In spite of all the vicissitudes we’ve endured since August 13, 2001, we naively believed that all we had to do was wait for a year and a half for our brothers Antonio and Héctor to finish serving an unjust sentence so that we could be together again and freely redo our lives, take up our studies at the university once more, and continue with our plans and goals for the future, something that is now virtually impossible—in short, to live without being hounded, observed, and threatened by the Mexican government.
It’s not that we would ever cease to be human rights defenders or that we would do nothing during this year and a half to denounce the denigrating prison conditions at the Altiplano extermination camp where our brothers are locked up, or that we would stop documenting the situation of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in our country or stop acting in solidarity with other cases of injustice in Mexico, but that an important episode in our lives was coming to an end, a struggle we’ve waged for almost six years and that continues to leave a profound imprint on our hearts.
At first, like all the other family members of the victims of human rights violations, we asked ourselves: Why us? What have we done to cause the “full weight of the legal and illegal measures of the Mexican government to fall on us”? Obviously, the answers is: nothing. But little by little we realized that the goal of the State in its handling of the Cerezo case was to utilize us as hostages, as nothing more than bait in their war against the insurgent groups.
At first, the State tried to justify the torture and imprisonment of our brothers by making the society believe they were “terrorists” and that they deserved all this and more. And we realized that many people believed it. Our most difficult task was, with our limited resources, to make people aware of a simple truth: that being a university student is not synonymous with being a terrorist. Little by little, the solidarity that all of you have shown has brought us human, financial, and material resources and enabled us to maintain this small, but, to us, very important struggle in favor of freedom and justice and against impunity.
But each time we took a step towards realizing these aims, other events that we had no relation to whatsoever obliged us to defend ourselves against attacks, harassment, and threats of the State: the explosive devices in Morelos (2002), the massive marches and events of the social organizations (2003), the lynching of undercover agents at Tláhuac (2004), the entry of the PFP in the extermination camps (2005), among other socially and politically significant events, all of which were mere pretexts for criminalizing our work.
Once again, we find ourselves involved in events that have nothing to do with us but that are still being used by the Mexican government to harass us and threaten us with death. The crime: BEARING SIMILAR GENES.
When we first started out, it didn’t occur to us that the main reason our brothers were arrested was that we are the children of supposed militants in insurgent groups. As usual, the State, through its obliging scribes, shifted public opinion without ever officially showing its face, always maneuvering in the dark, behind-the-scenes shadows of power, spreading information that, to many people, served as a justification for its actions.
Today it is clear, although terrible, to find out in the latest death threat that we have always been used by the State in its war against the insurgent groups, that we are just bait, a pawn on their chessboard, and that the cases in which we’ve stood by people, the actions we’ve initiated in defense of our brothers held prisoners are a pretext for harassing us and threatening us with the perverse aim of blackmailing our parents, of making them feel psychic pain, of trying to force them to do or stop doing something that we’ve never been involved with.
This threat leads us to reaffirm our idea that we are mere hostages of the Mexican government. This is a crime specified in the first article of the recent International Convention against the Taking of Hostages:
“1. Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person (hereinafter referred to as the "hostage") in order to compel a third party, namely, a State, an international intergovernmental organization, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the offence of taking of hostages ("hostage-taking") within the meaning of this Convention.
2: Any person who:
a. attempts to commit an act of hostage-taking, or
b. participates as an accomplice of anyone who commits or attempts to commit an act of hostage-taking likewise commits an offence for the purposes of this Convention.”
We would like for all of you to help us respond to the following question: What should we do? Renounce our daily work for the defense of human rights and turn a blind eye to human rights violations? Stop standing by families and organizations who seek our help, knowing that their human rights are also being violated, and abandon them to their own fate although we know they can’t expect much? Stop showing our solidarity ( the only nourishment that keeps us going) with difficult cases so the State won’t see us as accomplices of terrorism or organized crime? Stop being ourselves and accept the role of pawns on the chessboard in the war between the Mexican government and the insurgent groups? Accept that our crime is one of birth, that it’s genetic, and that there’s nothing we can do except play the sad role allotted to us by the State? Or keep on working like we’ve done up until now under the principle of mutual solidarity to make this a more human world even though “the full weight of the law” may fall on our heads or until we find another option that we can’t yet make out clearly? We ask your help in finding a path and continuing with our work in defense of human rights.
Emiliana, Francisco andAlejandro Cerezo, members of the Comité Cerezo and Antonio and Héctor Cerezo, hostages of the Mexican government in the Altiplano extermination camp.
¡FREEDOM FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS AND PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE!