Thursday, 25 April 2019

Concerning inter-military contact and such events on the Mexican / American border...


      Donald Trump and various rightwing / conservative publications are blustering and huffing and puffing about the "invasion" of the United States by armed Mexican Army soldiers who "disarmed" two American soldiers in the United States and then ran away.   Trump, knowing nothing, spoke with great authority.   Like an amiable dumbo…more or less as usual.

            We remember some time back when a couple of guys went across to Matamoros and tried to take out a permit to drive across Mexico to go to Costa Rica.  The problem was that one of the fellows had a bolt-action .410 shotgun that was not declared.  Somehow he did not ask, inquire, or do any diligence concerning the importation of such a firearm into Mexico.   Such a process must begin in the United States at a Mexican Consulate in the United States.  Then, the documents are to be processed by a Mexican Army general, usually a retired person, with all the stamps and rubrics.
     Then, the foreigner can go into Mexico with his documentsalways close at hand without any problem.   On this occasion  the vacationing American Corporal became surly and threatening to the customs officersfemales and malesand finally the somewhat bellicose corporal was detained.
     Bill O'Reilly, another blowhard without authority, expounded and pounded about this "great transgression" and demanded the release of the forlorn, innocent Corporal.  O'Reilly had an aggravating and ignorant problem in that he always referred to President Enrique Pena Nieto as Mr. Nieto.   The problem, of course, is that O'Reilly might be intelligent, but he is also ignorant and arrogant.
     The President of Mexico at that time would be called Mr. Pena.  The last - names of folks in Mexico have the paternal surname first and the maternal surname last in the construct of a formal and legal name.

    I sent the family in Florida a message telling them that I would be glad to intervene to the extent possible at no charge, and that I had had considerable success with such efforts without the need to pay anyone anything.
     They never responded.  But, after the father arrived in Brownsville after a few days and went over to the nearby Customs and Immigration in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico to check on their son, there was a surprisingly quick resolution to the issue.  Their son was declared personna non grata, never to cross the border again due to his abusive and threatening deportment…backed up by video and audio and by their son's confession to his parents that he had been off his meds or something.
     The boy's travelling buddy never seemed to have a negative word to say, but of course, he had not threatened anyone on the Mexican Customs and Immigration apron.  BTW,  there are VERY LARGE SIGNS place over the approaches, by the Texas Department of Transportation that declare "No Guns or Ammunition Can Be Taken Into Mexico -  Penalty - Prison!"

   This was shortly followed up by an American Sergeant who had a bed-load of guns, ammunition, and militaria in his pick-up.  This time it was in Californiawhere this poor Sergeant became confused trying to leave the "chaotic" parking areas near the border, and this after his third visit there on the border.  This was from whence he had walked over to nice joints…restaurants, saloons, diners…all decent and clean…and conviviated with Mexicans and American walk-overs or regular tourists…in the really nice diners and bars.
     The problem was that since he was "lost" he drove into Mexico, still carrying USArmy ordnance, and a fellow just cain't do that nohow without no bad outcome.   Your humble servant did not attempt to intervene in this matter, although I would have been more than willing.
     To shorten the story, this Sergeant might or might not have had a mental. emotional, or meds  problem.  He was a difficult person to detain.  They moved him from the holding cell in the jail in Tijuana and sent him to a dingy Federal Prison in Mexicali.   Bill O'Reilly moaned and threatened and did all the things that a substantially ignorant blowhard does…and then suddenly went quiet.   The Sergeant was eventually released after several months, although had he been a Mexican, doing the same thing, he would have been on "extended vacation" in a Mexican Federal Prison for five or six years…easily. (with or without bribes).

     Now comes the President that El Gringo Viejo is forced by reality to endorse and support.  He knows nothing about what happened at the place where the American and Mexican soldiers had their encounter.   Everybody knows that the Mexican Soldiers were on the wrong side of the border…or do they know?…or were they?    Has anyone reading this screed or listening to the experts and pontificators on the television and radio been in the Land of Beto or the land of Pancho Villa or anything?  Probably not.

The Rio Grande has many personalities…what would you do/?
   The American soldiers who were on the correct side of the line, so to speak, did the right thing by rendering their sidearms to the platoon-level group of Mexican Army…two competent  soldiers against  against forty battle-hardened strike force Mexican Infantry?  Don't become heroic or bellicose.

  And, the Mexicans were following protocol, as did the Americans. When the Mexican officer (a captain?) in charge took possession of the pistol(s), and then took them over to the Americans' military vehicle (that had no markings or official designations) and put the Americans' pistols in the front cab, and in so  he was complying with Mexican rules of engagement with a friendly force.  
     Then they entered into a not-unfriendly conversation about where the actual international boundary was to be found.  During these moments, it is probable that Elephant Butte Dam (140 miles to the north in New Mexico) is not releasing water into the Rio Grande.  Therefore the riverbed will be mostly if not totally dry.   It begins again with a steady flow another 277 miles downstream, where the Rio Conchos comes in from Mexico, and generally maintains a steady to at times turbulent flow to the Rio Grande.
Where one comes out after rafting 12 miles while paddling
 with a trio of grannies. The Mexican boys who
 helped us asked
 five dollars each. It was worth 100 dollars
 for the 
quality of service and civility and honesty.
  All of my junk was
 still in Boquillas at the end of the row.
 was missing.  The family even had cactus and
 eggs and tripe stew waiting for us. It was

     Further down on the Rio Grande, we have long been accustomed to the fluctuations of the level of the Rio.  One of the last places where there is little or no water in the Rio for periods of 12 to 36 hours is around El Paso, especially downstream.
   Once really further downstream (200 miles), there are places where people can actually take rafting trips through the Santa Helena Canyon complex…perhaps the most beautiful place in North America.

     Frankly, as a Texian, it is THE most beautiful place in North America because of the violence and gentleness that the site provides, strictly by the hands of the angels.  Floating down at low flow, or as un-trained dumboes shooting down the channel with 50,000 cubic feet per second flow, the Canyon  forgives a visitor.
       And, yes, Virginia, El Gringo Viejo did it twice…once in the wild ride at 25 miles per hour, and the last time in the poofy-float at 2 miles per hour.   Back in the 1967 period.  It was…interesting…and never forgotten.
     My father did a cavalry manoeuvre back in the early 1930s, involving several hundred soldiers and perhaps 500 horses on a rail / trek / return project that took about six weeks, from Brownsville to Lajitas / Boquillas and back.  That training exercise and the recovery of the non-Global Warming - Climate Change hurricane of 1933 that hit Brownsville were two of the more interesting episodes in my father's mounted cavalry service (the mouth of the Rio Grande ran 100 miles wide a a result of the flooding rains of the Rio Grande drainage area - 250.000 square miles).

    I throw out the Ace of Spades on this commentary.

   Donald Trump does not know, does not understand, does not care what is going on in Mexico.  To his senses, Mexico is a punching bag to blame for anything that seems to be bothering him.   His understandings and his movements to the pro or con of any issue with "the Mexicans" is already rusted out both intellectually and morally.  The Mexicans as an official body, have no particular moral high-ground, but the people are not totally morally corrupt.  Even much of the various governmental institutions are not "totally" corrupt.  Much functions as it should.  Improvement is always desirable…but since Echeveria Alvarez and Jose Lopez Portillo (1970 - 1982 which was the really low point of blatant corruption on a grand scale) things have steadily improved.  President Trump has had many apertures where he could have had a significant operative advantage, but he has blown it each time.

    We do advise, however, for the ignorant and the stupid, that as recently as three or four years ago, Mexican military was cleared by American authority to assault a place Near Salineno, Texas in the western part of Starr County, Texas due to the fact that the home and ranch's set of transmission towers and known collaboration with drug and human smuggling was guilty of causing scores of deaths and tonnes of transport of drugs and slaves.
    The local news people went ape-crazy over the informationseeing Mexican helicopters and Special Forces sliding down the ropes to assault the persons and the propertyIN TEXAS and on TEXAS SOIL!!!!   Oh!! Main Gott!!! We are all going to die.
       There were several arrests that resulted from this military manoeuvre and various were important to the ongoing cause.


   My Consuegro and I witnessed, a couple of years ago, the Mexican Naval Infantry assault a bodega (rural warehouse) within sight of our place in NoWhere, Mexico.   My Consuegro and I marvelled at the military precision of the infantrymen downscaling the ropes extending from the lumbering helicopter.  From a quarter mile's distanceacross the Rio Coronawell into the Municipal de Guemezwe could see the effects.  The bad guys did not know what hit them.

     Both my Consuegro and the host of our visit who is also a cherished neighbour admonished me to not gesture or approve or disapprove!!!!  No No No, que los dejan!!!!! (Leave them alone).  

The next day there was a 
quick and blunt story in the Victoria newspaper about the successful raid  on a place where there were two or three "hostages" being held for ransom.  Such matters frequently do not really end well.   In this case it ended very well.

   The people were set free. Two individuals guarding the victims were sent to prison, and they spilled the beans on a matrix of Central American and Mexican criminals that would curl a person's hair.   It was almost like being in the United States.  That is when a person really and truly begins to relish the "military option" and the competence of the Mexican military.   In all sincerity, my feelings towards the Mexican military and the feelings of the vast, vast, vast majority of Mexican and foreign residents is 96% approval.  The Mexican military complex is not an institution of saints, but they have demonstrated over and over again during the past 20 years especially that they are the keepers of or the restorers of order and legal process.

       True enough, about ten years ago, there were two generals and some other officers in Sonora, adjacent to Arizona, in the very far north of Mexico who were thoroughly corrupt.  There were some agents inserted and some eavesdropping by electronic devices, and the two generals and their lackeys were arrested, flown to Mexico City, and then placed into prison.   This the 65th Battalion of Infantry, known back then among the populace as the "narcobattalion".

       My understanding is that one of the generals died while incarcerated and the other served his time and was essentially exiled to Spain.   What is certain is that since the military is made up of human beings, there will be fault and failure.  But…please be aware…and I address this to people who say, "Well, everybody knows that the Mexican Army is giving protection to the cartels"  is a braying, mentally-retarded jackass.   The Mexican military is, morally, very similar to the American military.   Their service against the cartels and other elements of social and cultural disorder has been incredibly noble.

We shall have more to post in the coming days.  Please stand by.
El Gringo Viejo