Javier Sicilia's Speech At The Zocalo
Narco News provides the following translation of Javier Sicilia's Sunday Speech in Mexico City. Lea Ud. el Artículo en Español. I am producing it here because it is of such enormous importance. It marks an extremely important moment in this Hemisphere's drive toward real democracy.
We have arrived on foot, like the ancient Mexicans did, to this site where they gazed upon the lake, the eagle, the serpent, the cactus, and the stone for the very first time—this emblem which founded the nation, which has accompanied the Mexican people for centuries. We have come to the corner that Tenochtitlan once inhabited, the corner where the State and the Church settled upon the foundations of a past rich with lessons, and where the roads meet and diverge. We have come here to make the roots of our nation visible, for its nakedness accompanies the nakedness of the word, which is silence, and the painful nakedness of our dead are helping us light this path.
We have walked and come here like this, in silence, because our pain is so large and so deep, and the horror it brings is so immense, that there are already no words to describe it. It is also because through this silence we are saying to each other and to those who are responsible for the security of this country that we don’t want one more death caused by this growing confusion that only looks to asphyxiate us, as it asphyxiated the breath and life out of my son Juan Francisco, of Luis Antonio, of Julio César, of Gabo, of María del Socorro, of comandante Jaime, and of so many thousands of men, women, children and elderly murdered with a disdain and a vileness that belong in a world that we are not and will never be a part of. We are here to tell each other and to tell them that this pain in our souls and our bodies must not turn into hate or more violence, but rather be a lever to help us restore the love, peace, justice, dignity, and bustling democracy that we are losing, to tell each other and them that we think it is possible for the nation to be reborn again and to leave its ruins, to show these señores of death that we are on foot and will not relent in defending the lives of all our children in this country, that we still believe that it is possible to rescue and rebuild the social fabric of our towns, neighborhoods and cities.
If we don’t do this our children, our boys, our girls, will only inherit a house full of helplessness, of fear, of indolence, of cynicism, of brutality, and of deception, where the señores of death reign with their ambition, their excessive power, their complacency and their complicity with crime.
Everyday we hear terrible stories that pain us and make us wonder, “When and where did we lose our dignity?” The chiaroscuro is interspersed over time to warn us that this house where horror lives is not the house of our parents, but yes, it is. That it is not the Mexico that came from our maestros, but yes, it is. That it is not a part of those who offered the best of their lives to build a more just and democratic country, but yes, it is. This house where horror lives is not the Mexico of Salvador Nava, of Heberto Castillo, of Manuel Clouthier, the men and women from the southern mountains—from the Mayan people who set their language in this nation—and so many who have reminded us of dignity, but yes, it is. It is not the men and women that each morning get up and work honesty to support themselves and their families, but yes, it is. It is not a part of the poets, the musicians, the painters, the dancers, and all the other artists who reveal the human heart that moves us and unites us, but yes, it is. Our Mexico, our house, is shrouded in greatness, but there are also cracks and abysses that expand into the carelessness, complacency and complicity that have driven us to this hideous devastation.
These cracks, these open wounds, are not the nobilities in our house which have forced us to walk here, interlacing our silence with our pain in order to speak directly into the faces of those who have to learn to look around and listen, those who should name our dead. The wickedness of crime has killed them in three ways: by depriving them of life, criminalizing them, and by burying them in mass graves with an ominous silence that is not ours. We are saying to them that with our presence we are naming the infamous reality that they, the political class, the so-called powers that be and their sinister monopolies, the hierarchies of the economic and religious powers, the governments, the political forces, have denied and want to continue to deny. It is a reality where the criminals, in their dementia, look to establish us as allies through the omissions of those who hold some form of power.
We want to affirm here that we will not accept one more election before the political parties clean up their ranks of those who, masked as the law, are colluding with the crime and those who have the State, which is linked and co-opted to use the instruments of this to erode the public’s hope for change. Oh, where are the parties, the mayors, the governors, the federal authorities, the Army, the Navy, the Churches, the lawmakers, the businessmen? Where were all of them when the streets and highways of Tamaulipas become mortal traps for defenseless men and women, for our Central American immigrant brothers? Why is it that our authorities and parties have accepted that in Morelos and many other states in the country that governors publicly identified as accomplices of organized crime remain unpunished, continuing in their party’s ranks and sometimes government jobs? Why are the deputies in Congress organized to hide a fugitive from justice, who is accused of having links to organized crime and inserting it into a precinct that should be the most honorable in the country because it lies on the pluralist representation of the people, and yet they ended up giving him jurisdiction after accepting his crime in two shameful farces? Why has the president of the country been allowed to, and why has he decided to, bring the Army onto the streets in an absurd war that has cost 40,000 victims and left millions of Mexicans abandoned to fear and uncertainty? Why have they tried to pass a security law behind the public’s back that today demands more than ever a wide reflection, discussion and citizen consensus? The National Security law cannot be reduced to a military matter. It was assumed so and that will always be absurd. The public doesn’t have to keep paying the cost of the inertia and inaction of Congress and the times it has used administrative blackmail and banal political calculations. Why do the parties move away from their visions, stopping political reform and blocking the legal instruments that give the public a dignified and efficient representation that controls any kind of abuse? Why have they not included a recall mandate or a referendum?
These cases—there are hundreds of them even more severe—are evidence that the political parties, the PAN, the PRI, the PRD, the PT, Convergencia, Nueva Alianza, the Panal, and the Verde have become a “partyacracy” from whose ranks emerge the nation’s leaders. In all of them there are links to crime and the mafias across the entire nation. With out a real cleaning up of their ranks and a total commitment to an ethics policy the public will have to ask ourselves in the next elections, “For what cartel and for what power factor will be have to vote?” Do they not realize that they are piercing and humiliating the most sacred of our institutions,that they are destroying the popular will that for better or worse got them where they are today?
The political parties are undermining our institutions, rendering them vulnerable to organized crime and making them submissive to large monopolies; they have a modus vivendi impunity and make the citizens hostage to the prevailing violence.
Before the advance of the underworld linked to narco-trafficking, the executive branch assumed, joined by the majority of the so called political class, that there are only two forms of confronting a threat: administering it illegally as it used to be and is done in many places, or making a war with the army on the streets as it is today. They ignore that a drug is a historical phenomenon that has been decontextualized from its religious uses and now is managed by the market and its consumers. It was and should be treated as a problem of urban sociology and public health, and not as a criminal matter that must deal with violence. This adds more suffering to a society where success is celebrated, where money and power are absolute premises that should be conquered by any means and at any price.
This climate has been a fertile land for crime that has turned to flat rates, kidnappings, robberies, human trafficking, and into complex businesses that offend and appropriate an absurd economic model to always have more of an expense than everyone else.
To this, which is already terrible, US policy is added. It’s drug user market in the millions, its banks and businesses that launder money with the complicity of or own, its arms industry, which is more lethal and more forceful and expansive than drugs, with arms that come into our lands. They not only strengthen the growth of criminal groups, but they also provide them with a immense capacity to kill. The Untied States has designed a security policy where logic depends mainly on the country’s global interests, and where Mexico is trapped.
How do we restructure a reality that has put us in a state of national emergency? It is a more than a complex challenge. But Mexico cannot simply keep continuing, or at least allow that this deepen internal divisions further and fracture us until the heart beat of the nation is inaudible. That’s why we’re telling them it’s urgent that the public, the three layers of government, the political parties, the campesinos, the workers, the indigenous, the academics, the intellectuals, the artists, the Churches, the businessmen, and the civil organizations make a pact, that is to say, a fundamental commitment of peace with justice and dignity that will allow the nation to rebuild its land, a pact in which we recognize and assume our diverse responsibilities, a pact that allows our children to get their present and their future back, so that they stop being victims to the war or a reserved army of crime.
That’s why it is necessary that all of the governments and political forces in this country realize that they are losing the representation of a nation that emanates from the people, that is to say, from the citizens like the ones who are meeting today in the zócalo in Mexico City and other cities in the country.
If they don’t do it, and they insist on their blindness, not only will the institutions be empty of meaning and dignity, but the elections of 2012 will be a disgrace, a disgrace that will be deeper than the graves where the life of the country is buried in places like Tamaulipas and Durango.
We are therefore at a crossroads with no easy way out, because the land in which a nation flourishes and the fabric in which its soul is expressed are undone. This is why the pact that we are calling for, after collecting many proposals from civil society, and which Olga Reyes, who has suffered the murders of six family members, will read in a few moments, is a pact that contains six fundamental points that will allow civil society to timely monitor its compliance, and in the case of betrayal, to penalize those who are responsible for the treachery. This pact will be signed in the centro of Ciudad Juárez, the most visible face of the national destruction, a face of the names of the dead that shows a deep sense of what a dignified peace means.
Before it is known, we’re going to dedicate five minutes in memory of our dead, from a society closed by crime in an ignored state, and as a sign of the unity and the dignity from our hearts that calls for everyone to refound the nation. We are doing it this way because the silence is the place where the true word flows and is collected, it is a profound depth of meaning, it unites us amidst our pain, it is this common ground that nobody owns and that can, if we know how to listen, give birth to the words that will allow us once again to say with dignity and a just peace the name of our house: Mexico.