Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mexicans Have Nothing to Celebrate This November 20th

Calavera by Jose Guadalupe Posada
Today is November 19th, and tomorrow we will celebrate the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, a movement during which heroes like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata fought so that peasants and native Mexicanos—groups that were alienated by the government of Porfirio Díaz—could be integrated into mainstream society. Porfirio Diaz abdicated in 1910, and a new constitution that redistributed land and improved the treatment of workers was comulgated in 1917. But this constitution did not end the quest for equality in Mexico, and the battle for power continued for several decades until the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) was consolidated and reigned the country for 70 years, building a network of corruption and leaders whose descendants still dominate the nation.

One hundred years after the revolution, the situation in México is the same, or probably much worse. More than half of the country lives in poverty, while the leaders in power continue to say that they are fighting for a better future for the majority of its inhabitants. The PRI has returned to power, and security, one of the basic responsabilities of the state is inexistent. México's judicial system is a joke, unless you have money to pay for an order of protection or buy your freedom. Dozens of reforms have been promulgated throughout the decades; however, México is still considered a developing country, even though it has inmense riches and is the neighbor of the most powerful country on this planet.
Central Americans killed in Tamaulipas/Photo:Borderland
Sadly, today's México could be compared to Irak or Syria. The drug cartels and organized crime groups like The Zetas and Caballeros Templarios kill Mexicans and Central American migrants in mass, and then they discard the bodies in ways worse than those used on animals. Some of them are dumped in mass graves, while others are incinerated. Some of them are decapitated and their bodies displayed in public to terrorize the population, while others are dissolved in acid. These criminals are not much different from the group that calls itself Islamic State, which has killed hundreds of people in the Middle East. And all of the crimes go unpunished as well, from the genocide of women in Juarez, Chihuaha, which have been forgotten with the arrival of the war on drugs, to the murder of seventy two Central American migrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas.

The inefficiency and uselessness of the Mexican government cannot be more obvious than in the state of Guerrero. On September 26th, forty nine students from the Rural Education School Isidro Burgos, in Ayotzinapa, headed for Iguala to raise money. Their goal was to then go to México City and join the demonstrations to conmemorate the murder of students by the Mexican State in Tlatelolco in 1968. But before they got to Iguala, the group of students was intercepted by municipal police officers under the command of Mayor José Luis Abarca. There the policemen executed six of the students, and then handed the rest of them to the criminal group Guerreros Unidos. Most of us know the rest of the story. Several of the education students were strangled on the way to the municipal garbage dump, and the rest were killed when they got there. Then, their bodies were piled up and burned in an effort to get rid of any evidence.

"We are all Ayotzinapa. Enough!"
The murder of the students from Ayotzinapa was the straw that broke the camel's back for many Mexicans. Students and teachers have always been the engines of social change in México. During the search for the missing, around one hundred bodues have been found buried in mass
graves in Guerrero, but not those of the students from Ayotzinapa. This search has also exposed México's government falsehood. Officials love to only talk of "achievements," specially during internationally-bound events. Quite simply, the State has failed to provide security to Mexicans, a basic pilar for a government that wants to prove that it is doing it's basic work.

In order to strengthen its image as a legitimate government, México needs an effective judicial system. The only achievement in security that federal politicians have achieved is their own protection. Otherwise, several presidents would have suffered the same fate as Francisco
Madero and Venustiano Carranza, two revolutionary presidents that were murdered during that fight for power after the demise of Porfirio Díaz. These current leaders know it, but the reality is that many of them have their hands tied because they themselves belong to criminal groups. Just in Guerrero, twelve mayors (including José Luis Abarca) are being investigated for their criminal connections. These politicians belong to the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and the PRI. México will not improve its situation until people like them are removed from the leadership.

So Mexicans should use this November 20th to assess the situation of their country: ¿Is it fair to continue letting corrupt people that only care about their little circle rule our country? My answer is a definite no. It is time to demand concrete results, and to finally try to make the dreams of Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata, who gave their lives so that we could live in a better place, become a reality.

Link to Spanish version/Enlace a historia en español

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