José Ángel Navarrete González

JoseAngelNavaretteGon

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está José Ángel Navarrete González. Digital Collage: Jan Nimmo ©

Emiliano Navarrete Victoriano was working away in the US when his son, José Ángel Navarrete González was born. He remembers the phone call from his wife back in Mexico. He describes the birth of his son as the best day of his life.

José Ángel, or “Pepe” likes playing football but his dad instilled in him that it was important to study too. His parents didn’t have money to send him to a private school so their only option was to get him a place in a Normalista School so he went to study in Ayotzinapa.

His father recalls an exchange with his son, two days before he disappeared, “I gave him a big hug and told him that I loved him. I said – I’m so proud of you son, I like the way you conduct yourself. Wherever you are I will always be there for you. I have no idea I why I said that to him when I did. Believe me when I say that what has happened hurts so much but I’m going to find him and one day I’ll bring him back”.

From an interview on TeleSur 17/03/15

I don’t have to add anything to this, do I?

Jan Nimmo 10th April 2015

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Miguel Ángel Mendoza Zacarias

MiguelAngelMendozaZac

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Miguel Ángel Mendoza Zacarias. Digital Collage: Jan Nimmo ©

I made this portrait of Miguel Ángel Mendoza Zacarias today (part of the series of the 43 students who were studying in Ayotzinapa), with some urgency as I have been invited to collaborate with an event in Eugene, Oregon, USA on the 11th April 2015, as part of the Caravana 43 tour of the USA. The event will have contributions from two parents of the disappeared students, Blanca Luz Nava Vélez, mother of Jorge Alvarez Nava, y Estanislao Mendoza Chocolate, father of Miguel Ángel Mendoza Zacarias. They will be speaking to raise awareness of their situation and that of the other parents and families of the disappeared Normalista students.

Margarita remembers Miguel Ángel as a good, much loved boy. He is quiet and well liked by the townsfolk in his native Apango, Mártir de Cuilapa. He enjoyed playing basketball and he took a course in the local church so that he could become a barber.
His mother recalls that the week before the students were victims of the attack in which her son disappeared, he left his house to cut hair so that he could earn money to buy books for his studies. Before becoming a student at the Normalista School “Raúl Isidro Burgos” in Ayotzinapa, he had gone to study medicine at Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana Caribeña de Ciencias y Artes but was unable to continue due to a change in government policy. Margarita says that he loves to study but that he also helps out on his father’s land.

Miguel Ángel is known locally by a couple of nicknames, “El Miclo” because when he was little he broke his right foot and he has a metal plate inserted, He is also known as “Botita” because his brother is nicknamed El Bota.

He is well liked and being older than many of the other students in Ayotzinapa, looked out for the younger ones and gave them advice. A fellow student describes him as a good guy and recalls the night of the 26th September 2014, “We were travelling on the same seat on the bus  and we had agreed not to wake each other up but then the bullets started coming we got off the bus and I ran one way and he ran the other I got back on the bus  but he was arrested by the Iguala police, I escaped and since then I have been searching for him”.

Miguel Ángel’s dad now has to harvest his maize alone, without the help of his son. His mother, who makes and sells atole, a hearty pre-hispanic drink of ground maize, cane sugar and flavoured with cinnamon, just wants her son back at home so that she can make him some. Hi niece, Estrella, who adores Miguel Ángel, misses him very much and struggles to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer around.

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow,Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Jorge Alvarez Nava. Digital Collage: © Jan Nimmo

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow,Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Jorge Alvarez Nava. Digital Collage: © Jan Nimmo

Abelardo Vázquez Peniten

AbelardoVazquezPeniten

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Abelardo Vázquez Peniten. Digital Collage: Jan Nimmo ©

Like many small towns in Guerrero that you might Google, you’ll find photos of landscapes, the town square, the church and amazing images of the local fiestas with the tlacololeros ready to do battle with jaguars. But these pictures are regularly punctuated with awful images that are difficult for the viewer; of cadavers, the victims of violence, sometimes sprawled on the ground, alone, or sometimes surrounded by a semi-circle of speechless townsfolk. I don’t pretend to know much of the circumstances of these random images that haunt me but I know that it is the context in which many ordinary campesino families live; indigenous campesino people whose life is a struggle to survive from day one. They are people who will no doubt dream of their children’s lot being better than theirs. So this is why the Normalista Rural Schools are so important. They are training young people from these small towns who will then, in turn, go back to teach in their own communities. Often they will become bilingual teachers. As educators these students are a threat to corrupt authorities, the police and insidious violent criminal gangs, like Guerreros Unidos, who have influence over the authorities. It is of no interest to any of these parties, or politicians further up the pecking order, to have the poor and the marginalised gaining more power over their lives.

Abelardo Vázquez Peniten, from Atliaca, is one of the Normalista students who dreams of making things better for his community. But he has been missing since the 26th Sept. 14, along with 42 of his fellow students from the Rural School in Ayotzinapa, who were forcibly disappeared by police and gangsters.

Abelardo, “El Abe”, is described by his fellow students as quiet, respectful and serious. He loves books and football. He is bilingual.

He used to help his Dad, who is a builder. His dad says he hopes that Abelardo is ok, that he’ll be home soon, but that the family are tired, sad, desperate, angry and still waiting for answers.

I have used some text in this portrait of Abelardo, from a song called Memories of Atliaca by Héctor Cárdenas Bello. This is a song about homesickness for Altliaca. (My English translation of the excerpt in the collage follows the Spanish). Wherever Abelardo is I’m sure he is missing his family and Atliaca, as his family and hometown miss him.

Recuerdos de Atliaca *

Ese lugarcito que se llama Atliaca,

reposa tranquilo, quietud sin igual,

me gusta es bonito, recuerdos de Atliaca

la paz de su iglesia que huele a copal

Sus calles derechas de viejo empedrado

evocan la historia que la vio nacer,

con casas de adobe, de palma y tejado,

recuerdos de Atliaca, quisiera volver

De mis ojos brota como manantial

el llanto que moja, tristeza es mi mal,

música de viento, canciones de Atliaca,

que triste me siento, quiero retornar

En mi pensamiento tus fiestas tus danzas,

tus viejas costumbres que me hacen llorar,

Pozo de Oztotempan la fe de tu pueblo

milagro de lluvia, ofrenda al creador

Deja que yo sienta el calor de tu suelo,

será mi consuelo cantarte mi amor,

recuerdos de Atliaca, dialecto canción

a la indita guapa de buen corazón

Tus nobles mujeres, todas de rebozo,

fieles al esposo al que saben amar

tus hombres valientes, a veces pacientes

saben defenderse, saben respetar

Esas tejerías de suelo tan rojo,

que mi llanto moja, ya no voy a ver

tus amaneceres que pinta la aurora,

es mi alma que llora que quiere volver

Caminos veredas, adiós ya me voy,

que lejos te quedas, mi canto te doy,

otle many villa, otle ya mi voy

ni mis caliva teva-ye vino canción

* Canción inédita de Héctor Cárdenas Bello

Memories of Atliaca  (extract)

My wet tears gush from my eyes like a spring

I am sad to the core,

Music of the wind, songs of Atliaca,

How sad I am, I want to go back

In my mind I see your fiestas and your dances

your ancient customs, and it brings me to tears

The well  at Oztotempan, the faith of your people

Miracle of rain, shrine to the Creator.

Let me feel the warmth of your soil

It will console me to sing to you, my love.

* Canción inédita de Héctor Cárdenas Bello

Jan Nimmo 9th of April 2015

Jesús Jovany Rodríguez Tlatempa

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Jesús Jovany Rodriguez Tlatempa. Digital Collage: © Jan Nimmo

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Jesús Jovany Rodriguez Tlatempa. Digital Collage: © Jan Nimmo

21 year old Jesús Jovany Rodríguez Tlatempa is from Tixtla and is nicknamed “el Churro” by his fellow students at the Normailsta teacher training school “Raul Isidro Burgos” in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico. His is the oldest of a family of four and is a father figure for his one year old niece, whose mother is a single parent. He was studying at the Normailsta school to become a teacher because he loves working with children. Those who know Jesús describe him as quiet, caring and faithful.  He is also someone who finds violence against women absolutely abhorrent.

I imagine that Jesús probably likes modern music but I have chosen the lyrics of a traditional son from the Tixtla area called La Martiniana for this collage. The gist of this song is that the one left behind should not mourn the singer’s passing – tears would mean that he would surely die but if he were to be sung the beautiful sones of the Isthmus then he would never die and live forever.

We now know that fellow student, Alexander Venacio Mora was murdered but I’m hoping with all my might that Jesús and the other 41 students forcibly disappeared on the 26th of September  2014 in Iguala are still alive. Whatever the outcome of these tragic events, they will always be remembered. I live on the other side of the world but know when I hum a son istmeño I will be remembering 43 young Guerrense men, with a lump in my throat.

La Martiniana

Niña cuando me muera,

No llores sobre mi tumba,

Cántame un lindo son, ay mamá!

Cántame La Sandunga.

No me llores, no, no me llores, no,

Porque si lloras, me muero,

En cambio si tu me cantas,

yo siempre vivo y nunca muero.

En cambio si tu me cantas yo siempre vivo y nunca muero.

Lucero de la mañana,

El rey de todos los sones,

Cántame la martiniana, ay mamá!

Que rompe los corazones.

No me llores, no, no me llores no.

Porque si lloras, yo muero

En cambio si tú me cantas yo siempre vivo y nunca muero.

Si quieres que no te olvide,

Si quieres que te recuerde,

Cántame sones istmeños, mamá

Música que no muere.

No me llores, no, no me llores no.

Porque si lloras, yo muero

En cambio si tú me cantas yo siempre vivo y nunca muero.

Sung by Son Istmeño

Jorge Álvarez Nava

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Jorge Alvarez Nava. Digital Collage: © Jan Nimmo

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Jorge Alvarez Nava. Digital Collage: © Jan Nimmo

Jorge Alvarez Nava is from Juan R. Escudero, Guerrero, a town named after a trade unionist. Jorge has been missing since the 26th September. His parents, Epifanio and Blanca want their son back home. He is one of the 43 Normalista students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos teacher training school, who were forcibly disappeared in Iguala by police and members of the criminal gang, Guerrero Unidos. He was known as El Chabelo and was 19 years old at the time of his disappearance. I have read that he enjoyed music so the song lyrics are from a song about Tierra Colorada, the area he comes from.

Vivos se los llevaron, Vivos los queremos.

#TodosSomosAyotzinapa #IlustradoresConAyotzinapa

Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas. Digital Collage: © Jan Nimmo

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas. Digital Collage: © Jan Nimmo

Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas, “El Magda”, son of Francisco and Julieta, was 19 years old at the time of his disappearance in Sept 2014. He is from the La Montaña region of Guerrero, Mexico and was studying at the Escuela Rural “Raul Isidro Burgos”, Ayotzinapa, to become a bilingual teacher.

Vivos se los llevaron, Vivimos los queremos.

They took them alive, we want them back alive.

#TodosSomosAyotzinapa #IlustradoesConAyotzinapa

Abel García Hernández and Alexander Mora Venancio

AbelGarciaHernandez

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Abel García Hernández. Digital Collage: Jan Nimmo ©

I made this piece if work on Friday but haven’t managed to post it till now. It is part of an ongoing series of works I am making for #IlustradoresConAyotzinapa, in support of the 43 disappeared Normalista students from the “Raul Isidro Burgos” School in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero Mexico.  Today I awoke to the awful news that Alexander Mora Venancio’s remains were identified by the Argentinian forensic scientists, who have been examining charred human remains in a riverside rubbish dump in Cocula. All that was left to identify Alexander by was a fragment of bone and tooth.

Alexander, was a native of El Pericón,Tecuanapa in southern Guerrero.

I am so sad for Alexander’s family, friends and compañeros and I want them to know that today, in this small corner of Scotland, someone shed tears for Alexander and for Mexico; a country in mourning.

UPDATE – 2017 – This evidence has now been discredited.

Yo Cristian Garrido, quiero saber donde está Alexander Mora. Illustration: Cristian Garrido.

Yo Cristian Garrido, quiero saber donde está Alexander Mora. Illustration: Cristian Garrido.