On March 23rd, 2016 investigative journalists with Big Think reported that camps were being constructed near the border. While there was currently nobody living in the camps and staff refused to answer questions posed by reporters about what the camps were for.
Two days later, two of Big Think’s reporters and a male cameraman that had been accompanying them disappeared after failing to make three scheduled check-ins.
On October 3rd, 2017 reports of media blackouts were reported in the major towns. Later in the same month this was followed by actual blackouts.
Cascadia imposed trade sanctions on December 14th of 2017, and this was quickly followed by trade sanctions imposed by Canada, Japan and the Empire of Australia.
In 2018, smuggled photographs of the prison camps revealed that Mayans were living there in vast numbers, crammed into triple bunks.
In 2019, photographs showing forced labor ignite a boycott movement and the Empire of Australia imposed a blockade of New Spain.
In 2020, the Empire of Australia and the Independent Sovereignty of Cascadia began talks to cooperate on the trade blockade as an attempt to rein in the smuggling operations that had taken hold. One of the most prominent of these is a lucrative smuggling operation between New Spain and the Union of American States, encouraged by the Union’s President, Joshua Romero. More than simply turning a blind eye to the smuggling, Romero has openly talked about how this smuggling can boost the Union’s failing economy. As of 2020, the Union accounted for more than 70% of trade conducted by New Spain.
In 2021, Cascadia and the Empire of Australia have established cooperative military contact for the first time since the creation of the Sioux Nation in 1843, focusing their collaboration on enforcing the blockade of the United States of New Spain. Cascadia and Australia have cooperated on the creation of an expeditionary force that patrols the waters between the Union and New Spain in the Gulf of New Spain.
In 2021, rumours began spreading that New Spain was engaged in a campaign of extermination of the Mayan people that it had captured and had heretofore been housing in vast refugee camps.