Solidarity across the globe

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Jan. 26 will be four months since 43 Mexican students were kidnapped

Contributor: Rebbeca Marroquin – Contributor

Lukas Avendaño speaks on the struggle being faced by several students and citizens in Mexico. / Brett Nielsen

Lukas Avendaño speaks on the struggle being faced by several students and citizens in Mexico. / Brett Nielsen

Jan.26 marks four months since the disappearance of 43 Mexican students and the assassination of six students that attended Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa in Guerrero, Mexico.

On Jan. 23 the University of Regina hosted a press conference with representatives from Amnesty International, the Regina Chilean-Canadian Cultural Association, the University of Regina Students Union (URSU), and the University Of Regina faculty of social work in support of the victims who are being affected by the current human rights crisis in Mexico.

Mexican performer, artist and anthropologist Lukas Avendaño described the organized crime as “an attempt against humanity” that ultimately falls at the hands of the Mexican federal and state government. Miguel Sanchez, an associate professor in the faculty of social work, was Avendaño’s translator.

“I take this opportunity to ask the Mexican state and the president, Enrique Peña Nieto, that this case be treated as an enforced disappearance and not as a kidnapping or money laundering,” said Avendaño.

Avendaño discussed the possibility that if Mexico continues to represent itself as a contradictory democracy in Latin America, then all the democracies are being questioned in countries facing similar political issues.

“One of the fallacies of the new liberalism in Mexico is that we all have the same rights and opportunities to go to school. But, the reality is that many don’t have access to universities.”

Avendaño continued by sharing his personal experience with the education system in Mexico. “We are six brothers. I am the only one who has gone to university, and for me to be able to go to university, three of my brothers had to go to the United States. Many of the students that go to the teacher training schools, in a large proportion, are the children of peasants.”

And often times, he says, “the only option they have is teacher training schools.”

Our previous story on the 43 missing students

Crystal Giesbrecht, an Amnesty International field worker, was overwhelmed to find official statistics that show an abnormal increase in violence and corruption in Mexico over the last decade.

“Amnesty International believes that it’s absolutely imperative that Canada joins with other members of the international community to press for change,” said Giesbrecht. “As Canadians, we need to put pressure on our government to talk to Mexico to address this human rights crisis,” she emphasized.

Avendaño argues that if Mexico, Canada, and the United Stated were able to partner and sign the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), that these countries should be capable of establishing citizen rights and human rights treaties as well.

In addition, Giesbrecht said, “When our own government realizes that Canadian citizens are concerned about this it might inspire them to speak out on the international stage.”

Above all things, one can learn in result of the tragic incidents occurring in Mexico, it is an eye-opener to realize there are people making sacrifices for education regardless of the living conditions that may come with it.

Lukas Avendaño, Crystal Giesbrecht, URSU President Devon Peters, and Miguel Sanchez are optimistic that the Canadian public has the ability to play a major role in the peace-making process for Mexico.

“As youth and students, we have dreams. I don’t think anyone in any part of the world would like to cease dreaming, symbolically or literally,” Avendaño described.

Speaking on behalf of his native country, Mexico, Avendaño concluded by stating, “I think the only thing that can save us is solidarity.”

 

Although Lukas Avendaño had her own translator, our contributor is fluent in Spanish and provided her own translation.

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