Monday, January 7, 2008

Billionaires on the Border

Investigative reporting from Eileen Welsome

Former Albuquerque Tribune reporter looks at border deals

It's an all-too-familiar story: When there's money to be made, poor people and those without political influence get screwed. They get screwed out of their homes, land, water, dignity, and in many cases, even their lives.

The moneyed interests have converged along the U.S.-Mexican border in El Paso, Juarez and Santa Teresa, and the poor are being ground into the desert's baked earth.

Pulitzer-prize-winning reporter Eileen Welsome returns to New Mexico to uncover the deals that billionaires on both sides of the border are hatching and what it has meant to those without money and influence, especially the residents of the small Mexican community of Lomas del Poleo.

Welsome describes the guard towers and fences erected by Mexican businessman Jorge Zaragoza Fuentes around Lomas del Poleo, the bulldozers crashing into the residents' small shanties and cinder block homes, the beatings, the clubbings and the terror of people being driven from land they believe is theirs.

Welsome details in her three-part series how businessmen on both sides of the border refer to the area as Panamericano and Union Americana, and how prominent politicians on both sides, including U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and Gov. Bill Richardson have thrown in with the moneyed interests.

It's gripping reading at Eileen

About Eileen Welsome--Welsome won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for her reporting on how the U.S. government treated citizens as human guinea pigs and injected them--without their knowledge or consent--with Plutonium in the 1940s. Welsome goes after stories that other reporters are too scared to touch. She is the author of The Plutonium Files, an in-depth look at the Plutonium injections and U. S. Cold War scientific policy, and The General and the Jaguar: Pershing's Hunt for Pancho Villa: A True Story of Revolution and Revenge.

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