Translation: Kimberly Cárdenas, Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR)
Original Spanish version here
To the President, Enrique Peña Nieto
REFLECTION FROM FAITH
ENRIQUE PEÑA NIETO
PRESIDENT OF MEXICO
Even though you belong to quite a different socioeconomic level, you must see these everywhere in our beloved homeland: violence, hunger and exclusion. It hurts to see how each day the gap between rich and poor increases. Social inequality is a time bomb; it is dehumanizing! Mexican sovereignty is being eliminated due to neoliberal privatization. It hurts to notice the economic plight of the workers. Well, those who have the privilege of being exploited. Others, in the millions, do not even have a job. All those poor people will never have access to a better quality of life, which they are entitled to! They are doomed to subsistence. Everyone has the right to equal opportunities. We all are equal.
The country over which you preside, is not an inherited desert, nor is it for sale; it is a gifted geographical portion, inhabited by suffering people, with deep cultural roots and deep spirituality. Our national geographic location is enviable, not because we have the United States on the other side, but because it can be a link between the North and the South. In addition, we have good climate, and many other things. The way you are managing Mexico puts the country in danger of becoming a commercial enterprise instead of prioritizing human and cultural relations with the world, especially in Central America.
The reality is that we have more than 53 million people living in poverty and we stand out for forced disappearances, deaths of women, kidnapped people, trafficking victims, persecution and killing of journalists, victims of extortion, of bullying. We are first in the world in alcohol consumption, victims of assaults, abductions and murders of Catholic priests. We are suffocated by corruption! Impunity is a cancer. None of this stops!
We must recognize that we are one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and that we continue to practice torture, especially by law enforcement agencies. Transmigrants have suffered physical and psychological torture in Mexican illegal immigration jails, as the shameful immigration jail Acayucan, Veracruz, by the immigration agents and auxiliary policemen from CUSAEM (Cuerpos de seguridad auxiliaries del Estado de Mexico= Security and Auxiliary Entities of the Mexican state).
What good business is insecurity! On one hand, the government does not provide security to the citizens. For the citizens, there are 40 thousand federal police. Instead of the policemen protecting the citizens, the citizens protect themselves from the policemen. But for those with money, and who can protect themselves, there are 600,000 rentable private police. The profits, in millions, of course, go to the same political circle, which are judge and jury.
Poor communities who cannot afford private protection, defend themselves as they can from organized crime and the government itself. The self-defense of the poor is considered by the government as illegal; the poor consider it extreme necessity. The government does not protect nor allows community to do so. Leaders of self-defense and other critical leaders are uncomfortable for the government, and sooner or later it will find a way to remove them. Many of them have been killed in “accidents.” You don’t want to dialogue with them, and you don’t have the guts to kill them outright. There will be more and more who will be willing to defend themselves and peacefully defend Mexico.
In this bleak national context, our migrant sisters and brothers have always had the tendency to lose: they are hit the hardest in all possible ways. The transmigrant population is especially vulnerable, as it is victim of the most serious crimes, and it with the transmigrant population with which the Mexican government has a historic responsibility, because these are crimes against humanity committed in national territory, and I remind you that there is no statute of limitations on these crimes! The Mexican government has been unable to protect the transmigrant population. Those who defend it are threatened and often we are prevented from helping, which the government does not do. Neither does the government protect nor does it let us protect them, as stated in the Migration Act.
The great migratory movement is a formidable sign of global transformation. The destinies of humankind are to be determined through migrants. Through them, God is calling us and starting a project for our world grown old and blind. God is in charge of ethics and spirituality. No one will be able to stop the effects of large migratory exodus because it is here and will keep coming. God will be the pioneer of a better humanity.
In Mexico, a common perception among citizens and parishioners is the neglect of the authorities towards them. They [citizens and parishioners] walk like sheep without a shepherd. Many do not expect anything from the political entity that has betrayed them so many times, and there is a huge mistrust of government, over which you preside. The people experience uncertainty because they do not see from where change can come, so desired, for every six-year presidential term. The prophetic voice of many of our pastors has been silenced. They appear to not see or feel anything that is going on, and despite this, behave like a complacent church, thankful for its “government.” Other more sensitive pastors work in silence, overcoming fear. Many priests are uneasy about what is happening. Nuns, in particular, have been the most involved. No, you cannot expect an unconditional Church: the Kingdom of God and His justice, is a priority.
Our Nation is mostly Christian, Catholic, and Guadalupean. You claim to love the Pope. You advertise on the outside that we are a democratic country, respectful of human rights, and yet you celebrate with politicians and businessmen about its structural “reforms” — reforms without content, all made in accordance to outside interests, but without the minimal intention of consulting your employer that pays you: the Mexican people. Little by little, presidents without a conscience have been destroying our resources. You will probably attempt to fix it all through your so-called reforms. The rich from above and from outside will now serve themselves with a silver spoon, while the majority will continue left behind and more dependent than ever. We are entering the stage of a neo-feudal Mexico. Will the people endure this?
Outside of the messianic rhetoric, always referred to a better future that never comes, and the idea that “now our economy is going to grow 4%”; outside of permanent self-praise of its officials, one pretends and believes falsely that Mexico is improving. And maybe it is, but for only a few, for the oligarchy: for those who hold power and have the money. For them and their loved ones, there are always extra cake slices and the privilege of having officials at their disposal. They have tired us with false promises that are never fulfilled. If is announced that there will be strong foreign investment, it is not said the profits are to those from outside. For example: Gas Fenosa gave 1% of their profits to Zapotecan brothers from Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, and Gas Fenosa keeps the 99%! Is that the prosperity that awaits us?
To defend the interests of bankers, financiers, politicians and other high social spheres, the entire government is ready to “safeguard the rule of law” and to proceed at all times “in strict accordance with the law.” These laws privilege a few and exclude the rest. Corruption has filled prisons with innocent scapegoats, while officials and former official thieves enjoy impunity and roam free with official commissions.
When social protest becomes criminalized, transparency is reduced, along with accountability and the right to revoke your mandate. The gap grows between authorities and civil society.
It is easier to purchase wills, and manipulate and suppress them, rather than listen to them, weigh them and build alongside them the common good, especially for the poor, students, dissidents, self-defense activists, journalists, and women. Without them Mexico cannot be saved! No social faction, or party, will be able to lift our nation from the general crisis we suffer. The convergence of all institutions is required, government agencies, and churches, in fact, all of society is required to build a large national, democratic, equitable, inclusive and responsible system.
But merely a year into your administration, everything points to a controlling system. It strengthens the central administration at the expense of federalism, exposing Mexico to the pressures of political powers. Institutions of social responsibility and change as the CNDH, IFE, CONAPRED, IFAL, among others, which should be autonomous and neutral to ensure their impartiality, are slowly entering into this central government domain. These institutions are not democratic seasoning; each responds to human rights; they are not an electing instrument.
[CNDH: Comisión de los derechos humanos (Committee of Human Rights), IFE: Instituto Federal Electoral (Federal Electoral Institute), CONAPRED; Consejo Nacional Para Prevenir a la Discriminacion (National Council For the Prevention of Discrimination); IFAL: Instituto Frances de la America Latina (French Institute of Latin America)]
If this does not stop, what ensues is a dictatorship. You are the first in power in the country. Sovereignty and supreme power lies in the people of Mexico, whom you do not consult on major decisions that affect their lives and compromise their future. You sought the presidency of the country, right? Then serve it! For many years, the poor of Mexico has awaited to receive real benefits from their presidents. You do not consult the public, because you do not believe in it, but the public has everything it needs to overcome this crisis and to rebuild the country!
The Zapatista movement is the best proof that a free, dignified, comprehensive and shared life is possible. The Zapatistas, men and women alike, are a great inspiration: they gain awareness, they decide for the good of the community; they organize and work together. But above all, they have boldly gotten rid of all exploitative or humiliating subordination. They are willing to defend their resources because the resources their heritage. They do not sell their land because it is not a commodity. Years ago, they wisely discovered that they have to guard themselves against corrupt politicians and bad government.
If you still opt to privilege elites and favored sectors (domestic or foreign), that which awaits Mexico is hell for everyone! In any uncontrollable situation, you may not even have the condition to finish your presidential term! In future years we will be coining a new immigration status: we will be exploited foreigners in our own land, serving the financial sector. We will no longer have to migrate to the large private property that is the United States. The very money makers from the US will run its borders to the south. In fact, today we can ask ourselves: Who really governs Mexico? The Government, does it govern or administer? Well, it administers through various mediums. Today one can govern through television. And you, will you end up as an employee of a foreign corporation, as your antecedents?
Nonetheless, all is not lost for God. Profound changes are being processed in the untarnished, hungry and thirsty-for-justice consciences of many people –in Mexico, in our continent and throughout the world. The days of corruption and the excessive accumulation are few! Jesus, the ONLY King, has the final say. The Holy Spirit works tirelessly in the creation of a new world for everyone, in which the reigning idol will never be fucking money. The new network builders are already building around the globe.
The other path that our beloved hurt country can follow is the way of Jesus, the way of the Kingdom of God, or its Guadalupean version: the great project of Tepeyac. Both propose the construction of a new woven society from the bottom up, starting with the participation of the small, those that do not count, nor matter as subjects of a story of justice and equality, with the same rights and opportunities that the law offers. In addition, the resources of the poor should not be exploited.
We are indebted to Jesus and Mary of Guadalupe: we build them temples, we pray to them, love them, but do not obey them, because we are not raising those living temples that they asked of us. We are not integrating a new society! The Kingdom of God that Jesus commanded of us is embodied in fair, equitable, inclusive, loving, and transparent relationships. Once we achieve these can we have the desired peace.
You have two options: listen to the voice of money, or listen to the callings of the Kingdom of God. What you choose will have consequences, because you cannot serve the two masters: God and money. If our country wants peace, work for justice, by rebuilding the country starting from the hardest hit sectors. Do not insist on rebuilding the image of Mexico abroad. Cosmetics are not what country needs, but a deep and just transformation.
I pray to God the Father of all that He enlighten you to take advantage of His grace in these crucial times for Mexico, for our continent and the entire world. May the Gospels be your inspiration and the Kingdom of God your map and plan.
Pbro. José Alejandro Solalinde Guerra
Missionary of the Kingdom of God
Albergue de Migrantes Hermanos en el Camino
Ciudad Ixtepec, Oaxaca, 26th of December, 2013