Smell Paso Texas

Antique postcard of Franklin Canal in El Paso TexasMexico is falling apart worse than I remember. I used to haunt downtown El Paso/slash/Juarez. The two cities are really one, but Juarez is about 6 times bigger and the poor side of town, and there are armed guards keeping the poor from the rich side of town.

The colonias described, they are on this side of the border as well. And just as illegal.

In 1991 there was a story on one of the El Paso stations, on the video news, a guy emptied one of those honey wagons, the Port-o-potty emptying trucks, into the canal on the mexican side. There are two main canals, the Franklin canal as it is called in El Paso and downstream, and the (don’t dear God hold me to this name) La Victoria canal on the Mexican side. Mind you, this kind of literally “shit” goes on everyday. Only this particular day there was a Mexican news crew hiding in the bushes.

They filmed him for forty-five minutes nonchalantly emptying the crap into the PEOPLES DAMN DRINKING WATER. Then the cops moved in and arrested him AFTER aaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggg. Then they shot some scenes where women and children were getting their water downstream from the incident. To show us how noble the government was in protecting them I suppose. Of course, it might have been a little bit nobler if they had gone up to the people and at least warned them that they were drinking feces. Guess they just figured they would watch it on the TeeVee news in their cardboard shacks which have no TeeVee, which is kinda good because they don’t have any electricity to run a TeeVee anyway.

But in downtown El Paso, you can go to Alameda street and actually just look across the creek, in its concrete-lined bed, looks like a drainage ditch actually, with the concertina-wire topped 12 foot cyclone fence, and see the maquila sweatshops. There are supposedly designed to be modern and convenient and comfortable and all, but the strangest thing about them is that there, a mere hundred yards from the line where things like OSHA and the EPA are such bad wicked naughty whiners that they actually insist on workplace safety(sometimes) and environmental protection (sometimes) as I said dear friends a hundred yards away… in these wonderful modern factories and warehouses, the other side of PRI, used to be the dominant party there, the Unions, are forbidden to organize, and since every worker in Mexico pre-nafta was a card carrying member of the labor unions, the people working there are ordered to disavow their union membership.

You know, I would almost bet that some of those workers were in the video of the women and children drinking shit out of an irrigation canal.

Oddly enough, there was a cholera epidemic that year. as in most years. The epidemic was spread to this side of the border as well. In colonias on the Franklin canal.