Letters to the Editor for 3-30-2017

Special to the PRESS

Dear Editor,

Life in the Rio Grande Valley can be so nice with friends and family. Unfortunately,workers in the industrial technology field sometimes face the difficult decision to travel for their occupation as wages outside the valley are generally much higher and jobs more abundant. With low wages and a shortage of jobs in the Rio Grande Valley, many workers travel for months to gain better salaries just to support their families back home. These long distance relationships can take a toll on the worker’s life and family. Thus, the overall quality of time shared with family and loved ones is negatively impacted and is sometimes jeopardized.

Important events and even smaller priceless events in life are missed and can seldom or never be brought back, nor rescheduled.   From personal experience, I was that worker who had to take a better job out-of-town to better support my family, but I missed my children and it negatively affected them every time I had to leave.

I also come from a family of shrimpers who built their livelihoods around that noble profession but that was not enough to provide for my family. So to be close to my loved ones, I am now spending time as a fishing guide in the lower Laguna Madre area.

But now there isfinally hope and opportunity for our children to have better, and they don’t have to leave the area or settle for only working in low wage jobs that barely allow families to survive. That hope and opportunity fora better Rio Grande Valley through natural resources is possible with the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities at the Port of Brownsville.

An LNG facility should not be mistaken for an oil refinery, chemical plant or an oil drilling facility.  An LNG facility is so much more compact and efficient than one would ascertain. Industry safety procedures during construction and operations ensure safe, reliable operations.   Protocols, daily safety meetings, and job safety analysis are a high priority throughout the construction and maintenance of these facilities. I know this because I’ve seen them up close and have done my own research.

A great future for our children and businesses is on its way and will bring massive economic growth and revenues to our Rio Grande Valley area.  Please help support and be a part of the Rio Grande LNG project for a much needed opportunity for economic growth and prosperity for our community but mostly a better future for our children and their children’s children.

James Montelongo
South Padre Island

Dear Editor,

I want to share how I am navigating the present political turmoil. The present project of the USA has been around for 241 years. At the beginning 95% was agricultural and the economic model exchange was for obtaining profits.

Slavery was legal and many other features to keep the workers producing their labor for the benefit of the few.

The model of socialism was introduced in Europe at 1848.

The economic model of capitalism was shown to be an unequal system and the movements to abolish slavery was accomplished during 1865. The election of senators was changed from the state legislatures and to allow all election of senators by direct popular vote. Labor movements grew and led to the establishment of unions; some of them extremely militant. Public education was required for workers to labor in factories.

Women got their right to vote and the Civil Rights movement took effect.

All the above was done by the working class and concessions were permitted because those in power did not want to compromise their model of economics.

We have had different periods where different parties have come and gone to produce what we have now which is the Republican and Democratic party. Both support the same economic model. It is important to remember the USA has been very successful and has become an imperialist country. They take their military and economic models and extract what they want; many times using wars in the process.

The main objective is to make a profit and for the most part, we have a large group of citizens who do not participate in the political process and as a result we have now a very serious situation where only a few control the money and resources to be used again for the benefit of the few and not all the citizens of USA.

I gave a brief description on what has passed over the last 241 years and what has developed now. A lot of changes and struggles by others to make sure all of us had a chance to obtain the basic resources to live on.

It is my opinion that we can see both parties become irrelevant because they have stopped serving all the people and they want the model to serve only the few. The USA has undergone fundamental changes in the past and we are overdue for another momentous change.

Information is power and the way I survive the present racist attacks against people of color is to know how the USA operates. Racism has been very profitable and is being used again for that purpose.

These are a few practical points to defend ourselves, especially our Mexican American community in this area of the RGV.

We have been here for 500 years. We did not cross the river, the river crossed us.

We are here because USA has been there militarily in Mexico and with economic penetration. NAFTA is one example and there are others. The illegal selling of arms to Mexico creates displacement and people move to safer areas.

The consumption of drugs is because of demand in the USA and Mexico supplies the demand. We also have the comprador class from Mexico who work closely with those who benefit from our exploitation on both sides of the border.

The call for the border wall is just a way to extract more taxes from us to hire corporations to make walls that will not serve the citizens at all, plus it would hurt the environment.

We have to be on the side of those who are on the move and try to be in safe areas. If USA does not want to deal with immigrants, it would be easy just for them to stop the military interventions and we would see a lot of people who will stay in their homelands.

I want you to check a book called Dark Money by Jane Mayer who is exposing the money invested by people with very right wing agendas like Robert Mercer who wants USA to move to the far right. I only have read a review of this book where he has invested millions of dollars towards the candidate for the supreme court Neil Gorsuch and other causes that does not include us the working class.

I will read the whole book.

Question everything. Don’t be afraid of change and if the present economic system does not serve all of us, it is time to dismantle it and work for a Social Democratic/Mixed economy that do well in some European countries.

Remember this is an economic model and the USA is not an Indispensable country in the present form. We should demand not to have interference from Russia or other countries. To do that, we have to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes we made in the past when we overthrew the president of Iran in 1953, Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and at least five in the Middle East.

I am of age and I am encouraging all my Latino community to get involved and to reject everything that hurts your soul and dignity. Support those voices who call for a just society for all. Stop buying from companies who promote hate. Vote only for those who support our interests. Stop being a spectator. Reject internalized racism in our community. We will remain firm and not be afraid of defending our rights using respect and our human rights to defend ourselves.

Yolanda Garza Birdwell
Laguna Vista


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