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Southbay Leaders: Otay Blackwater Presence Will Complicate Border Relations


Aired 4/19/09

A number of Southbay community leaders say Blackwater’s presence near the border in Otay Mesa will complicate U.S.-Mexico relations and pose a danger to the border region. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

The private government contractor Blackwater plans to open a military training facility just a stones throw from Tijuana.

This week’s announcement comes about a month-and-a-half after the company scuttled its attempt to build a massive facility in the rural community Potrero.

Congressman Bob Filner's district runs the length of the California Mexico border.

He says it’s no accident Blackwater is looking for sites there.

He believes Blackwater sees a great market for outsourcing border activities.

Filner : They have said that publicly. This is a very sensitive area when it comes to human and civil rights. We don't need people who have no regard for human and civil rights to be part of that enforcement. It’s dangerous, literally, to the lives of my constituents.

Blackwater's role in the deaths of Iraqi civilians has prompted much of the local opposition.

Blackwater officials say they’ll use the Otay site to train Navy and Coast Guard sailors.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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