This is the nineteenth portrait in a series of the 43 disappeared Normalista students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos teacher training school in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. Emiliano Alen Gaspar de la Cruz, known to his family as Alen, was given the nickname “Paisa Pilas” by his fellow students because he is quiet, serious and intelligent. He is passionate about becoming a teacher. Before he disappeared he’d help out his father in the milpa, which is an nahuatl word for an ancient Mesoamerican system of agriculture which intercrop maize, beans, chillies and other native crops.
He said to his mother, ” Mum, I’m going to stay and study in Ayotzinapa because that way, when I finish class, I’ll have time to help dad in the milpa“.
“Imagine our anger, our impotence”, says one of Alen’s nephews, “If they were the sons of businessmen, sons of so called important people, they’d be looking for them on land and at sea, right? But because these boys are the sons of campesinos the Government doesn’t give the matter any importance. So we feel anger and frustration, but most of all we feel great pain, but will still maintain the hope that they are alive. We know it and the President has given his version of events, because he is travelling abroad. He cares about business, he cares about investment. But he doesn’t care about the people. Peña Nieto is not going to fool us: they are alive and we are going to find them”.
(translated from an article in Animal Político 8/11/14)
Let’s hope he’s right.