Thursday, July 3, 2008

we made it into mexico, minus 32 computers

3:52 pm reynosa border crossing

photo left: american government stealing computers

that fucking american government stole 32 of our computers.

i figure it's because george is going to be unemployed soon, and he needed someone to do his christmas shopping for him. go steal me some computers, he said. he must have said it, otherwise why would they? they're mexican/americans for christ's sake, it's just a job, a paycheque. they're forging a better life for their families. then some asshole boss of theirs tells them to take stuff from hard working poor people just because he can, and they do it because if they don't they lose their jobs. what a fucking system that is.

i'm soooooo glad to be in mexico. we haven't actually left the border crossing area yet, but already it feels worlds apart from the excited states. there are signs telling people not to use cell phones or smoke, but nobody said anything to me when i called home prior to seeing the sign. in canada or the usa, someone would have been right there, enforcing every last little rule and regulation. it gives them a sense of power. mexicans draw their power from another source, i suspect ... their rich history of revolution, their deep family ties. the mexicans searched through a lot of the stuff, but they didn't steal anything.

photo left - mexicans looking at some of the 100 tons of aid destined for cuba

the caravanistas, all but a small handful of them, are crashed out on the cement. sleeping like babies. many of them were up all night, literally, trying to fix a broken bus (to no avail) and then, apparently using a bus to pull a dent out of another bus that some drunken woman crashed into around midnight. that's the story i heard, anyways. then there was all the unloading and loading of aid off and back onto the buses today. we're an amazing team, there's no doubt ... i begged off the heavy work, still feeling a bit sick, but i'm getting this do it yourself media thing done. somebody's gotta report on this stuff!

where else in the world would federal authorities allow people to just sleep all over their cement? certainly not in my home town, where it's illegal to sleep outside. there's a bit of time to wait while the necessary insurance and licensing documents for the vehicles are completed.

we made as much of a commotion at the american part of the mexican border as we could. did you know that you have to pass through a checkpoint to leave america at mcallen texas? the american (as i mentioned, these are largely comprised of mexican americans) border officials directed all the buses into a compound area and we were all asked to disembark. they were kind enough to let us use the washrooms as we waited around for them to sort through one of the buses - a truck, actually. after about an hour i heard that we were to activate our networks - i was chatting, at the time, about yoga and tai chi with some caravanistas. after another half hour or so the decision was made to block the border and we moved, chanting and drumming, to stand alongside the border sentries (they're there to collect money from people leaving the usa after they've been approved to go) and we were able to stop the flow of empty trucks out of america for a good half hour. i presume they're empty trucks, just like those empty ships that leave vancouver's harbour. off they all go to china, via panama in this case, to gather up a bunch more crappy consumer products made by children in sweatshops.

the decision was made to have the drivers return to the buses - they drove across and we walked over the imaginary line a bunch of men drew in the sand some years ago. we crossed a bridge over a beautiful river with a typical mexican shanty town along its edge, i saw a woman doing her laundry in a stand up sink, and then we were greeted by cheering mexicans and the other part of the documentary film crew. the mexicans did a rigorous search of the buses, pulling a bunch of hospital equipment and bicycles out of them, but they didn't steal anything.

and then they were hospitable enough to let them sleep on their cement. it sure feels good to be living in a civilized nation for a change.

ps -- almost civilized .... someone want to clean up the dead dog, and the dead horse along the road into reynosa? very smelly ....

there's some discussion, at least in the room i'm sharing with the girls, about whether we could have done a more effective protest. i guess it's all up to the media now, how successful we might be in getting those computers to cuba. if you haven't already, please call your local representative and ask them to pressure the american government to return the stolen loot.

and .... a cuban dignitary (not sure of his official title) greeted us at the mexico border. told us everyone in cuba knows about the pastors for peace!! the pastors for peace have reminded us to remember our work and remain humble.

i'm in a little internet corner in a hotel in reynosa. gotta go find some beans & rice ....

PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE, THE MEDIA, OR THE U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to voice concern at these actions at 1-800-540-6322.