To the people of Mexico:
To the peoples at the edge of the water, Atenco:
To my mother, father and brothers:
To all the organizations and people struggling for freedom and justice in our country:
Four years have gone by since that vicious attack by the federal and state governments against our honorable, rebellious people in San Salvador Atenco. Since those savage beatings of men, women and children; the search and destroy of our homes; the murders of Alexis Benhumea and Javier Cortés; the imprisonment of more than 200 comrades; the humiliation and rape of dozens of our women comrades on the way to prison; the deportation from the country of our Chilean, German and Spanish friends who witnessed and suffered the repression. All this at the hands of state, federal and municipal police. All ordered, directed and personally supervised from a spot just a few feet away by State of Mexico governor Enrique Peña Nieto. All this set in motion by the President of the country to make us pay for the affront of having stopped him from grabbing our lands to close the biggest business deal of his regime: the inauguration of a new airport with a deluxe commercial corridor extending for several miles.
During these four years, we’ve had to struggle and resist in highly adverse conditions, but even so, we’ve been able to free most of the prisoners. Most of the pursued people have been able to come home, and most important of all, the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) is alive and struggling tirelessly for the freedom of the remaining prisoners, always on the alert to stop the plunder of our lands.
Today we’re just a few days away from the legal resolution of our prisoners’ struggle for freedom. We’ve played the last legal card we have (a petition for a protective writ), and the decision is in the hands of the highest judicial body we can turn to in Mexico: the federal Supreme Court.
I hope I’m wrong, but all indications are that in the next few days, the judges will make a State decision, leaving some of the Atenco political prisoners in jail. They’ll let a few go and reduce the sentences of others, but the reality is that injustice will prevail. A decision involving speculation of both the PAN and PRI parties, of both Calderón and Peña Nieto, the father and creator of all this carnage. Since there’s a State decision involved (just as there is in the SME case), it’s highly unlikely that the Court won’t abide by it. Only very few judges are willing to disobey an order handed down from the realms of power, whether for fear, personal benefit, pressure, or hidden interests. We only have to look at a few of their recent decisions:
The Court has let a state governor go free and unpunished after taped conversations were released on a national news chain proving his protection of a network of big business pedophiles denounced by Lydia Cacho; the “precious guv” wasn’t the least bit bothered by the Court.
More than 20 people were killed in the repression against the APPO in 2006, and photos of Governor Ulises Ruiz’s hired killers firing on the people of Oaxaca appeared on the front page of several national newspapers, but when the Court reviewed the case, it didn’t put any of the assassins behind bars, much less take any action against the Governor.
But it did free the paramilitaries responsible for the Acteal massacre, including two men who had confessed to the murders.
In the case of the ABC Nursery, the Court upheld the traditional impunity of functionaries who enrich themselves by cheapening the quality of services offered, even in the face of the cry for justice springing from grief over the death of 49 children.
The Court already discussed the Atenco case and came up with a legal aberration, saying that yes, there were human rights violations, but that no one is responsible for them.
In our country there is no justice. It’s clear to me that the Court cannot uphold the indefensible aberration of “aggravated kidnapping”; a clear stand on this issue would revoke the shameful sentences of up to 112 years in prison for our prisoners. But the Court has orders to look for a “legal” maneuver to prevent the release of some of our comrades. All indications are that this will determine the final decision, despite the honorable intention of very few judges to put an end to this deep injustice once and for all (our acknowledgement to them for this). What’s this all about? Handing down a spectacular, exemplary punishment to people who are symbols of social struggle. It’s a way of warning all those who decide to struggle of what will happen to them if they follow through with their intentions. The decision-makers know the situation is unstable. . They’re afraid. They’re trying to discourage people from making any decision to rebel. They’re trying to terrify them. That’s why I think this is a State decision. The political class must make good on its threats, and for now, what better candidates than the rebellious, unbowed, incorruptible campesinos of the FPDT. But we don’t accept this. We want justice, not more tricks from law merchants. We’re not going to resign ourselves to this. We’re going to keep on fighting, because in a country like ours where the doors of justice are closed, the only alternative left to us is to struggle and get organized to stop all this impunity.
I’m now in the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico, seeking asylum after four years of unceasing political persecution against me, of not being able to be out on the streets, of not being able to see my loved ones, of not being able to go home to my house or to my town. Four years of intimidation but also of unbending resistance. There are several arrest warrants out for me. All of the protective orders I’ve requested have been denied by the judiciary. For me, there are no options left, especially now when the Supreme Court is at the point of committing another brutal injustice.
The charges against me are the same as those against my dad. And in the face of the State decision to keep him locked up, I find myself driven to make this decision to seek political asylum, to continue the struggle from outside the country, more vigorously and in better conditions. I’ve been able to avoid imprisonment for four years, and it goes without saying that if they haven’t been able to capture me, they’re certainly not going to make me turn myself in for crimes I didn’t commit.
It’s to the people of Venezuela and their president that I’m turning for help because I’ve witnessed their strong spirit of solidarity towards other peoples suffering injustices. Some examples of this are the programs offered by the Venezuelan people providing doctors, teachers, cheap oil, and eye surgery to hundreds of thousands of poor people in our America, combating yankee imperialism and predatory capitalism with strength and dignity.
I’m leaving, but I’m not giving up. And from where I am, I want to thank all the humble, honest people who have kept me safe during these years. The only thing I have to repay them with is my struggle and my vital force.
There’s one thing I want my people, the people of Atenco, to know ––the people I love so much and admire for their courage, the people I’ve shared so many projects with, which I hope to be able to come back and carry out along with other comrades. I want my father and mother and my whole family to know this, too, and all my brothers and sisters in struggle in the far corners of my homeland, Mexico: If I keep on struggling it’s because of all of you, and even though tomorrow may be far away, you can count me in the ranks of all of you who resist and struggle for a better country, for a Mexico without political despotism, without the corruption, exploitation, and looting that we’ve suffered for years and that we’re no longer willing to tolerate.
And I want you to always bear this in mind. We will win! Now, more than ever, is the time to unite, to fight together against our common enemy. Miners of Cananea, of Pasta de Conchos, opponents of La Parota, people of Copala, workers of SME, teachers of the CNTE, university students, parents of the children of the ABC nursery, parents of men and women killed in Ciudad Juárez, families of thousands of innocent people killed in this so-called “anti-drug war,” poor and working people without job benefits or decent wages, over-exploited and humiliated ––I speak to you with the greatest respect. We have to stand together. We have to do away with all this plunder and repression once and for all, whether by Felipe Calderón or by the one who wants to take his place, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Let the State hear this, loud and clear. They couldn’t crush Atenco, and they won’t crush me. I’m in struggle and always will be, resisting, because the viciousness and cruelty of those on top will never be able to wither the rebelliousness that’s been sown and watered for years in the lands of our nation. Not all their judges or their lying media or their jails or their persecution will ever stop us on the road to justice and freedom! Whatever our battle trenches may be, we’ll be fighting with our heads held high and our fists raised.
Neither the Venezuelan Embassy, nor President Chávez, nor the millions of Venezuelan people have anything at all to do with the statement I’m making. They have their own struggle, which I admire and feel is mine, but this has nothing whatsoever to do with my decision to come into the Embassy and ask for asylum. This decision has been mine alone.
I’m not willing to stay hidden, hounded, and hobbled any longer. This has been the case for four years, and there’s no sign of any change in the situation. My only alternative for regaining my freedom at this time is to seek asylum from a government of the people that is truly democratic, a people that has stood in solidarity with its brothers and sisters in other lands. I want my freedom to keep on struggling, to keep on studying, to keep on living. That’s why I’ve decided to ask the people of Venezuela and its President, Commander Hugo Chávez, to accept me in their territory until I recover my right to keep struggling in my own country.
May the whole world turn its gaze to what’s happening in Mexico. May it carefully observe what will take place in the next few days: the highest court of justice in our country will show that it is incapable of standing up to a State decision, even when this is the most harrowing, barefaced injustice imaginable.
Tuesday, June 29th is a day of international actions demanding freedom and justice for Atenco. Show your support at your local US Embassy or Consulate or other appropriate spot.
This post is also available in: Spanish