Written by Diana Salin Colin (GSO-Mexico- LITCI)
Thursday, 18 December 2014 17:28
The social networks announced it some days before and the news was spread massively. The invitation was for all citizens and said: “December 6; symbolic occupation of the official residence of Los Pinos, the Chamber of Deputies and the Congress.”
In one day it got thousands of likes and hundreds of comments in favor; several of us attended the call. That date would soon be doubly important.
Since 11:00 am protest slogans could be heard in Paseo de la Reforma, one of the busiest streets of Mexico City and a key point for the marches: the official residence of Los Pinos. The protesters who target the Monument to the Revolution, some wearing Mexican charros [a wide brim hat] or dressing china poblanas [traditional style of dress of women], had two purposes: to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the seizure of Mexico City by the revolutionaries Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata, and of course, to demand justice for the 43 missing teacher-training students.
Unfortunately, what should be a day of joy to recall the feat succeeded in 1914 is overshadowed by the events of September 26 and 27 and the arbitrary arrests of students, which happened in November. The demonstrators have lost their fear and are aware that at some point the police of the City of Mexico will come. People have learned from the mistakes of previous decades and return to the streets armed with a security strategy, their purpose is to repel any aggression or arbitrary detention.
“If the march is scheduled for 4:00 pm, why are they arriving so early” asks a woman to a tall, plump, white man, dressed like Pancho Villa, who replied: “Because we are waiting for the fellows from other organizations.” The woman asks again: “Hey, aren’t you afraid?” and the man replies, “I’m not! But the president and his mob of bandits should be!”
The afternoon at the National Palace elapsed as any day in December, full of people who started Christmas shopping and thronged around the Zocalo underground entries to return to their homes. Some were upset by the “iron sticks of Mancera” [mayor of Mexico City], which is how they call the structures of the ice plate occupying the Zocalo Square and thus preventing the arrival of the demonstrators.
But this normality did not last long, especially in the area of Bellas Artes close to the avenues Benito Juarez and Central Axis, from where the members of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE), the renowned teacher organization, come. At this time hundreds of police officers were mobilized to close the main streets leading to the National Palace: 5 de Mayo, Franscisco I, Madero and 16 de Setiembre Streets. Therefore, those caught between the contingents of riot police had to give a huge return on surrounding streets to reach the Bellas Artes, where they found hundreds of police surrounding the teachers. The atmosphere began to become heavy and we walk towards the Paseo de la Reforma along Juárez Avenue, where we could hear the slogans of “They took them alive, we want them alive!”, “Out with Peña, out with Peña!”
One of the recommendations prior to the march was not carrying infants, the elderly and pets to avoid putting them at risk, however, was amazing the number of organizations whose members had brought their entire families, including dogs who also carried on their backs banners saying “murderer Peña”. Protected with a security cordon, mobile phones and tablets on hand to record any incident, people were encouraged to reinforce the important collective security. Even those who were alone felt safe.
At about 5pm we hear that some undercover agents in the contingent of the CNTE were caught. The people are furious because they are tired of so much provocation, but everyone is happy to know that they were trapped, a feat which has never been seen before in the history of demonstrations in Mexico. The reason is that the protesters are no longer afraid.
The grim news
Arriving at the Monument to the Revolution, the CNTE teachers, speakers from several states and the parents of the missing students demand the urgent resignation of Peña Nieto and explain the importance of the student demonstrations. However, the most striking event of the day was the official confirmation of the death of the student Alexander Mora Venancio, one of 43 detained by police and drug traffickers.
The news is a bomb for all present, some men and women could not stand the crying, others just hung their heads in resignation, because despite that was already suspected, no one is ever prepared to receive worse news.
Omar Garcia, former classmate of Alexander, blamed the state for the murder and disappearance of his companions, and affirmed he would reveal the names of the people involved in this crime.
Pictures of the murdered teacher-training student were already spreading on the Internet. His identity was confirmed by Argentine surveyors and Alexander’s own father, Ezequiel Mora.
The Facebook page of the Rural School Raúl Isidro Burgos issued the following statement on behalf of his deceased partner:
Comrades, to all who have supported us, I am Alexander Mora Venancio. I am one of the 43 fallen in the hands of drug dealers and the government on September 26. Today, December 6, Argentine experts confirmed my father that one of the bone fragments found belongs to my body. I am proud of you who have raised my voice, my courage and my libertarian spirit. Do not let my father alone with my grief, because I mean practically everything for him, his hope, pride, effort, work and dignity. I invite you to redouble your fight. My death must not be in vain. Take the best decision but do not forget me. Rectify if possible but don’t forgive. This is my message.
Brothers, to victory.
I’m Alexander Mora Venancio, from Pericón, Tecoanapa municipality, Guerrero state.
This opens a new gap between government and civil society. If in the next days it is confirmed that the other remains belong to the other 42 missing, this would lead the country towards a political and social crisis. The death of Alexander Mora is an urgent call to society to go beyond demonstrations and spontaneous actions. Although a painful event, it is also an excellent opportunity for social organizations to put aside their differences and unite in one direction, now it’s no longer just for the 43 normalistas but for the future of Mexico.