INTERESTING THAT REPUBLICANS QUESTIONING COHEN ARE ALL ABOUT CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF SOMEONE WHO’S CHARACTER HAS ALREADY BEEN ASSASSINATED. BUT NOT ONE, RPT NOT ONE DENIAL OR QUESTION OF MANY OF THE INSIDER COMMENTS CHOSEN MADE ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S ILLEGAL AND UNETHICAL ACTIONS DURING THE CAMPAIGN AND AS PRESIDENT. NOT ONE QUESTION ABOUT MR. TRUMP. THEIR SILENCE ON That, THat, THAT IS DEAFENING.
Geoffrey Wright, lives in El Paso, Tx
This is really provocative stuff from a man on the scene in El Paso where the wall crisis was trumpeted by trump.~ FLS BLOGGER
By casual (non-scientific) observation, based on television and social media reports, not first-hand verification, it appears that the crowds at each of the rallies (Trump v. O’Rourke) were comparable in size.
Among my associates and friends, it is considered common knowledge that claims of a “crisis at the border” Are unfounded, on the American side at least. The border fence does seem to have had an effect in stopping petty crimes in El Paso by desperate people from the Mexican side from availing themselves of the personal property of Paseños (citizens of El Paso). Also the murder rates of the sister cities of El Paso and Juárez are noticeably different with Juárez having about 90 times more homocides than El Paso over the past 3 years despite having only about twice the population. El Paso has regularly ranked as one of the safest large cities in the US for several years running.
Its safety is actually not attributable to the fence but came about in the ‘90s when the border patrol incredibly began for the first time to station agents along the Rio Grande to discourage Mexicans from wading over the shallow river unimpeded. This was the “hold the line” policy of the local border patrol chief Silvestre Reyes who was later elected congressman from El Paso (and after several terms defeated by Beto O’Rourke). Prior to that time the policy had been not to enforce the border but to let everyone cross more or less freely and then try to pick up undocumented Mexican citizens off the streets of El Paso. The fence (wall) was installed later, and then further reinforced around 2006 under the George W Bush administration.
El Paso is overwhelmingly Hispanic with over 80% of Latin heritage. I have heard it said that 70% of El Pasoans speak Spanish at home. Most of our population is bi-lingual. It is a peaceful city of immigrants. Many of us are offended by the characterization of our peaceful borderland being crime-ridden. Nothing could be farther than the truth.
It is the case, however, that the cordial relationship between our sister cities Juárez/El Paso of my youth is gone forever. That went by the wayside largely due to NAFTA which drew thousands of rural poorly prepared Mexicans to Juárez factories looking for a better opportunity. They landed squarely on the US border, most with lack of education and with a ring-side seat to the land of opportunity.
Gone are the days when we El Pasoans could drive across the river for a fantastic lunch, dinner, or shopping. 911 magnified the separation. It can take up to two hours to cross the border now, depending on the hour and day.
As a resident of 60 years, I love living in El Paso. I only wish the sharing and conviviality we once enjoyed with our sister city of Ciudad Juárez were still possible.
Venezuela: Juan Guaidó says Venezuela opposition ‘has met military’
Self-declared interim president makes claim as Nicolás Maduro says Trump could turn country into a new Vietnam
Thu 31 Jan 2019 00.07 ESTFirst published on Wed 30 Jan 2019 06.10 EST
The Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, has claimed he has had held “clandestine” meetings with the military as he attempts to force Nicolás Maduro from power.
Writing in the New York Times, Guaidó said: “The military’s withdrawal of support from Mr Maduro is crucial to enabling a change in government, and the majority of those in service agree that the country’s recent travails are untenable.”
Guaidó, a 35-year-old former student leader and head of Venezuela’s opposition-run national assembly, has been in the forefront of a renewed attempt to force Maduro from power since last week when he declared himself Venezuela’s rightful interim president in a daring challenge to the incumbent.
Maduro has accused Donald Trump and a “group of extremists around him” of plotting to topple him in order to seize Venezuela’s oil, and warned he risked transforming the South American country into a new Vietnam.
In a four-minute Facebook video – published as Venezuela prepared on Wednesday for a day of fresh pro-opposition protests – Maduro said the leaders of the US “empire” were conspiring “to get their hands on our oil – just like they did in Iraq and in Libya”.
Unable to accuse Venezuela’s government of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, they were instead waging a media campaign of fake news to justify intervening in a country that boasts the world’s biggest crude reserves, Maduro said.Advertisement
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––
“We will not allow a Vietnam in Latin America. If the US intends to intervene against us they will get a Vietnam worse than they could have imagined. We do not allow violence. We are a peaceful people,” Venezuela’s embattled leftist leader added.
“I ask that Venezuela be respected and I ask for the support of the people of the US so there isn’t a new Vietnam, least of all here in our America.”
In Maduro’s video, he painted himself as an “admirer” of the US who had visited Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Washington and wanted closer relations with the White House. “The United States is so much bigger than Donald Trump, so much bigger,” he said.
But Maduro looks unlikely to repair relations with the Trump administration, which has thrown its full weight behind his rival to the presidency, Juan Guaidó.
In a telephone call on Wednesday, Trump reaffirmed his support for Guaidó, and the two men agreed to stay in regular contact, according to the White House.
On Monday, Trump stepped up his battle against Maduro by announcing sweeping sanctions against the country’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA.
Maduro also said on Wednesday he was willing to negotiate with Guaidó. “I’m willing to sit down for talks with the opposition so that we could talk for the sake of Venezuela’s peace and its future,” he said.
Maduro said the talks could be held with the mediation of other countries, naming Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia, the Vatican and Russia.
Later on Wednesday, Moscow repeated its offer to mediate. The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Russia could offer more balanced conditions for dialogue than the west.
Lavrov called on Guaidó to agree to talks without preconditions.
“We welcome the Venezuelan president’s willingness to accept such international efforts,” he said at a press conference in Moscow, according to Interfax. “We call on the opposition to display an equally constructive approach, retract the ultimatums, and act independently, guided above all by the Venezuelan people’s interests.”
Moscow has so far offered full-throated support for the Venezuelan leader. Russia has invested an estimated £13bn in Venezuela by refinancing the country’s debt, as well as through oil and arms deals.
Venezuela’s supreme court has imposed a travel ban and financial restrictions on Guaidó, including freezing his bank accounts.
At the start of a two-hour protest on Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of students gathered outside the gates of the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas. Professors gave civics lectures to the assembled students, while riot police who almost matched their numbers, watched from a distance.
Among the protesters was Rafaela Requesens, a student activist whose brother Juan, an opposition politician, was arrested after an attempted drone attack on Maduro. Amnesty International has described his detention as “arbitrary”.
“This is the moment to fight for democracy,” she said. “We do not seek confrontation, but rather that the police and military join this struggle. This is not a fight between Chavistas and the opposition; this is a fight for Venezuela.”
More protests are planned on Saturday.
Additional reporting by Patricia Torres in Caracas
As 2019 begins…
… we’re asking readers to make a new year contribution in support of The Guardian’s independent journalism. More people are reading and supporting our independent, investigative reporting than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But this is only possible thanks to voluntary support from our readers – something we have to maintain and build on for every year to come.
At the Guardian, we believe that access to trusted information is a right that should be available to all, without restriction – independent reporting, distributed fairly, accessible to everyone. Readers’ support powers our work, giving our reporting impact and safeguarding our essential editorial independence. This means the responsibility of protecting independent journalism is shared, enabling us all to feel empowered to bring about real change in the world. Your support gives Guardian journalists the time, space and freedom to report with tenacity and rigor, to shed light where others won’t. It emboldens us to challenge authority and question the status quo. And by keeping all of our journalism free and open to all, we can foster inclusivity, diversity, make space for debate, inspire conversation – so more people, across the world, have access to accurate information with integrity at its heart. Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, enables us to keep working as we do.
The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.