The one thing that Bush did that pissed me off the most was his handling of the Compean/Ramos case. On February 17, 2006, Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean encountered a drug smuggler named Osvoldo Aldrete Davila; he had a van packed with 800 pounds of narcotics. During a chase, Davila assaulted them to try to throw them off, including throwing rocks and kicking debris at them. They finally fired a shot at the smuggler, hitting him squarely in the ass – and the Mexican government immediately backed the thug by demanding that the officers be brought up on charges. Once they were convicted and sent to prison, Davila filed a $5M civil rights lawsuit. US Attorneys later admitted that Davila lied on the stand, yet nothing was done to correct the injustice. Bush commuted the officers’ sentences, when in reality he should have given them full pardons. The fact that he allowed this injustice to carry into their entire lives is the part that angers me.
Today, we’re getting news that another Border Patrol agent has been railroaded by the government he has served for seven years. In October of 2008, Officer Jesus Diaz took part in a major drug bust and arrested a 15-year-old drug smuggler in the same general area. Within hours of the arrest, the Mexican Consulate filed a complaint, claiming that the teenager had been beaten. Photos taken, however, contradicted this – he had no bruises or marks on his body other than the marks left by the straps of the pack he’d been carrying, which was laden with marijuana. The same US Attorneys office that hamstrung Ramos and Compean did the same to Diaz – and he’s just been sentenced to two years in the clink for “improperly lifting the arms of a suspect” during an arrest – a tactic I have used myself in an attempt to get a combative detainee to comply. It’s not torture, nor does it cause injury (at least not if you’re doing it right). It is a nonviolent persuasive action used almost universally by police and corrections officers.
Even worse – the snot-nosed little punk who claimed he’d been beaten was given immunity to testify against this veteran officer. And to top it all off, we’ve already been told that most of the witnesses – the non-US citizens – lied on the stand. Brilliant.
Yet again, the Mexican government orders us to jump and our government replies, “how high?” The Mexicans pushed for this prosecution, and we gave it to them. Now a good man with seven years of experience is in prison for something that everyone does, and officers will, once again, fear their own decisions.
How fair is it to make these guys second-guess themselves in the middle of a serious incident when their instincts are well-trained into them, and their training can save their lives? Why are we allowing our government to stab these men in the back for doing their jobs? And why in the hell are we allowing anyone in Mexico to dictate what we do?
I say we should throw diplomacy with them out the window. You don’t like the way we do business here? Fine – get the hell out. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you leave. You won’t dare cater to us, but you demand that we cater to you, and that’s not good enough anymore. You preach human rights and act all high-and-mighty in your refusal to use the death penalty – or extradite criminals who may face death in our courts – but your jails are the picture of inhumanity, filthy, no running water, little electricity (if any), and families have to send clothing and food (and your officers take what they want before giving it to the detainee). Inmates have been allowed to leave to run their criminal enterprises, and the officers are usually in on it. Not one soul in Mexico gains anything on merit, either; my Mexican friends came to the US because their degrees will get them quite a bit farther here than they ever would in Mexico, all because they don’t have any money or connections.
And you have the audacity to preach to us about how things should be run? I have to ask, other than my friends, what good has ever come out of Mexico? Hell, I don’t even like your beer and tequila – it all tastes like fratboy piss. You send over your uneducated and your criminals, and then when we send them back you get your knickers in a twist because we’ve supposedly violated their “civil rights”. I know better. You’re only mad at us because you never wanted them in the first place. Plus, we’ve long since clued in to your hope for re-claiming our land, and we’re not okay with that.
Oh, and Obama? He ain’t stayin’, either. Don’t get your hopes up. He might give you what you want for now, but eventually WE will have our say and the welcome mat will be rolled up.
It is an absolute travesty that the best of us are being locked away for doing their jobs. We should be ashamed that we allowed this to happen. Mark my words, we all bear responsibility. When this wrong is made right we owe that officer an enormous debt.