Diary of the new Districts
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*Meme creado por Jorge Mansilla
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Editorial by Daniel Mascareñas "... From where did the organized groups of the border areas arise?" From the abandonment, from the blind eye. In the end we are all trying to survive and they found possibilities in their own organization. Before calling themselves regiomontanos or mexicans, they say they are "from the Diana" because there is were they find their identity, their guarantees, their survival.
Priented version HERE
Monterrey Metrópoli is the only publication done after the re-districtation of the city of Monterrey and its metropolitan area in 2016. The future of this project is as uncertain as the integration and evolution of this new society.
*Photos by Sandra Leal y P. Ayala
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They push your car, check oil levels and tires, speak Chinese and Korean, are well organized in Unions. They are immigrants and very proud of having created their own job. Who are the Pushers?
Welcome to the Journal of the New Districts - Monterrey Metrópoli , ONLINE version.
The 'DND' is an open archive that concentrates articles, interviews to people affected and other information about the recent district division that the city of Monterrey Metrópoli (MM) has undergone. This is a publication which purpose is to document and raise awareness about the changes that the radical separation of territories had done and will do to the inhabitants, to ecology and to the historical relation that people from the Northeast areas of Mexico have with immigration.
This version in English language has less information. Translation from any content in Spanish may be done upon request.
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The Empujadores de la Diana demand actions from the state of N.L.
By: Editorial Department of EL NORESTE
30 de septiembre de 2016
Monterrey, Metropolis - Members of the Organized Front of Taxis, better known as "Empujadores", demanded authorities of the Government of the state of Nuevo Leon and of the City of Monterrey to respect the inter-district spaces where they work.
In a press conference, they asked to put a stop on the "omission, complaisance, collusion and corruption that exists at different levels of the government. They have, through legal tricks, tried to change the existing legislation of the tax fee when you cross any of the limits between districts".
The Government of the state of Nuevo Leon implemented the District Vehicle Tax (VID) since 2015, in which cars that cross districts need to pay a fee for doing so. According to the IVD: "three to four wheel motor vehicles used as transport, with capacity up to nine seats, or freight vehicles whose gross weight is up to 3,500 kg; such as automobiles, trucks, vans and station wagons, must pay the equivalent to one minimum wage salary for each district they cross."
IVD was implemented just one year after the controversial reorganization of cities into districts in Monterrey and its urban area, better known as the "ERRE", which, according to the Government of the State, had the objective of improving the performance of different state institutions.
The "empujadores" surged from the citizens interpretation of the IVD. According to this group, the "motor vehicle" concept described in the IVD only applies to vehicles with their engines on. Therefore, the "empujadores" make a living by pushing cars, while the motor is off, across the frontier zones existing between districts.
Juan Andres Leal Garcia, spokesman of the FTCOMM, said that "the government wants to implement a new tax (IVE) specific for inter-district zones where we work." He pointed out that they are not breaking any law by offering their service and asked authorities to give more detailed information about this new law.
The district attorney of the Secretaria de Planeacion y Finanzas (SPF), Felipe Suarez Garza, rejected the creation of a new tax to recover resources that the Government does not get from the work of the "Empujadores".
Diary of the new Districts
The archive is operated by Fictitious News and was published in december 2016.
The attorney stated that "the government of the state of Nuevo Leon will not create a new tax to replace or support the IVD". He stated that the Law Amendment of 2016 served the commitment assumed by the governor Roberto Jimenez with the people of the state.
Juan Andres Leal Garcia, member of the "Empujadores" that work on the hill of the Diana Cazadora (known also as "Empujadores de la Diana"), mentioned that his group has suffered extortion from police officers from nearby districts (San Pedro Grande and Loma Larga). He assured that police officers ask for money in exchange of letting them work, threatening them with the argument that a new law is about to be created in which it will regulate the work of the "Empujadores".
The "Empujadores de la Diana" are the best payed, mostly because their fee involves pushing the car uphill and stopping it from going downhill (between Avenida Gonzalitos and Gomez Morin). Besides the normal push, they offer an express service which is done by two or more persons. They also offer a car wash service while transiting as well as a checkup on oil and tires. Some of them have a Central American origin, but most of them are Mexican workers.
The spokesman of the "Empujadores de la Diana" stated that the "government receives around 2.2 billion pesos that come from the payment of 100 thousand taxis that exist in the city of Monterrey and its urban area. We already make a fiscal contribution to the city, we are not doing anything illegal."
He also urged the state government to do the same as the state of Tamaulipas, where a special intra-district zone was established that allows free work of the "Empujadores".
He said that "the work of the "Empujadores" is necessary to allow a continuous communication between the different districts in the city. The government does not realize that this districts laws have changed the face of the city. Now each district is like a little isolated town, it is affecting the social fabric and identity of the region."
Editorial by J. Gonzalez
As we all know, the state's population has named the government's strategy to divide the state into districts as "ERRE", we need to remember that the communication strategy when the program initiated it was about a change in the districts' limits, hiding deeper intentions of dismissing municipalities; that is why people thought it was about electoral districts and not about a new form of division. The support of most of the "Juntas Vecinales" (neighborhood councils) to this program was undoubtedly the main support of the government.
The Juntas Vecinales had acquired great influence over the mayors when the Law of Citizen Participation was enforced, this law gave them a power of decision that little by little created their own identity in each of the colonias; each suburb went back to their own local history to the point where they found what held them together, that is why they highly supported the creation of districts, although they did not know the consequences of this decision, it gave them confirmation of their power. This bond among the colonias, whose first act was to recover the parochial festivities as an identity sign - like in La Purisima - and ended up in an agreement among all neighbors to paint their houses with the same color - white in the case of San Gilberto -, created a joy that had not been seen since the Forum de las Culturas in 2006. Individualism and discrimination toward foreigners that had been silently present in Monterrey's history was now openly accepted by them. It is worth remembering the installation of a series of security cameras and the closing of streets that the neighbors of the colonia Anahuac installed to "protect" themselves from Central Americans, Koreans and Chinese immigrants; these immigrants had to go through the railroads since they had no access at all in those districts. The joy of being "only among our people" was such that it spawned, in places like San Pedro el Chico, a non written rule of "only marrying among the people of the same district or to ask for permission to marry someone from an adjacent district". The power of the Juntas Vecinales was absolute, the balance that municipalities had created was now gone. Even if they were not properly an authority, the Juntas had such an informal power because there was an absence of public workers to manage each district at the beginning of the program. Lets remember the case of Esteban San Miguel "El Tío" (The Uncle), a man 80 years old who had control over the legal and illegal trades happening in the colonia Azteca, his power was such that it was him who authorized who could become a taxi driver or an empujador.
The Empujadores (Pushers)
The government's decision to apply taxes on the transit between districts is considered as treason by some of the Juntas, many of them still had their kids in schools outside of their districts and it meant a significant economical hazard to the family's budget. There were people who even had to stop attending classes or work since they did not have enough money due to the recent economic crisis that Donald Trump's decision to cancel NAFTA created. The hope of happiness from the promises that the government made about the "ERRE" made a lot of people to invest their resources in the construction of churches and schools so that their families would not have to go outside of their district. Such is the case of La Primavera, where they practically built new city in just a few months. Protests started happening in the poorest of districts, protest banners read: "We were better when we were worse.", "I only have food for two days", or "Let's go out to the streets before it's too late". Nowadays, the threat of taking hundreds of drones that guard the limits of each district is really present since police departments have no real organization. People have not yet acted since there is a camera system in each drone that serves both as an aerial scan of the cars, which automatically charge people who break transit laws, and as a camera to take photos of public disorders and send them to the police in seconds.
When the economic crisis worsen because of the taxes imposed, the so called "empujadores" began to appear, men and women found that the simple action of pushing cars to cross district's borders could earn them a living. The drones system was not infallible, it was based on thermal sensors that detected motor engines while they were on, they scanned the vehicle's plates and charged users directly from their bank accounts. Resistance began when drivers emptied their bank accounts, however, the government responded by demanding every driver to have funds in their accounts, otherwise, their driving permit would be canceled. The people found that you only needed to turn off the engines in order to pass district limits. That is how the "empujadores" were born.
Today, there are thousands of persons whose job is to be an "empujador", true, the most well payed are those from La Diana and from the Cerro de las Mitras, however, there is a fierce rivalry among local and immigrant "empujadores" (most of them are Central Americans and Chinese) that is about to explode when you add to it the violence done by the organized crime that has not been dealt with. The answer will come once more from the population: the Juntas have remembered all the actions they did to recover peace and are now in a discussion process to deactivate conflicts and create the first "empujadores" labor union. This solutions is leaded by a strange alliance between a female Honduran empujador leader: Bertha Palacios, a female Junta leader from the indigenous district of Paraje San Javier: Natalia Hernandez and a male Korean leader of taxi drivers: JaeWoon Khong.
These are unsettling times, yet there is hope.