Stop the War, for a Just Mexico in Peace
The Call for a National March
By Javier Sicilia
Translated by Narco News
April 14, 2011
“God survives us, only he survives us, with a broken heart, surrounded by a grand massacre, of men, of women, of children, hoping that we can learn love and justice.” – Jules Supervielle
For eight days we have been here at this sit-in, which is not only a sign of the open wound in this country, but is also—in its poverty and instability—one of the helplessness and vulnerability that has long stricken citizens who are living in the decay of their institutions and the demonic irrationality of crime. We are here, in these conditions, peremptorily demanding that the authorities find those who are guilty of the crime of tearing us from our sons: Juan Francisco Sicilia Ortega, Luis Antonio Romero Jaime, Julio César Romero Jaime, Gabriel Alejo Escalera, and that has wrung out our souls.
The omissions from the government, of Governor of Morelos Marco Antonio Adame, Jiutepec Mayor Miguel Ángel Rabadán, Temixco Mayor Nereo Bandera Zavaleta, Cuernavaca Mayor Manuel Martínez Garrigós, and the state legislature have been tremendous—I remember only one, clear and convincing thing, not to mention the more than one thousand murders that their governments never resolved: during the curfew that the cartels declared in April 2010 in the state, these authorities not only ignored us, but were obedient and cowardly (these same people closed public institutions early and left the citizens at the mercy of crime).
That simple fact, which is added to the more than one thousand unsolved murders, like those of Juan Francisco, Luis Antonio, Julio César, Gabriel, and the others who have joined them these days, brings me to demand, in the name of the dignified citizenry, that Marco Antonio Adame, Miguel Ángel Rabadán, Nereo Bandera Zavaleta, and many neglectful and corrupt lawmakers—each one of the political parties knows their own and must summon them—must immediately resign from their government positions. We know, unfortunately, that the legal framework to recall an official still doesn’t exist—we hope that soon it is approved and can be exercised. But there is shame and dignity. When you took your positions, you swore before the country, that is to say, before us the citizens, that you would enforce the Constitution or what the people demanded of you. We trusted you. Now you have demonstrated that you have been incapable of honoring that. The people gathered here in the center of the powers of Morelos to demand your resignations. If you don’t do it, you will bring the shame of the citizens of this state down on your heads.
No doubt, however and despite the opprobrium into which our authorities have plunged us, there are good police and good soldiers investigating and risking their lives to find the whereabouts of those who murdered Juan Francisco, Luis, Julio and Gabo.
But these days the murders of kids, civilians, immigrants, and women have continued to multiply, and on our backs carry the weight of close to 40,000 dead with the debt to make their names, their last names, and their stories known, in order to morally revindicate and indemnify their family members, who beyond suffering contempt and criminalization from the authorities, are poor. We, the citizens of Morelos, by holding the sit-in and demanding the resignation of our bad rulers, have left a symbol of the pain on the ground of the government’s plaza, along with the metal plates with the names of Juan Francisco Sicilia Ortega, Luis Antonio Romero Jaime, Julio Romero Jaime, Gabriel Alejo Escalera, María del Socorro Estrada Hernández, Álvaro Jaime Avelar and Jesús Chávez Vázquez.
To these plaques we will add the plaques of the victims that will continue to be recognized and appear due to the ineffectiveness of our institutions. We are making a call to the entire nation to do that same thing, in each town, each municipality, and each state, for those who are murdered there. In each plaza in the country we must have a memory of our dead in this idiotic war, a memory of our Holocaust.
(Reporter’s Note: As Sicilia said these words on Wednesday from a stage in front of the Government Palace, a group of young people attached 96 plaques bearing the names of those people who lost their lives to drug war violence in Morelos since January 1, 2011.)
Faced with these omissions, faced with every kind of violence that has gripped the country, faced with this ill-conceived war that was poorly made and poorly directed, the only thing that it has achieved besides plunging us into the horror of crime, is to expose the rottenness that is in the heart of our institutions. Faced with this madness that has pierced the fabric and the foundation of our country, a question: Where are the rulers and their powers, where is the business class of the nation, where is the Catholic church and their claims to guard our spiritual life, where is the dignity of the union that claims to protect the nobility of the workers, where are the political parties that claim to have a plan for the nation, where are the citizens that abandoned us to the care for the rottenness of the institutions, the ones who haven’t taken into account the Zapatista lessons in organizing constituent assemblies in our neighborhoods, our towns, and our colonias to create governance?
Each and everyone of them and us have serious omissions and criminal complicities that wear the makeup of legality, that have plunged us into chaos, like the poet Mandelstam said to Stalin, to where we don’t feel the ground beneath our feet.
Until now, we were sunk in their interests, mired in their small and petty ideological ambitions, their media and electioneering, their committed idiocies, their unwillingness to end this chaotic violence that is robbing our children of their hopes, their dreams, and mutilating their creativity, their liberty and their peace.
The political parties have very serious omissions when faced with organized crime. These omissions have been the currency exchange to make themselves comfortable here and there, eroding the institutions and seriously wounding the nation.
The rulers—I’m referring to the executive and legislative branches of the country, the states, and the municipalities—have remained unpunished, a big part of the so-called political class because they have not been able to gain independence from the judicial power and politics, have protected criminal interests and complicity. When Colombia managed to take political control of the judicial power, they jailed 40 percent of Congressional lawmakers who had links to crime. We are also neglected because in the name of an absurd war we are assigning billion peso budgets to feed the violence, removing education, employment, culture and the countryside. They are destroying the soil in which survival and public life have a home.
This effort is turning citizens and some honest and committed officials into useless and sterile people, without judges, magistrates and ministers to deliver justice. Today there are more incentives to operate within lawlessness. Suits and complaints are shelved for years, disputes and litigation tailored to their style, protective orders vaporized, sentences are extended and reduced, all of which takes away from the aggrieved the sensation of having received justice and invites them to take justice into their own hands. Much of the feeling that we have today of living in lawlessness is due to an ineffective judiciary, corrupt and dependent on the same political corruption.
Businessmen have been neglectful in looking after their particular interests over the people that make their lives possible. Their selfishness and their timid life have stopped them from denouncing those among them—those who run the banks and have some kind of business—those who launder money, those who have allowed themselves to administer unemployment to exploit honest work for low pay to maximize their profits. They have allowed themselves to destroy forms of trade arising from the citizenry in order to expand their goods and their industries and destroy indigenous life forms.
The media monopolies have been neglectful by not allowing the democratization of the media, by manipulating the citizenry to preserve their interests, to expand their capital and negotiate with parties. It’s not possible that this nation produced the richest businessman in the world and that 50 million men, women and children are dispossessed and destitute, plunged into misery. Today we are witnesses to a war between telecom giants, a war just as stupid and absurd as the one between crime and the government, and we don’t know whether their dispute is for the markets, for the airwaves or to know who will be able to exploit the most Mexicans.
The World Bank Report on Development that began to circulate a few days ago says, as Jorge Montaño, a member of the advisory committee noted, “employment, justice and public safety are the keys to breaking cycles of criminal and political violence… The movements of violence are greater when high levels of stress combined with the lack of legitimacy or the weak capacity of national institutions.” Mexico “is facing an unprecedented wave of violence… Drug and human trafficking, money laundering, illegal exploitation of natural resources… counterfeiting, and violations of intellectual property rights are lucrative criminal activities, which facilitate the penetration by organized crime of the already vulnerable sociopolitical, judicial, and security” of countries like ours.
The unions have been neglectful because they are not built to defend the workers, but rather for political patronage. They have seen the state and continue seeing it as an udder for extracting corrupt profits. The clearest case of this is the education union, which has become a merchant for votes, for which the parties and officials compromise their agendas and the dignity of the country in advance.
The churches have also been neglectful. Mine, the Catholic church, to which I refer to as mine and that of the majority in this country, has been neglectful in cutting life from spirituality and the tide of love of Christ in exchange for poor sexual morals to care for the image of a very deteriorated institution. They have neglected the love and service for the poor and, similar to the union and business classes in our country, have been looking for power, political patronage, at the risk of humiliating the Word. They have been neglectful by worrying about the life in the womb of a mother—and defending it—while forsaking those who are already here. We are facing evil, and the Church must say, like St. Augustine: If they speak loudly and clearly, if they refuse the shady deals and the privileges that hide the crime, if they are faithful to God and are ready for him in their lives, we can make the number of victims rapidly decrease more.
Each and every one of them have set the supreme value of life in the economy in the most perverted sense: for the consumption of the dollar. In its name, they have destroyed all of the realms of coexistence and with that they have destroyed our land and our mutual relationships of support as we are sinking in horror, violence, and fear. Each one of us has also succumbed to this and we know our betrayals. This is why we say to them and we say to ourselves that all of this violence must end or the country is going to hell.
Among this border, the northern one, the one with helplessness, the one with the decay of institutions and the rule of impunity and crime, and the southern one, the one which resists, as it can, there is a handful of moral dignity, where families in this country are bankrupt but not beaten, they are deeply hurt, but not frightened, they are angry, full of this moral force that the indigenous and the excluded in this nation have been able to communicate.
With that dignity, we are accompanied by Julián Le Baron, Olga Reyes, the parents of the ABC daycare center, the mothers of those killed in Salvarcar, the relatives of those killed at Pasta de Conchos and so many more fathers and mothers that have seen their children murdered—Emilio Álvarez Icaza, father Miguel Concha, Miguel Ángel Granados Chapa, and Alberto Athié—we are announcing a new national march on Sunday, May 8, to the zócalo in Mexico City.
In 1994, when the indigenous in this country rose up near the southern border, in Chiapas, saying “Enough already!” they showed the nation the immense number of people for which its ambitions and its interests had excluded, and that their difficult struggles had been ignored and humiliated. With this, they also showed a rip in the fabric of a nation that had seen suffering for decades.
Despite the legitimate demands of the Zapatistas, after their proposals to remake a Mexico in which all of us fit, they have ignored them and have tried to discredit them and come down on them with a media and military siege. Seventeen years later, their deafness and the continuation of their meanness and ambition has provoked the northern border in Ciudad Juarez, where violence, impunity and fear has been installed.
We, the citizenry of Morelos, will begin walking from the Monument to the Dove of Peace on May 5 for an overnight stay on May 7 at La Espiga, the sculpture by Rufino Tamayo that can be found at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s cultural center, and leave on May 8 at seven o’clock in the morning en route for where the powers of the Republic are located. We invite all citizens from other states in the Republic to do the same, and together we will reach the zócalo in Mexico City.
We are going to walk in silence, in a few days of recollection and meditation, to end the violence, and then to tell them that there is still time to rebuild our land and our social fabric—one of the most beautiful talents we have—and reestablish our nation.
We’re going to the zócalo in Mexico City to demand that the President of the Republic and Congress, the political parties and their leaders, the businessmen, the union leaders, the churches and their hierarchies, assume responsibility for the millions of Mexicans who love this country called Mexico and absolutely do not want to see what is to come of it canceled.
We are going to call you there and commit ourselves to sign a national authentic, genuine pact, without simulations or institutional signatures – those institutions that are already mere vestiges of what was a nation. We are going to call everyone to sign a pact in the center of the city that has been most hurt among hurts, in the center of Ciudad Juárez. There, in the open wound of the Northern border, we are calling so that you, who have squandered our money, have made decisions in our name without consulting us, have defrauded our trust and have put the country in a national emergency, that you sign a pact that allows us to recuperate the representation of the nation that has almost been lost and that you make the posts you hold count for something before it is too late.
But we will go there also to say to ourselves, confronted with your omissions and complicities, that we, from below, can also organize ourselves, have constituent and reconstituent assemblies in every colonia, in every neighborhood, in every community, to create governability and local and trustworthy security.
We’re going to walk in silence—to a place where true words are born and collected to understand their deeper meanings. We’re going to walk like this to prevent cries that confuse and anger us, which sometimes lead to an insult, which makes us lose love. This silence, which we are collecting, marks a necessary time for the emergence of the word and the words that are clear and precise, that which we need.
We will be presided over by the most important emblem of our house: the Mexican flag. We are taking it where the powers of the Republic are settled, where the ancients first looked at the lake, the eagle, and the serpent on the cactus.
We’re going there to demand that they take on the hope of all of our concrete and plausible proposals—some of which we will bring. We are going there to force them, because they have forgotten about sovereignty as it is noted in article 29 of our Constitution, which lies with the citizens, so that they make a pact with us and face us to make a deep and systematic effort to stop this violence that is shattering the soul and the body, and dispossessing us of the right we have to live in peace in Mexico, in which we all fit with our loved ones, who are all the loved ones of each of those us who inhabit this country.
Because we are living in a limited time we’re going to also ask them how do they hope to go on with the elections if they are not capable of coming to an agreement among themselves to defend the life of the sons and daughters of our beloved Mexico. Additionally, I opine that we must return the dignity of this nation and make sure this pain will serve to rebuild the love and the justice that we’ve lost.
Translated by Erin Rosa
Lea Ud. el Artículo en Español
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