The President’s executive report, 2009.


Strange Images

June 25, 2009

Nogales processes almost as many arrivals as LAX and JFK airports combined. On a busy day, 20,000 people and 1600 trucks pass through the port. During the winter months, more than 60 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed in the United States come through Nogales.

Bersin did a fast grip and grin with alert Customs and Border Patrol agent Glady McNamara, who fortuitously had snagged two smugglers attempting a “body carry” that very morning. One was a 14-year-old girl. A new trend by smugglers is use children to mule small loads. The two were carrying a half kilo of heroin each. Both were Americans. Nice job, Bersin said, as McNamara was given the traditional reward for a good catch — a couple of gift certificates to Applebees.

To me, these are the kinds of stories that make the dynamics of the border so fascinating, these incongruent elements existing in the same tiny sphere: a diplomat gladhanding, a 14-year-old girl on foot with a half kilo of heroin, one of the most crowded highways in the world, 60% of the vegetables the U.S. consumes, and a couple of gift certificates to Applebees.

From the great trip along the border Travis Fox and William Booth took for the Washington Post.

Goodwin: You indicated that you have recorded some conversations with Santillan where he explained arrangements that were made with military and politicians. What, what specific arrangements did he tell you about politicians?
Ramirez Peyro: No, that he didn’t precisely, himself, well, the cartel [the VCF] had arrangements with people that were close to President Fox [of Mexico]. He explained to me that President Fox took, took the position to arrange, consult with the cartel from Juarez to — which it, which it means that he was going to attack the, the enemy cartels being from Tijuana and from the Gulf, and then the cartel from Juarez would be operating with this court, you know, without the government being —
Goodwin: This is —
Ramirez Peyro: — on —
Goodwin: — what —
Ramirez Peyro: — top of them.
Goodwin: This is what Santillan told you?
Ramirez Peyro: It’s one of the law conversations that we did have. Also, when I did go to Colombia to make arrangement with the Colombians, the plans was to come by sea, and the Mexico’s navy, the ships, they’re the ones that would get the drugs in the, in the sea – marina – ocean borders, you know, of the national territories. They, yeah, they kept close to what you call ground, firm ground, and the PGR then would fly this drugs to the – to Juarez, the city of Juarez.

Implicating collusion between drug traffickers, politicians and the military. Drugs are a part of the Mexican economy. From deposition concerning one of the best stories Narco News ever broke, the House of Death.

Rosalio Reta is an American teen who is going to spend the next 70 years of his life in prison. Born in Laredo, Reta often crossed the border to Nuevo Laredo in Mexico as a kid, like many other citizens of the border town. Early in his teenage years, he was recruited to be a hit man for the Gulf cartel.

Here is the NYT coverage of his story.

Remember, too, that striking and very specific words can become wan and devalued through overuse. Consider apotheosis, which we’ve somehow managed to use 18 times so far this year. It literally means “deification, transformation into a divinity.” An extended meaning is “a glorified ideal.” But in some of our uses it seems to suggest little more than “a pretty good example.”

Most recently, we’ve said critics view the Clinton health-care plan as “the apotheosis of liberal, out-of-control bureaucracy-building,” and we’ve described cut-off shorts as “that apotheosis of laissez-faire wear.”

So what do we say if someone really is transformed into a god?

The New York Times keeps detailed data on its use of ‘big words’.