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By Juan Castro Soto
This is my report to the RUDH as commissioner of the second caravan of humanitarian aid for the autonomous town of the Triqui. If we do not understand that we must go on the offensive, then the hope and future of our children, of our country and of humanity as a whole have been canceled.
1. Overcoming fear
A girl was dying of an illness from which her eighteen-year-old brother had managed to recover long ago. The doctor said to the boy: “Only a transfusion of your blood can save your sister's life. Are you willing to give it to him? The boy's eyes reflected real fear. He hesitated for a few moments, and finally said, "Okay, doctor, I will." An hour after the transfusion, the boy asked indecisively: "Tell me, doctor, when am I going to die?" Only then did the doctor understand the momentary fear he had detected in the boy's eyes: he believed that by giving his blood, he was also going to give his life for his sister. -Cf. The "Prayer of the frog", Anthony de MELLO. Ed. Sal Terrae. Spain.
As in this simple and beautiful tale, we came to offer life if necessary. Most of the comrades of the second Humanitarian Caravan to San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, we brought this provision, in order to break the siege of the paramilitaries and help the population with food and medicine, since they have not been able to enter or Leaving the community, with food out of stock, in a truly dramatic situation. Thirty tons were collected in a few days, and more than 300 participants formed a caravan with more than 30 vehicles spread over approximately one kilometer: there were 7 fully full buses, a trailer and a torton truck, a mobile medical unit, and more. of twenty vehicles watched by the police at all hours, from the hills and from all angles, as if we were the most dangerous criminals. I came in truck number 4, next to the window of the last seat, like the rebellious students who at school always sit in the back.
2. The police protect their paramilitaries
It was Tuesday June 8 of this bicentennial. We all left Huajuapan de León together, and before reaching Juxtlahuaca, the continuous blockades by the police began, increasing intimidation in order to dissuade the caravans from their purpose. They did not succeed. In that first police blockade (of four), they told us that we could only keep walking, which meant a seven-hour journey. Subsequently, brave comrades walked across, forcing the entire caravan of vehicles to be allowed to pass. We had all gotten off to start that walk, and I took off an impersonator that said “popular press, the flyer”, and the t-shirt that said “the Other Campaign” on the back, because I thought to myself: they are not going to catch me shot to white. The State Deputy Attorney General, María de la Cruz Chiñas, who was accompanying the caravan ahead, informed the coordinators that they could not guarantee us anything, that the only possible security was what the ubisort paramilitaries could provide us! (Union for the Social Welfare of the Triqui Region), that we let them integrate, which was rejected and the caravan continued. The patrols at the front slowed down, so we advanced extremely slowly… perhaps they needed time to think about how to stop. Until next to San Juan Copala, we stopped again. And now what? We all asked ourselves, and we kept waiting to see what time we were advancing. Suddenly, pickup trucks full of children and Triqui women began to pass us, wrapped in those spectacular red dresses that characterize them. Who knows what happens. After a while the police pass in the opposite direction… They are returning, says another colleague. I look on the other side of the truck through one of the windows that overlook the highway, and yes, there was another retreating vehicle coming, it was the State Human Rights Commission. And then another vehicle, and another. I didn't want to think anything. But immediately one of the buses with caravanserai passes by, and another one, and a thought struck me: it was worth it. Next, we are going to get off to see what is happening, said several, and we did so, breaking the rules of the caravan.
3. "Let's go back", the bitter drink
On the asphalt of the road, the coordinators of the caravan, and also the representatives of the autonomous municipality, informed us that we could not pass because later on the road was blocked with said women and children, and further on with large stones - of more than a meter high, according to the photos of the press that we had seen days before. As if that were not enough, the ubisort paramilitaries are armed to the teeth, they told us. And there are shots in the air. Indeed, the photos of the next day showed that blockade of the women brought by the paramilitaries, protected by the armed police, but only the press got there. I had placed my backpack between the window pane and the curtain, "at least one stone will not kill me," I said to myself. But they did not let us get to that checkpoint and the coordinators decided that we should return with the supplies since they were risking the lives of the caravanners. So we had to take that bitter drink because we did not agree, and we joined the retreat, despite the fact that some Triqui women told us that shooting was an everyday thing, that we should not stop for that.
4. The crime of being free
The PRI state government of Ulises Ruíz once again achieved its mission of defeating citizen mobilization. Among the elements of State Public Security, some Trquis of the autonomous municipality recognized UBISORT paramilitaries disguised as policemen. For its part, Felipe Calderón's federal PAN government added the Federal Preventive Police (PFP), the Attorney General's Office (PGR) and the Federal Investigation Agency (AFI), not to protect the caravan, but to the protection and support of the paramilitaries. All the force of the state against the town of San Juan Copala, and against the humanitarian caravan. Did they bring assistance to those settlers? Certainly not. Thousands of pesos were invested for all that police mobilization, but not a grain of corn was given to them by the government or anyone. In this way, once again, it became clear that in Mexico being autonomous is a greater crime than being a paramilitary or a drug trafficker. And for the government to guarantee your human rights, it is necessary to join the armed forces of the State, or to be trained as a paramilitary to fight your own people, armed by the police and the army; This way you will be able to kill at will and you will never be punished but rewarded, like the paramilitaries who murdered the 45 displaced from Acteal, in Chiapas. The deputy attorney for "justice" will surely also receive her award for this "feat" of stopping humanitarian aid.
But this is what anyone could see with the naked eye. Let us now analyze the movements of the caravan, where the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) played a decisive role in this defeat of the citizenry that proposed to break the siege.
5. The opportunism and blackmail of the PRD
The commercial press of the region presented the events with certain veracity, but superficially and without further analysis. He naturally reported that Deputy Alejandro Encinas and other PRD deputies were leading the caravan making decisions, turning each blockade into a press conference. In an opportunistic way, this character turned the caravan into a proselytizing and electoral act, smiling at the communities that, in their wake, were throwing the PRD alive, and we, the Zapatistas of the Other Campaign, went there, making him fat. Although before the media the deputy affirmed that they respected the decisions of the Triqui authorities, the participants know that the PRD was mounted on the caravan from the convocation and organization, to the coordination of the same and decision-making, with a permanent marking of the representatives of the autonomous municipality through its political operators, handling a hypocritical discourse. In this way they pressured and conditioned the will of the Triqui representatives, inducing them to finally desist from breaking the siege. Through manipulation and blackmail, they made them feel responsible for any attack on the caravan and a possible massacre, when they knew that we were all taking those risks.
6. Dog that bites does not bark
We cannot believe that the Triqui authorities have been able to make decisions freely. We knew and felt that their decisions were not genuine or our own, so we began to get up from our seats and protested to the general coordinators. We could not continue to be manipulated in that way by the PRD members who acted on behalf of the will of the autonomous Trquis. Although several comrades from the Other Campaign talked with the Triqui, and they agreed so that we could at least reach the point of the blockade, immediately the PRD members jumped on them to dissuade them again, and began to accuse us that we were not respecting the "agreements." and the decision of the triques, when they at all times violated their own rules and were the true manipulators. In the same way, they dissuaded the rest of the caravan, except the majority of the Other Campaign, who nevertheless had to abide by the PRD decision; not because we agreed, not out of respect for the supposed word of the Triqui, but because we could not continue alone, we needed the force of the caravan. We cannot force the machine when the majority no longer wants to, rightly commented a colleague from the Other Worker. And we did not agree because we clearly saw that we had won the battle. The women and children held as a checkpoint were a sign of their weakness. The paramilitaries could not shoot us, because the government was tied by the hands of national and international observation. A massacre did not suit them at the present electoral juncture, and they could not shoot us in the presence of the deputy attorney for "justice", or in the presence of so many media, both free and commercial, national and international. All his threats and intimidation were desperate cries of helplessness as he saw the caravan advance. “Dog that bites neither barks nor warns”, was the synthesis of the analysis, in a situation that could hardly be improved in our favor, where all the conditions were present; but finally the government dogs barked so loudly that they managed to scare the PRD members and they decided to return.
7. The authoritarianism of the PRD
We could not believe the decision made, and more than one of us would not have participated in the caravan had we known that the withdrawal was finally going to be decided; we had not contemplated the possibility of defeat. Nor would we have been there if we knew that the PRD would take that leading and opportunistic role, which was logical and predictable; in fact, many adherents to the Other Campaign did not participate due to the presence of the PRD members, which was a wise decision as they had greater political clarity. It was naive to think that the PRD would join the caravan anonymously and disinterestedly, or that Alejandro Encinas had joined the last of the trucks as one more, and not separately at the front of the caravan. That would be more incredible than the cynicism with which the government protects the paramilitaries. Yes, it was the PRD who did not respect Triqui autonomy. Most of the caravans arrived with the willingness to let ourselves be guided by the Triqui, but from the beginning the PRD set about managing things as they know how to do them, as they have been taught in their party, as their charro leaders have taught them: vertical and authoritarian manner, without taking into account that the caravan belonged to everyone, the Triqui and all the people in solidarity with the common goal of breaking the siege. Although we paid for our tickets, they got the trucks and perhaps because of that, as good capitalists, they felt they had the right to make the decisions. That was his "democratic revolution." Once again they managed to ride in the movements of the people to divert them from their purposes.
8. "You guys shut up"
In the middle of the zócalo, before embarking on the caravan, the PRD members began by speaking with a loudspeaker of each of the companions who were participating, as well as the truck in which we would travel, without taking into account that many of the participants were social fighters persecuted by the government for opposing capitalism and the party system, its public policies; now they were exhibited before the government officials and we feared selective assassinations as happened in the blockade of recent humanitarian aid to Palestine. We bring your word (from the Triqui people) - the coordinators told us -, you shut up, obey what we are going to tell you and no one get off the truck. They were demanding a blank check for decision-making, as the deputies like, without taking the people into account. During the tour, the coordinating partner of our truck took our word to the PRD members, but she was not listened to either. The Zapatista spirit of "command by obeying" was far from being fulfilled. Furthermore, they made us sign a "responsive" letter, of which they did not even give us a copy, which demarcated the authorities of any attack on the caravan, where the only ones responsible were us. Of course, several of us signed under protest and - at the risk of getting off the truck - with our fist and hand we added that we did not agree and that we held the state and federal government responsible. They did not dare to lower us.
9. This is how the indigenous people proceed?
From what we know of indigenous cultures, we could not believe that the Triqui comrades made decisions without respecting the opinion of the caravanners. We trust them because we know their honesty, mutual respect and community spirit when making decisions, where the caravans were their comrades in the fight and together we were going to defeat the enemy by exposing our own lives, in a relationship of equals. where no one is above the other ... but things were not happening like that and we immediately suspected that there was a black hand. We could not believe that such an authoritarian and dominate organization could come from the Triqui comrades. Did it ever occur to the caravan leadership to consult the participants on the decisions that should be taken? Never. It would not have taken us more than half an hour to count truck by truck, car by car, what was the determination of the caravans. But they did not do it because they knew that the majority were determined to continue. So they chose to decide instead of the others, violating the letter they made us sign, usurping our free will, disdaining our ability to analyze, disparaging the aid that came from various states of the republic and the offer of life that they did not go willing to risk. We were in no way different from the sacks of corn we carried, we were lifeless lumps, without will or thinking ability.
10. Better starve
The arguments that they later used to justify themselves, namely, that there was no organization, that communication with the caravans was lacking so that they understood the decisions made, are not valid: they organized things as they wanted, and also communicated what they wanted, according to your convenience. In truth, they took the Triqui comrades hostage to blackmail us all: you are going to be responsible for UBISORT attacking the autonomous municipality, they told us, when we all knew that violence had already been installed in San Juan Copala for many years; that was the way to hide his fear. We do not want you to die, we need you more alive than dead, they told us on behalf of the Triqui, when the truth is that the PRD did not want to risk their lives because they live in the honeys of power and have attractive plans in their political career. We would rather die fighting than continue living on our knees, more than one responded. Their deaths are not going to solve the problem, they told us, but the death of the Triqui people does solve their problem of autonomy, of dignified and rebellious peoples. In reality, the PRD members reached the caravan sheltered by the courage of the other members, otherwise they would never have undertaken this journey. They preferred that the Trquis starve to death rather than risk their lives. Furthermore, it was shown that the PRD did not give a damn about the people and the indigenous people, because in truth they do not like the autonomies, they want the only option of the people to vote for them. That's what they went to San Juan Copala, to disrupt autonomy, playing the game with Ulises Ruiz, Felipe Calderón, the entire political class in power, and the capitalist interests that want to take over the entire Mexican territory.
11. The caravan by the pa is not peaceful
In some spaces of the press it was criticized that the caravan was not for peace, that it only came to confront the communities. And they were partly right, but not entirely, because the caravan was for peace, but it was not peaceful because it did not come to reconcile irreconcilable interests, it came to confront the force of the people with the force of the state, because we knew that having reason is also a matter of strength. It was not going in a neutral way for the mere fact of being humanitarian, of course not, but rather it had been taking sides with the dispossessed, the exploited, the oppressed, confronting the interests of power because - Marx was right - what is at the bottom it is a class struggle with diametrically opposed interests. Dialogue and agreement are peaceful, but if they do not exist or are exhausted, then we inevitably enter the terrain of violence; it is the fight against power. Even some sectors of the church have understood this, but it has not been the case in San Juan Copala, where the parish priest has expressed his intention to mix the water with the oil without taking sides for the oppressed and without risking his life for those brothers, such as the gospel they presume to live calls for. No. Monsignor Romero, Rutilio Grande, Camilo Torres, Ignacio Ellacuría, and the hundreds of priests who fought for our independence such as Hidalgo, Morelos, Matamoros and so many others who left their lives in the fight for justice, and whose deaths They have borne as much fruit as the seeds of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola are. All of them have been unintentional martyrs and their deaths were not in vain.
12. The dignified and rebellious participation of the other campaign
For their part, all the comrades of the Other Campaign played a dignified and rebellious role in this caravan, from those who decided not to go due to the presence of the PRD, or those who sent some solidarity support, to those who constantly denounced PRD meddling in the decisions of the Triqui people; and those who were willing to risk their lives, which were practically all of us. In turn, more than one left a farewell letter to their children knowing that they could lose their lives. And even the drivers, who only came to do their work for daily survival, who did not bring the strength and courage of conviction, being the most vulnerable, remained firm (in a next caravan they should not drive themselves). For our part, as Red Unidos por los Derechos Humanos (RUDH), and as Otra Huasteca-Totonacapan, we delivered half a ton of humanitarian aid to the zócalo, and we did not collect more because we did not have the time or the money to get it. It was only a symbolic help, but we did what our fellow Zapatistas have taught us: to keep our word. So we did go to San Juan Copala, and we made our fight beyond solidarity… that was the commission that our comrades from the Other Hidalgo gave us, because solidarity is not enough. And the solidarity comrades from other countries, who cannot be considered foreigners as another comrade said in the march and final rally in Huajuapan that same day at night, showed greater political clarity than many Mexicans participating in the caravan. Neither PRI, nor PAN, nor PRD, the Other Campaign against power! Copala, hold on, the people rise up! We shouted in chorus together with them frequently, and Alejandro Encinas had to shut up as soon as possible in his conferences of press. And here is another detail, because these conferences were announced to the caravans as supposed assemblies for decision-making, but we were used to help him show off to the media. What man diplomacy! What prudence, what wisdom! ... What a scoundrel! If we did not tell the PRD everything they deserved, it was not to hurt the fellow Triqui who were taken hostage in this crossfire of discussions for the defense of autonomy.
13. The future canceled?
From all this we can conclude that the people are closed to all possible avenues for their survival, with the laws in hand or against the grain. For many years the peaceful ways to change this system have been canceled, and from time to time this becomes evident and they cannot hide it, as it happened with this caravan. What are they driving the town to? If the people arm themselves and do justice by their own hand to exercise their rights, it is because they have left no other way out. If a caravan, which is violent in itself, but the least violent there can be, is not allowed, then what is allowed? To what degree does the violence have to go? If our governments resolve to annihilate entire communities like in San Juan Copala, how long are we going to allow it? If we Mexicans cannot overcome these small obstacles compared to the great problem of changing this system designed to produce so many injustices, then what can we do? Once again organized society has been defeated. If we do not understand that this is a war, that there is no possible dialogue or agreement that can be fulfilled, we will always continue to be subjected by the capitalists. If we do not understand that the reasons are not enough, that it is also a matter of force; if we do not understand that electoral abstention is not enough, that we must organize to overthrow this neoliberal regime and be able to build a new world. If we do not understand that the autonomies have no future in capitalism, that in capitalism there are no alternatives, that this system is not fertile ground for justice, democracy, freedom, where only thorns grow that drown people, and everything that flourishes is trampled as in San Juan Copala. If we do not understand that these rulers are cowards and will never be willing to risk their lives for the people, that they are useless to the country, that they only serve to find a way to rob the people through this rule of law that they have imposed on us, living politics and social struggles. If we do not understand that resistance struggles are not enough to change things, that autonomy is not enough, that electoral abstention is not enough, that insurrection is not enough, that the fight for prisoners is not enough, that a humanitarian caravan is not enough, that solidarity is not enough, that it is not enough to rub the blows and lick each other's wounds. If we do not understand that we must go on the offensive, then the hope and future of our children, of our country and of humanity as a whole have been canceled.
14. We are going to conspire and win
This is why the fight for San Juan Copala must continue, without political parties, which are our great scourge and great weakness. We have lost another battle, but we will not lose the war if we start by overcoming our fear of facing the enemy. They beat us again, but we are going to return, and we will return with all our strength, with the strength of the people; we cannot afford one more defeat. We will turn their victory into a Pyrrhic victory: they beat us, but they lost. They lost credibility and moral quality in the eyes of the world, if anything they had; they lost strength; they lost legitimacy; they lost democracy; they lost justice; they lost governance ... and all that they lost, we won. We lost, but we won, and in this fight more than one of us will not prefer to continue living on our knees but to die fighting with dignity; of our lives will not be used to continue exploiting us and enriching themselves the oppressors. The first bubbles are already emerging and we are about to boil; the cornered cat begins to fluff up and prepares for the attack with all its fury. We're going to conspire, partners. May all our freedom, our memory, our understanding, our dreams, be flooded by this desire for liberation. Let us conspire against the owners of capital, against its administrators and political operators, those who all the time are conspiring against the people to impose their tributes and submission on us. Let's revolutionize our conscience, let's dare to break the thought patterns spread by the media that demonize popular anger. Let's take away our country, our rights, put an end to them without scruples or false remorse, they do not deserve any respect. They are our enemies.
This, then, is my report to the RUDH as commissioner to the second caravan of humanitarian aid for the autonomous people of the Triqui. It is not in the name of the Other Huasteca-Totonacapan, much less in the name of the entire Other Campaign; They are personal assessments that can be collated and complemented with other testimonies and points of view, in order to obtain a better and more complete appreciation. (I put my name because then they say that you don't show your face).
Juan Castro Soto placeholder image
United Network for Human Rights
June 11, 2010, from the Otra Huasteca-Totonacapan, Mexico
Long live the autonomy of the Triqui peoples!
Long live the other bell!
Freedom, democracy, justice!