On May 4th, the third anniversary of the state repression to the people of Atenco, the Mexican Consulate in New York City was peacefully “taken” by the pro-zapatista Movement for Justice in the Barrio (Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio).
The authorities decided to close the Consulate all day. In a press conference, the Consul, very upset, denounced and placed blame on the members of The Other Campaign in New York.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OTHER NEW YORK DISTRICT OF MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE
To our sisters and brothers of the People’s Front in Defense of Earth:
To our brothers and sisters the Zapatistas:
To our comrades of the Other Campaign:
To our comrades of the Zezta Internazional:
To our comrades following the International Campaign in Defense of the Barrio and our allies around the world:
A greeting of solidarity from the women, men and children, the socially marginalized from the Other Campaign New York, Movement for Justice in el Barrio in East Harlem zapatista.
Today, May 4, 2009, The Other New York peacefully took the Mexican Consulate in New York to demand the release of 12 political prisoners who have been brutally repressed for opposing the predatory neoliberal development projects that denigrate life and culture, specifically the construction of an airport in Atenco, and for the protection of flower growers in Texcoco.
On this third anniversary of the repression, arrests, rape, torture and burglary committed by military police in Atenco, today, a committee of members of the Movement for Justice in El Barrio was able to enter the offices of the Mexican Consulate in New York, which are under strict surveillance, stepping up the campaign in Mexican heart and memory, demanding the release of prisoners from Atenco. We managed to enter the offices to conduct a peaceful protest demanding the immediate release of prisoners from Atenco.
Once inside, the comrades of the Other New York, cried: “Political prisoners, freedom!, Freedom, freedom to prisoners to fight!” “We are all Atenco,” among other slogans, and with our banners, some with masks simulating prison bars, and also with bandanas, distributed to passers-by DVDs of the video Rompiendo El Cerco (Breaking The Siege), about the repression in Atenco, and informational leaflets explaining the central demands.
Then we demanded to speak to the Consul Ruben Beltran to deliver a letter of demands.
First we were told that he was not there because he was in Mexico, but we knew that this was a lie since the day before the consul was in El Barrio performing a proselytizing act in the imposed celebration of Cinco de Mayo. After a time, the consulate authorities told us that the ambassador was in New York, but was not in the consulate, and then closed the consulate to the public, asking everyone to leave the office.
At the end of our event, the ambassador came.
We delivered a letter, amplified in a banner, with the following demands:
1) Freedom of the 12 political prisoners from Atenco;
2) Cancellation of warrants for the 2 prosecuted;
3) Withdrawal and cancellation of the sentences;
4) Strict respect for the human rights of the detainees and persecuted; and
5) Punishment of those responsible for human rights violations.
At first Ambassador Ruben Beltran said he was willing to talk with all the Mexican residents in New York and listen to all their views, but then threw the blame on us and our cause – the release of prisoners of Atenco – of having closed the services of the consulate and leaving many people without being served.
We believe that reaction of the consul is an act of great injustice and cynicism, as if the government of Mexico does not torture, kill, rape and unjustly imprison its residents for opposing Mexico’s business with large multinationals that make water into a merchandise, these things should not need to happen.
Notwithstanding this, we are pleased to have been able to successfully make this protest against the release of the martyrs of Atenco, as we now know that many Mexicans in New York will be able to learn through alternative means, such as the DVD of Breaking The Siege, that which really happened.
Then in the afternoon of that day, the press went to the consulate because of another event, and the consul took the opportunity to complain about us, denounce us and say that because of us, they had to close the Consulate for the entire day. At that evening event, the consul showed the press pictures of us from different angles.
It should be clear that our demonstration was peaceful.
If there will be reprisals against us for exercising our right to freedom of expression in Mexican territory (as is any Embassy of Mexico abroad), this means that the consular authorities were violating our rights, like they do not respect the human rights of the people of Atenco.
It pains us greatly that the worthy social activists, the true defenders of our land and our country, remain in jail. We do not rest until they are released. Human beings are not merchandise.
They can not stop us and clear us out to build airports and hotels, not in Atenco, not in Agua Azul, and not in our Barrio in East Harlem.
From The Other New York:
WE ARE ALL ATENCO!
FREEDOM FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS!
Movement for Justice in el Barrio, New York, May 4, 2009.
This post is also available in: Spanish