Beyond Trump’s Big, Beautiful Wall

Trump’s plan to wall off the entire U.S.-Mexico border is just one of a growing list of actions that extend U.S. border patrol efforts far past the international boundary itself.

By: Todd Miller & Joseph Nevins

At the already existing border fence that divides Tijuana, Mexico, from Imperial Beach, California. KATIE SCHLECHTER. Image:

In the fall of 2016, Donald Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” along the U.S.-Mexico divide seemed like an unlikely presidential candidate’s campaign bluster. Since the New York real estate magnate’s swearing-in as Barack Obama’s White House successor on January 20, 2017, it is now a serious Executive Branch threat. Only five days after the inauguration, the Tweeter-in-Chief signed an executive order requiring “the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border.” It is to be one “monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism.” According to the administration’s official request for proposals, released on March 17, the wall should be “physically imposing in height”—about 30 feet high but certainly not less than 18 feet.

The new administration’s walled hopes and dreams face considerable obstacles. Among them are the fact that most people in the United States are opposed to building the new barrier, particularly one with a price tag of somewhere between $15 and $40 billion USD— or somewhere between 101 and 270 times the National Endowment for the Arts’ annual budget, estimates Carolina Miranda in the Los Angeles Times. According to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs poll in early April, only 28 percent of respondents support new spending for the border wall, with 58 percent against. The results are consistent with findings of a Quinnipiac survey from February. It found that 59 percent of voters opposed the construction of Trump’s wall, with 39 percent in favor; the gap only grew when voters were asked their opinions of the project if U.S. taxpayers had to finance it.

In addition, and perhaps most significant, is the matter of property. Most of the already-existing walls and fencing stand on federally-owned land. Much of the rest of the land where Trump’s Great Wall would be built is either privately-held or owned by Native tribes. Given this fact, the Trump administration will have a big legal battle on its hands that could involve years of litigation, predicts University of Pittsburgh law professor Gerald Dickinson in the Washington Post.

Regardless of the outcome of Trump’s plans for the wall along the actual international boundary line, it is but one part of a gigantic enforcement regime, one that already is comprised of approximately 18,000 Border Patrol agents in the Southwest borderlands alone (out of a total of roughly 22,000 agents nationally). The U.S.-Mexico borderlands is also already littered with several hundred miles of barricades—in the form of walls, fences, and low-lying vehicle barriers—almost all of which were constructed since the mid-1990s, across administrations, both Democratic and Republican. In some of the most urbanized stretches along the international divide, double-layered barriers exist. In and around San Diego, for example, a corrugated metal wall is paired with a steel mesh fence, portions of which are topped with concertina wire.

Moreover, the apparatus of exclusion goes far beyond the actual U.S.-Mexico divide. It includes a 100-mile-wide “border zone” inside the territorial perimeter of the United States, an area in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has certain extra-constitutional powers, such as the authority to set up immigration checkpoints. And there is also the interior policing apparatus run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency with about 5,800 deportation officers, a force that Trump seeks to almost triple in size. Before even setting foot in the White House, Trump already had the largest border enforcement apparatus in U.S. history at his disposal. And with the definition of “operational control” for that apparatus altered in Trump’s January 2017 Border Security Executive Order—it now reads the “prevention of all unlawful entries” (emphasis added) into the United States—there is an anticipation of another massive border policing build-up.

This build-up will not only be at the Mexico-U.S. international boundary line, nor will it simply be within the United States’ own national territory. Rather, under Trump, we can expect an expansion of the apparatus of exclusion beyond the country’s official territorial boundaries. As then head of the U.S. Border Patrol Mike Fisher explained before the House Committee on Homeland Security in 2011, “The international boundary is no longer the first or last line of defense, but one of many.” This means there is not only an internal thickening of the border policing apparatus within the United States, but also a multilayered, extraterritorial extension of the border.

“The U.S. border starts at Guatemala now,” Daniel Ojalvo, a staff member at a migrant shelter in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, told a reporter from In These Times in 2015. In other words, greater efforts to stop migrants in southern Mexico and in Guatemala precede the Trump administration; in many ways, they are the product of Obama administration policies. With General John Kelly, the former head of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), now at the helm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it is reasonable to expect such boundary “thickening” efforts—wall-building of a sort that rarely gets attention—to grow.

“South of the Border” and the New Boss

During his January confirmation hearing, General Kelly told senators that “a physical barrier will not do the job.” In an exchange with Senator John McCain (RAZ), he said that, as reported by the New York Times, “It has to be a layered defense. If you build a wall, you would still have to back that wall up with patrolling by human beings, by sensors, by observation devices.” In other words, border policing cannot be an “endless series of goal-line stands on the one-foot line,” to use Kelly’s words. Indeed, Trump’s handpicked Homeland Security chief stressed that he believed “the defense of the southwest border starts 1,500 miles south with great countries as far south as Peru.”

One of us saw this U.S. border extension up-close in Zacapa, Guatemala, in January 2017. At a Guatemalan military base, not far from Honduras, part of the 300-person-strong entity, called the Chorti border task force—named after the Indigenous people who live in the region—stood at attention. Established in 2014, the force demonstrated the construction of a roadside checkpoint during our visit. This included weaponizing six armored jeeps, which then tore through the roads of the military base at breakneck speeds, as if they were really in action.

When in 2008 the United States initiated the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI)—a military assistance cooperation with Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—U.S. officials pointed to “border deficiencies” in the region as particularly problematic. Approximately $1.7 billion USD later, one of the solutions is the Chorti, which works hand-in-hand with a similar force on the Honduran side of the boundary as a binational border patrol. Guatemala also has a border force along its boundary with Mexico, known as the Tecun Uman. And in the works is a third Guatemalan border patrol, called the Xinca, which will patrol the Guatemala-El Salvador divide.

Before the border security demonstration on that sunny January day, the commanders of the Chorti force detailed, via slide show images, all the resources they obtained from the U.S. Embassy in 2016: assault rifles, night vision goggles, bullet-proof vests, a GPS digital map of Central America, 42 armored Jeeps, seven Ford F-450s, 25 Hilux pickups. Slides displayed pictures of U.S. military personnel training the new Guatemalan border patrol in both 2015 and 2016. Another slide detailed those trainings, which included the U.S. National Guard, BORTAC—the special forces unit of the U.S. Border Patrol—and a trip to Ft. Benning, Georgia, the location of the infamous the School of the Americas, which was rebranded as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2001.

Fernando Archila Gozalvo, an official from the Guatemalan Ministry of Interior, repeatedly stressed how the new security unit was part police force, part military force. For example, during the training operation that we witnessed, the military stood poised with assault rifles, carrying out perimeter surveillance, while the police set up a checkpoint, questioned the driver of a vehicle passing through that checkpoint, and then practiced pulling people from the car and handcuffing them. The Chorti border patrol had both a police commander and a military commander who wore a maroon beret, identifying himself as a Kaibil. Formed in 1975, Guatemala’s Kaibiles were a special counterinsurgency force modeled off, and initially trained by, the U.S. Green Berets. The 1999 report of the internationally supported Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification called the Kaibiles a “killing machine.”

Washington has long played a key role in the violence of everyday life in Central America and many Guatemalans see this type of border militarization as a continuation of that violent history. Serving the interests of the Boston-based United Fruit Company, the Eisenhower Administration played a key role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected government in Guatemala in 1954. In doing so, it laid the foundation for a series of military-dominated governments and the Guatemalan military’s reign of terror in the 1970s and 1980s. During that time, over 200,000 people—most of them Indigenous Mayans—lost their lives in the context of a brutal conflict between a U.S.- backed military oligarchy and guerrilla forces. The Commission for Historical Clarification concluded that the Guatemalan state was responsible for more than 90 percent of the deaths and had committed “acts of genocide.” The commission also found that U.S. training of members of Guatemala’s intelligence apparatus and officer corps in counterinsurgency “had significant bearing on human rights violations.” It additionally found that Washington, largely through its intelligence agencies, “lent direct and indirect support to some illegal state operations.”

The legacies of that conflict persist amidst the current wave of re-militarization in Guatemala. Even as the Trump administration threatens to cut different types of economic assistance, the bolstering of police and military to Central America is poised not only to continue, but to drastically increase under his regime, if the $54 billion USD proposed increase to the Pentagon’s already bloated 2018 budget is any indication. Under Trump, in Guatemala, it just might be that the past meets the present with even more force. And the Guatemalan past, as the presence of the Kaibil commander shows, still haunts everyday life. Indeed, the very military base in Zacapa where the Chorti border task force finished its trial operation was one of those places where many human rights violations committed by the U.S.-backed Guatemalan military happened. Former Guatemalan president Manuel Arana Osorio was even dubbed the “Butcher of Zacapa” for running brutal counterinsurgency operations in the region in the late 1960s, killing as many as 15,000 people.

So, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise that during the training that there was a U.S. military advisor—a major—on base, in a year-long detail to support the Chorti border patrol. Only now classic counterinsurgency has a new twenty-first century form: border militarization. As DHS Secretary John Kelly offered to the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee in February 2017, the U.S. has a “great opportunity in Central America to capitalize on the region’s growing political will to combat criminal networks and control hemispheric migration.” Kelly contended that “leaders in many of our partner nations recognize the magnitude of the tasks ahead and are prepared to address them, but they need our support. As we learned in Colombia, sustained engagement by the United States can make a real and lasting difference.”

Back in Zacapa, after they finish up their checkpoint exercise, the soldiers and police of the Chorti task force talk about how they are separated from their families for weeks at a time to do the work of guarding Guatemala’s border from, according to their mission, the smuggling of narcotics and people heading north, most likely to the United States. Considering that more than 60 percent of the Guatemalan population live below the poverty line, there is no doubt that some of these agents have attempted to go north themselves. According to 2013 numbers, close to one million Guatemalans live in the United States.

In fact, the uniformed U.S. major, who made it quite clear right from the start that he wasn’t talking on behalf of the Embassy nor the military, indicated that he himself was from the U.S.-Mexico border region— more precisely, the city of Brownsville, Texas. On that military base, deep in Guatemala, he explained that his family had to make a choice in the late 1980s when the Reagan administration began to fortify the border: whether to stay in Mexico or move to the United States. He told of how the border had crossed his family: they moved to the United States from Mexico, and shortly thereafter, he joined the U.S. Army. Even as he did his job supporting the Chorti border force, with the blessing of DHS secretary John Kelly, he knew that every time his force drew a militarized boundary they were dividing families, friends, and entire communities.

As the major talked on that hot day at the Zacapa base, we could see the parched mountains surrounding where the Chorti force enacted their border exercise. Not only were we in the middle of the extending U.S. border regime, we were in the middle of the Central American dry corridor that extends through El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. According to climate scientist Chris Castro, the northern triangle of Central America is “ground zero” in Latin America for ecological upheavals in a changing and destabilizing climate. The thirsty mountains around us were one indication of a drought that was pushing parts of Guatemala into famine. In 2015, hundreds of thousands of people across Central America were pushed to the brink when the annual rains never arrived and harvests failed. Add to the mix the destructive superstorms and hurricanes that have battered the region and the northern triangle region represents a “catastrophic convergence,” to use the term of sociologist Christian Parenti, of political, economic, and ecological issues—all of which are compounding one another. At a global level, the United Nations predicts that by 2050, 250 million people will be displaced because of ecological disasters due to climate change.

The Trump administration will not only be deepening the violence and economic despair that propels people north from places like Guatemala through its border policies; through its embrace of climate change denialism and policies that will only increase U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, it will also be aiding a regional ecological crisis in Central America. And instead of stopping migration, such policies are likely to accelerate the forced displacement of possibly millions.

Where is the Wall?

As founder of the Global Detention Project Michael Flynn (not the Trump administration’s former national security advisor) described in a 2003 article published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and entitled “Donde está la frontera?” (Where is the Border?), the outward expansion of the U.S. border enforcement apparatus gives new meaning to the concept of a “wall.” According to Flynn, a wall is much more than a physical barrier. “U.S. border control efforts,” he argued, “have undergone a dramatic metamorphosis in recent years as the United States has attempted to implement practices aimed at stopping migrants long before they reach U.S. shores.”

These efforts manifest themselves not only in Guatemala, of course. They are present in many countries around the world. Agents from the special forces BORTAC unit have, according to CBP, “global response capability.” Agents from the unit have travelled to countries like Peru, Panama, Belize, Mexico, Honduras, and Ecuador to first provide a “diagnosis” of those countries’ respective borders, and then offer a “prescription” of training and resources to solve border “woes.” BORTAC has done this not only throughout Latin America, but also in other parts of the globe, including Iraq, where it trained border police and its tactical unit from 2006 to 2011.

As part of its own effort to spread “hard” borders across the globe, the U.S. State Department has also run training programs in countries that include Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Turkey. These efforts are part of an initiative known as the Export Control & Related Border Security Program (EXBS). In addition to conducting trainings, EXBS has provided, as the State Department gushes, “state-of-the-art detection equipment and equipment training” to U.S. allies.

Since 2003, CBP has opened offices abroad, starting in Mexico City, Brussels, and Ottawa. Presently, there are 21 such CBP outposts in cities ranging from Panama City to Johannesburg to Cairo. Homeland Security has even set up “preclearance” sites in the airports of Shannon, Ireland and Vancouver, Canada. It was in this last city where, this past November, U.S. agents blocked Canadian journalist Ed Ou from boarding a flight headed to North Dakota. Ou was on his way to cover the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) stand-off at Standing Rock when CBP detained him for more than seven hours after he declined to give border agents the password to his phone. What Ou experienced in Canada was one small manifestation of an expensive and expansive regime of control and exclusion that will cost U.S. taxpayers approximately $20 billion USD in 2017, if you combine the budgets of both CBP and ICE. This constitutes a mammoth increase of approximately $1.5 billion USD over the annual budgets of the early 1990s.

It is on this already gargantuan budget that the Trump administration seeks to bestow even more largesse. According to the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, Trump has a little over $2.5 billion USD designated for “tactical infrastructure” and other surveillance technology on the border, including money to “plan, design and begin building the wall.” This would amount to just a fraction of the total cost to construct what he promised during his campaign. Regardless, the physical wall that Trump envisions in the U.S.- Mexico borderlands is and should be a concern. As Verlon Jose, tribal chairman for the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose reservation in southern Arizona borders Mexico, declared in November 2016: “Over my dead body will a wall be built.” This sentiment resonates with many border residents along the 2,000-mile divide, who have voiced opposition.

While the U.S.-Mexico border wall may be the most xenophobic of symbols, it is just a small part of a policing apparatus that is spreading far beyond formal U.S. borders on waves of ever-increasing budgets for U.S. border and immigration control. As the pursuit of what is now called, in official parlance, “homeland security” has shown time and time again, such monies exact high human costs—from migrant deaths and divided families to myriad civil and human rights violations, and ecological degradation. It is this larger “prize” upon which we must focus, and that we must resist and ultimately eradicate.

Additional author information:

Todd Miller
Todd Miller is a journalist who lives in Tucson, Arizona. He is the author of Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security (City Lights Books, 2014) and the forthcoming Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security (City Lights, 2017).

Joseph Nevins
Joseph Nevins teaches geography at Vassar College. Among his books are Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid (City Lights Books, 2008), and Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond: The War on “Illegals” and the Remaking of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2010).


The Great Transportation Conspiracy – National City Lines and related corporate conspiracies to destroy America’s electrified mass-transit systems from the 1930’s into the present

The BHRA is a non-profit organization, where most of the work is done primarily by volunteers. Although we are a non-profit, we are a real railroad, not just a museum! BHRA is a turn-key engineering organization, certified in electric railroad construction.

Streetcar. Image:

National City Lines Conspiracy and Conviction in Federal Court:

“Mass transit didn’t just die, it was murdered”  Kwitny, 1981

“When GM and a few other big companies created a transportation oligopoly for the internal-combustion engine  . . . they did not rely just on the obvious sales pitch.  They conspired.  They broke the law. . . in 1949 a jury convicted the corporations and several executives of criminal antitrust violations for their part in the demise of mass transit.  The convictions were upheld on appeal.”   Kwitny, 1981

The above quotes refer to the infamous anti-mass transit “National City Lines Conspiracy” led by General Motors, Standard Oil and Firestone Tires.  The above quotes by Jonathan Kwitny are taken from page 14 of the Feb 1981 edition of Harper’s Magazine (PDF).  It is a truly exceptional article.

In 1949, National City Lines were convicted in Federal court (and in 1951 the conviction was upheld) for destroying the electrified rail and electric bus transit systems in 44 American cities.  Beginning in 1937, National City Lines embarked on a nationwide campaign to induce cities (by aggressively pushing “an offer you can’t refuse” of G.M. /National City Lines financing – at the height of a 12 year long, world-wide economic depression) to scrap electrically powered streetcars and trolley-buses, which G.M. did not make, and to substitute gasoline powered buses manufactured by G.M., burning Standard Oil gasoline, and rolling on Firestone rubber tires.  When National City Lines would aquire a transit system, the trolley rails would be ripped up, the overhead wires would be cut down, and the system would be converted to buses within 90 days.  It’s noteworthy that New York City’s electrified surface transportation system was National City Lines first victim (see the video “Taken For A Ride”).

Strangely, although the Federal Government won the case against G.M., it never imposed any penalty on the company other than extremely small symbolic fines. Perhaps at the time, the Truman administration felt it needed the undivided assistance of G.M. in fighting the Korean War, and pursuing the “Cold War” against the former Soviet Union, more than it needed a national, privately financed and operated all electric mass transit system.

The National City Lines controversy didn’t just go away:

GM’s role in Monopolizing the Sale of Buses for municipal use:

In 1971, the City Of New York led a class action anti-trust lawsuit of 300 localities against G.M. in federal court (PDF) for price fixing and price gouging in the sale of G.M. buses to municipalities. See NY times article (PDF). 

GM’s role in the destruction of intercity rail, suppression of alternative energies and more:

In 1972, then U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy called for a Federal investigation into G.M.’s alleged conspiratorial destruction of the U.S. rail industry and public mass transit industry, in order to facilitate the sale of automobiles.  (see NY Times article (PDF))

At the time, this subject was brought to the attention of Senator Kennedy by NYC based labor attorney and transportation expert Theodore W. Kheel and Ralph Nader associate Bradford C. Snell (see PDF streetcar conspiracy article by Snell and the video “Taken For A Ride”).  Snell was then a San Francisco based attorney, who worked on NYC’s anti-trust bus lawsuit against G.M.

This led to Senate Bill 1167 of 1974 “The Industrial Reorganization Act” and the now little known Ground Transportation Hearings of April 1974 – which were sidetracked by the resignation of then U.S. President Richard Nixon on August 8, 1974 (Watergate). G.M. was literally “saved by the bell”…

In 1974, during the height of the first “Energy Crisis”, the U.S. Senate re-investigated General Motors for its involvement in not only the intentional destruction of the U.S. Streetcar industry, but also G.M.’s direct involvement in the intentional destruction of the U.S. rail freight and passenger rail industry, the systematic suppression of U.S. alternative energy sources, and energy efficient automobile engines, as well as providing direct material aide to Nazi Germany during WWII in the critical areas of military truck manufacture, and military airplane and jet engine manufacture.

Part 4a through appendix  of 1974 Senate Investigation document can be read here (78mb PDF)
Part 4 of 1974 Senate Investigation document can be read here (40mb PDF)

So is the “Unholy Trinity” of the National City Lines Conspiracy still in effect today?

If so in a current corporate context this Unholy Trinity may include:

G.M. = NovaBus (builds CNG buses at the G.M. bus manufacturing plant in Quebec, Canada)
Standard Oil = Trillium USA (provides CNG bus fuel to nearly every U.S. municipal bus fleet)
Firestone Tire = Cato Institute / Wendell Cox / National Highway Users Alliance

Urban transportation planning and system design, pre-National City Lines conspiracy and decimation:

Before the criminal conspiracy that destroyed America’s mass transit systems, Heavy Rail (subways), electrified streetcars and electric bus lines formed an integrated system.  Such a system can still be found in San Francisco (America’s second densest populated city).  Although such an integrated system no longer exists in New York City, we once had such a system. The Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company (BMT) and it’s subsidiary Brooklyn and Queens Transit Company (B&QT) actually pioneered this type of integrated transit system.  A new type of vehicle was even created for this system, the PCC. During the 1920’s NYC transportation engineers and planners developed the following hierarchy of all urban electric transportation modes, as a function of corridor ridership density:

1. Heaviest density corridors to be serviced by subway/elevated
2. Electric Streetcar lines to feed subway/elevated lines
3. Electric Bus lines to feed the Streetcar lines

BHRA feels the best way to improve quality of life in urban communities, and truly get a handle on CO2 emissions in densely populated urban settings, is to return to a truly integrated and sensible mode of transportation planning.  This includes switching mass transit vehicles (along densely populated corridors) back from hydrocarbon combustion (in any form), to electric energy derived from low carbon footprint, renewable electrical generating sources.

A fascinating side note: National City Lines was complicit in maintaining Apartheid (“Jim Crow Laws”) in the American south:

“Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus operated by Montgomery Bus Lines, a subsidiary of a National City Lines on 1 December 1955 which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. . . The boycott lasted for just over a year and ended only after a successful ruling by the Supreme Court that allowed black bus passengers to sit anywhere they wanted.” (from: National City Lines and the Montgomery Bus Boycott)


‘One Child,’ by Mei Fong

Feng Jianmei recovers from a forced abortion, 2012. Credit Katharina Hesse. Image:

Readers would be forgiven for thinking that the announcement, on Oct. 29, 2015, that China was changing its one-child policy would have turned this book from an account of the daily lives of Chinese people into a work of history. Not so. The event itself came rather late for Mei Fong’s “One Child.” But she makes disconcertingly clear that the repercussions of population control will continue to reverberate throughout China. The policy itself remains a monument to official callousness, and Fong’s book pays moving testimony to the suffering and forbearance of its victims.

It is often assumed that the limitation to a single child was an act of Maoist despotism. In fact, as Fong shows, it was associated with the post-Mao opening. Deng Xiaoping, China’s leader after 1978, had set a target of quadrupling the country’s per capita national income by 2000. China’s planners decided that they could achieve this goal only if, in addition to increasing the size of the pie, there were fewer people to share it.

So they determined, in their words, to “adjust women’s average fertility rate in advance.” The man who ran the program that treated women as if they were production functions was a rocket scientist, Song Jian, who had worked on ballistic missiles. Song went on to help manage the giant Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. His was a world in which unintended consequences were not important.

Population control was not unusual in the 1980s. India also had a fertility-­control program. The United Nations gave its first-ever population award to the Chinese minister for population planning in 1983 (along with Indira Gandhi). But China’s application of population control was particularly ruthless.

In 2012, Feng Jianmei, a factory worker pregnant with her second child, was taken to a clinic, forced to sign a document consenting to an abortion and injected with an abortifacient. She was in her seventh month. Pictures of her lying next to her perfectly formed seven-month dead fetus went viral. But hers was hardly an unusual case. In the 1990s, population targets became a major criterion for judging the performance of officials. It is no surprise that they carried out the one-child policy ruthlessly. Reading this account, one wonders why rape as a weapon of war is (rightly) seen as a war crime, whereas the forcible violation of women’s bodies in pursuit of government policy wins United Nations awards.

As Fong makes clear, the one-child policy was not just a crime. It was a blunder. Fertility would have fallen anyway, as happened in other Asian countries, albeit not quite so far and fast. But the policy further distorted sex ratios, resulting in more boys than girls. And it changed expectations: Most people now want only one child. That is why the policy may prove to be hard to reverse.

The greatest strength of Fong’s book is her reporting (she was a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal in China). Fong meets Liang Zhongtang, who fruitlessly attempted to dissuade China’s leaders from adopting the policy in the 1980s. She interviews people at adoption agencies that are suspected of seizing second children and selling them to Westerners. She sees Tough Pig, a boar that survived for 36 days without food or water under the rubble of a vast earthquake in Sichuan Province. The earthquake highlights how unexpected are the tragedies of China’s population policy: Thousands of only children were killed when shoddily built schools collapsed, leaving their stricken parents childless — a disaster in a country where the importance of family has survived even the one-child restrictions. Unlike the earthquake, that policy was — and remains — an unnatural disaster.

In: nytimes 

CASO: Juzgado Dicta 9 Meses de Prisión Preventiva a Katherine Morales 27-06-17 (Completo)

El Poder Judicial ha dictado 9 meses de prisión preventiva para Katherine Morales La Cruz, ex cajera del Banco de Crédito del Perú , involucrada en el desvío de S/ 5 millones de la entidad bancaria.

La sentencia fue emitida por la Corte Superior de Justicia de Lima NorteMorales La Cruz es acusada de cometer delitos contra el patrimonio de datos y fraude informático.

No obstante, la defensa de la imputada ha solicitado la apelación del caso y esperará evitar llegar a una pena definitiva.

Cabe resaltar que ex cajera aseguró haber sido extorsionada por ‘Los millones récord’, banda de delincuentes, quienes sería los autores intelectuales del crimen.

En: peru21 

Tumbes: Hospital de 120 millones de soles se cae a pedazos [VIDEO y FOTOS]

Hospital Regional de Tumbes fue construido hace tres años y recomiendan que sea demolido.

El sótano del hospital en Tumbes está inundado, tiene carteles de peligro y cientos de rajaduras en sus paredes. El Hospital Regional de Tumbes fue construido solo hace tres años y necesita ser demolido por poner en peligro la vida los usuarios y trabajadores.

Existe una parte del hospital que no es usado porque no está en condiciones. Las losetas del las recepción se sale con solo agarrarlas con las manos. No existe ningún responsable de la mala construcción.

El Hospital Regional de Tumbes fue construido en el gobierno de Ollanta Humala. El Consorcio Hospitalario Tumbes, con capital peruanos y argentinos, fue el encargado de la construcción del hospital y manifiesta que la culpa de este desastre lo tienen las lluvias.

Los trabajos del hospital se iniciaron en el 2011. El presidente regional de ese entonces era Gerardo Viñas Dioses,ahora en prisión por corrupción. Toda el hospital luce grietas en paredes y pisos. El muro de contención también colapsó.

“Podemos observar que existe un hundimiento. Tenemos una zona que está cerrada por que puede colapsar”, manifiesta el Director del Hospital Regional de Tumbes, Salvador Zelaya.

Manuel Boggio, ingeniero especialista en gestión de riesgo, manifestó: “Las construcción se está hundiendo producto de una mala cimentación. Esto es muy grave…esta construcción debe de demolerse”.

Se limpias las manos

Manuel Sullón, representante del Consorcio Hospitalario Tumbes, manifestó lo siguiente: “El hospital se ha hecho conforme a lo que manda los planos. Lo que mandan todas las especificaciones técnicas”.

Las justificaciones son tan abundantes como las grietas que siguen apareciendo en el hospital de Tumbes. Los especialistas aconsejan que lo mejor es demoler la construcción.

En: trome 


Hope Funds: más de mil acreedores frenaron una jugada del “Bernie Madoff argentino” en Tribunales

La empresa de Enrique Blaklsey, investigada por estafa y lavado de dinero, presentó un acuerdo preventivo en el fuero comercial con una sospechosa lista de deudas para frenar nuevos juicios en su contra. La oposición fue total: el juez Sebastián Sánchez Cannavó rechazó el acuerdo con un escrito lapidario

Enrique Blaksley, presidente de Hope Funds. Imagen:×0/

Enrique Blaksley Señorans sufrió esta semana su primera derrota judicial, al menos, en un frente. El presidente y socio mayoritario en un 97 por ciento de Hope Funds -la firma financiera responsable de visitas internacionales como las de Roger Federer y Usain Bolt- hoy acusado de lavado de dinero por la AFIP y la Procelac además de estafar a casi 300 acreedores que invirtieron en contratos de mutuo en un esquema similar al cometido por el estadounidense Bernie Madoff, con una causa en su contra en el Juzgado Federal de María Romilda Servini, intentó en febrero pasado una jugada para descomprimir sus problemas judiciales. Fue, precisamente, en el fuero comercial, donde Blaksley y Hope Funds enfrentaron al menos 27 pedidos de quiebra.

La jugada misma estaba contemplada en la Ley 25.589 de Concursos y Quiebras, un recurso perfectamente lícito conocido como APE, o acuerdo preventivo extrajudicial.La mecánica del APE es simple: si dos tercios del total de acreedores de una empresa aceptan firmar el acuerdo y reestructurar su deuda, entonces la empresa sigue a flote y evita una quiebra.

Así, Blaksley apuntaba a neutralizar a su gran caudal de inversores, jubilados, amas de casa y jóvenes con pequeños ahorros, que, tentados por una oferta de tasas anuales de intereses de más de un 12%, pusieron su dinero: la gran mayoría asegura no haber visto un solo peso de vuelta.

Los viejos brokers de Blaksley, vendedores que se dedicaron durante años a captar a estos clientes hoy en pie de guerra, llamaban a los pequeños acreedores para convencerlos de firmar el APE con frases poco felices.  “A los que hacen juicio, Enrique -Blaksley- les va a pagar el Día de la Escarapela. Va a priorizar a los pequeños inversores que firmen los acuerdos”, oyó un joven empleado de callcenter que había invertido sus ahorros de 7400 dólares y que terminó por firmar el acuerdo.

El APE tramitó ante el Juzgado Comercial N°30, a cargo del doctor Sebastián Sánchez Cannavó. Los abogados de Hope Funds presentaron el acuerdo el 24 de febrero último, un documento firmado por el contador Sergio Orencel; era el presunto listado de todos los inversores que firmaron el acuerdo y de todas las personas y entidades a las que Hope Funds les debe dinero, al menos hasta el 15 de diciembre de 2016. El APE, por ley, obligaba a Hope Funds a una situación incómoda: decirle a la Justicia cuánta plata debe.

277 personas firmaron el acuerdo, al que accedió Infobae, un número que luego ascendió a 393. El presunto número de deuda fue de 449 millones de pesos, 18 de ellos en deudas laborales, 34,4 en impuestos impagos a la AFIP, otros 395,5 en contratos de mutuo impagos y proveedores. Sin embargo, fuentes cercanas al expediente instruido por Servini encontraron el contenido del acuerdo por lo menos llamativoPor ejemplo, el documento solo hablaba de Hope Funds y no de otras firmas que tomaron mutuos e imputadas por Servini, como la offshore Marketsite.

También figuran como acreedores una pariente del contador Orencel y varios nombres fuertes de Hope Funds: están Federico Dolinkué, socio minoritario de la firma, por tres millones y Verónica Vega, cuñada de Enrique Blaksley, por 700 mil pesos. No serían los únicos: fuentes que conocen la empresa aseguran que 61 de los 277 firmantes serían vendedores y ex vendedores de la empresa que siguieron leales a Hope Funds, por lo visto, a la fuerza. Muchos de ellos habrían puesto dinero en los mutuos, para no recuperarlo. Seguir en el barco era la única opción.

Infobae publicó los contenidos y las contradicciones del acuerdo de Hope Funds en abril. Blaksley tenía dos obstáculos para que su jugada prosperara: que los acreedores se opusieran y que el juez se negara a homologarla. Ambas cosas ocurrieron.

Luego de la divulgación del informe hubo 1159 presentaciones en contra de Hope Funds en el Juzgado N° 30, que llevó a abultar el expediente con 140 cuerpos y a complicaciones de tráfico en el sistema judicial informático Lex 100. A comienzos de esta semana, luego de casi cuatro meses de evaluación, el juez Sánchez Cannavó decidió anular la estrategia de Blaksley.

El acuerdo fue rechazado, con costas impuestas para el empresario financiero e informes elevados a la AFIP, la PROCELAC y la UIF. También, Sánchez Cannavó le generó un nuevo problema al empresario: envió una nueva denuncia por posibles nuevos delitos a la Cámara del Crimen porteña para que sea sorteada a un juzgado, en paralelo a lo que ocurre en el despacho de Servini. Los términos en el escrito del juez fueron lapidarios.

Sanchez Cannavó apuntó: “En el caso quedó acreditado que mediaron declaraciones insinceras, contradictorias, reticencia en la información, ocultamiento del activo y del pasivo e inexistencia de la mayoría exigida para la homologación judicial. Se trata de cuestiones que evidentemente no podían ser ignoradas por la deudora de acuerdo con una mínima pauta de razonabilidad”, afirmó el magistrado, que habló también de “reiterados incumplimientos”.

Junto a Benedicto XVI y Francisco. Imagen:×0/

Blaksley hizo una primera presentación ante Sánchez Cannavó junto a un primer acreedor, una suerte de avanzada. Mencionó dos raíces para sus problemas: las dificultades en el lanzamiento del country Verazul en Pilar, cuyo desarrollo está bloqueado por los jueces Sandra Arroyo Salgado y Adrián González Charvay. El empresario también le echó la culpa a la prensa. “Añadió que a ello se le suma una campaña de desprestigio mediático que originó la promoción de acciones judiciales en su contra y que afectaron su credibilidad y solvencia”. Blaksley aparentemente no mencionó, por ejemplo, que la Comisión Nacional de Valores le prohibió operar en noviembre pasado con una orden en su contra.

Blaksley, a sus acreedores, según el documento firmado por Sánchez Cannavó y por varias fuentes alrededor del caso, les ofreció pagarles, irónicamente, con plata generada por Verazul. “Por otro lado están los que se opusieron a la homologación del acuerdo preventivo extrajudicial”, apuntó el juez: “La gran mayoría refirió que no fueron incluidos en el listado de acreedores presentado por la apista, medió ocultamiento del pasivo y del activo, no se presentan las mayorías previstas y se verificaron irregularidades en la contabilidad y en las certificaciones presentadas por la deudora. Muchos también argumentaron que la propuesta resultó ambigua o incomprensible, fraudulenta y abusiva“. Otros acreedores pidieron, directamente, intervención de la CNV y el Banco Central.

Parte del escrito firmado por el juez Sánchez Cannavó. Imagen:×0/

Los contadores de Blaksley se demoraron en traer los libros: se detectó el último registro de sueldos correspondiente a diciembre de 2012, se encontraron páginas anuladas en los libros de actas de asambleas, entre otras irregularidades que no fueron explicadas, se quejó Sánchez Cannavó. Hope Funds apenas indicó un solo automóvil en su activo presentado: otra causa en trámite en otro juzgado comercial indica que la firma tendría, al menos, tres.  

Hubo otro hueco que también llamó poderosamente la atención del juez: “Hope Funds participa en sociedades y emprendimientos que supuestamente en conjunto facturarían por año U$S 72.500.000 y $ 275.300.000“, apuntó Sánchez Cannavó. Sin embargo, la empresa no informó ser titular de cuentas bancarias, a pesar de haber ofrecido depósitos de hasta 268 mil dólares ante los pedidos de quiebrapresentados. “Por último”, aseguró Sánchez Cannavó, “no puede dejar de observarse que el propio directorio de Hope Funds le reconoció al contador interviniente que podrían existir otros activos que podrían no estar identificados a la fecha de elaboración del informe. Cuando se le requirió a la deudora que identifique cuáles serían esos activos, nada precisó“.

Por último, el juez dudó fuertemente del pasivo presentado en el APE por un motivo bastante lógico. Hope Funds habló de 393 acreedores: al juzgado se presentaron más de mil.

El rechazo del acuerdo y el envío a sorteo de una nueva denuncia a la Justicia penal son una señal para los abogados alrededor de la causa instruida por Servini en Comodoro Py. Víctor Varone, socio del estudio Iezzi & Varone, es uno de los querellantes. “No creo que Blaksley haya previsto que el juez Sánchez Cannavó extrajera testimonio para la Justicia Penal ni que le carguen costos y honorarios.Es importante que todos los damnificados se presenten en la causa que tramita en el Juzgado Federal N° 1 para dar real dimensión de la estafa”, asegura Varone.

El doctor Hernán Vega, abogado del mismo estudio que trabaja en la causa, completa: “El juez consideró que Enrique Blaksley y su empresa habían incurrido en la comisión del delito penal de estafa que se configuraría con la conducta desplegada al intentar homologar el APE con información y documentación falsa o engañosa.  Por ello sacó testimonios y los envió a la Cámara Criminal y Correccional”.

Gonzalo Romero Victorica representa junto al doctor Ezequiel Altinier a más de 200 presuntos damnificados que hicieron sus denuncias en la Justicia federal. “Se trata de la manipulación de la documentación, libros y registros societarios, que incluyen alteraciones en las participaciones accionarias de las sociedades, falsedades y omisiones dolosas en las certificaciones contables, ocultamiento y manipulación de créditos y deudas; todo lo cual importa la modificación, alteración y hasta la eliminación de prueba”, se sorprende Romero Victorica tras leer el fallo del juez Sánchez Cannavó. El abogado plantea un punto clave: seguir la ruta del dinero de Blaksley “para recuperarlo y devolverlo a los damnificados”.

Los testimonios ya comenzaron a ser tomados en el juzgado de Servini. Sin embargo, Blaksley, con respecto a los cargos de estafa, no fue llamado a indagatoria hasta el momento, mucho menos detenido.

En: infobae