"How is it possible that the government assassinates a young student and to the government, the political parties and the mass media everything stays the same?"
"I am going to deliver this (tear gas canister) to his Alexis’ father so that it can be used as evidence… I recommend that they look for the fingerprints of Vicente Fox and Enrique Peña Nieto on it."By Subcomandante Marcos
Translation of Remarks on the 35th Memorial of a Student Massacre in Mexico City
June 12, 2006
Compañeros and compañeras of the Other Campaign: 35 years after the paramilitary group named “Halcones” (“Falcons”), trained, equipped and paid by the government, attacked a peaceful demonstration by students, the police assassinated the young student Alexis Benhumea Hernández, a militant of the Other Campaign.
On the 4th of May of this year, Alex was in San Salvador Atenco, showing his solidarity with the townspeople when the police forces of the government assaulted the place. Hundreds of men and women were beaten, arbitrarily and illegally arrested, women raped, minors of age imprisoned, homes looted and a child spectator of the police brutality was assassinated.
Alexis was seriously wounded in the head by a tear gas projectile, a projectile like the one that I am showing you… in the house where Alexis found himself at the moment he was attacked by the police. I am going to deliver this to Alexis’ father so that it can be used as evidence. I’m not touching it. I recommend that they look for the fingerprints of Vicente Fox and of Enrique Peña Nieto on it.
Alexis waited many hours without receiving medical attention, owed to the state of siege that the government imposed on Atenco. Alexis stayed alive for more than a month, until death took him in the early hours of this June 7th. Alexis is dead and the projectile that killed him was made in the United States, fired from a grenade launcher with which the police assaulted Atenco on May 4, 2006.
Alexis is dead and we ask ourselves why. Why did the police assassinate a 20-year-old youth, a brilliant student, an artist? And why do the politicians up above act like this doesn’t matter to them? How is it possible that the government assassinates a young student and to the government, the political parties and the mass media everything stays the same? They haven’t even bothered to insist that it be investigated, not even a timid and weak insinuation, but full speed ahead with the commercials that offer political positions as if they were deodorants that can cover up the bad smell that the Mexican political system emits.
The homicide of this young man, our compañero of the Other Campaign, as been disrespected by the Mexican political class, that doesn’t dignify itself to even look at the pain of Alexis’ family, just as it has neither eyes nor ears for the injustice that keeps our compañeras and compañeros in the prisons of the State of Mexico.
Why haven’t the candidates said anything about this assassination? It’s because Alexis’ death is not saleable. It’s not an attractive product on the electoral market. That’s why they say nothing. But we, however, do seek a response to the homicide of our compañero,
Alexis is assassinated because he was young and rebellious, because he was in the Other Campaign, because he had chosen to path of transforming a system that turns youth into a crime that is punished with the death penalty. Any youth from below, man or woman, knows that he is persecuted as a delinquent for his way of dress, of wearing his hair, his manner of speaking, his music. The graffiti artist, the banda, those who listen to ska, dress in black, the punk, the anarchist, the libertarian, the hop hop musician, the student, the street vendor, the worker, the rocker, the employee, any youth from below is favorite prisoner for the police, whichever party symbol runs the government.
And the governmental argument is that these youths seem like drug addicts, crooks, criminals, while those that don’t seem like them are: businessmen, congressmen, senators, secretaries of state, mayors, the president, functionaries on all levels, police chiefs, generals, the president’s wife; that’s where you’ll find the assassins, the crooks, the criminals, and not among the youths. Because it scares them that young people reject authority, since it is authority that persecutes them, that jails them, tortures, rapes and assassinates them. What respect can they possibly construct over the weapons that oppress and the jails that imprison?
Alexis Benhumea Hernández is dead, his family is in pain, and we, La Otra, are in pain. The government says it laments it, that it understands, so says he who is in charge, and he pulls out the checkbook and asks how much Alexis’ life was worth. But we, here, below and to the left, don’t ask ourselves the price of his death. We know what it is already and we have written down the cost in our hearts.
In La Otra we ask ourselves: How much was Alexis’ life worth and with it the life of our Homeland? How much for the life of Alexis? How much for the woman, the child, the man, the youth, the elder that is repressed, raped, prisoner, assassinated every day with the alibi of the Law and Order. And we respond: How much for another country? For an Other Mexico?
A Mexico where crime is not rewarded with governmental posts, but with punishment in jail.
A country where the youth are not persecuted, beaten, raped, imprisoned and assassinated because of their age, their culture, their style, if there are not studies, recreation, sports and culture for all of them?
A Mexico where politics ceases to be a business, where it stops being a place where hypocrisy and treason are cheered?
A country where he who works and lives with dignity wins.
A Mexico where he that constructs his wellbeing at the cost of misery for others, he does not exist.
A country where democracy doesn’t involve the pathetic dispute between political parties, that are not parties, but commercial products that deceive the consumer in every way.
A country, a Mexico with democracy, freedom and justice.
If up there above they think they can assassinate Alexis and plant fear and immobility in us, they’re wrong. We will continue. We are going to grow and we will organize that growth. We will continue and we will rise up. And we will not just topple he who leads by ordering, but also he who is owner of it all, he who, decrees from up above a sentence of prison, pain and death for those below. We are what we are and with those from the below that we are we are going to have to find the justice we need, the freedom we deserve and the democracy that we long for.
When that day comes, when we comply with our job, then the streets and the countryside of our country will no longer be a place of broken dreams, of badly achieved lights, of mature cynicism, of death for life.
That day our country, our Mexico, will be a path to dignity.
It will be another country, an Other Mexico.
Long life to Alexis.
May death die.
Thank you, compañeros.