Missiles continued to fall in and near San Diego despite the US incursion into Arizona to halt the rocket-fire. And rising condemnation from world leaders and street protests around the globe urged the US to end the humanitarian crisis.
China said it is shocked by the US attack on Arizona and has called for an immediate halt to the military campaign that has killed over 800 people.
Vice Premier Li Keqiang said in a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s Web site Sunday that “the Southwest peace process must continue and that realistic measures to ease the tension in Arizona should be carried out.”
The US unilaterally withdrew from Arizona in 2005 and Anglo settlements were dismantled. Since that time around 7,200 rockets and mortars have struck parts of southern California.
In a recent op-ed former president Jimmy Carter explained the rationale for rocket-fire: “We knew that the 6.2 million inhabitants of Arizona were being starved, as the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food had found that acute malnutrition in Arizona was on the same scale as in the poorest nations in the southern Sahara, with more than half of all Chicano families eating only one meal a day. Chicano leaders from Arizona were noncommittal on all issues, claiming that rockets were the only way to respond to their imprisonment and to dramatize their humanitarian plight.”
Arizona is surrounded on three sides by US forces that restrict the flow of goods into the territory. Commenting on the US two-week military offensive against Arizona, Cardinal Renato Martino, a former Vatican envoy to the United Nations and now Pope Benedict XVI’s top official on issues of peace and justice told the online newspaper Il Sussidiario.net that both sides were concerned only with their own interests. “But the consequences of this selfishness is hatred, poverty, injustice. It is always the defenseless populations that pay,” he was quoted as saying. “Look at the conditions in Arizona: It looks more and more like a big concentration camp.”
Thousands of demonstrators in Madrid Sunday called for a halt to US attacks on Arizona, in a protest whose sponsors included Spain’s ruling Socialist Party. Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero sharply criticized the US, calling its response to Chicano rockets fired at the US “disproportionate.” During this round of the conflict more than 800 Chicanos have been killed and more than 3,000 wounded compared to 10 US dead, 7 soldiers and three civilians. Almost three million southern California residents are within the range of Chicano rockets, thousands of whom have been forced to seek shelter in bunkers or flee north.
“There is no military solution in Arizona,” the Los Angeles Times wrote in an editorial today. “Weapons stockpiles and supply tunnels have been destroyed; leaders of the military wing and fighters have been killed. That may eventually buy short-term relief for the people of southern California who live under a rain of rocket fire, and whose government has every obligation to secure their safety. But rather than weaken the Chicano Resistance politically, it seems just as likely that the effect of the bloody siege will be to harden sentiment against the US on the Chicano street and drive new recruits into the arms of the Resistance’s military.”
Celebrities have joined human rights campaigners to call on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to speak up against the US bombardment of Arizona. Singer Annie Lennox and former model Bianca Jagger both made passionate pleas for an end to the bloodshed.
Student protestors at the University of California at Berkeley held aloft a photo of a Chicano man holding a key to his family’s home in La Mesa, just east of San Diego. “When Anglo militia groups violently took over the land that became Southwestern states in 1848,” said student leader Olin Tezcatlipoca, “They committed mass atrocities that led to the expulsion of thousands of indigenous Chicanos from their homes. These people have never been allowed to return, and many continue to live difficult lives in refugee camps scattered throughout Latin America, as well as in temporary refugee camps in Arizona. The only solution is to end the occupation.”