Author Archives | Morgan Smith

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Morgan Smith

Morgan Smith is a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives as well as Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture. He has degrees from the University of Colorado School of Law and Harvard University. From 2000 to 2004 he was the president of the American Society of Barcelona, a non profit organization for people interested in US/Spain relations. He and his wife, Julie have lived in Santa Fe since 2006 and he works as a free-lance writer and photographer, focusing mostly on issues related to the Mexican border.

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The Movement of People

09. May 2015

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By Morgan Smith

Hundreds of refugees from Africa dying as they attempt to cross into Italy, Spain and other parts of southern Europe. Tens of thousands of displaced Syrians searching for safety. Kids fleeing the violence in Central America and ending up in detention centers in places like Dilley, Texas.

The dominant issue of our times will be the movement of people. Not voluntary movement as we know it but movement that is forced, desperate and dangerous. No country knows how to deal with it...

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La Cabalgata

21. March 2015

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By Morgan Smith

“We’re tired from the dancing, not the cabalgata,” one of the horsemen says. It’s Saturday morning, March 7 and I’m in the stockyards in Palomas, Mexico where dozens of Mexican riders—men, women and kids—are saddling their horses and preparing to cross the border, join American riders and parade into Columbus, New Mexico.

This is the sixteenth annual Cabalgata Binaciónal Villista or Binational Villa Cavalcade, a very different experience than that day ninety nine years ago when General Pancho Villa’s troops attacked members of the US Third Cavalry Regiment...

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The Mimbres-Paquimé Connection

25. February 2015

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By Morgan Smith

I’m with a group of officials and participants in the cross-border economic development project started by Mayor Philip Skinner of Columbus, New Mexico. The first meeting took place in Columbus on September 13, 2014 and I wrote about it in the article “Rebuilding Economies on the Border.” I missed the second meeting but attended the one in Deming on December 6, a meeting that was much more heavily attended than the first and included a number of private sector representatives like the Deming-Luna County Chamber of Commerce, the Deming Visitor’s Center and managers of Deming hotels...

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A Birthday in the Desert

09. February 2015

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By Morgan Smith

The rain started before dawn—a pounding bitter cold downpour—so Pastor Galván and I decided to forego the pig roast. Therefore, the huge El Chino got to live for at least another week.

It was January 30, my birthday and many months ago the patients at Vision in Action, Galván’s mental asylum in Juárez had promised me a fiesta and pig roast in celebration. Although I have no interest in birthday celebrations, this was a gesture of kindness that I couldn’t resist. I mentioned it to a number of friends and many showed up, but I was very concerned as to how they would react...

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Assimilation in Europe and the American Response

24. January 2015

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By Morgan Smith

With the terrible killings in Paris, attention has finally turned to the thousands of North Africans who have not been assimilated into those societies, live separate lives, and do not feel that they are a part of the future of those countries. We saw it repeatedly in both Spain and France.

Europeans will talk about discrimination in the United States. This is understandable because our issues are open and public, always making the headlines. In France and Spain, however, the problem is much worse because it is hidden – or at least has been hidden until now.  Outsiders, whether they have come from Algeria or Morocco or are gypsies, are simply forgotten...

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Iguala Revisited

10. January 2015

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By Morgan Smith

Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto has just completed his lightning fast January 5 visit to Washington to meet with President Obama, a report has been issued, citing their areas of discussion and the meeting could, in normal times, be considered a success. The press coverage was so minimal, however, that Mexico is obviously not a priority issue in the United States. Besides, the real “Mexico issues” are back home in Mexico and they are not favorable to Peña Nieto. This is bad news for us as well.

First, take Iguala where 43 students were kidnapped and later killed last September...

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Thank you

31. December 2014

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By Morgan Smith

As the year comes to an end, the fate of immigration reform remains stuck in a bitter political impasse and faces an uncertain future. Nonetheless, there are many individuals and organizations here in New Mexico that are deeply committed to bridging the gap between the United States and Mexico. I would like to say a year-end thank you to three that I’ve worked with that are located in Santa Fe...

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Artists in the Desert

17. December 2014

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By Morgan Smith

The idea of art as therapy was established in the late 18th century when it was used as “moral treatment” for psychiatric patients. The term “art therapy” came from a British war artist named Adrian Hill who used to go out on patrols with his sketching kit in World War I and who later recognized the therapeutic value of art while he was recovering from tuberculosis. This concept grew with the establishment of the British Association of Art Therapists in 1964 and the American Art Therapy Association in 1969, as well as similar associations in about a dozen other countries and it is now a well-recognized form of therapy. For example, the Southwestern College here in Santa Fe offers an MA in Art Therapy, focusing on “the healing process of making art.”

But what if you have one hundred mental patients and no therapist or even an instructor and can only infrequently afford the necessary paint and art supplies?..

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Breaking Apart - Sentiments of Secession in Spain

01. December 2014

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By Morgan Smith

“After I vote, I look up into the sky and say a prayer that it will turn out alright,” says a Spaniard named Francisco Noviola. It’s November 9 and I’m in Barcelona, Spain to observe the referendum on independence that was taking place throughout the region of Catalonia, of which Barcelona is the capital. Noviola was one of the many voters I interviewed...

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Iguala

18. October 2014

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By Morgan Smith

“I came home from work on April 3 and Alfredo was just gone,” Adrianna says. “His breakfast was on the table, nothing had been taken, not even his toothbrush.” They then tell me how they had gone to every town in the area, talking to police officials, checking jails and asking for Alfredo. I’m stunned because I thought that the wave of violence that swept through Palomas a few years earlier had disappeared. It sounds, however, that he and two cousins had been kidnapped and are now dead and buried somewhere out in the desert...

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