Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Puerto Penasco: Border Peoples' Conference, alternative to Border Governors Conference

PUERTO PENASCO, Sonora, Mexico -- While the Border Governors' Conference ignores the grassroots people, even clears the beaches of the people struggling to survive, the alternative Border Peoples' Conference will be a voice of the people

Border Peoples’ Conference Sept. 27 - 29, 2007, to Convene as Locals are Driven from Public Beaches

Contact: U.S.: Kat Rodríguez, Derechos Humanos: 520.770.1373
México: Sandra Mejia, Unión Popular Independiente: 0458712405930

Border Peoples’ Conference to Convene as Locals are Driven from Public Beaches in Preparation for Upcoming Border Governors’ Conference

For the third consecutive year, the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice will convene the Border Peoples’ Conference, an alternative conference to the annual Border Governors’ Conference and a space for border communities to come together to discuss issues and build solidarity on human rights and social justice issues.

The conference will be held on the public beach in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, México, and will include panels on human rights, economic justice, and environmental justice. Other planned events include a press conference and a community vigil in honor of those who have died attempting to cross the U.S.- México border.

In preparation for the twenty-fifth annual Border Governors’ Conference, the public beaches are being cleared of local vendors who rely on tourists for the majority of their income.

In a pattern that has been recently seen in México City, as well as the Olympic games in Atlanta, the “unworthy poor” are hidden from view as an alternate, “cleaned up” reality is presented to the public. Officials in Puerto Peñasco have ordered that locals and other visitors be restricted from access to the public beach despite the fact that access is guaranteed by the Mexican Constitution.

Locals are both saddened and angered by this denial of their existence, and many are worried that the loss of income they will suffer from the closures will directly affect the well-being of their families.

“It is typical behavior that this conference, which is supposed to bring border governors together to discuss the future of our communities, fails to include the actual communities that must deal with the inequalities, economic insecurities, deaths, and division, and oppression that border policies have caused,” says Kat Rodriguez of Derechos Humanos.

“They are hiding the very poverty that they are creating from themselves—clearing people off of the beaches and streets and everywhere else that the human cost of their policies is made visible.”

Confirmed participants in the Border Peoples’ Conference will be arriving from the border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Baja California, Sonora, Coahuila, and Chihuahua. Participating organizations include: Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras, Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, AFSC, Tierra y Libertad, Radio Yoreme Nooka, Unión Popular Independiente, Frente de Consumidores (FEDECO), Centro Intercultural de Estudios de Desiertos y Oceanos (CEDO), Soc. Coop. Ostionera y Almejera Única de Mujeres, and Lideres Campesinas.

“Despite their every effort to deny that we exist or take our voices into account, we will be present every year as they gather in our name and profess to work in our best interest.”

The Border Peoples’ Conference is a nonviolent event, and is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Derechos Humanos at: 520.770.1373 or visit http://www.derechoshumanosaz.net/

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