From the Editors of La Jornada
The Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE, its initials in Spanish) has denied a passport to several indigenous people who were designated as delegates of the Ejército Zapatista National Liberation Army in a commission that will travel to Europe.
Subcomandante Galeano denounced that despite the fact that the delegates “meet all the requirements that they demand, pay the amount stipulated, travel from their communities (in Chiapas) to the offices (in Mexico City) of the misnamed ‘Foreign Relations Secretariat and, with the pandemic and everything, they make an appointment, a line, wait their turn and… they’re denied the document.”
The delegates require it to be part of the “airborne group” that will fly to Europe to join the advance team of seven Squadron 421 delegates that departed aboard La Montaña on May 2.
Galeano emphasized that the obstacles “of the supreme government and its ignorant, foolish and racist bureaucracy are outrageous. Because it could be thought that it’s just the bureaucracy, or that you have the bad luck to run into someone who thinks that they have power because they are behind a window, a desk or an office. But no, it’s also something else and could be summed up like this: racism.”
The employees of the Chancellery think that they’re dealing with Central American migrants. “Yes, all those papers are presented, but the problem is that in the eyes of the SRE bureaucracy, the color of the skin, the way of speaking, the way of dressing and the place of origin is what matters. ‘To the south of the Taxqueña Metro, everything is Central America.’”
He gave some examples: “a lady, a bureaucrat of the Foreign Relations Secretariat, rejected the INE credential with a dismissive ‘that’s useless, it’s just to vote,’ and demanded of the compañera, a woman over 40 and a resident of the Lacandón Jungle, her middle school certificate, to prove that she was not Guatemalan.”
He added: “a compañero (a 60-year old man) was questioned: ‘Isn’t it that you want to go to the United States to work?’ The compa answered: ‘no, we go there later, on another trip. Right now we go to Europe’ (…) he was sent to another window. There they told him: ‘that is very far and the trip is expensive, it cannot be that you have the necessary money because you are indigenous. You must bring your credit card statement.’”
To prove that it was an act of racism and not just bureaucracy, the Subcomandante said, the Zapatista sent a “white and bearded” compañero to obtain a passport; they gave it to him the sale day without asking for anything more than his birth certificate, his photo ID and proof of payment.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee