Stories from Quick Reads and Mexico
On his personal blog Hbt, Olivera Herbert writes about a new district distribution (starting on October 2014) and the popular referendum about participatory budgeting 2015 (November 2014), that allowed us to assess and ellaborate a new Catalog of Colonies and Native Nations 2013 in Mexico City.
Herbert has prepared a chart of the 1,753 communities and 40 native nations and invites us to download it here, a *.kml file you can use on a free and open code SIG, such as QGIS. The author explains what a colony means geographically and the so called native nations:
De acuerdo a la Ley de Participación Ciudadana del D.F. la colonia es la división territorial del Distrito Federal y los pueblos originarios son asentamientos que mantienen la figura de autoridad tradicional de acuerdo a sus normas, procedimientos y prácticas tradicionales.
According to the Bill of Citizen Participation of Mexico City, colony is the territorial division of the Federal District and native nations are settlements that keep the figure of tradtional authority under its rules, procedures and traditional practices.
Herbert Olivera's account on Twitter is @oliveraherbert for further details.
Mexican artist Michelle Solano has composed “Grito de Guerra,” a song set to the rhythm of cumbia that intends to raise funds to support the family of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa Normal School students, who disappeared on September 26 in Iguala, Guerrero state, Mexico.
According to TV network CNN, the students were intercepted and taken away by police forces at the behest of the local mayor, and had set members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel on the abducted students. In the ensuing clash, six people were killed and 25 were injured, with 43 others remain missing.
Global Voices has dedicated special coverage to the Ayotzinapa case.
Raúl Morales, blogging on El Blog de Don Ush, brings us a review of recently launched science fiction movie “Interstellar,” where director Christopher Nolan creates a non-encouraging future for the planet that can only be overcame if human beings defeat the prevailing ignorance. Although Morales is critic of box-office earnings and the action plot of the movie, he highlights that this is how the world will be if we go on just as we are:
Me gustan los mundos distópicos, en particular los que tratan de mostrar cómo sería el nuestro si seguimos como vamos. No lo dicen con claridad en la película, pero es obvio que hubo algún tipo de cataclismo que jodió a la Tierra, sin duda el calentamiento global. En segundo lugar, la película da un ejemplo claro de uno de los elementos más graves que nos orillan a ese nivel de autodestrucción: la ignorancia científica.
I like dystopian worlds, particularly those who try to show how would ours be if we go on as we are going. The movie isn't clear about it, but it's obvious there was some kind of natural catastrophe that screwed the Earth, undoubtedly the global warming. In second place, the film is a clear example of one of the most serious that pushes us to that level of self-destruction: scientific ignorance.
Ahí algunas de las razones por las que me gustó Interstellar. Un día los viajes espaciales a otros planetas podrían ser tan cotidianos como viajar en avión a otros continentes. Ese futuro solo será posible si no nos matamos entre nosotros y, por tanto, si superamos la ignorancia que conduce tantas de nuestras acciones.
There are some of the reasons why I liked Interstellar. Some day, travelling to other planets could be so frequent as taking a plane to other continents. That future will be possible only if we don't kill each other and, therefore, if we overcome the ignorance that leads so many of our actions.
According to Morales, Nolan uses science fiction as a lens to view different possible worlds.
You can follow Raúl Morales on Twitter.
The tragedy of the students from Ayotzinapa in Guerrero, Mexico, has started a wave of solidarity among Mexicans and people throughout the world, so much so that students from at least 43 counties are demanding justice for their missing peers.
But to explain the sentiments of families and locals engaged with security and good living, let's listen to what a Mexican has to say. Fernando Vázquez Rigada, in a sensitive article, is harsh in his criticisms of passive society and of his government as well:
El estado llegó tarde y llegó mal. La desaparición de más de 50 seres humanos hubiera accionado los resortes de seguridad nacional de cualquier estado decente. Pero éste no lo es. Y llegó mal: porque, titubeante, no ha atinado a tomar el control de una crisis que hace que las instituciones se desmoronen y que la irritación social sea contenida. La esposa de Abarca está arraigada, porque no se pudo acreditarle ningún delito que ameritara orden de aprehensión del juez. La mujer que los escondió salió bajo caución: porque no se le considera cómplice, encubridora, de un crimen que ha conmovido al mundo entero.
The state arrived late and in bad shape. The disappearance of more than 50 human beings would have unleashed the national security mechanisms in any decent society. But this one is not. And it arrived in bad shape: because being hesitant, it has been unable to take control of a crisis that makes institutions crumble and that social irritation gets restrained. No crime could be proved to Abarca's wife, so there is no judicial order for her arrest. The woman who hid them was bailed out: as she is not considered accomplice, accessory to a crime that has shocked the whole world.
Vasquez Rigada concludes: “The sea is rough. The vessel creaks. The crew can't control the vessel. The passengers have fear and hate. And the helm is loose.”
You can follow Fernando on Twitter: @fvazquezrig
Fernando Vázquez Rigada blogged on October 27 about the dreadful events occured in the community of Iguala, Mexico. By his understanding, this has unveiled just how rotten the government is, starting from the involvement of the former mayor and continuing with the corruption within institutions.
El 26 había una crisis local, el 27 una nacional, el 28 una internacional. Hoy, un callejón sin salida.
On the 26th it was a local crisis, on the 27th it was national, the 28th it became international. Today, a dead end.
Vázquez called the situation a ”game changer”, saying, “Those shocks that don't change the rules of a game: they change the game.” He pointed out several things the government should consider in those moments:
Primero: deberá redefinir sus objetivos.
Segundo: deberá escuchar. La calle hierve. Hay un reclamo general.
Tercero: sus cálculos políticos deberán modificarse.
First: The government should redefine its goals.
Second: It will have to listen. The streets are boiling. There is general uproar.
Third: Their political calculations will have to be modified.
The author ends by noting:
El país cambió el 26 de septiembre. El gobierno aún no se ha dado cuenta. Veremos si no es muy tarde.
The country changed on September 26. The government still hasn't realized. Let's see if it's not too late.
Today, more than three weeks later, we know it's late too for the government, but we hope it might not be for the 43 students who are still missing. Just as the protesters chant: “They were taken alive, we want them alive!“
You can add your signature to a petition to demand the Mexican government investigate who was behind the tragedy and why.
Follow Fernando Vázquez Rigada on Twitter: @fvazquezrig
From Merida, Andres Mayorquín reflects on the sentimients of Mexicans once they have been part of the marches for the disappearance of student teachers. Some ot them are already tired and they wonder if ti's worth it to take the streets. The mistrustful ones want Mexicans stop protesting and use their time “to work harder, to stop giving bribes, to respect others’ liberty or be more productive, to stop the whining”.
The opposite is no longer enough in Mexico, concludes Marroquín. Three proposals to this question: “What shall we expect or do with all this movement unleashed after the disappearance of the teacher students that ended up representing all the disappeared, murdered, kidnapped and attacked of the country?”:
Primero que nada, negarnos radicalmente a la violencia… La mayoría no queremos más agresión, queremos paz, queremos encontrar mejores formas de relacionarnos unos con otros en nuestra sociedad diversa y queremos justicia, que respete la dignidad de cada uno de nosotros.
Tercero, desarrollar una propuesta concreta…una legislación sobre la revocación de mandato, la formación de una Comisión de la Verdad, hacer obligatorias y públicas las declaraciones patrimoniales de los servidores públicos y sus familiares, facilitar los requisitos de las candidaturas independientes, una regulación sobre los legisladores plurinominales.
First of all, we radically reject violence… Most of us don't want more aggression, we want peace, we want to look for better ways of relating with each other in our diverse society and we want justice, they the dignity each of use deserves might be respected.
Third, elaborate a concrete proposal… a legislation about power revocation, the formation of a Truth Commission, make wealth declarations mandatory and public for pubilc servants and their family members, make easier for independent candidates to run for office, a regulation about multi-member legislators.
Vero Flores Desentis, blogging for Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), reflects on Internet users’ behavior regarding the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa and rubs salt in the wound of those of us who use cyberspace for worthy causes, and calls us to an in-depth examination of our conscience: are denouncing and indignation on the Internet enough to make a change or do they just represent a simple catharsis? Thus, the author points out the duality of Internet denunciation regarding the events in Ayotzinapa:
Creo que es un tema que duele a la sociedad, y duele mucho. Lo que me sorprende es la dualidad de la denuncia social. Por un lado, cada vez tenemos más acceso a plataformas que nos sirven para denunciar o para establecer públicamente algún posicionamiento frente a un tema, y cada vez somos más las personas que las utilizamos. Y estas denuncias son una herramienta muy poderosa de denuncia social sin duda. Pero por otro, la denuncia ahí se queda, no hay un eco de ejecución que realmente ayude a disminuir los casos que lamentablemente siguen sucediendo.
I think this is something that hurts society. What amazes me is the duality of social denunciation. On one hand, each time we have more access to platforms that allow us to denounce or set publicly some position about a given topic, and each time more people use them. And these condemnations are a very powerful tool for social denunciation. Burt on the other hand, the denounce just stays there, there is no echo of carrying out that really helps reducing the cases that, unfortunately, keep coming.
Vero adds that just as in other disturbing cases, social networks channel our outrage about Ayotzinapa, although making it public doesn't change the situation. To change something, we must act outside the cybernetic world, changing our actions.
You can follow Vero Flores Desentis on Twitter.
Political activism is not exclusively reserved for young people and adults. This was demonstrated by Sofia, an 11-year-old Mexican girl who decided to collect signatures calling for the resignation of the president of her country, Enrique Peña Nieto. These are her reasons.
Peña Nieto has not responded as he should have to the families of the missing students, he went to China and he has a house costing 80 million pesos (approximately 5.88 million dollars).
This initiative caused many positive reactions. For example, some decided to sign in order to demonstrate to Sofia and other Mexican children (as well as adults) that having a better country is possible, and to remind those who govern that people placed them there and that the people can remove them. Sofia's mother said:
Yo no tengo idea de cómo se destituye a un presidente. Pero ojalá pueda de verdad llevar esas hojas a alguna parte que ayude a Sofía a sentir que su esfuerzo vale la pena, que lo intentamos a toda costa. Fui incapaz de decirle que no lo hiciera, que era casi imposible. No puedo cortarle las alas. Esta generación viene con fuerza, con fe y determinación, y con un concepto de lo que es decente y justo que ya quisieran muchos para un fin de semana.
I don't know how to dismiss a president. But, hopefully one can take those papers somewhere so that Sofia can feel that her efforts were worth it, that we tried at all costs. I was unable to tell her not to do it because it was almost impossible. I couldn't cut her wings. This generation is full of strength with faith and determination, and with a concept of what is decent, something that many want for a weekend.
The petition was placed on the Change.org platform and already has 10,500 signatures at the time of this post.
Mujeres construyendo (Women building) reports about the Campaign Beijing+20 de UN, a small contribution in the fight against gender-based violence. Violence against women isn't just about physical violence, but sexual and psychological violence as well.
According to data provided by UH Women, 120 million girls have been victims of sexual abuse, 700 million women were married while they were still young girls, and 4.5 million of the victims of sexual exploitation are women and girls. In the 21st century, violence against women is still a daily reality:
Esto no es vida, es el infierno. Mientras tú y yo estamos aquí leyendo este post, una niña o una mujer está siendo víctima de violencia en alguna de sus muchas formas, algunas sutiles, otras brutales, pero la realidad sigue siendo esa: la violencia prevalece.
This isn't life, this is hell. While you and me are here reading this post, a girl or a women is becoming victim of violence in one of its many forms, some are subtle, some others are brutal, but the reality remains: violence prevails.
What can we do to fight back?
First, be informed. Second, look for support and report the violence. Third, put pressure on our governments so they comply with laws that protect women. We should also educate younger generations within a culture of peace, put pressure on the media and politicians to raise awareness about this issue, and (why not?) produce our own content, using the digital tools we have at hand.
You can follow Mujeres Construyendo on Twitter.
Marita Seara Fernández, who blogs on Mujeres construyendo (Women building), calls for the empowerment of rural woman and explains that according to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 58 million women in Latin America and the Caribbean live in rural areas and 4 and a half million are farmers.
Meanwhile, Seara Fernández claims that although starvation has been reduced, it hasn't been so among women, where it has increased. FAO representative for the region Raúl Benítez stresses the need to empower women in economics and politics, which requires the educational gap and access to farming resources to be diminished. The solution is to stimulate rural women's empowerment:
Esta premisa debe estar considerada a la hora de diseñar leyes y programas determinados. Deben capacitarlas, enseñarlas a sacar provecho de sus recursos y de lo que aprenden. No solo esto, se debe reducir las brechas educacionales y tecnológicas.
This premise must be taken into account when designing laws and programs. They should train women, teach them to make the most out of their resources and what they learn. Not only this, educational and technoloigcal gaps must be reduced.
Thus, the efforts made by Soledad Venegas in Oxaca, México, aimed at empowering rural women throught the access to ICTs, represent an example, that allow access to knowledge about production mechanisms, business and commercial exchange and similar experiencies.
You can follow Marita Seara Fernández on Twitter.