In self-defense, in defense of memory

Nadia Vera

Nadia Vera

By Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo
From Somos El Medio
July 28, 2016
Translated by Scott Campbell

On July 31, 2015, Nadia Vera Pérez, Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro, Mile Virginia Martin, Alejandra Negrete Avilés, and Rubén Espinosa Becerril were murdered in a Mexico City apartment. Nadia, a social justice activist and human rights defender, and Rubén, a photographer and journalist, had both fled Veracruz after receiving death threats for their work. Before her murder, Nadia stated that if anything should happen to her, it would be Javier Duarte who was responsible. Duarte is the governor of Veracruz, renowned for his corruption and human rights abuses, including the deaths of 17 journalists during his rule. The state’s investigation into the murders has been condemned as full of irregularities. Nadia’s mother, Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo, wrote this on the eve of the one year anniversary of her daughter’s murder.

In self-defense, in defense of memory

When they wrest what we love most from us, the possibility of justice no longer exists.

When the word justice loses meaning, all that remains for us is the defense of Memory, of self-defense.

“(…) country-hell, country of police.
Long weeping river, wide painful sea,
Republic of angels, lost homeland.
Country of mine, yours, of everyone and of no one. (…)”

From this country that sustains itself on pillars of misery, injustice, impunity, corruption and crime,

From this country whose great society towers like a hostile court to judge all through lenses tarnished with prejudice and double standards,

From this country where the “man with money rules,”*

From this country where they use the same rationale for every investigation into violent events,

From this country where victims are revictimized and criminals are protected,

From this country where judges leave the citizenry in a state of helplessness with their deliberate failure by allowing criminals to go free, arguing that they didn’t have due process or that “they didn’t know they were going to commit a crime,”

From this country where prosecutors put on display an injustice system incapable of preparing solid cases or attending to the growing number of cases that accumulate one after another,

From this country whose government’s political interests do not allow a look at the escalating violence and that becomes a neglectful or complicit authority able to obstruct a criminal investigation,

From this country where to open your eyes every day and discover you’re still here is more than a miracle,

From this country of crossfire, of defenders of the rights of criminals,

From this country where they create for us the illusion of freedom of movement and freedom of expression,

From this country where institutional negligence and inability rule,

From this country where most of the media are “city fish who lost their gills/guts amidst a shoal of whitebait,”**

From this country where they persecute you, harass you, threaten you,

From this country where criminal violence follows institutional violence,

From this country where they erase you, they take away hope,

From this country where it seems that the only safe place is in a book,

From this country where our words don’t work in the face of their bullets,

From this country my voice tries to leave, to rise up and to be carried by the wind to resonate beyond borders to condemn the pain that has invaded me for the murder of my daughter Nadia Dominique Vera Pérez, it joins with the pain of knowing that:

In one trip of the earth around the sun, that is, one year since the massacre

There is no clear motive

This is no one in authority interested in conducting a serious, fair investigation without political or personal interests, without money for doing it; a clear, diligent, exhaustive, effective and scientific investigation.

Those truly guilty for leaking the case file have not been punished

Those who took the victims’ belongings have not been investigated

The friends, relatives and neighbors who have wanted to provide information have not been allowed to make statements

The weapon used in the crime has not been sought out

The chain of custody has not been maintained, the location and objects have not been properly safeguarded, and no one in authority prevented the altering of the crime scene

Protocols were not followed during interrogations of the Veracruz government, who received preferential treatment, downplaying the importance that five people were murdered

Nadia Vera’s activities as an activist and Rubén Espinosa’s as a journalist in the city of Xalapa were not considered as facts putting them in a vulnerable situation

The government of Veracruz has not been investigated (whose plainclothes state police detained, beat and robbed Nadia Vera; pulling her into a van and threatening her for her political activities; entering and sniffing around her house; and because of that she was forced to migrate to Mexico City)

Relatives have not been provided psychological or legal support.

They are incapable of understanding that there is no amount of money that could repair the damage caused to our family, there is no amount of money that could return our Nadia, our Rubén to us; there is no amount of money that could cure the profound wound in our heart

Those who ostensibly are authorities have not done their job, they have not done their job be it due to inability or negligence, due to petty or political interests.

And even if they had done well what they didn’t know how to do, neither the jailing nor the lives of the intellectual and material authors of the crime, even beyond ten generations, could pay or return the generous and invaluable presence of our Nadia, of our Rubén, unique and incomparable.

My country is a field of poppies / watered with the purple sap of the youth.

“Let’s be realistic, let’s do the impossible”

Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo, mother.
JULY 2016

* Rough translation of “Poderoso Caballero es Don Dinero,” the name of a poem by Francisco de Quevado.
** This quote is taken from lyrics to the song “Peces de Ciudad” by Joaquín Sabina.

One thought on “In self-defense, in defense of memory

  1. Pingback: nettle & honey shortbread for collective mourning (& a writing exercise) – Wren Awry

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