Things That Matter

Pregnant Asylum-Seeker With Contractions Sent Back to Mexico to Live in a Tent

You’re in El Salvador. You just found out you’re pregnant with your second child, in a country growing more and more dangerous. The decision is obvious. You take your 3-year-old daughter and make the treacherous journey from El Salvador to the United States, all the while, growing more and more pregnant. After a long journey, you finally arrive at the border to stake your family’s claim for asylum, and, all of a sudden, you start to experience contractions. Just in time, right?

For the anonymous woman whose story this belongs to, timing is everything, but is seemingly meaningless in her case for asylum. U.S. Border Patrol simply gave her medication to stop the contractions and sent her to wait for her hearing, scheduled on November 14, in a tent city, under a bridge in Matamoros, Mexico.

The Salvadoreña likely expected to receive ongoing medical attention, but has since been living in a tent.

@7News / Twitter

At eight-and-a-half-months pregnant, the Salvadoran woman crossed the Rio Grande with her 3-year-old daughter. Agents took her to a the Valley Regional Medical Center, a U.S. hospital, to receive the medical attention she needed. There, she was given medicine to stop the contractions, and was immediately sent back to Matamoros, Mexico to live in a “makeshift tent camp,” according to AP.

Due to give birth any day now, she’s worried she’ll give birth in the street.

@NBCChicago / Twitter

Her lawyer, Jodi Goodwin, told ABC News, “She’s concerned about having the baby in the street or having to have the baby in a shelter.” The Salvadoran mother, who requests to remain anonymous, is scheduled for her asylum hearing on November 14. That also means that she will likely have to care for a newborn infant while living in a tent.

The tent cities in Mexico aren’t any better than the concentration camps in the U.S. Access to meals, clean water and medical care are unreliable. Pregnant woman are especially vulnerable.

Meanwhile, Trump has boasted of his “Remain in Mexico” program as “winning” for the U.S.

The White House / YouTube

After The Washington Post voiced criticism over Trump’s “Summer of Losses,” his campaign immediately pushed out a video claiming a “Summer of Winning” for the administration. The Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico”, program is considered a win for Trump and a humanitarian crisis for much of the world.

After Trump threatened Mexico with outrageous tariffs, Mexico agreed to the deal, allowing the U.S. to outsource its responsibility toward asylum-seekers to Mexico. Now, asylum seekers are turned away at the border and forced to live in tent cities while they await their court date. Effectively, it prohibits asylum seekers from building a life for themselves, or from having adequate access to housing while they await their court dates.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has exempted “vulnerable populations” from the new policy.

@mollyf / Twitter

But U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is unclear on whether pregnant women fall into that category. In a statement, CBP said, “In some cases, pregnancy may not be observable or disclosed, and may not in and of itself disqualify an individual from being amenable for the program. Agents and officers would consider pregnancy, when other associated factors exist, to determine amenability for the program.”

CBP seems to suggest that they’re off the hook if they can’t ‘obviously’ tell if the woman is pregnant.

@ajplus / Twitter

“In this particular case, this woman was actually taken to the hospital by CBP,” Goodwin told the Associated Press. “There’s no way that CBP could suggest that her pregnancy wasn’t known.” This woman isn’t even the first pregnant woman the U.S. has turned back to Mexico. She is at least the seventh pregnant woman to be turned away since the policy was enacted this summer.

These women are afraid that if their children become Mexican nationals, it would hurt their asylum case.

@photosbylesko / Twitter

On top of that, they are not being provided any services. According to Lina Villa, a Mexican official for Doctors Without Borders, nobody is informing the women of their rights to see a doctor for pre-natal check ups. Mexico offers free, limited health coverage to anyone who asks. The women don’t know they’re allowed to ask. They don’t even know where to go when the time comes to give birth.

For the Trump administration, this is what “winning” looks like.

Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico

Culture

Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico

diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Diego Huerta is a photographer who has used his talents and time to document indigenous communities to preserve the culture and history. One of Huerta’s most famous photos was one of a young girl that he called the most beautiful girl in Mexico. He recently shared a new photo of the girl as a woman.

Diego Huerta shared an updated photo of the most beautiful girl woman in Mexico.

Huerta first met the girl when he was traveling through Mexico years ago. The first photo, posted in 2016 but taken in 2011, highlighted the young woman that he dubbed the most beautiful girl in Mexico. The latest photo shows the girl grown up and still living in her same pueblo in 2017. She is still a stunning reminder of the beauty that exists in southern Mexico.

The woman lives in Chiapas, the last Mexican state before entering Central America by way of Guatemala. There are multiple indigenous communities in Chiapas. While Huerta does not mention the indigenous community the woman belongs to, the clothing appears to represent the Zoque people.

The woman is still creating wander and interest among Huerta’s fans.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Her quiet and still composure makes her seem like a Mexican Mona Lisa, tbh. Her stoic face in the photographs has captivated Huerta fans for years. The first photo of the young woman was seen around the world and her beauty was celebrated by everyone who saw the photo.

The young girl’s eyes are what drew in the love and praise from people around the world.

Huerta made it a point to call out the young girl’s eyes in the photo. It isn’t because of the color of her eyes. He was intrigued by her eyes because she is deaf and her eyes are one of the ways she is able to communicate with the world around her.

“In my journey through South Mexico, in a town located in the middle of the Chiapas’ mountains I found the most brilliant eyes that I have ever seen,” Huerta wrote in the original post. “The beauty of this girl was similar to the panoramic views I was able to appreciate every time I turned around. She´s deaf, the way to communicate with her was by signs. It is no mystery that the beauty of the true Mexican woman is way above all beauty contests.”

People are obsessing over her beauty that seems to improve with age.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Nine years makes a big difference in a young person’s development. It can be the difference between 11 and 20, which is a huge difference. Her silent beauty is proof that indigenous communities hold some of the most beautiful people in the world. There is no reason to praise and adhere to Euro-centric beauty standards.

The Instagram posted is filled with messages of appreciation celebrating the photo and the young woman we saw grow up.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Huerta currently has a documentary about the Tehuana people in Oaxaca. His photographs and film collection highlighting and exalting the indigenous community of Mexico is beautiful and necessary. He is collecting an important and vibrant part of human history by giving the first people to inhabit the land a chance to shine and show who Mexico truly is.

READ: Photographer Diego Huerta Is Giving Everyone A Look Into The Tehuana Culture In Oaxaca, Mexico

Amid Rising Domestic Violence, Mexico’s AMLO Says That 90% Of Women’s Calls For Help Are Fake

Things That Matter

Amid Rising Domestic Violence, Mexico’s AMLO Says That 90% Of Women’s Calls For Help Are Fake

Hector Vivas / Getty

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO, has faced serious criticism from around the world for his handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. His government has been accused of fumbling its response and not having a real, concrete plan to help the country of nearly 130 million people weather the storm.

However, before the pandemic arrived, AMLO was also in hot water for his handling of increased gender-based violence across the country – with femicides reaching record levels. So far, his response has been to brush the issue away as ‘fake news concocted by his opposition.

Now the two issues of femicide and the pandemic have collided as there’s also been an increase in domestic violence, as victims are forced to stay at home. But yet again, AMLO is denying these reports as fake news.

The Mexican President said that Coronavirus lockdowns won’t contribute to violence as much as in other countries because ‘Mexicans are different.’

At one of his daily press conferences meant to address the Coronavirus and a variety of other issues affecting the country, President AMLO made sure to preface his statement with a fairly long disclaimer of sorts. He urged the media not to misquote him or misreport what he said – but it was quite clear:

“I’m going to give you a piece of information that doesn’t mean that violence against women doesn’t exist,” AMLO said. “I don’t want you to misinterpret me because a lot of what I say is taken out of context: 90% of those calls … are false, it’s proven.”

Instead, the president maintained a more romantic view of life under quarantine in Mexico, where he said “there has always been harmonious cohabitation.”

“The Mexican family is different from families in Europe and the United States; Mexicans are used to living together, being together. … In the homes of Mexicans, the children are there, the daughters-in-law, the grandchildren, and there has always been harmonious cohabitation. In other places, where this tradition, this culture, doesn’t exist it might be that isolation causes aggravation, confrontation and violence,” he said.

President AMLO is literally denying several reports that contradict his hopeful narrative.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty

According to the Spotlight Initiative, a partnership between the United Nations and the European Union that is aiming to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030, Mexican women made more than 115,000 calls to the 911 emergency number in March to report violence, a 22% increase compared to February. The figure equates to an average of 155 calls per hour during the month.

But according to the president, 90% of these are fake.

After his own Interior Secretary estimated that violence against women had increased 60% during the coronavirus isolation period, the president said it wasn’t necessarily true.

Such violence “cannot be measured using the same parameters as the rest of the world. In Mexico we have a culture of solidarity within the family. The family in Mexico is exceptional, it’s the most fraternal human nucleus…”

For his part, AMLO did say that the Interior Ministry and the National Women’s Institute are taking action against the problem but sought to downplay its severity.

Denying violence against women has been a cornerstone of AMLO’s presidency.

Almost 1,000 women have been murdered in Mexico in the first three months of the year, in comparison to 890 murders last year. Nearly 250 of these murders are attributed to femicide, or the act of killing a woman because of her gender. Across the region, domestic abuse rates have drastically increased since countries began nationwide lockdowns. Nearly 20 million women and girls experience sexual and physical abuse each year in Latin America.

Endless stories on horrific murders – and daily indignities such as harassment, catcalls and being groped on public transit – have prompted a burgeoning women’s movement, whose members have protested online and in the streets and organized a national women’s strike on March 9th.

However, the president has cast himself as the victim of feminist activists and an opposition that is creating the issue solely to undermine his presidency.

Feminists continue denouncing femicides committed during the pandemic and demanding justice. Despite campus closures, students maintained a five-month-long occupation of the School of Philosophy and Letters at Mexico’s top public university, UNAM, and its affiliate high schools over authorities’ inaction in the face of widespread sexual harassment, assault, and even the deaths and disappearances of students.

Despite the López Obrador’s remarks, his supporters are still hopeful that his government can implement a feminist agenda.