Advocate For Tijuana Deportees Dies At 67

Credit: José Pedro Martinez, used with permission Above: Micaela Saucedo fought to improve the lives of deported migrants living in Tijuana.

Credit: José Pedro Martinez, used with permission
Above: Micaela Saucedo fought to improve the lives of deported migrants living in Tijuana.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
By Adrian Florido

Men and women who land in Tijuana after being deported from the U.S. lost a great friend this week.

Micaela Saucedo was one of the city’s most vocal advocates for that city’s vulnerable deportee population. She died Sept. 1 after a battle with cancer.

Saucedo was a founder and executive director of the Casa Refugio Elvira, which began in 2007 as a shelter for women and children who found themselves stranded in Tijuana after being deported from the U.S.

More recently, she moved her old 10-bed shelter into a larger building and began housing men, who make up most of the deportee population on the streets of Tijuana.

The idea for the shelter was sparked when a Mexican immigrant named Elvira Arellano left the Chicago church where for a year, she’d been seeking safe harbor from deportation. She traveled to Los Angeles, but was arrested there and deported to Tijuana.

It was Saucedo, a retired nurse and activist, who greeted Arellano at the border. The shelter ultimately bore Arellano’s first name.

As the shelter’s director, Saucedo tried to differentiate Casa Refugio Elvira from others. She placed no limit on how long people could stay, realizing it often takes much longer than a week or two for a recent deportee to figure out what to do next.

“She saw a wrong, and she tried to fix it right away,” said Enrique Morones, a border activist who worked with Saucedo and La Hermandad Mexicana, a pro-migrant nonprofit, to establish the shelter.
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2 reviews of Transit by Anna Seghers

transit

European Refugee Lit: Anna Seghers’s “Transit” Reviewed
By Joe Winkler On May 2, 2013

Transit
by Anna Seghers; translated by Margot Bettauer Dembo
NYRB Classics; 280 p.

Anna Seghers, one the most respected and important German authors of the 20th century, wrote perhaps the earliest account of the Nazi concentration camps. That book, The Seventh Cross, tells a similar story to her own time in a camp. Now, NYRB Classics has released a sequel of sorts. Transit tells the story of a lesser-known component of the Second World War, the displacement of millions of refugees. While it pales in comparison to the genocide, the displacement of millions of refugees signified its own traumatic experience which ended up changing the map of postwar Europe. Seghers’s unnamed narrator escapes first from a concentration camp in Germany and then from one in Rouen, France. He finds his way to Marseilles, a port city, which in this era of refugees desperate to leave transforms into a bustling town of the lost. The narrator feels a sort of modernist ennui until he finds himself a hustler in the shady business of visas and departures. There, he begins to create a glimpse of a solid life while remaining on the precarious ground of a displaced person. He loves, he attaches himself to a family and friends, all with an awareness of the inherent transience of his situation and consequently life in general.

The book begins with talk of a downed ship of refugees, and then the narrator proclaims his manifesto:
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Country without Parents: Labor Migration from Moldova

“Whose parents are living in Italy?” asked the teacher as she stood in front of a first grade class in Cirpesti, a small village in southeast Moldova. With a mixture of pride and embarrassment about 20 of the 30 children raised their hands. I was shocked. I knew the statistics on labor migration and remittances. But the lives behind the numbers were staring me in the face as I stood in a cold, leaky classroom and learned that it had been years since most of these six-year-olds had seen their parents who were working 2,000 kilometers away as cleaning ladies or harvest helpers. This experience and others inspired me to continue my photography in Moldova. My images aim to look behind the statistics to reveal the impact of migration on families and society and ask how high a price parents and children pay for it.

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Forty percent of the people live below the poverty line. Meanwhile, more than one-third of the adult working population has left the country. According to official estimates, at least 690,000 of the 4.3 million Moldovans are living and working abroad—mostly in EU countries and in Russia—although the actual number varies according to different sources and probably exceeds one million. That makes Moldova one of Europe’s leading countries in labor migration.

The remittances that the migrant workers send home are a major factor in preventing the economy from collapsing. Yet labor migration has many downsides, including a “brain drain,” in which Moldova’s most active and educated people search for better economic opportunities abroad. Although many wind up working as unskilled laborers for low pay, this work still brings more than what they could earn at home. Migration also contributes to the disintegration of families and has torn the social fabric of Moldovan society. Whether in cities or the country, there is hardly a family in which at least one parent is not working abroad. In many cases, the children remain in Moldova and live with relatives, acquaintances, or even on their own. They often don’t see their parents for months, or years.
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One brave woman’s struggle against a Jewish prostitution ring, by Judy Maltz

The Argentine-born documentarian Gabriela Bohm, who is making a career out of mining long-buried secrets from her birth community, hopes her film about the prostitution ring 100 years ago will inspire today’s victims of sex trafficking to take a stand.

Raquel Liberman at age 19, against the background of a collage of photos of Jewish prostitutes in South America. Photo by Courtesy of Gabriela Böhm

Raquel Liberman at age 19, against the background of a collage of photos of Jewish prostitutes in South America. Photo by Courtesy of Gabriela Böhm

Not only does Argentine-born filmmaker Gabriela Böhm not see anything wrong with airing the dirty laundry in public, she considers it her mission.
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“AM I LATINA? OR AM I JUST ANGRY?” (by Sandy Florian)

A Latina writer and scholar, Sandy Florian is the author of four full-length books of prose poetry – On Wonderland & Waste (Sidebrow Books), Prelude to Air From Water (Elixir Press) The Tree of No (Action Books), and Telescope (Action Boos) – and one chapbook – 32 Pedals & 47 Stops (Tarpaulin Sky Press). Her creative work has appeared in over 50 international journals including Bombay Gin, Gulf Coast, /nor, Gargoyle, Indiana Review, and New Orleans Review, and she has been awarded residencies at Caldera Arts and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Her current semi-autobiographical project focuses on the hybrid issue of postmodern identity.

A Latina writer and scholar, Sandy Florian is the author of four full-length books of prose poetry – On Wonderland & Waste (Sidebrow Books), Prelude to Air From Water (Elixir Press) The Tree of No (Action Books), and Telescope (Action Boos) – and one chapbook – 32 Pedals & 47 Stops (Tarpaulin Sky Press). Her creative work has appeared in over 50 international journals including Bombay Gin, Gulf Coast, /nor, Gargoyle, Indiana Review, and New Orleans Review, and she has been awarded residencies at Caldera Arts and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Her current semi-autobiographical project focuses on the hybrid issue of postmodern identity.

When we think about Latino Literature, we often think about a certain kind of Latino Literature, a type of sociological or ethnographic literature that gives voice to people with Latin American heritages who grew up in the Latino ghettos of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Rightfully, those voices are canonized and taught in classrooms, presumably in celebration of the cacophony of multi-cultural America. What happens, though, when someone who claims to be a Latina writer doesn’t write directly about her heritage? What happens when the African American student writes whatever the hell she pleases? We are told we aren’t “really Latina,” that we aren’t “black enough,” by our peers, our professors, our own people. We are told that our writing doesn’t contend with the struggle of being a minority, different, an “other.” If we want to write novels and poetry without place or placement, we have to quietly erase our heritages and try our damnedest to be white.
In an article about art, Johannes writes that he got into an argument with a Latino poet who claimed I am not a Latina writer, and I’ve been thinking about this for some time now, namely because claims on my heritage seem to be blocking my professional path. And I’ve been doing a bit of research here and there in preparation for a long and angry sabbatical. I won’t get into postcolonial theories here, though, because here I would like to explore this problem personally.
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Review of “The Girl,” a new movie starring Abbie Cornish, from the NYT

By MANOHLA DARGIS
Published: December 13, 2012

It takes a stupid crime and an avoidable tragedy to realize that the title of the American independent movie “The Girl” refers to two people. The first is Ashley (Abbie Cornish), a solitary, thorny rose of Texas who lives in a trailer park and punches a clock at a dead-end job. Her manager favors the Latina workers, or so she believes; worse, her young son, Georgie (Austin Wayne West), has been taken away from her. She visits him soon after the story opens, dropping by the foster home where he lives and that, with its tidy lawn and swing set, looks pretty as a picture. It’s a snapshot of the American dream that seems out of her reach and that will bring her and the second girl trouble.
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