Note from the editor: “Shouting in Michoacán: Voices against the surrender” is a journalistic work that goes into social networks to give a voice to the victims of violence in that state. It is by anonymous citizens- from websites dedicated to fighting organized crime-they say, for the first time, what happens on their land.
By: Oscar Balderas
August 20, 2013— When you finish listening to my story you’ll think I’m making it up. You won’t notice that I’m talking about Mexico, of Michoacán, the land of the independentists José María Morelos y Pavón and Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez. And why do I speak of them? Because here we are slaves trying to become free from this hell that has been roasting us since 2006.
To begin with, I will say that my name is Juan, but that’s not my real name. If I were to tell you, I will probably end up like my neighbor Ramón, who soldiers took from his home in the early morning. They put him in a truck without license plates, they beat him with a board until they ripped the skin from his buttocks and then threw him unconsciously in a ditch where some dogs killed him. He left a widow who doesn’t eat nor sleep and two daughters who’ve wet the bed ever since their dad is gone. It was all because he denounced an illegal search from some “army guys” who stole some jewelry from his sister. Do you see why I tell you that my name is Juan?
I live in Pajacuarán, but I won’t tell you close to which hill, dirt road or my street. If they look for me, they will find me and I don’t want my wife or my son to find my body carved up, burnt, decapitated, hanged, or skinned on the street before my neighbors can put a white sheet over me and hide the signs of torture that some people talk about when talking about what happens in my town.
I will also tell you that today is August 14, 2013 and I’m very afraid. You can’t see me, but I answer your questions via Facebook and my sweaty hands slip on the keyboard. I want to believe that you’re a journalist and that you aren’t a narco, municipal police officer, federal police officer, community police officer, self defense member or a soldier who in a few hours will come for me and with the printed evidence “grind” me, but here it no longer signifies when preparing a salsa for some enjoyable enchiladas that are typical here, but of shaving the skin with a machete and throwing you in caustic soda to consume you like a snail frying in salt.
Why have I decided to talk now? Because since 2006, when we started getting fucked up, I thought that the best safeguard was to be silent. That, if I stayed still, the scythe of crime wouldn’t graze us and one day, after so many damned nights, I would awake in my town and we’d look at ourselves without any scratches. None of that happened. I kept quiet and that didn’t prevent anything because in 2007 some federal police officers sexually abused my sister-in-law under the pretext of doing a bodily search in search of cocaine; in 2008, they found my son’s best friend hanging from a bridge; in 2009 we said our goodbyes to “Don Chava”, the owner of a grocery store where ever since I was a kid would sell me popsicles. They found him without any ears or fingers because he didn’t pay dues to La Familia Michoacana.
And things got worse: in 2010 came the wave of kidnappings of young people who refused to participate in the drug trade and now we assume are slaves working in some marijuana field or are buried in a narco grave; in 2011, my godson’s first communion was suspended because of a three hour shootout between soldiers and gunmen; and in 2012, on a morning (I won’t tell you what day or month) my house awoke with bullet holes in the front as evidence that everyone in this town has a horror story to tell.
In 2013 I’m afraid that the next one will be my son, who is about to finish high school. Or my wife. Or my sisters, who also live here. I know that it’s only a matter of time, which is approaching, that every time I hear those voices getting closer, those mocking voices that come to your house and yell at you “bitch!”, “son of a bitch!” “whore!”, “faggot!” and who enjoy saying phrases like “you’re fucking dead!”, “now you’ll see what’s good!”, and “you’re going to prefer being dead, fucking Indian!”.
This is why I want to talk and say that this isn’t calm. We are dying over here. They are killing us and we’re dying from fear. This isn’t life and you can’t say that this is the rule of law in Pajacuarán: there aren’t any more loud parties, food vendors on the streets, the urge to go out for a walk at dawn and talk while the starry sky gets covered. Here, even going to get tortillas we speak with love, we kiss, we say our goodbyes with a “come back soon”, because we don’t know if we’ll meet again.
My story is like many others here: we live missing those who have been killed; concerned about who’s going to kill us. We drag violence from the past to the present and we become hopeless about the future, because since 2006 they promised us that this land would be “cool” and it has only become hotter beneath our feet.
No one talks about this, some for convenience and others because they’re afraid of coming to Michoacán. I have decided to speak out because we need help. In my town there are too many who have been: left wrapped in blankets, left inside trunks, left wrapped in tarp, people forced to dig a pit and then buried, men who appear without tongues, women with torn chests, children with a coup de grace.
My story can’t end like this. I, John, want to live longer, grow old with my wife, watch my son grow up, have grandchildren, and be able to walk by the sorghum fields again with the tranquility of a child in his home.
I want, like you, to think that I’m making all this up. And when this happens, I’ll smile, triumphantly, because this will mean that the scythe of death is far from my grandchildren.
And to talk, albeit from sweaty fearful keystrokes, I’ll operate.
Source: Revolución 3.0