fresasYou may have noticed something missing in my write up yesterday about Miguel Fernandez. It is that, other than the individual making the complaint, there is not any corroborating evidence. The problem with corruption is that fear is usually a tool used to silence dissention. The court system is heavily manipulated on both sides of the border by individuals with money. It is important to note that I did not just decide to pick on Fernandez but rather a preponderance of evidence suggests that there is something else afoot. Because Miguel Fernandez was appointed to the UMC’s Board of Managers it is important to scrutinize what motives he may have because the fact remains that tax dollars are at play.

Consider the example of Larry Medina. When Larry Medina was kowtowing to Ray Caballero there were many indicators that something was not right. As you might remember, there was the late-night incident at 7-Eleven involving the attempted purchase of liquor. There was also the incident of the airplane crash in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert. There were also numerous whispers in the community that indicated that Medina was someone you needed in order to get government contracts.

All of these were indicators of corrupt behavior. When anyone brought them up the retort was always “prove it or shut up!” The powerful always use the lack of criminal convictions as proof that everything is all right. Even the El Paso Times got in on the game of silencing those accusing Larry Medina of corruption by making a recall attempt against him some nefarious attempt to use corporate donations, an old thermal fax machine, instead of listening to those calling him corrupt. Yes, I know, but there was no proof.

Years later we found out just how corrupt he is. This, after he sued me and others because individuals were questioning his motives. Imagine, for a moment, what would have happened had the recall of Larry Medina been allowed to go as it should have been. Imagine the dialogue the community taxpayers could have had, had the intimidation to silence dissention not being allowed to happen.

During this time there were many questions being asked in the community about public policies centered on tax-funded economic development. These are the same policies that have led to the El Paso Children’s Hospital, the UMC clinics and even the ballpark. It is the same policy that is embarking upon the trolley system. It is the same public policy that made saving the children’s hospital necessary regardless of the cost. It is the same public policy that is driving the Medical Center of the Americas as a cornerstone of the community’s economic development. I can go and on but you get the point.

Ask yourself one question. How many of these issues would have been allowed to proceed had open dialogue about them being allowed in the community? More importantly, how many of these events would have happened had elections being held without interferences by monied people?

Yes, I just wrote that.

Consider the following. There have been ongoing rumors about a political realignment going on in El Paso’s politics since Ray Caballero was defeated at the polls. New political faces suddenly appeared and the old political faces were dumped. Some of them ended up in jail. Others were unceremoniously expelled from office.

The rhetoric has centered on the notion of a “progressive” agenda resurgence that put the new faces into office. That is the politically correct dialogue.

Here is the un-politically correct discussion point.

Miguel Fernandez, like Alejandra de la Vega Foster and many others are part of a Mexican elite that has grown up on both sides of the border. They are true fronterizos, equally adept on both sides of the border. They started to rise in the 80’s on through the 90’s. Born in the United States, most in El Paso, and raised in Mexico their lives are not Mexican or children of the US, but in every sense they are American in that the US-Mexican border is nothing more than a line on the map to them.

Do not confuse the individuals I have described above with the much maligned “fresas,” “misreyes” and “nouveau riche.” Unlike the ostentatious “fresas,” etc., the wealthy fronterizos do not display their wealth publicly but, instead, focus on expanding familial wealth silently, in the background.

As US citizens they can come and go as they please. As Mexican citizens, by virtue of their Mexican parents, they can own land on ocean fronts or own strategically restricted companies in Mexico. Add to that the large fortunes from their families and you should be able to see how nothing really is an impediment to them, except government authority which is difficult to usurp, yes, even in Mexico.

I have previously briefly touched on the rise of the PAN Party in Mexico and I’m only to going to share a quick over view with you today so as not to overwhelm you with the minutia.

The PAN Party is a child of the State of Chihuahua. It emerged from Chihuahua directly into the presidency of Mexico in 2000, under Vicente Fox. When Vicente Fox took office, the general focus was that the PRI had been driven away after 70 years of the “perfect dictatorship.” One of the things generally overlooked is that Cd. Juárez played a dominant role in the rise of the PAN.

Driving the rise of the PAN Party were many wealthy families whose central economic activity was/is in northern Mexico. The rise of the PAN Party significantly changed the political landscape of Mexico forever. Mexico has traditionally had its political powerbase centralized in Mexico City. In many ways, it still does today. However, the PAN Party brought access to political power to northern Mexicans.

One of those that benefited from and contributed to the rise of the PAN Party is Miguel Fernandez’ family. His father has been deeply involved in Mexican politics for many years. Vicente Fox was propelled into office by a Mexican non-profit called the “Amigos de Fox.” The group raised funds for Fox’s national campaign to oust the PRI from power. The non-profit was accused of financial irregularities but the case was stymied while Fox was president. The “Amigos de Fox” was funded or supported by Fernandez, Zaragosa, de la Vega and other well-known Juarenses.

The model for “Amigos de Fox” has created other similar models, like Amor por Juárez, among others. I believe that the model was also part of the basis for Woody Hunt’s Citizen’s for Prosperity PAC that gathered money for cultivating and incubating politicians into office. Many of those are still in office today. The Borderplex Alliance is another similar group that looks to be based on the same model. There are other “feel-good” nonprofits all around that, it is my belief, are being used as vehicles to incubate like-minded politicians until they can be elected. The Sander’s REIT is also connected to many of these individuals.

So what does this have to do with El Paso and US politics is likely on your minds.

As I pointed out earlier, these families are heavily involved in Mexican politics, at all levels. They have started to make inroads into El Paso and US federal offices. Remember, the controversy I am pointing out in this series is but one of others. Consider the attempted land grabs in Segundo Barrio in El Paso and the Lomas de Poleo controversy across the border. They are all related and involve the same individuals.

Let’s look at Miguel Fernandez again.

Pick up a recent political campaign contribution disclosure form for certain El Paso politicians and you will clearly see Miguel Fernandez’ name on them. As a matter of fact, Fernandez has contributed about $5,400, just this year, to the Beto O’Rourke campaign. As a matter of fact, two of the top five political contributors to Beto O’Rourke’s campaign since 2011 are Hunt and Miguel Fernandez related contributions. The Mexican media has alluded to how the Mexican wealthy are using their US children as surrogates for US political contributions. Tie that with the rise of the PAN Party and it begins to make sense why Silvestre Reyes lost his office.

In my article “The Miguel Fernandez DWI Arrest,” I explained to you how Fernandez’ company, Transtelco, has a fiber optic cable contract with the city. The latest version of the city contract exposed that Transtelco had put in unauthorized fiber optic cable on City of El Paso property sometime between 2006 and 2009. I believe that fiber optic cable forms the backbone of the Internet connection Transtelco uses to provide the Internet service into Mexico that I wrote about in my global internet connection post.

The fiber optic cable that crosses the US-Mexico border on City of El Paso property must be very lucrative as I explained in my Internet article. Anyone that has done any cross-border negotiating knows that it takes years and significant resources to get two governments to agree on allowing any border crossing, especially strategic communications platforms.

The question is, does Transtelco have the necessary governmental authority to cross the international boundary from both governments? Keep in mind, the permission must come from various federal and local agencies in two countries.

It helps tremendously by having friendly politicians at all level of governments to help expedite the process. I would argue that having access to a Congressman would be extremely helpful. Having access to federal officials on both sides of the border could be very lucrative.

As separate pieces of a puzzle, the DWI, the apparent misuse of city resources to cross the International border and allegations of the theft of a fiber optic network, to include death threats, may seem like coincidences of unconnected events.

Larry Medina’s crash in the desert was not connected to the 7-Eleven debacle when looked at separately. Bob Jones’ lack of handicap parking spaces were unrelated to his dubious payment arrangement between himself and his companies as well, or so everyone thought. Put together they form an indication of something that does not look good.

I know this is long, but I believe you all will agree that the length is required to bring various pieces together. So let me tie it up all together in a nice little bundle.

Vince Perez is unlikely to have had knowledge of all of the examples I have shared with you in these two posts. However, although they do not prove nefarious actions, they show questionable activities that demand more scrutiny because Fernandez’ appointment to UMC’s board has to do with your tax dollars.

Because UMC is central to the issue of the tax bailout of the El Paso Children’s Hospital. Because UMC has embarked on deploying clinics across the city that the taxpayers are funding, it is important that those making the decisions be held to a higher standard than the normal taxpayer that pays the bills.

However, that is not going to happen.

It is not going to happen because of the individuals involved. Vince Perez is no more going to scrutinize Miguel Fernandez than he scrutinizes his association to Jaime Abeytia, a known criminal.

Today we know that the taxpayers of El Paso will be paying for the children’s hospital a second time, although they were promised they wouldn’t have to back in 2007. The taxpayers have been saddled with a ballpark that benefits a select group of individuals. The taxpayers are wondering if the UMC clinics aren’t going to become another County debacle further draining the taxpayer wallets.

The warning signs are all around and yet, most everyone is still buying into the notion that the culture of corruption doesn’t run deep in the veins of El Paso.

The worst part, is that all of this is less than 5% of everything else that is going on with the “regional” mindset that everyone is all of sudden talking about.

Ask yourself is simple question, who is making money in El Paso today?

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...

3 replies on “The Fresas are Here”

  1. El Paso’s location on border doesn’t help with corruption. While I wouldn’t blame Mexico, one influences the other. The advantage that Mexican money folks have is they are smarter than our politicians so they mold them and control them with ease.

    Our money folks certainly have a hand in el Paso’s problems. The Mexicans and Americans share the common goal of control and greed, so one hand washes the other.

    The chaos and ineptitude of our officials is easily explained with the dots connecting. Like a tug of war, they struggle with pleasing their “friends” on both sides of the border and self enhancement for future political careers. Their ineptness is explained further by selection as someone that will do anything to get their piece of pie. The money folks handle the politicians like children. Rewarding them with an occasional piece of candy for “good behavior”.

    There are a couple of politicians that at least appear to be trying to serve the community. How will before they slide into the slime? Hopefully never.

    El Paso along with Mexico is stuck in the 1800s. The cattle barons still own and/or control everything or decision makers. Cross them or question them and here comes the “hired guns” to get you back in line. These people have a pit bull grip on the region and will for decades to come. They are enjoying the power and money. The region is a playground for them in that THEY decide development, investments, policy. They even play with their toys (people) to make them do as the notion hits them.

    The only possibility of breaking that grip for the say enough is enough and start voting the idiots out of office. Get some honest and intelligent candidates. Have the voters given up hope or down beaten to the point of apathy ?

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