AYOTZINAPA CARAVANA: Family members of 43 missing college students share their struggle in Oxnard (VIDEO)

“…we do not hold moments of silence, for that is a minute of seeking justice that is lost, and an extra minute that our families will be sequestered.”

(OXNARD, CA) If you read the VC Star article (see below) about the Caravana 43 event for Ayotzinapa, you’d note the Star’s softening of critical statements that were made that evening. For example, “The United States should stop giving guns to Mexico” could imply that it is primarily individual sellers, rather that than government action that contribute to the war by supplying arms. This point might have been more accurately represented as “The United States government should cut off its foreign aid – 2.1 billion since 2008 – of which a significant portion has come in the form of arms and military training, often under the pretext of counter-narcotics, and used under questionable human rights practices.”

Over 100,000 people have died since the Mexican government, under the guidance of its U.S. sponsors, escalated the drug war. Simultaneously, those who have called for an end to the war represent some of those most detrimentally affected by militarization: the indigenous, poor, and rural populations in Mexico, as well as against social movement activists. While the cartels and law enforcement remain firm partners in Mexico, those who expose the corruption and manufactured poverty are seen as a threat to the vast wealth garnered both through the drug trade, U.S., donations, and trade agreements such as NAFTA, The Trans-pacific partnership, and Plan Mexico(Merida), which have displaced subsistence farmers from their traditional land once guaranteed to them by the Mexican constitution.

This caravan represented a transnational organizing effort, and drew connections between the exploitation of farmworkers in both the U.S.’s and Mexico’s agricultural industrial complexes – specifically speaking to the communities of Oxnard and San Quintin. It also acted as an encounter between victims of state violence in both Mexico and the U.S., as the Limon and Ramirez families, who both lost their loved ones at the hands of the Oxnard Police Department, met with the families of the 43. Working through the political process of community assembly, an attendee requested a moment of silence for those missing students of Ayotzinapa, to which their families replies, “We appreciate the sentiment, but we do not hold moments of silence, for that is a minute of seeking justice that is lost, and an extra minute that our families will be sequestered.”

Below you will find some videos of the families of Ayotzinapa speaking in Oxnard on 3/26/15.

“Hoy a 6 meses sin saber nada de mi hijo, el gobierno se lo llevo, no nos lo quiere entregar eso es otra cosa”

“Sé que no hay ni un gobierno ni aquí ni en ninguna parte que escuche una situación como esta. Porque no hay nadie que haga justicia. Porque todo el gobierno es el mismo, la misma corrupción, tanto aquí en Estados Unidos como en México. Y en realidad yo no me asusto de lo que está pasando en México porque ya estoy acostumbrada. Porque desde que tengo uso de razón sé que es un país corrupto. Pero aquí pensé que había más leyes y que era todo más justo pero en realidad es lo mismo.” Sra. Limón, Oxnard CA

“I know that there isn’t a government anywhere that will listen to a situation like this. Because there isn’t anyone that will do justice. Because all government is the same. The same corruption, here in the U.S. as in Mexico. And actually I am not frightened by what’s happening in Mexico because I’m used to it. Since I can remember I’ve known that it’s a corrupt country. But here in the U.S. I thought things were different, I thought there were more laws and that there was justice but in reality it’s the same.” Mrs. Limón, Oxnard, CA


ROB VARELA/THE STAR Blanca Luz Nava Velez (second from left) and Estanislao Mendoza Chocolate, part of the Caravana 43, hold a cane covered with 43 white flowers that was made and presented to them by local dancers as they lead a march Thursday in Oxnard. Velez’s son Jorge and Chocolate’s son Miguel are among 43 students missing in Mexico.

ROB VARELA/THE STAR Blanca Luz Nava Velez (second from left) and Estanislao Mendoza Chocolate, part of the Caravana 43, hold a cane covered with 43 white flowers that was made and presented to them by local dancers as they lead a march Thursday in Oxnard. Velez’s son Jorge and Chocolate’s son Miguel are among 43 students missing in Mexico.

VENTURA COUNTY STAR: Family members of 43 missing Mexican college students share their struggle in Oxnard

Megan Diskin

12:18 PM, Mar 26, 2015

OXNARD, Calif. – About 100 people gathered Thursday night in Oxnard as relatives of missing college students shared memories of the young people many fear were massacred six months ago in Mexico.

Forty-three students vanished Sept. 26 from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa after a conflict with police in the southwestern state of Guerrero. Some Mexican authorities suspect they were turned over to a drug gang to be killed.

But those who spoke in a panel discussion Thursday at Café on A in Oxnard do not believe that.

Blanca Luz Nava Velez’s youngest son went missing that day. She thinks the Mexican government took her child, even though Mexican authorities claim they haven’t.

“They don’t have a heart,” Velez said of the government.

Velez said she constantly has pain in her heart as she worries about her son, who she believes is still alive as she continues to spread awareness about the missing students.

Relatives and supporters of the students have been touring the United States to raise awareness about the incident. In Oxnard, the so-called Caravana 43 was to be joined by relatives of people killed by Oxnard police, according to the activist groups hosting the event, Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective, Oxnard Unidos Por Mexico and Frente Ayotzinapa USA.

For almost an hour before the discussion, people dressed in Aztec regalia beat drums and danced in a circle around the victims’ families at Plaza Park while they made an offering of flowers. Then the event moved to Café on A for the panel discussion.

Angel de La Cruz Ayala said he was one of the students at the school when the 43 were taken. He said the missing students had done nothing wrong and that they were youths with dreams and that the incident finally opened people’s eyes to how bad the Mexican government is. He said the United States should stop giving guns to Mexico because they are used for violence, two things reiterated by the other speakers.

Estanislao Mendoza Chocolate, whose son is one of those missing, said he is reminded of what happened when he sees the empty place at the dinner table where his son would sit.

Like many of the victims’ relatives, he has gone to the site where Mexican authorities said the students were killed and their bodies burned, but the families and the experts who have accompanied them to the site said there is no evidence of that. Bodies have been found, he said, but they are not those of the missing students.

“The more you look, the more graves you find,” he said.

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