This is a translation of a letter by Eloy Vallina and the response from Osvaldo Rodríguez Borunda that was published in the Diario on August 17, 2013. Please note that I am not a professional translator and any mistakes are entirely my own. In addition, this is not a verbatim translation as I was taught that Spanish and English are not meant to be translated verbatim as word usage varies from language to language. Rather, I believe this is a translation that conveys the message of each piece.

I apologize for the “roughness” of the grammar but I wanted to stay as true as possible to the original content.

I was also taught that formal names are not translated, although I make an exception for El Diario, that although it is the formal name for the Juárez paper I decided to take some literary license for readability. Keep in mind that Spanish is a very eloquent language where words can mean various things depending on the tone and therefore it can be wordy but when properly used by well-educated people it can create an intense, captivating visual poetry through its wordiness. Please feel free to point out errors you find.

I originally started this translation as a favor to a discussion on Facebook where the discussion was based on a horrible automated translation of the letters. The translation reminded me how beautiful, eloquent the Spanish language is, and how these types of public exchanges between well-known parties are never played out in American newspapers. Therefore, I decided to share it with all of you.

For those that do not know, El Diario is a frequent critic of Chihuahua industrialist Eloy Vallina. Imagine what kind of El Paso it would be if the El Paso Times challenged the status-quo rather than conform.

Open letter from Eloy Vallina

Once Again El Diario

Once again El Diario, as is its custom since the San Jerónimo development, attempts to once again create “doubt, suspicion and alarm individuals” with its recent “investigative report” that is nothing more than an editorial titled; “They Demand Stopping Public Funds Benefitting Eloy Vallina”.

The newspaper, property of Osvaldo Rodríguez, a permanent resident of El Paso, Texas, repeatedly generalizes deeds and opinions, attacks those it wants to, whenever he wants to, on a daily basis, malignantly judges all that irritates him and he pretends to be the great moral censor for the Chihuahuense society; guesses but prominently is suspicious, suspicious of everything and of everyone, and he does it only because he wants to or because he feels like it; punitively imposes twisted intentions to that mortal being that dares to complete any project in which he is not included; he considers himself infallible in his judgments and in delirium, almost demented, he furiously attacks against any investment, whether public or private, that encourages development in any part of Cd. Juárez, or the State. (Chihuahua)

In this case, the governors of Chihuahua and New Mexico, announced private foreign investment for a possible railroad crossing between the two countries; this investment would be for the railroads, that if it were to be developed, would propel the development of a bi-national focal point. This is only a proposal; there is nothing hidden, kept from anyone, or diabolical. It is only an expression of intent by two governments as part of their responsibilities to their respective communities.

But because in its origin this proposal is unsullied, therefore the Diario returns with its media circus because they cannot attack the goodness of the announcement of the intention of foreign investment, therefore it paints the newspaper article as an alert, describing injustices and prophesizes catastrophes. Immediately it rapidly produces an investigation (?), excludes the goodness of the proposal of the governors, personalizes the article, adds my first and last name, and once again involves me in a “suspicious” plot, based on generalizations like the opinion of “activists and other voices”, mixed with theatrical arguments of a “resurgent controversy and doubts”, from “demands from representatives of various social sectors”; all seasoned with affirmations and common places from “where the doubts continue” and concludes with launching a citizen alert in order to “keep abreast of how many public resources are going to be invested.

Osvaldo Rodríguez,

The origin of your antagonism towards me, is not something that occupies my time; be secure in knowing that I will continue with my work to keep my projects going forward, time has shown me that the end results are something that I should focus on not only in business but also that the wellbeing of the community is much more satisfying.

If you oppose, or you do not want, or simply it is not your desire that the development of San Jerónimo continues to exist, in Cd. Juárez, then there is nothing more to discuss or clear up. I’m only left with letting you know that this region will continue to develop and grow naturally with or without your participation. San Jerónimo will continue much longer than your lifespan, or mine.

Against the impossibility of answering each and every one of your falsehoods or references that your newspaper imparts upon me, I will now focus on dedicating myself completely to San Jerónimo and settle on waiting for better times.

Eloy S. Vallina Lagüera
Responsible Party: Mr. Victor M. Bustamente Anaya

– Open Response from Osvaldo Rodríguez Borunda –

Mr. Eloy S. Vallina Lagüera:

In response to your open letter that you published yesterday under your signature, I would like to let you know that you are mistaken. There has never been anything personal, or “evil”, nor “demonic” when the Diario has published – which is the obligation of any serious and professional news media outlet – the public sentiment of certain sectors of the Juárez community about the doubts and suspicions about the use of public resources in the San Jerónimo zone that have principally benefited you.

You assert that my newspaper repeatedly “generalizes actions”, “intentionally mischaracterizes”, “maliciously judges”, “furiously attacks” against any investment, public or private that propels the development of any part of Juárez or the State. (Chihuahua)

It is not so. Every time that there is an investment of public funds, the Diario keeps itself informed so that the process is transparent in order to assure that it is not a few that benefit to the detriment of the city and of its inhabitants, that with their taxes are the ones that pay the costs.

In your specific case, like a businessman in the area of San Jerónimo, even though it might appear to you as “hostility” on my part towards you personally everything published since 1998, when you acquired land next to the city, similar in size to all of Juárez – a little over 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) bordering next to the most powerful country in the world -, in reality the only thing the paper has done is document the behind-the-scenes activities with public monies that have happened in that area that have favored you.

You state that the Diario, “as always” attempts “to create doubt, suspicion and raise an alarm” in regards to San Jerónimo. However, this is not so. It is our duty, as a news media, to not create doubts but rather expose truths that drive the public’s suspicions.

Because the fact is that since 2001, when the highway that connects San Jerónimo with the Panamarican Highway was constructed that benefits your vast land holdings, it was the behind-the-scenes and the discreet agreements that forced Juarenses and us as news media, to suspect and expose the alleged collusions between higher-ups in the Administration of Patricio Martínez.

Oh, tell us Mr. Vallina, how else are we to understand the following: in February 2003, that State Administration issued a decree where they confiscated 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) in San Jerónimo.

On September 22, 2004, although the State government was the owner of those 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres), they paid you, through the decentralized Promotora de la Industria Chihuahuense, $4, 676, 357 dollars for a small piece of land that is about 212 hectares (524 acres). Why pay you that money if the State was already the owner of that land after the confiscation?

Three days later, on September 25, 2004, a few days after the process was completed, the State Administration published in the Official Gazette the revocation of the decree ordering the confiscation of the 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres).

To be clear, the State first took from you, Mr. Vallina 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres). Then, during the confiscation process period, it bought 212 (this is during the period the State was the owner), and then it gave back your land.

That is not all. You paid $5 million dollars for the 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) you acquired in 1998. However, in 2004 the State paid you almost $5 million dollars for purchasing 1 percent of that land, in other words 212 hectares (524 acres).

Is there any false information in the paragraphs above, obtained from the investigations reported by the Diario in March 2005? If it is so, please refute them.

Because of that documented report, the majority of Juarenses demanded an explanation, and the State Congress in session unanimously ordered a “complete” investigation on March 15, 2005 of those suspicious transactions “with political clout” and “with obvious benefit to businessman Vallina”.

The business leaders of the city agreed as well. For example, the then-president of Canaco, Antonio Andreu (today an elected city representative), stated that “the land that the State purchased in San Jerónimo from businessman Eloy Vallina, must be reverted because there was no fairness in that purchase and selling of the land.”

Although the State’s “complete investigation” was never conducted, as you will see, the only thing the Diario did, Mr. Vallina, was to document and publish the truth. The doubts and the suspicions were not generated by me nor the newspaper, but rather the public sector with its behind-the-scenes transactions -in which you were involved- and the breaches of trust.

A few months later, towards the end of 2005, and with significant opposition from different border sectors as part of the Frente Ciudadano por Juárez, the City Council approved the Plan Parcial de Desarrollo para San Jerónimo, even though the Instituto Municipal de Investigación y Planación (IMIP) determined that as of 2001 the “scope of the project is evidence that the objective do not follow a development plan, but rather it legalizes a land project.”

The city government expected that the property taxes in that zone would allow for urban growth and that Juárez would receive revenues from property taxes.

However, Mr. Vallina, instead of giving back to this city a little of all that the governments have done for you, you instead filed a court case against paying property taxes on 3,000 hectares (7,413 acres), that is part of the approved Plan Parcial, for 2006, 2007 and 2008, and that last year you were able to force the city government to return $3 million Pesos you had previously paid.

Even though the city representatives assured the community in their 2005 action that there would be no public investment and that the development for San Jerónimo would be the responsibility of the owners of the land, the Administration of José Reyes Baeza spent $80 million Pesos to build the Boulevard Fronterizo that connects that area to Juárez.

As you can see from the concise description of this history, it is not unjustified that Juarenses -not Osvaldo Rodríguez nor the Diario- reacted to the news this past Friday when the community became aware of the investments proposed for San Jerónimo, that is, on your properties, announced by the governments of Chihuahua and New Mexico.

It is not our policy to oppose nor is it our “custom” to do so on investments in the city. In fact, we welcome them if they are to benefit the community. However, as news media, and considering the history we have described, it is our responsibility to demand that the process is transparent for all that is proposed for San Jerónimo, especially if public funds are to be used.

With all of the visceral judgments you throw at me and to the Diario, as well as distract from the irregularities in San Jerónimo by smoke-and-mirrors you also impugn, with a pen, my 37 years of integrity as the Diario’s director, and you discredit the integrity and credibility of this paper created over almost 4 decades of work.

But, you also attack the professionalism of award-winning reporter Gabriela Minjares, who holds a Master’s in Journalism, by putting in doubt the credibility of her report, that you have denounced as a “masked editorial”.

And of course, you attack the credibility of sources who have provided information, such as Dr. Hernán Ortiz, experts who have closely followed the activities involving San Jerónimo, whose opinion is supported by the Director of Desarrollo Urbano de Gobierno municipal, Vicente López Urueta.

No, Mr. Vallina. It has not been the Diario nor Osvaldo Rodríguez Borunda who have created doubts and suspicions about San Jerónimo’s development. For Juarenses it is clear that the authorities of various administrations, both city and state who have not been willing to provide explanations is from where the “suspicions” arise.

To me and the team that supports me, all part of a responsible news media, it is clear that we will continue our more than 37 years of journalism, to open our pages to give voice to those who question any irregularity, any “deal” that is made behind-the-scenes, any transaction that is detrimental for public resources, without regard as to who is involved.

As a matter of fact, the insults against me are proof that we have hit the nail on the head.

Osvaldo Rodríguez Borunda
President and Director of El Diario

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...