Things That Matter

U.S. Customs And Border Protection Is Already Building Prototypes Of The U.S.-Mexico Wall In San Diego

In the middle of rescue efforts in Texas and the forthcoming decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the White House is charging full steam ahead with their proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that prototypes of the proposed U.S.-Mexico wall will be built in San Diego.

Contractors have been bidding to work with the White House on the proposed wall since March. Some received death threats. Border officials announced yesterday that four companies were awarded contracts to construct prototypes of the border wall:

Caddell Construction Co. in Montgomery, Alabama

Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. DBA Fisher Industries, in Tempe, Arizona

Texas Sterling Construction Co., in Houston, Texas

W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, in Philadelphia, Mississippi

CNN reports that each award will be worth roughly $400,000 to $500,000.

According to journalist Aura Bogado, one of the companies had to pay $2 million for criminal fraud in 2012.

In 2012, the Department of Justice ordered Caddell Construction Co. to pay $2 million because the company overstated “developmental assistance provided to a disadvantaged small business as part of a Department of Defense (DoD) program.” Essentially, they billed the government for more money than they deserved while providing assistance to a small business that they partnered with in a federal program.

Here’s one prototype of the border wall.

The CBP explained how the wall will be constructed:

“These concrete prototypes will serve two important ends. First, given their robust physical characteristics, like, reinforced concrete, between 18-30 feet high, the concrete border wall prototypes are designed to deter illegal crossings in the area in which they are constructed.”

“Second, the concrete border wall prototypes will allow CBP to evaluate the potential for new wall and barrier designs that could complement the wall and barrier designs we have used along the border over the last several years. As the border security environment continues to evolve, CBP will continually refresh its own inventory of tools to meet that evolution.”

You may be wondering at this point who is going to pay for all of this.

Mexico has already said they’re not paying for the wall.

Last week in Arizona, Trump basically said that if the government didn’t approve funding for the wall, he’d “shut it down.”

But Hurricane Harvey has changed everything. The government cannot shut down, especially when government workers are working on rescue and relief efforts. Something has got to give, because Trump said, “One way or the other, we’re going to get that wall.” That money has to come from somewhere.

Trump needs billions to fund the wall, and that money could come out of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) fund.

When Congress resumes next week after their month-long break, the final budget will get sorted out. If there’s no conclusion met, there may be a shutdown. If they do reach a consensus over the funds for the wall, it will come out of the FEMA fund.

That means those people suffering in Houston will have their resources from their recovery taken away in order to pay for the wall.

READ: Kat Von D Is Using Her Immigration Story To Take A Stand Against Trump’s Border Wall

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Things That Matter

An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

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Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

Despite being one of the world’s hardest hit countries by the Covid-19 pandemic, Mexico never once closed its doors to international tourism. In fact, the country has worked hard to lure travelers from the U.S. as Americans faced increasingly tough restrictions at home. This has had a profound impact on the country’s experience with Covid-19, with so many Mexicans either falling ill themselves or knowing someone who has.

With so many Mexicans having first hand experience with the virus, it makes sense why so many have strong opinions about tourist’s behaviors while visiting the country.

Tourists are still welcomed in Mexico but their bad behavior is not.

Most Mexicans agree with their government’s open borders approach during the pandemic, since the alternative would have meant even worse economic situation for a country already suffering record levels of poverty. But the influx of tourists to the country has brought with it a level of resentment at those who fail to follow local health guidelines while on vacation.

Mexico never closed its airports to tourists and one walk down a block in Mexico City’s popular Condesa or Roma neighborhoods and you’ll spot American tourists within minutes – many failing to wear a mask. The problem is even more severe in popular tourist destinations like Oaxaca.

There, tourists often travel from the bustling city of Oaxaca into remote villages where Indigenous residents have even less access to proper medical care.

Residents fear that tourists feel they are exempt from local Covid-19 guidelines.

Many residents who have had their own personal experience with the coronavirus has made them sensitive to the pandemic situation in their community. As case numbers continued to rise, many noticed more tourists defying widely practiced public-health protocols, like wearing face masks in public.

On Feb. 25, a popular photographer from Oaxaca, Frank Coronado, posted a plea to his 171,000 Instagram followers: “Dear travelers, you are welcome in Oaxaca, but you should ALWAYS wear a mask when you are in public places.”

He wanted to publicly address the issue and encourage visitors to do better — particularly foreigners who travel from Oaxaca City into smaller rural villages, where artisans are even more vulnerable. He told the Washington Post, “I get mad because I already went through [covid-19] and know how bad it feels. I don’t want my people, the people of Oaxaca, to get sick.”

With an economy based on services, many don’t have the freedom to work from home.

Many in Mexico don’t have the luxury of isolating from tourists — such as Aurora Tostado, who owns the downtown coffee shop Marito & Moglie with her husband.

“People in Mexico, we have to get out of our homes to work. It’s not like we can work remotely like most of the people in the U.S.,” Tostado told the Washington Post. Like others in hospitality, Tostado benefits financially from having tourists, and she is happy to welcome them back, she says. She just hopes they will consider the chain reaction of their behavior as they enjoy the culture that makes her city special

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