Ayotzinpa 43: four months today and we are still waiting for the truth.

Gallery

This gallery contains 8 photos.

It’s been four months today since the disappearance of the 43 Normalista students from the “Raúl Isidro Burgos” teacher training school in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico. We have not forgotten them and we are still waiting for the truth. #AyotzinapaSomosTodos #IlustradoresConAyotzinapa … Continue reading

Marcial Pablo Baranda

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Marcial Pablo Baranda . Digital collage: Jan Nimmo ©

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Marcial Pablo Baranda . Digital collage: Jan Nimmo ©

This is another portrait in my series of the 43 Normalista students from the Escuela Rural “Raul Isidro Burgos”, Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, who were disappeared on the 26th September 2014 in Iguala.

According to his fellow students Marcial is 20 years old and at the time of his disappearance was studying to become a bilingual teacher as he spoke an indigenous language (I’m not sure if it is Amuzgo or Mixtec which he speaks as he is from the Costa Chica). He and the other students have been training to become bilingual teachers so that they could give children an education in some of the poorest indigenous villages in Guerrero. This was something which drove Marcial in his work. His friends describe him as short and good natured.

His nickname is “Magallón” because his family have a band of the same name; musicians who play tropical, coastal music such as Cumbia. His friends laugh when they remember him, as he was always singing songs from his home in the Costa Chica, He apparently plays the trumpet and drums.

The Costa Chica in Guerrero is a part of Mexico which has a concentration of Afro-Mexicans who are the descendents of escaped slaves and the local Amuzgo and Mixtec people.

Jan Nimmo 7th January 2015

Pura Vida. Carlos Arguedas Mora: Costa Rican Trade Unionist and Environmental Activist

Carlos Arguedas Mora. Woodcut: Jan Nimmo ©

Carlos Arguedas Mora. Woodcut: Jan Nimmo ©

I often think of Carlos, remembering him warmly, but especially on Hogmanay, the anniversary of his death.

Carlos Arguedas Mora was one of the first banana workers I met. I was working as a voluntary interpreter for Carlos at a series of awareness raising meetings in Glasgow. He and his trade union, SITRAP, were campaigning against fruit giant, Del Monte. Carlos stayed at our house. From the very onset I was impressed and inspired by Carlos’s commitment to his cause, and his dogged determination in spite of all the obstacles he faced. He was put in prison 22 times for trade union activities and land occupations and even up until the year he died he was squaring up to the big pineapple and banana companies who are trashing Eastern Costa Rica’s fragile environment. This industry exploits people, be they workers or simply families who have the bad luck to live next to the plantations. I’ve met many inspirational Latin American activists. So why was Carlos so special? He had fire in his belly and he saw trade unionism and the environment that surrounded him as being inextricably linked – and both worth fighting for.

Carlos stated “if an agrochemical running through my body was doing me damage then I knew it was also doing the same damage to my country, to the air, the rivers and the land…”

Carlos Arguedas Mora being filmed at his garden,  El Pochote, for Pura Vida: Video Still: Jan Nimmo ©

Carlos Arguedas Mora being filmed at his garden, El Pochote, for Pura Vida: Video Still: Jan Nimmo ©

Carlos started work on the Dole plantations in Valle de Estrella in the 70’s. Shortly afterwards he, like thousands of other banana workers all over Central America, came into contact with Nemagón (DBCP), a pesticide made by Dow Chemicals in the USA. Carlos was made sterile by the chemical. Now known to be a highly carcinogenic product, it has caused numerous health issues for both men and women and in many cases has proven fatal. Carlos, through his trade union activities, was involved in the struggle to have Nemagón banned in Costa Rica (1979, three years after it was banned in the US). He won a little compensation (if you can be compensated for being made sterile?) which he invested in a pulpería (a wee corner shop). This gave him a wage and meant he could dedicate his time for free to his trade union activities at SITRAP in Siquirres. As the TU officer for occupational health and the environment he was able to marry both his passions, speaking to workers and community members and internationally denouncing the fish kills at Matina and Pacuare caused by chemical spills which came from the airport at Bataan, the base for aerially spraying banana plantations.

Aerial spraying taking place of the Esfuerzo banana plantation - from the documentary Pura Vida: Video Still: Paul Barham ©

Aerial spraying taking place of the Esfuerzo banana plantation – from the documentary Pura Vida: Video Still: Paul Barham ©

On the occasions that I went to Costa Rica I stayed with Carlos and I had the pleasure of working with him on my second documentary, Pura Vida. It couldn’t have been made without him. Carlos from around that time was heavily involved in the campaign to stop the unregulated expansion of pineapple production in Costa Rica’s Atlantic Zone so he was 110% committed to help making the film and did everything he possibly could to score off things on my long wish list of things to film.

Although the documentary looked at the grim social and environmental impact of the agrochemicals being used to grow bananas and pineapples, Carlos made the work truly joyous and interesting with his generosity of nature and his spontaneity, which meant we never lost an opportunity – we’d stop to film the pineapple booms or crop spraying planes overhead, gate crash primary schools to film the kids, we’d go by launch down the Río Pacuare or have gratuitous visits to places where I could film kinkajous and sloths because he knew I was an animal lover.

Carlos Arguedas Mora being filmed for Pura Vida at the Primary School in Cultivez, : Video Still: Jan Nimmo ©

Carlos Arguedas Mora being filmed for Pura Vida at the Primary School in Cultivez, : Video Still: Jan Nimmo ©

Carlos was campaigning against the expansion of intensive pineapple production right up until till he became ill.

I feel so, so privileged to have known Carlos. I’ll keep safe lots of memories of Carlos; his office at SITRAP full of banana paraphernalia from his various campaign journeys, the house at El Pochote, riding on horseback to the Reventazón River in the pouring rain, on my husband, Paul’s, birthday, and the three of us sitting eating oranges on the banks, all soaking wet…..

Carlos; generous, warm, irreplaceable and principled luchador and, best of all, friend.

Carlos Arguedas Mora (1948-2010)

Carlos Arguedas Mora being filmed on a pineapple plantation for Pura Vida: Video Still: Jan Nimmo ©

Carlos Arguedas Mora being filmed on a pineapple plantation for Pura Vida: Video Still: Jan Nimmo ©

Jan Nimmo ©  

Manchados de Jabugo: The rare spotted pigs of the Sierra.

Chaparro and some Iberian pigs in communion on the path from El Talenque to Las Cañadas. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

Chaparro in communion with some Iberian pigs on the path from El Talenque to Las Cañadas. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

On our countless rides on the paths of the Sierra de Huelva, it is not at all unusual for Chaparro and I to come across herds of black Iberian pigs foraging under the holm and cork oaks of the dehesa. You’ll see the pigs rooting about in the chestnut groves too.

Sometimes we spot pigs of dubious parentage; that is when the wild boar that roam the forests of the Sierra make an “illegal” incursion into a field of sows…

Iberian and wild boar cross piglets at Tierra Amarillo, Galaroza. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

Iberian and wild boar cross piglets at Tierra Amarillo, Galaroza. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

Very occasionally we’ll see the odd ginger coloured pig with black spots. The first time we saw these was on the circular Roblecillo ride, just to the west of Galaroza. The pigs there belong to Faustino, who is often there with his wife, and who we pass on the path with his mud-spattered white Land Rover.

Riding the Roblecillo path with Chaparro: Faustino's pigs. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

Riding the Roblecillo path with Chaparro: Faustino’s pigs. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

I have also seen shy, spotted pigs on the ride over Los Altos de la Dehesa, on my way from Galaroza over to El Talenque and beyond. I had always assumed that these pigs where some sort of mix of Iberian with, maybe, from way back when, some Old Spot or something like that… after all it was English people who ran the mines in the Cuenca Minera of Huelva Province so who knows, they may have brought Gloucestershire Old Spots and Tamworths with them.

Those of you who read the blog will have heard me talk of Francisco’s farm, Navalonguilla. It is one of mine and Chaparro’s favourite places to ride through. One day in September, when we were passing, Francisco asked if I had taken any photos of the piglets.

“No, what piglets? I haven’t seen them.”

“Oh they’ll be round here in the shade.”

So I dismounted and tethered Chaparro to the gate opposite, got my wee camera out and followed Francisco into the southern field where the Sweet Chestnuts grow. And there they were; lovely little hairy piglets, with black spots. Mum was there too and Dad. Francisco picked up a couple to show me and began to explain to me that these pigs were actually a specific breed: Manchados de Jabugo.

Francisco showing off one of his "jara" coloured Manchado de Jabugo piglets. Photo: Jan Nimmo

Francisco showing off one of his “jara” coloured Manchado de Jabugo piglets. Photo: Jan Nimmo

Francisco with a Jara coloured Manachao de Jabugo piglet. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

Francisco with a Jara coloured Manchado de Jabugo piglet. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

One of  Francisco's sows with her piglets. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

One of Francisco’s sows with her piglets. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

The breed, along with Torbiscal and Lampiño pigs, is now in danger of extinction; this was made official in 2012 in a declaration by the Spanish Government. While there were numerous Manchados de Jabugo at the beginning of the 20th Century there are now at best only a couple of hundred left, maybe less. The breed was developed by wealthy farmers, D. José Sánchez Romero and D. Manuel García Moreno, on a farm called “El Mayorazgo” in the municipality of Jabugo, around the middle of the 19th century.

With the rise in popularity of ham from black Iberian pigs there was a perception that anything that didn’t have patas negras or black trotters, was of inferior quality – and while this may be true of the intensively farmed, factory pigs it certainly isn’t the case with the Manchados de Jabugo, who while not growing as large as the black pigs, produce excellent meat. However, the pigs cannot be hurried in any way, so are seen as being less “profitable”. The breed was also adversely affected by the Peste Porcina Africana (African Porcine Disease), which was a virus that hit Spain and Portugal in the 1960’s.

Francisco's Jara coloured Manchado de Jabugo sow. Photo: Jan Nimmo

Francisco’s Jara coloured Manchado de Jabugo sow. Photo: Jan Nimmo

The Manchados can be either red (Retinta) or pale blonde (Jara) with irregular, black spots. They are long and rotund, they are much hairier than the black pigs and have pale/white trotters. Their heads are wide, their snouts long and they generally have pale eyelashes. The Manchado sows are fierce mothers. Their distribution is limited to the province of Huelva.

Some of Francisco's pigs L-R Iberian pig, Manchado de Jabugo (Jara colouring) Iberian pig and another Machado de Jabugo (Retinta colouring). Photo: Jan Nimmo

Some of Francisco’s pigs L-R Iberian pig, Manchado de Jabugo (Jara colouring) Iberian pig and another Machado de Jabugo (Retinta colouring). Photo: Jan Nimmo

Nowadays there is only one farm to source legitimate bloodstock: “Los Remedios”, El Almendro, near Cabezas Rubias, south of the Sierra. Previously these could also be sourced in Galaroza at “La Dehesa” which belonged to the Diputación de Huelva but that was sold off a couple of years ago. This is a great loss to Galaroza as not only could serrano farmers source local breeds of pigs but this was also a base for the conservation of old, local varieties of fruit trees.

Riding by, a few days after my first encounter with the piglets, Francisco said that one of them was very poorly. I dismounted and went to have a look at the piglet, which was in the cortijo, in a box with a blanket and a hot water bottle. It was very weak and Francisco was sure that it wasn’t going to make it but wanted to give it a chance. Sadly it didn’t make it.

A few days later I arranged to visit the farm again, but this time with my “good” camera. Chaparro got to rest under the shade of a tree, in the company of the farm cats and Leona, Francisco’s beautiful mastín. There had been a new litter of piglets, this time they were retina coloured and were in a cortijo in another part of the farm which is hidden away at the back of the marble quarry. They were still quite tiny and rather beautiful. Francisco was justifiably proud of them. He is doing crucial work to conserve this lovely but rare breed of pig.

Francisco_piglets_SM©

Francisco of Navalonguilla with two of his Retinta coloured Manchado de Jabugo piglets. Drawing: Jan Nimmo ©

Francisco showing off two of his Retinta coloured Manchado de Jabugo piglets. Photo: Jan Nimmo

Francisco showing off two of his Retinta coloured Manchado de Jabugo piglets. Photo: Jan Nimmo

Video clip of the piglets feeding…..