JUAREZ, JUAREZ: The March of Februay 13

Juárez, Juárez, no es cuartel
Fuera ejercito de el

Juárez, Juárez, no es cuartel
Fuera ejercito de el

This is video I took last Saturday in Juárez during the march protesting the nightmare of narco-violence and the army's occupation of the city. Ben Sáenz and I had walked over the bridge to be a part of that. There's not much else we can do. It’s a deadly waltz, these two dancers--the narco traficantes and the Mexican Army. The music is courtesy of the federal governments on both sides of the river. The Mexican government plays the guitar and the trumpet, and the U.S. strums on the bajo sexto, keeping the beat. Everyday citizens, like Gabriel who works for Lee and me, will tell you they don’t know what’s worse--the traficantes who are murdering each other and innocent bystanders, or the soldiers who are abusing the citizens and the society that are supposed to be protecting. The citzens are deathly afraid of both. Ben and I were happy we went. It was invigorating. Mostly young people (1500 by one count, "hundreds" by other count and I guessed it as 1,000 at least), lots of enthusiasm and vitality and joy, lots of anger, lots of solidarity and friendship. The marchers walked from the Parque de Benito Juárez to Avenida Diez y Seis de Septiembre to Avenida Juárez and then north to the Santa Fe Bridge where the pink cross stands commemorating the deaths of women in the city over the last two decades.

The events that triggered the rally and protest march are complicated--simply said, the people are angry and scared and fed up--but several recent incidents are the immediate cause:
The very highly publicized Massacre of January 31 which stunned Mexico and the world and the ensuing confrontation between Luz Maria Dávila (mother of  two teenage boys who were killed) and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. On th night of the massacre hired assassins working for one cartel or another carried out a premeditated attack on a high school celebration and murdered 15 people, mostly teenagers. The Mexican government, stunned by the national and international outcry, quickly arrested two individuals who supposedly participated in the attack. If you like irony, try this--the continuing violence between cartels has accounted for the death of over 4,500 people in Juárez since January 1, 2008, and well over 90% of those murders have gone unsolved and unpunished.

And the much less publicized assassination of Josefina Reyes on January 3. Josefina was a political activist, known for her work in protesting the femicides in Juárez as well as her fight to protest installation of a nuclear dump in Sierra Blanca, TX. In recent months she had denounced the Mexican army’s human rights abuses in Juárez and condemned the military presence in the city, calling it unconstitutional. Josefina had been harrassed and received numerous threats from the army and others.


The poster reads: "For condemning the abuses of the military, the government killed me.--Josefina Reyes"


Glenn Buttkus said...

Remember the 60's, and our marches against the war in Viet Nam?
"A thousand people in the street,
Was a field day for the Heat."
Nice to hear that your march was
peaceful, and no military or police squads roughed anyone up.
Your zeal as poet and activist
and human being is terrific.
You touch a lot of us out here that do not live in the Southwest.

Cecilia Balli said...

Thanks for transporting us there, Bobby. A very moving clip, leaving me with so much and so little to say...

Sesshu Foster said...

thanks for shooting this video and posting it Bobby