Thursday, June 17, 2010

Portion of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge An Ungoverned Space Since 2006

Update: The Fox News Report is wrong in the sense that the closure was in 2006. From the refuge's website: Click to read more. Hatip: Pfly

This means the closure was done under President Bush's administration. I have removed the Fox News video because it was very misleading.

Fox News is reporting that an eighty mile strip of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona has been closed to Americans because the United States cannot control it. The portion runs along the United States-Mexican border. Apparently, neither United States Fish and Wildlife Service nor the Border Control feel it can control the area as the presence of Mexican narco-militias combined with armed border runners has made the closed area to dangerous to police.


Map of the Ungoverned Space

The closure of a portion of the refuge makes it an ungoverned space which the United States claims but has more or less given up on controlling for the time being. Many commentators have blasted Pakistan for being unable to control Waziristan. Some other observers have gone so far to mock Mexico for losing much of its populated northern cities to drug gangs. If these narco-militias use the closed area of the wildlife refuge to either launch raids against the Mexican military or even use it as a base for conducting inter-gang warfare in Arizona, will the United States have any credibility to criticize any other country for not controlling its own lawless groups and territory?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is scandalous and a huge security issue. Where is the leadership? The US is going down a very slippery slope by not defending its souther border.

Anonymous said...

The USA maintains troops all around the world securing OTHER countries borders while it can't secure its own. How ironic. For example, there are 28,000 troops on the border in South Korea. Surely 28,000 American soldiers could patrol and secure an 80-mile strip of territory.

Pfly said...

Curious--it does make an interesting comparison to Waziristan and the like (though Waziristan is about 4,500 square miles while the closed area in Arizona is about 5 square miles). Also note how Fox News wallows in sensationalist misinformation. "A massive stretch of Arizona now off limits to Americans," they say. "Now?" The closure dates to closure was put in place on October 3, 2006. "Critics say the administration is in effect giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico," Fox says. Umm...which administration was in charge in 2006? Thing is, Fox News isn't stupid--they are deliberately misleading people through misinformation and propaganda. And you can see from the comments at "Gateway Pundit" that it works like a charm.

The refuge itself, http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/buenosaires/ responds by saying "Recently there were reports in the news stating that the Buenos Aries National Wildlife Refuge was closed. This information is not correct." They go on to describe the situation and its history a bit.

Catholicgauze said...

Pfly,
I'll update the post to reflect that the closure was in 2006.

Pfly said...

It occurs to me that Fox's map is a decent example of "how to lie with maps", as Monmonier might say. There's no actual lying going on, strictly speaking, but the use of yellow for both the border and the closed area makes the actual closed area less noticeable compared to the larger refuge boundary in red. The "Closed Region" text is plain to see if you look, but there is so much other text in and around the map the "Closed Region" text doesn't exactly jump out. Add a talking head making (mis)-leading statements and blam, "How to Lie with Maps". Monmonier's case is that "lying maps" are not always deliberate but often inadvertent, even unavoidable. But sometimes they are deliberate. In this case, well, the use of yellow suggests deliberate, no?

Btw, I enjoy your blog and always agree with you about the need for better geography education and the various problems with the current system. A related issue you've probably written about is map reading skills, including the ability to notice the way maps "lie" (or "are biased", at least).

Catholicgauze said...

Pfly,
Good points how to lie with maps. Thanks for bringing up Monmonier in the comment (always a favorite of mine) and thanks for catching my error of posting the story without digging deeper. Laziness on my part was the cause and I apologize for it.
I plan to read some more of Monmonier's work and eventually write about it. Thanks for giving me the spur to act.

stevo said...

I have hunted on the buenos aires wildlife refuge every january since 1998. the area that is closed to the public is a half mile wide strip adjoining the border. from the town of sasabe for approx. 1 mile there is also a high fence. this area was closed more for preventing false triggers on all their ground sensors than any thing else. Since the construction of the high fence, there have been fewer illegals, there multitude of trails are disappearing, and wildlife is moving back into this area of the refuge. I have no qualms about making my annual trip there this jan. thanks, steve

Dan tdaxp said...

Very disturbing news. Thanks for publicizing it.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely astonished! I was watching a TV program with the great Col. Oliver North (Patriot Emeritus). I couldn't believe that our government so blatantly abuses the freedoms of AMERICANs while pandering to the elitists of foreign governments! If security risks have been minimized by the twelve-foot security fence, reopen the portion of "MY COUNTRY" that the cartels and smugglers have taken away. Remember...this country belongs to all of us. What shall we leave for our kids? Check out a book called "Another Man's Sombrero" by Darrel Ankarlo. In the book, he outlines a strategy whereas Mexico will retake areas, once lost to AMERICA, through a variety of interesting ways. This way (creating danger and fear - leading to area closures) just makes it a little easier to further their [Mexico's deviants] plans.

Catholicgauze said...

Anonymous,
It is a shame that this portion of the U.S. was abandoned by the Bush administration and continues to be by the Obama administration. However, after following Mexico issues for a while it seems fairly clear to me that Mexico merely wants its poorest people out of the country sending money back into Mexico. The Mexican government has a bad enough time controlling its own territory let alone running a reconquesta in somebody eles' land.

Gilbert Midonnet said...

re Pfly

In one sense ALL maps lie as it is a 2 dimensional representation of a 3 dimensional reality. But I wouldn’t call this a very good example of such a lie. It’s not as if, ala Tufte, designer’s error changed the viewer’s perception of the data. This was a wide-scale presentation and only a tiny portion, 3%, of the park was closed off. How best to display this on a map that will be shown for only a short while?

Yellow, Orange and Red show up best on a TV screen. The color for the border and the park are fine. Now the question became how best to show the size of the section which was abandoned by the US government. The border for this area is also yellow. But what other colors could be used? If they used orange or red it would look as if the border of the park was close to the border. The area in question is the width of the line. I can’t see how to make this representation any better.