to be indifferent to human trafficking of and racial discrimination toward these indigenous groups.

“What worries the indigenous peoples now apart from racial and gender-based violence is the fear of alleged human trafficking for flesh trade.” The number of indigenous women and children trafficked particularly for the upcoming CGW could be 15,000, he said.

The rights activist also underscored the racial profiling of people from the Northeast on the basis of their ethnicity, linguistic, religious, cultural and geographical backgrounds.

Dympep also pointed out 86 per cent of indigenous peoples studying or working away from their native places face racial discrimination in various forms such as sexual abuses, rapes, physical attacks and economic exploitation.

“The UN has condemned India's caste system and termed it worse than racism. The racism faced by indigenous peoples of the Northeast is definitely the outcome of the caste system. Such negative attitude as ignoring the region will only lead to deeper self-alienation by the indigenous peoples, which comes in the way of integration in India,” he said.

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

Indigenous peoples across the world face the problem of being marginalized by the dominant societies that surround them. They become the easiest targets for human traffickers because the larger society will not stand up to defend their basic human rights. Exploiting the lives and the sexuality of indigenous women is a key aspect of this dynamic of oppression.

We at LibertadLatina denounce all forms of exploitation. We call the world's attention to the fact that tens of thousands of indigenous peoples in the Americas, and most especially women and girls in Guatemala and Mexico, are routinely being kidnapped or cajoled into becoming victims of human trafficking.

For 5 centuries, the economies of Latin America have relied upon the forced labor and sexual exploitation of the region's indigenous peoples as a cornerstone of their economic and social lives. Mexico, with an indigenous population that comprises 30% of the nation, is a glaring example of this dynamic of racial, ethnic and gender (machismo) based oppression. In Mexico, indigenous victims are not 'visible' to the authorities, and are on nobody's list of social groups who need to be assisted to defend themselves against the criminal impunity of the sex and labor trafficking mafias.

For Mexico to arrive in the 21st Century community of nations, it must begin the process of ending these feudal-era traditions.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

U.S. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (second from left) and other presenters at UN / Brandeis conference

Hidden in Plain Sight: The News Media's Role in Exposing Human Trafficking

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University cosponsored a first-ever United Nations panel discussion about how the news media is exposing and explaining modern slavery and human trafficking -- and how to do it better. Below are the transcript and video from that conference, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on June 16 and co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Take a look as some leading media-makers and policymakers debate coverage of human trafficking. What hinders good reporting on human trafficking? What do journalists fear when they report on slaves and slavery? Why cover the subject in the first place? What are the common reporting mistakes and missteps that can do more harm than good to trafficking victims, and to government, NGO, and individual efforts to end the traffic of persons for others' profit and pleasure?

Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, "sexy" headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons' lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology. As an example, the two officials on the panel -- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime -- disagreed on the number of rescued trafficking victims. Costa thought the number was likely less than half CdeBaca's estimate (from the International Labour Organization) of 50,000 victims rescued worldwide...

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Note:

In response to the above article by the Huffington Post, on the topic of press coverage of the issue of human trafficking, we would like to point out that the LibertadLatina project came into existence because of a lack of interest and/or willingness on the part of many (but not all) reporters and editors in the press, and also on the part of government agencies and academics, to acknowledge and target the rampant sexual violence faced by Latina and indigenous women and children across both Latin America and the Latin Diaspora in the Untied States, Canada, and in other advanced economies such as those of western Europe and Japan.

Ten years after starting LibertadLatina, more substantial press coverage is taking place. However, the crisis of ongoing mass gender atrocities that plague Latin America, including human trafficking, community based sexual violence, a gender hostile living environment and government and social complicity (and especially in regard to the region's completely marginalized indigenous and African descended victims - who are especially targeted for victimization), continue to be largely ignored or intentionally untouched by the press, official government action, academic investigation and NGO effort.

Therefore we persist in broadcasting the message that the crisis in Latin America and its Diaspora cannot and will not be ignored.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 21, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco watches Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

Video posted on YouTube

Video: Llama Gómez Mont a Visibilizar Delito de Trata de Personas

Video of Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Feb. 23rd and 24th, 2010 congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

[Ten minutes - In Spanish]

Deputy Rosi Orozco

On YouTube.com

Feb. 26, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking has been widely quoted in the Mexican press. We have posted some of those articles here (see below).

The video of Secretary Mont's discourse shows that he is passionate about the idea of raising awareness about human trafficking. He states: "Making [trafficking] visible is the first step towards liberation."

Secretary Mont believes that the solution to human trafficking in Mexico will come from raising awareness about trafficking and from understanding the fact that machismo, its resulting family violence and also the nation's widespread extreme poverty are the dynamics that push at-risk children and youth into the hands of exploiters.

During Secretary Mont's talk he expressed his strongly held belief that federalizing the nation's criminal anti-trafficking laws is, in effect, throwing good money after bad. In his view, the source of the problem is not those whom criminal statutes would target, but the fundamental social ills that drive the problem.

The Secretary's views have an element of wisdom in them. We believe, however, that his approach is far too conservative. An estimated 500,000 victims of human trafficking exist in Mexico (according to veteran activist Teresa Ulloa of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch - CATW-LAC).

A note about the figures quoted to describe the number of child sexual exploitation victims in Mexico...

Widely quoted 'official' figures state that between 16,000 and 20,000 underage victims of sex trafficking exist in Mexico.

We believe that, if the United States acknowledges that 200,000 to 300,000 underage children and youth are caught-up in the commercial sexual exploitation of children - CSEC, at any one time, based on a population of 310 million, (a figure of between .00064 and .00096 percent of the population), then the equivalent numbers for Mexico would be between 68,000 and 102,000 child and youth victims of CSEC for its estimated 107 million in population.

Given Mexico's vastly greater level of poverty, its legalization of adult prostitution, and given that southern Mexico alone is known to be the largest zone in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), with 10,000 children being prostituted just in the city of Tapachula (according to ECPAT figures), then the total number of underage children and youth caught-up in prostitution in Mexico is most likely not anywhere near the 16,000 to 20,000 figure that was first released in a particular research study from more than five years ago and continues to be so widely quoted today.

Regardless of what the actual figures are, they include a very large number of victims.

While officials such as Secretary Mont philosophize about disabling anti-trafficking law enforcement and rescue and restoration efforts, while instead relying upon arriving at some far-off day when Mexican society raises its awareness and empathy for victims (and that is Mont's policy proposal as stated during the recent trafficking law forum), tens of thousands of victims who are being kidnapped, raped, enslaved and sold to the highest bidder need our help. They need our urgent intervention. As a result of their enslavement, they typically live for only a few years, if that, according to experts.

The reality is that the tragic plight of victims can and must be prevented. Those who have already been victimized must be rescued and restored to dignity.

That is not too much to ask from a Mexico that calls itself a member of civilized society.

Mexico exists at the very top of world-wide statistics on the enslavement of human beings. Save the Children recognizes the southern border region of Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children on Planet Earth.

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, Japanese Yakuza mafias and the Russian Mob are all 'feeding upon' (kidnapping, raping, and exporting) many of  the thousands of Central and South American migrant women who cross into Mexico. They also prey upon thousands of young Mexican girls and women (and especially those who are Indigenous), who remain unprotected by the otherwise modern state of Mexico, where Roman Empire era feudal traditions of exploiting the poor and the Indigenous as slaves are honored and defended by the wealthy elites who profit (economically and sexually) from such barbarism.

Within this social environment, the more extreme forms of modern slavery are not seen as being outrageous by the average citizen. These forms of brutal exploitation have been used continuously in Mexico for 500 years.

We reiterate our view, as expressed in our Feb. 26th and 27th 2010 commentary about Secretary Mont.

Interior Secretary Mont has presided over the two year delay in implementing the provisions of the nation's first anti-trafficking law, the Law to Prevent, and Punish Human Trafficking, passed by Congress in 2007.

  • The regulations required to enable the law were left unpublished by the Interior Secretary for 11 months after the law was passed.

  • When the regulation were published, they were weak, and left out a role for the nation's leading anti-trafficking agency, the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking in the Attorney General's office (FEVIMTRA).

  • The regulations failed to target organized crime.

  • The Inter-Agency Commission to Fight Human Trafficking, called for in the law, was only stood-up in late 2009, two years after the law's passage, and only after repeated agitation by members of Congress demanding that President Calderón act to create the Commission.

  • Today, the National Program to Fight Human Trafficking, also called for in the 2007 law, has yet to be created by the Calderón administration.

  • In early February of 2010, Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez stated that the 2007 anti-trafficking law and its long-sought regulations were a 'dead letter' due to the power of impunity that has contaminated the political process.

All of the delaying tactics that were used to thwart the will and intent of Congress in passing the 2007 anti-trafficking law originated in the National Action Party (PAN) administration of President Felipe Calderón. All aspects of the 2007 law that called for regulations, commissions and programs were the responsibility of Interior Secretary Mont to implement. That job was never performed, and the 2007 law is now accurately referred to as a "dead letter" by members of Congress.

Those of us in the world community who actively support the use of criminal sanctions to suppress and ultimately defeat the multi-billion dollar power of human trafficking networks must come to the aid of the many political and non governmental organization leaders in Mexico who are working to create a breakthrough, to end the impasse which the traditionalist forces in the PAN political machine have thrown-up as a gauntlet to defeat effective anti-trafficking legislation.

Interior Secretary Mont's vision for the future, which involves continuing on a course of complete inaction on the law enforcement front, must be rejected as a capitulation to the status quo, and as a nod to the traffickers.

While "Little Brown Maria in the Brothel" - our metaphor for the voiceless victims, suffers yet another day chained to a bed in Tijuana, Acapulco, Matamoros, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico City, Tlaxcala, Tapachula and Cancun, the entire law enforcement infrastructure of Mexico sits by and does virtually nothing to stop this mass gender atrocity from happening.

That is a completely unacceptable state of affairs for a Mexico that is a member of the world community, and that is a signatory to international protocols that fight human trafficking and that defend women and children's human rights.

We once again call upon U.S. Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca, director of the Trafficking in Persons office at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama to stand-up and speak out with the moral authority of the United States in support of the forces of change in Mexico.

Political leaders and non governmental organizations around the world also have a responsibility to speak-up, and to let the government of President Felipe Calderón know that the fact that his ruling party (finally) supported presenting a forum on trafficking, and the holding of a few press conferences, is not enough of a policy turn-around to be convincing.

The PAN must take strong action to aggressively combat the explosive growth in human slavery in Mexico in accordance with international standards. Those at risk, and those who are today victims, await your effective response to their emergency, President Calderón.

Enacting a 'general' federal law that is enforceable in all of Mexico's states would be a good fist step to show the world that sincere and honest voices against modern day slavery do exist in Congress, and are willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue.

As for Secretary Mont, we suggest, kind sir, that you consider the age-old entrepreneurial adage, and either "lead, follow, or get out of the way" of progress.

No more delays!

There is no time to waste!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 1, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

Víctimas del tráfico de personas, 5 millones de mujeres y niñas en América Latina

De esa cifra, más de 500 mil casos ocurren en México, señalan especialistas.

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

Saltillo, Coahuila state - Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, the director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American / Caribbean regional office, announced this past Monday that more than five million women and girls are currently victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During a forum on successful treatment approaches for trafficking victims held by the Women's Institute of Coahuila, Ulloa Ziaurriz stated that 500,000 of these cases exist in Mexico, where women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography and the illegal harvesting of human organs.

Ulloa Ziaurriz said that human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, a fact that has given rise to the existence of a very large number of trafficking networks who operate with the complicity of both [corrupt] government officials and business owners.

Mexico is a country of origin, transit and also destination for trafficked persons. Of 500,000 victims in Mexico, 87% are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

Ulloa Ziaurriz pointed out that locally in Coahuila state, the nation's human trafficking problem shows up in the form of child prostitution in cities such as Ciudad Acuña as well as other population centers along Mexico's border with the United States.

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See also:

Mexico: Más de un millón de menores se prostituyen en el centro del país: especialista

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2009

[Note: The figure of 75% of 1.5 million indicates that 1.1 million girls between the ages of 12 and 13 at any given time engage in prostitution in central Mexico alone. - LL]


LibertadLatina

Analysis of the political actions and policies of Mexico's National Action Party (PAN) in regard to their detrimental impact on women's basic human rights


A child in prostitution in Cancun, Mexico  stands next to a police car with an adult john.

About Child Sexual Slavery in Mexico

Thousands of foreign sex tourists arrive in Cancun daily from the U.S., Canada and Europe with the intention of having sex with children, according to a short documentary film by a local NGO (see below link). Police and prosecutors refuse to criminalize this activity.

This grotesque business model, that of engaging in child sex tourism, exists along Mexico's entire northern border with the U.S., along Mexico's southern border with Guatemala [and Belize], and in tourist resorts including Acapulco, Cancun and Veracruz. Thousands of U.S. men cross Mexico's border or fly to tourist resorts each day to have sex with minors.

Unfortunately, Mexico's well heeled criminal sex traffickers have exported the business model of selling children for sex to every major city as well as to many migrant farm labor camps across the U.S.

Human trafficking in the U.S. will never be controlled, despite the passage of more advanced laws and the existence of ongoing improvements to the law enforcement model, until the 500-year-old 'tradition' of sexual slavery in Mexico is brought to an end.

The most influential political factions within the federal and state governments of Mexico show little interest in ending the mass torture and rape of this innocent child population.

We must continue to pressured them to do so.

End Impunity now!

See also:

The Dark Side of Cancun - a short documentary

Produced by Mark Cameron and Monserrat Puig

2007

About the case of Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva

Our one page flyer about Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva (Microsoft Word 2003)


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

Award-winning anti-child sex trafficking activist, journalist, author and women's center director Lydia Cacho

Muertes por violencia en México podrían ser plan de limpieza social: Cacho

Especialistas indagan si asesinatos vinculados con el crimen son una estrategia del Estado, dijo.

Madrid. Las muertes por violencia en México en los últimos años, 15 mil en los últimos tres años, podrían formar parte de un plan de "limpieza social por parte del Estado mexicano", declaró este lunes en Madrid la periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho….

Deaths from violence in Mexico could be the results of social cleansing: Lydia Cacho

Specialists are investigating whether murders are state strategy, Cacho says.

Madrid. Deaths from violence in Mexico in recent years, including 15,000 during the past three years, could form part of a plan of "social cleansing by the Mexican State," declared Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho in Madrid, Spain on Monday.

"Experts are beginning to investigate at this time in Mexico whether these 15,000 murders are linked to intentional social cleansing by the Mexican State," Cacho said in a press conference in which she denounced human rights violations and persecution of the press in her country.

Since President Felipe Calderón [became president] three years ago, we have been witnessing a growing authoritarianism in Mexico "justified by the war " (on drugs), in which " militari-zation, and harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is increasing danger-ously," stated Cacho.

Cacho was kidnapped [by rogue state police agents] and tortured in Mexico after divulging information about a pedophile ring in which businessmen and politicians were involved.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) will determine in an upcoming decision whether Mexican authorities violated the rights of the journalist in that case.

The foundation that bears Cacho's name, created in Madrid a year ago, is organizing a concert to raise funds to help pay for her defense before the IACHR...

Cacho is the author of [the child sex trafficking exposé] The Demons of Eden. In recent years she has received several awards for her work on behalf of human rights carried out through investigative journalism, including the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award.

Agence France Presse (AFP)

Nov. 23, 2009

See also:

Mexican Government Part of Problem, Not Solution, Writer Says

Madrid - A muckraking Mexican journalist known for exposes of pedophile rings and child prostitution said on Monday that President Felipe Calderón’s bloody campaign against Mexico’s drug cartels is “not a battle for justice and social peace.”

Lydia Cacho, who has faced death threats and judicial persecution for her writings, told a press conference in Madrid that Mexico’s justice system is “impregnated with corruption and impunity.”

Accompanied by the head of the Lydia Cacho Foundation, Spanish screenwriter Alicia Luna; and Madrid Press Association President Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja, the author said the nearly three years since Calderón took office have seen increased “authoritarianism” and harassment of journalists and human rights advocates.

The period has also witnessed “15,000 documented killings,” Cacho said, exceeding the carnage in Colombia at the height of that country’s drug wars.

“Specialists are beginning to investigate if those 15,000 killings are linked with intentional social cleansing on the part of the Mexican state,” she said.

Calderón, she noted, “insists on saying that many of those deaths are collateral effects and that the rest are criminals who kill one another.”

“It is a war among the powerful and not a battle for justice and social peace,” she said of the military-led effort against drug cartels, which has drawn widespread criticism for human rights abuses.

Cacho also lamented “self-censorship” in the highly concentrated Mexican media, saying that many outlets color their reporting to avoid trouble with the government and other powerful interests.

A long-time newspaper columnist and crusader for women’s rights, Lydia Cacho became famous thanks to the furor over her 2005 book “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), which exposed wealthy pedophiles and their associates in the Mexican establishment.

In the book, she identified textile magnate Kamel Nacif as a friend and protector of accused pedophile Jean Succar Kuri, who has since been sent back to Mexico from the United States to face charges.

Nacif, whose business is based in the central state of Puebla, accused Cacho of defamation - a criminal offense - in Mexico and arranged to have her arrested for allegedly for ignoring a summons to appear in court for the case.

In February 2006, Mexican dailies published transcripts of intercepted phone conversations in which Nacif was heard conspiring with Puebla Governor Mario Marin and other state officials to have Cacho taken into custody and then assaulted behind bars.

The transcripts indicated that Nacif, known as the “denim king” for his dominance of the blue-jeans business, engineered the author’s arrest by bribing court personnel not to send her the requisite summonses.

Cacho was subsequently released on bail and the case against her was ultimately dismissed.

EFE

Nov. 24, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist

Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico

See Also:

Perils of Plan Mexico: Going Beyond Security to Strengthen U.S.-Mexico Relations

Americas Program Commentary

Mexico is the United States' closest Latin American neighbor and yet most U.S. citizens receive little reliable information about what is happening within the country. Instead, Mexico and Mexicans are often demonized in the U.S. press. The single biggest reason for this is the way that the entire binational relationship has been recast in terms of security over the past few years...

The militarization of Mexico has led to a steep increase in homicides related to the drug war. It has led to rape and abuse of women by soldiers in communities throughout the country. Human rights complaints against the armed forces have increased six-fold.

Even these stark figures do not reflect the seriousness of what is happening in Mexican society. Many abuses are not reported at all for the simple reason that there is no assurance that justice will be done. The Mexican Armed Forces are not subject to civilian justice systems, but to their own military tribunals. These very rarely terminate in convictions. Of scores of reported torture cases, for example, not a single case has been prosecuted by the army in recent years.

The situation with the police and civilian court system is not much better. Corruption is rampant due to the immense economic power of the drug cartels. Local and state police, the political system, and the justice system are so highly infiltrated and controlled by the cartels that in most cases it is impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

The militarization of Mexico has also led to what rights groups call "the criminalization of protest." Peasant and indigenous leaders have been framed under drug charges and communities harassed by the military with the pretext of the drug war. In Operation Chihuahua, one of the first military operations to replace local police forces and occupy whole towns, among the first people picked up were grassroots leaders - not on drug charges but on three-year old warrants for leading anti-NAFTA protests. Recently, grassroots organizations opposing transnational mining operations in the Sierra Madre cited a sharp increase in militarization that they link to the Merida Initiative and the NAFTA-SPP [North American Free Trade Act - Security and Prosperity Partnership] aimed at opening up natural resources to transnational investment.

All this - the human rights abuses, impunity, corruption, criminalization of the opposition - would be grave cause for concern under any conditions. What is truly incomprehens-ible is that in addition to generating these costs to Mexican society, the war on drugs doesn't work to achieve its own stated objectives...

Laura Carlsen

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Nov. 23, 2009


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

The Numbers Don't Add Up in Mexico's Drug War

Drug Seizures are Down; Drug Production, Executions, Disappearances, and Human Rights Abuses are Up

Just a week before Mexican president Felipe Calderón completes half of his six-year term, [leading Mexico City newspaper] La Jornada reports that 16,500 extrajudicial executions [summary murders outside of the law] have occurred during his administration. 6,500 of those executions have occurred in 2009, according to La Jornada’s sources in Calderón’s cabinet...

While executions are on the rise, drug seizures are down, and drug production is up, Mexico is also experiencing an alarming increase in human rights abuses perpetrated by government agents - particularly the army - in Calderón’s war on drugs. As Mexican human rights organizations have noted, human rights violations committed by members of the armed forces have increased six-fold over the past two years. This statistic is based on complaints received by the Mexican government’s official National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

No Mas Abusos (No More Abuses), a joint project of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, the Fundar Center for Analysis and Investigation, and Amnesty International’s Mexico Section, monitors human rights abuses committed by soldiers, police, and other government agents.

Kristin Bricker

Dec. 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina News Archive - October 2009

El Paso - …Mexican human rights official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson [has] reported 170 instances of Mexican soldiers allegedly torturing, abusing and killing innocent people in Chihuahua [state].

The Associated Press

Oct. 17,2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

According to press reports from Mexico, the Yunque secret society is the dominant faction within the ruling National Action party (PAN).

El Yunque holds the belief that all social activists, including those who advocate for improving the lives of women, indigenous people and the poor, are literally the children of Satan. They take aggressive political action consistent with those beliefs.

During the 1960s, El Yunque perpetrated political assassi-nations and murders targeting their opponents. Although today they profess to adhere to the political process to affect change, it is not a stretch, given their violent history, to conclude that Lydia Cacho's concern, that the federal government of Mexico may be engaging in 'social cleansing through "extrajudicial killings" (which is just a fancy way to say state sanctioned murder of your opponents), may be valid. Cacho is a credible first hand witness to the acts of impunity which government officials use at-times to control free and independent thinking in Mexico. 

We have documented the steady deterioration  of human rights for women in Mexico for several years. Mexico is one of the very hottest spots for the gender rights crisis in the Americas.

The systematic use by military personnel of rape with total impunity, targeting especially indigenous women and girls, is one example of the harshness of  these conditions. The case of the sexual assaults carried out by dozens of policemen against women social protesters in the city of Atenco, Mexico in 2006 is another stark case.

The Mérida Initiative, through which the U.S. Government is funding Mexico's drug war to the tune of $450 million over several years, is financing not only that war, but it is also, apparently, strengthening the authoritarian rule of the El Yunque dominated PAN political party.

El Yunque, which has been identified as being an anti- women's rights, anti-indigenous rights,  anti-Semitic, anti-protestant and anti-gay 'shadow government' in Mexico, does not deserve even one dollar of U.S. funding.

Defeat the drug cartels?

Yes!

Provide funding for El Yunque's quest to build empire in Mexico while rolling-back women and indigenous people's basic human rights?

No!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 4, 2009

About El Yunque

The National Organization of the Anvil, or simply El Yunque (The Anvil), is the name of a secret society... whose purpose, according to the reporter Alvaro Delgado, "is to defend the [ultra-conservative elements of the] Catholic religion and fight the forces of Satan, whether through violence or murder "and establish" the kingdom of God in the land that is subject to the Mexican Government, to the mandates of the Catholic Church, through the infiltration of all its members at the highest levels of political power.

Wealthy business-men and politicians (mostly from the [ruling] National Action Party) have been named as alleged founders and members of The Anvil.

About El Yunque on Wikipedia.com



¡Feliz Día Internacional

de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina Statement for International

Women's

Day, 2010



March 8 / Marzo 8

2009


¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina

Nuestra declaración de 2005 Día Internacional de la Mujer es pertinente hoy en día, y define bien la emergencia hemesferica que enfrentan las mujeres y en particular as niñas de todas las Américas.

Pedimos a todas las personas de conciencia que siguimos trabajando duro para inform al público en general acerca de esta crisis, y que aumentamos nuestra presión popular sobre los funcionarios electos y otros encargados de tomar decisiones, que deben cambiar el statu quo y responder con seriadad, por fin, a las   atrocidades de violencia de género -en masa- que afectan cada vez mas a las mujeres y las niñas de las Américas.

¡Basta ya con la impunidad y la violencia de genero!


LibertadLatina

Our 2005 statement for International Women's Day is relevant today, and accurately defines the hemispheric emergency facing women and especially girl children in the Americas.

We ask that all people of conscience work hard to continue informing the general public about this crisis, and that we all ramp-up the pressure  on elected officials and other decision makers, who must change the status quo and respond, finally, to the increasingly severe mass gender atrocities that are victimizing women and girls across the Americas.

End Impunity and violence against women now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 8, 2008



LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

Read our special section on the human rights advocacy conflict that exists between the goals of the defense of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the urgent need to protect Latina sex trafficking victims through law enforcement action...

...As the global economic crisis throws more women and children into severe poverty, and as ruthless trafficking gangs and mafias seek to increase their profits by kidnapping, raping, prostituting and murdering more women and girls (especially non-citizen migrants passing through Mexico to the U.S.), the level of sex trafficking activity will increase dramatically. 

Society must respond and protect those who are at risk...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


Read our special section on the crisis in the city of Tapachula

Mexico

The city of Tapachula, located in Chiapas state near Mexico's border with Guatemala, is one of the largest and most lawless child sex trafficking markets in all of Latin America.

Our new news section tracks  events related to this hell-on-earth, where over half of the estimated 21,000 sex slaves and other sex workers are underage, and where especially migrant women and girls  from Central and South America, who seek to migrate to the United States, have their freedom taken from them, to become a money-making commodity for gangs of violent criminals.

A 2007 study by the international organization ECPAT [End Child Prostitution and Trafficking]... revealed that over 21,000 Central Americans, mostly children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina



See: The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women

And: La Alianza Latina Nacional para Erradicar la Violencia Doméstica.

The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence


Added June 15, 2008

Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way

Humanity United and Change-makers, a project of Ashoka International,  are conducting a global online competition to identify innovative approaches to exposing, confronting and ending modern-day human slavery.

View the over 200 entries from 45 nations

See especially:

Teresa Ulloa: Agarra la Onda Chavo", Masculini-dad, Iniciación Sexual y Consumo de la Prostitución ('Get It Together Young Man: Masculinity, Sexual Initiation and Consumption of Prostitution).

Equidad Laboral Y La Mujer Afro-Colombiana

(Labor Equality and the Afro-Colombian Woman)

Alianza Por Tus Derechos, Costa Rica: Our borders: say no to traffick-ing of persons, specially children

(APTD's news feed is a major source of Spanish language news articles translated and posted on LibertadLatina).

Prevención de la migración temprana y fortalecimiento de los lazos familiares en apoyo a las Trabajadoras del Hogar en Ayacucho

(Preventing early migration and re-enforcing families)... serving women in Quechua and Spanish in largely Indigenous Ayacucho, Peru.

LibertadLatina.org contributor Carla Conde - Freuden-dorff, on her work assisting Dominican women trafficked to Argentina

LibertadLatina

Our entry:

A Web-based Anti-Trafficking Information Portal in Defense of Indigenous, Afro-Descend-ent & Latina Women in the Americas

We present our history, plans for the future, and an essay discussing the current state of the anti-traffick-ing and anti-exploitation movements in the context of Indigenous, African Desc-endent and Latina women and children's rights in the Americas.

(Our extended copy of our Ashoka competition application)

Contribute your comments and questions about competition entries.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 15/21/22, 2008

See also:

Added June 15, 2008

The World

Entrepreneur for Society

Bill Drayton discusses the founding of Ashoka... "Our job is not to give people fish, it's not to teach them how to fish, it's to build new and better fishing industries."

- Ashoka Foundation

See also:

Ashoka Peru


Mexico

A woman is paraded before Johns on Mexico City's Santo Tomás Street, where kidnap victims are forced into prostitution and are 'trained'

(C) NY Times

The Girls Next Door

The New York Times' ground-breaking story on child and youth sex trafficking from Mexico into the United States

Excerpt:

[About Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:]

Her cell of sex traffickers offered three age ranges of sex partners -- toddler to age 4, 5 to 12 and teens -- as well as what she called a ''damage group.'' ''In the damage group they can hit you or do anything they wanted...''

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004


Added March 23, 2008

Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

Former Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women - Alicia Elena Perez Duarte:

At least one million children across Latin America have been entrapped by child prostitution and pornography networks.

[In many cases in Mexico] these child victims are offered to [wealthy] businessmen and politicians.

Full story (in English)

See also:

Renuncia fiscal por vergüenza en resolución sobre Cacho

On December 14, 2007 Alicia Pérez-Duarte resigned as Mexico's Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women [Fevim].  Duarte:

"I cannot work... where the justices of the Supreme Court won't bring justice in cases of grave violations of human rights."


Added March 1, 2008

Texas, USA

Kristal Minjarez - age 13, Armida Garcia - 15, and Brenda Salazar - 20... all raped and murdered by Andy James Ortiz

To Catch a Killer is the true story of Andy James Ortiz, his young victims, and the Fort Worth police and Tarrant County prosecutors who brought him to justice. The 24 chapter series ran in February and March of 2008.


Tengo 5 meses de edad y soy prostituta

I am 5 months old and I am a prostitute

LibertadLatina

Read our  section on the prostitution of infants by trafficking gangs across Latin America


About Baby Trafficking and [undocumented] Adoptions, and the connection to impunity and anti-Mayan racism in Guatemala



Hurricane Wilma - 2005

Earthquakes and hurricanes...

The impact of natural disasters on women and children's human rights in the Americas


Video

Roundtable on Trafficking of Women and Children in the Americas

- Organization of American States


United States

More than 163,000 Hispanic children... are reported missing and exploited in the United States every year.

- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

March 22, 2006


Latin America

Beyond Machismo - A Cuban Case Study

"I am a recovering macho, a product of an oppressive society, a society where gender, race and class domination do not exist in isolated compart-ments, nor are they neatly relegated to uniform categories of repression. They are created in the space where they interact and conflict with each other, a space I will call machismo."

- Cuban-American

theologian and ethicist

Dr. Miguel de la Torre

Remember, and FIND Jackeline Jirón Silva

Necesitamos su ayuda para ubicar a esta Niña.


Added Dec. 11, 2006

The World

Sex abuse, work and war deny childhood to tens

of millions

...An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year for labor or sex, and about 1 million children are thought to be exploited in the multi-billion dollar sex industry, UNICEF says.

- Reuters

Dec. 9, 2006

Added Nov. 7, 2006

The World

People trafficking ...is... big business, bringing in US $32 billion annually, worldwide. This makes people trafficking the most lucrative crime after drug trafficking.

- Inter-American

Development Bank
 Nov. 2,2006


"Familia" by Salvadoran
artist Zelie Lardé. (1901-1974)

Who will protect them from impunity?

We Must!

We work for all of the children and women who await our

society's effective and substantial help to escape criminal

sexual exploitation's utter brutality and impunity!

End Impunity... Now!

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

All other copyrighted materials © the copyright holder.

Copyrighted materials are presented for non-profit 

public educational 'fair use' purposes only.