by: Alejandro Jimenez, Vreni Michelini Castillo
We write as dislocated family of los pueblos Mexicanxs concerned and hurt by the actions of the Mexican State against our peers on the other side of the border. As Mexican postNAFTA migrants we have come to understand through our displacement the ways in which the Mexican government failed us and our families. The enactment of NAFTA created one of the largest exodus of Mexican citizens, particularly campesinos, Indigenous communities and working class folks. We recognize this not as an isolated event but as part of a tradition of betrayal by the elite political class in Mexico. While it may seem like a distant tragedy, the disappearance of 43 Normalistas in Guerrero is a continuation of the neglect and oppression by the Mexican government and the elite towards various Indigenous groups and working class people.
The struggle of the Mexican people is present in cities across the U.S., visible through the mobilization for migrant policy reform and the basic recognition that folks from Mexico and other parts of Latin America are refugees and survivors of physical and economic violence. In the case of Mexico, the 43 missing Normalistas are victims of violence no longer confined to rhetoric and politics, but rather a lasting state repression that continues to be felt since the massacre of Tlatelolco in 1968. From Diaz Ordaz to Peña Nieto, political leaders of Mexico have facilitated the continued repression of social movements. Most recently, the war on drugs has allowed for the militarization of the police and the cartels: blurring the lines between government, the judicial system, and organized crime. These are key factors in understanding root issues that perpetuate violence, death, disappearance and eventual migration from Mexico to the U.S.
The #Yamecansé backlash to Mexico’s attorney general Jesús Murillo Karam’s attitude, expresses fatigue and frustration by the Mexican people towards an indifferent government; it expresses the beginning of an escalation within a long struggle for social justice. As Mexican migrants, UC Berkeley graduates and schoolteachers, we feel the loss of the 43 Normalistas that were taken by the Mexican state. We extend our prayers to their families and the community in Ayotzinapa. On Nov. 20th we will join the global call to protest the disappearance of the 43. Se los llevaron vivos, vivos los queremos!
*for more information regarding the action at UC Berkeley join the planning assembly Nov 12th