Bernardo Flores Alcaráz

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Bernardo Flores Alcaraz. Digital Art: Jan Nimmo ©

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Bernardo Flores Alcaraz. Digital Art: Jan Nimmo ©

Bernardo Flores Alcaráz is from the small town of San Juan de las Flores in Atoyac, Guerrero, Mexico. His grandfather describes how Bernardo likes to help out his father, Nardo, in the milpa (a traditional smallholding). The family grows coffee. He and another of the 43 normalista students, Cutberto Ortiz Ramos, who were disappeared in Iguala, were descendents of Lucio Cabañas Barrientos, “The Tiger of Atoyac”, founder of the Partido de los Pobres (The Party of the Poor). He campaigned for justice and education for the poor and his role model was Emiliano Zapata.

Like his two descendents Cabañas picked coffee and attended the Rural Normalista School Raul Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa. He became a teacher and politically active. It was in the Sierra de Atoyac where he founded his anti-poverty Guerrilla movement. He was killed by the Mexican army in 1974 after Cabañas’ people had kidnapped the senator and future president of the State of Guerrero, Rubén Figueroa. Lucio Cabañas has become an iconic figure for social justice movements in Mexico and beyond. His wife, social activist Isabel Nava Alaya was murdered in 2011.

I have included an image of Lucio Cabañas in the portrait of Bernardo, along with the lyrics of a corrido (a popular narrative song) about Cabañas, El Tigre de Atoyac (The Jaguar of Atoyac). There is also a tigre, or jaguar, mask from Guerrero, and the spots at the bottom corner are the spots made by dipping bottles into ash to make the jaguar spots on the ritual dance costumes of Guerrero. The target represents how anyone involved in trying to change the lot of the poor in Guerrero, whether historically, by taking up arms, or today by simply wanting to educate communities, becomes a target. I have used targets in some of the other portraits as I believe that anyone wishing to bring about social change through education, through journalism or through speaking out via social networks or non-violent protest, is now a target in Mexico.

Lucio Cabañas Barrientos (taken from the digital newspaper El Amanecer de Chihuahua).

Lucio Cabañas Barrientos (taken from the digital newspaper El Amanecer de Chihuahua).

EL TIGRE DE ATOYAC

El veintisiete de junio
del año setenta y cuatro,
subieron los federales
a la sierra de Atoyac,
buscando a Lucio Cabañas
queriéndolo asesinar.

Lucio Cabañas Barrientos
el rebelde guerrillero
es un tigre muy valiente
que no se liaron el cuero,
secuestra a los millonarios
y no le teme al gobierno.

Gritaba Lucio Cabañas:
De esta sierra ya no salen,
cuídense mis compañeros
ahí vienen los federales,
aviéntense pecho a tierra
allí entre los matorrales.

En la sierra San Vicente
se formó la balacera,
se oían las metralladoras
también los tanques de guerra,
se oían varios cañonazos
en el fondo de la sierra.

Andaban diez mil soldados
de la fuerza federal,
tenían la sierra sitiada
no se podía caminar,
buscaban a Figueroa
queriéndolo rescatar.

Ya con ésta me despido
ya me voy a separar,
¡vivan los hombres valientes
que no se saben rajar!
¡que viva Lucio Cabañas
en la sierra de Atoyac!

Los Valentes (listen to them sing here)

THE JAGUAR OF ATOYAC

On the 26th of June
of the year 1974,
the soldiers went up
to the Sierra de Atoyac,
searching for Lucio Cabañas
who they were wanting to kill.

Lucio Cabañas Barrientos
a rebel guerrilla
Is a valiant tiger
who couldn’t be held back
who kidnaps millionaires
and isn’t afraid of the Government

Cried Lucio Cabañas:
We’ll not leave this sierra,
take care compañeros
here come the soldiers,
crawling on their stomachs,
advancing through the undergrowth.

In the Sierra San Vicente
there was a gunfight
you could hear machine gun fire
and also the tanks of war,
you could hear the cannonades
deep in the heart of the sierra.

Ten thousand soldiers were mobilised
from the federal forces,
they had the sierra surrounded
so no-one could move,
they were looking for Figueroa
who they wanted to rescue.

With this I say farewell
Now I will take my leave,
Long live brave men
that won’t be broken
Long live Lucio Cabañas
in the Sierra de Atoyac!

Advertisements

Adán Abraján de la Cruz

Yp, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quier saber dónde está Adán Abraján de la Cruz: Digital art: Jan Nimmoo ©

Adán Abraján de la Cruz is from el Fortín, a barrio of Tixtla in Guerrero. He was forcibly disappeared on the 26th Sept 2014 along with another 42 students who were studying with him at the Normalista School at Ayotzinapa. He is married to Érica and is the father of two children, José Luis and Alison.

I read that Adán loves to play football and then learned from a couple of his team mates (thanks to the Tixtla Facebook page who helped me find them) that his team plays in the Las Chivas strip. Las Chivas is the popular name for Mexican football team, Club Deportivo Guadalajara. Adán played for Los Pirotécnicos de Fortín and for the Vaqueros de Fortín too. I have included a quote from his team captain, Christiam: “Lastima mi Adán me iso ganar un trofeo era mi portero” – “What a shame about Adán, he helped me win a trophy – he was my goalkeeper”.

Over the last 10 months football stadiums have been the arena to express solidarity with the 43 disappeared students. Mexican footballers like Miguel “El Piojo”, a player for the Mexican national team, have shown 4 and 3 fingers to the fans while crowds have carried massive banners in protest of what has taken place. Real Madrid forward, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández tweeted a black and white selfie with the hashtags:  #TodosSomosAyotzinapa #UnidosPorAyotzinapa.  More in an article here.

When I googled “Ayotzinapa” and “futbol” I was surprised to see that even at Liverpool matches there were fans carrying a large banner in protest at what happened to the 43 students in Iguala. And I love this image of solidarity from a women’s football team from the barrio Güemes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (from the blog Southern Perspectives).

La Nuestra Fútbol Femenino, Barrio Güemes, Villa 31, Buenos Aires, Argentina, en apoyo a familiares de los normalistas secuestrados en México.

La Nuestra Fútbol Femenino, Barrio Güemes, Villa 31, Buenos Aires, Argentina, en apoyo a familiares de los normalistas secuestrados en México. (Southern Perspectives ©)

Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, commenting on the murder of Colombian defender Andrés Escobar in 1994 said. 

“Violence is not in the genes of the people who love to celebrate and are wild about the joys of music and soccer. Colombians suffer from violence like a disease, but they don’t wear it like a birthmark on their foreheads. The machinery of power, on the other hand, is indeed the cause of violence: as in all of Latin America, injustice and humiliation poison people’s souls”.

He was talking about Colombia but sadly the same applies to Mexico. Now there is a team missing a goalkeeper and a family missing their dad, husband and son.

José Ángel Campos Cantor

JoseAngelCamposCantor

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está José Ángel Campos Cantor. Digital art: Jan Nimmo ©

Like many of his 42 fellow students, who were disappeared along with José Ángel on the 26th of September 2014, he loved to play football but, as his father explains, when he went to study at the Normalista school in Ayotzinapa he didn’t get much time to play as he was studying hard to become a teacher. Of the 43 students who are missing José Ángel is the oldest at 33 years old. He is popular with his fellow students.

José Ángel plays saxophone and plays in a “Chile Frito” (Fried Chilli) band, typical of Guerrero. These are the brass and drum bands that accompany local fiestas and dances with lively sones and chilenas. I have used the lyrics from a chilena, El Toro Rabón, in the portrait (Lyrics below). The song was written by a well known Guerrense composer, José Agustín Ramírez Altamirano, once a normalista student himself. José Ángel  loves corridos (popular narrative songs) and dancing to cumbia with his wife, Blanca González Cantú. He and Blanca have have two girls: América and Gabriela or “Gaby”. Since her father was disappeared América, who is 8 years old, has had to help her mum out, and everyday she sets up a small table with sweets, chewing gum and chicharrones (pork scratchings) to sell outside their house. Gaby had her first birthday on the 29th of July. She was just one month old when José Ángel was disappeared. His grandmother, Petra, died on the 30th July, without knowing the fate of her grandson.

El Toro Rabón

Por toda la Costa Chica
se baila el Toro Rabón,
si esa víbora te pica
te queda la comezón,
no hay remedio en la botica
ni tampoco curación.

Qué bonitas, qué bonitas
son las costas de Guerrero,
de mujeres sensitivas,
hombres fuertes y de acero,
de mujeres sensitivas,
hombres fuertes y de acero.

Cotorra del pico chueco,
prima hermana del perico,
si denuncias mis amores
que me traje de Tampico,
te he de correr de mi milpa
y si no, te tuerzo el pico.

Una aguililla chillona
me quiso tronar el pico,
yo le contesté: pelona,
no soy pobre ni soy rico,
soy puritito costeño,
no me agrando ni me achico.

Qué bonitas, qué bonitas
son las costas de Guerrero,
de mujeres sensitivas,
hombres fuertes y de acero,
de mujeres sensitivas,
hombres fuertes y de acero.

Yo soy el toro rabón
que habito en la serranía,
dejo de pasearme un año
por pasearme noche y día,
como soy becerro de año
no habito en la pastoría.

Qué bonitas, qué bonitas
son las costas de Guerrero,
de mujeres sensitivas,
hombres fuertes y de acero,
de mujeres sensitivas,
hombres fuertes y de acero.

José Agustín Ramírez Altamirano

Listen to Banda Los Morales – El Toro Rabon

or to Dueto Caleta – El Toro Rabon