I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Beyond the fence, Palomas, Mexico, seemed calm and peaceful
Crossing the border into Palomas, Mexico, this past Saturday afternoon, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I’d been here before, but with the news of raging drug cartel violence — particularly 70 miles away in Ciudad Juárez — I guess I was easily spooked. But, within minutes of walking along Avenida 5 de Mayo, the town’s main two-lane street that leads to the 24-hour border crossing, I knew I didn’t just walk into a war zone.
I even bought a couple CDs — asking price $5, though I did negotiate a lower sale — complete with the hilarious label, Pirata Records.
A story published in The Washington Post last year noted that Palomas hasn’t been spared by the recent eruption in Mexican drug violence. From that story:
Here in Puerto Palomas, a wind-swept desert town south of Columbus, N.M., spillover from Mexico’s drug war is measured in bullet-pocked bodies. In the past year, at least 10 gunshot victims have been dumped at the border checkpoint — taken there by friends or colleagues who believed their only hope of survival lay across the border.
Locals I talked with said there hadn’t been any drug-related violence for months, but roughly 40 people became victims of that violence last year.
Meanwhile, there are reports that many Mexicans are fleeing Mexico for the U.S. — including people here in Palomas moving to Columbus, N.M., — in an eerie historical parallel to when a chaotic Mexican revolution caused many to relocate nearly a century ago.
One of those revolutionaries, Francisco “Pancho” Villa (born Doroteo Arango Arámbula) still has quite the presence here.
He’ll be even bigger when and if the next Hollywood Western takes on his many exploits, and the local teenage sales force here can make and sell their own copies.
Click on the pictures in the above slide show to read a brief caption.