Letters to the Editor for April 5, 2018

Special to the PRESS

Dear Editor,

Intimate Enemies

I want to share what I am doing to keep my sanity and dignity during this period of so much negativity against Mexicans and against the country in general.

I am not going to repeat what everyone has heard or seen. No, what I want to do is share practical steps we can take to stay grounded and to be prepared, because the situation could certainly get worse.

Stay healthy. Walk and use the outdoors as much as possible and try to smile more.

Avoid excesses. This includes not buying what you do not need.

Don’t believe everything you hear on TV. There are corporations which attempt to sell and to give you their take on issues that many times are against your interests. Look for alternative information, specifically those that are non-commercial.

Diversify your circle of friends. Don’t associate with a group unless you are learning or feel that respect is mutual.

Don’t expect others to do things you need to do for yourself.

Be informed and check the issues twice or more to make sure you got it right.

You work, you pay taxes, and when you buy food and other goods you are contributing to society.

Why are you, a Mexican, here? This is the question many of us have been asked.  The answer is simple. Our ancestors have been here for more than 500 years.

We are here because the USA has meddled in our countries, not planting trees or building roads, often with military forces. This displaces people. There is abundant information that confirms what I am saying here.

Don’t try to change people. It cannot be done. The only thing you can do is state this fact and that’s it.

Remember that those who have benefited economically will promote the same line until they can experience something different.

NAFTA is an example. It benefited a small portion of the commercial class in Mexico but displaced a lot of working poor.  In Texas, while the business class has benefited from NAFTA, the working poor has not. Poverty surrounds us.

Militarization and the narrative of terrorism. Be very careful how you use the terms. The military budget in the USA is the largest in the world, and at this time it has at least 130 military bases in other countries. Why? More often than not, the motive is exploitation: to extract raw materials from those countries or to manipulate regimes convenient to the wishes of the USA. Two current examples: Honduras and Guatemala.

Other countries have called out the USA for the use of terrorist tactics. It is up to you to check this information and verify it. I suggest the book Confessions of a Hit Man by John Perkins, an ex-CIA agent, who describes the use of tactics that can be considered terrorist, to gain economic influence in Latin America. There are many more examples.

The Wall. I have resisted. I think the wall is just a way for the USA to demonstrate its imperialist doctrine, to be overtly racist towards Mexicans and Mexico and still benefit from our labor when they need us. In addition, the wall is a business venture to benefit those who will construct the wall, among them advisers from Israel, a country whose expertise in the construction of walls has converted Palestinians into a colonized people.

I am against the wall. Unfortunately, with the present leadership, it now it seems that a wall is inevitable. In light of that, I have changed my approach. Let’s turn something negative into a positive.

BUILD THE WALL and KEEP THE USA INSIDE. To those who want a wall, I say, “Don’t go out, stay in.” You are not needed anywhere else. Let those who have family ties travel in and out, but stop commercial travel. We Mexicans should start boycotting the USA corporations in Mexico and here in the USA, starting with Coca Cola, Nestle, Home Depot, Wells Fargo, Fox News, Univision, etc. That is what we can do.

I use the term INTIMATE ENEMIES. At some point we have to ask what role does ICE or the military play in our lives? Are they defending us or only helping the imperialists at our expense?

Also, please, to those young people who volunteer for the military with the promise of citizenship, and who serve only to be thrown back to their original country like garbage: You were played and promised something this government cannot deliver. Stop volunteering. It a fraud. Besides, why contribute to a system that hates you?

Mexico adheres to the same economic system as the USA, a capitalist for-profit model. If you come to this country, are unprepared, unskilled, and uneducated, you will end up in private prisons which are paid more than 70 dollars a day to house you. You will be helping the very system that oppresses you. Let’s look at the numbers and prepare ourselves for the next stage.

Learn the names of the Political Class that is supposed to represent you. Check how they vote and do not be afraid to confront them publicly. Be aware that they will work against your interest unless we demand that they do their job.

This applies to both parties, Republicans and Democrats. They both want our vote, but sadly, many work for special interests rather than for the public. If you don’t believe me, check it out. Many use political platforms as a family business and forget about us. They simply use us as cheerleaders when they need to be elected.

In Cameron County we have three cases where names appeared on the ballot without the involvement of the rest of the party in the decision-making process.  That is beyond comprehension: we will not tolerate this again. We will expose these back-channel practices that work against the interests of the voting public.

Most of us have nothing to lose, but rather much to gain, and we are not afraid to confront corruption.

Lastly, question everything and don’t believe until you study and analyze. Let’s use logic and facts as we face the next phase of challenges. There are good people in both Mexico and the USA who are engaged in trying to correct the mistakes made by those who only want to gain economic power with wars, walls and conflicts. Seek out these people. You are not alone because the people of the world are ready to confront any power which opposes humanity. They are many, and I feel empowered because I can count on them for support.

Love and solidarity,
Yolanda Garza Birdwell
Laguna Vista



Some people may hear about the thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of operations jobs that the proposed Rio Grande LNG project is expected to bring and ask themselves “How does that benefit me? I don’t work in that industry.”

Anyone who studies the big picture will see that the proposed Rio Grande LNG project will have a huge and lasting positive impact on the Rio Grande Valley, no matter what business they are in.

As the owner of a sign company, I can envision many opportunities when Rio Grande LNG begins construction. The project, estimated to cost as much as $17 billion, will inject billions of dollars into our economy and generate tremendous economic growth.

Rio Grande LNG’s financial investment and direct jobs would snowball to reach every sector of our economy. Companies would need to order signs from my company, and workers would need groceries, clothing, daycare and more for themselves and their families. The list is huge!

The Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic research company, released a study in 2015 that included, among other data, the expected cumulative impact of construction and operations of both the Rio Grande LNG project and the associated Rio Bravo Pipeline.

Total cumulative impact on business activity and tax receipts in the first 25 years is estimated to be an additional $2.7 billion in retail sales, $5.9 billion in personal income and $38 billion in total expenditures, or dollars changing hands, in Cameron County. Injecting those new dollars into our economy would be a life-changer for many in our economically repressed area.

Albert Escobedo
Los Fresnos

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1 comment

    • John Young on April 7, 2018 at 5:12 pm
    • Reply

    One of the interesting things about the Perryman Rio Grande LNG report is that some of the “positive” economic benefit is suppose to come from who the LNG export operations is suppose to help grow and expand natural gas exploration and production (https://www.perrymangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/Perryman-Rio-Grande-LNG-12-2-2015.pdf, page 20).

    The company itself and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission insist that there’s no real connection between the proposed Rio Grande LNG project and the expansion of natural gas exploration and production. They claim that any such connection is hypothetical, speculative, unknown, and unknowable and therefore should not be considered in the FERC permitting process. This is because the cradle to grave (extraction to final use) Greenhouse Gas footprint of natural gas exploration and production is as large if not larger than the footprint of coal as an energy source.

    In addition, LNG exports from the Port of Brownsville would encourage the fracking of Mexico’s Burgos Basin shale play, just the other side of the Rio Grande River from McAllen, TX. This would be a disaster for both the Rio Grande River and for the McAllen, Pharr, Edinburg area and beyond.

    Visit, friend, and follow SAVE RGV from LNG on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/saveRGVfromLNG/

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