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Rage One (blog)

sábado, mayo 12, 2007

Report From the Meetings between the Comisión Sexta and Adherentes from Texas @ Tamaulipas

Colonia Blanca Navidad, Nuevo Laredo

May 12th, 2007

The meeting with Comandante Zebedeo and Comandantas Miriam and Eucaria was scheduled by Martha Ojeda from San Antonio so that adherentes from Austin, Houston, and San Antonio could meet with the comision sexta and the colonia of Blanca Navidad. The colonia of Blanca Navidad is about 15 minutes from the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo, which borders the Texas frontera town of Laredo. The history of the colonia is intense. It is near the Nuevo Laredo airport and around many industrial factories. On the nearest main thoroughfare there is a constant flow of semi-trucks crossing with different materials. Once you enter the colonia, you see dozens of shacks made from all kinds of different materials. There is no electricity in the colonia and the roads are not paved. A couple of years ago, families squatted the area and since then they have fought hard to keep the land from the government. At one point, the story goes that the bulldozers came to destroy the houses at Blanca Navidad and they were accompanied by police officers from Nuevo Laredo. The women of the colonia jumped on top of the bulldozers and took the keys so that they couldnt enter the colonia at which time the men also joined in a human chain to stop the police from coming in.

In total, 11 of us left from Austin to Nuevo Laredo at around 7 am. It is approximately a 3 hour and 30 minute drive on I-35 to Laredo. Those that traveled from Austin were from various groups. La Otra Austin, Proyecto defensa laboral, Monkeywrench bookstore, Mecha UT Austin, Radio Caracol, and on various issues: Day Laborer rights in Austin, the closing of the Hutto detention center, a report on the parent mobilization in Del Valle, and other issues. Our proposals included: building a stronger network between La Otra Texas cities and border towns, continue working locally and strengthening our local work, support the efforts of the Blanca Navidad colonia to build a "free radio" and other alternative methods of constructing housing, portable water, etc.

When we arrived to the meeting, people from the Houston La Otra group were already there with several people from San Antonio. The meeting started at around 12 pm and we went around introducing ourselves to everyone in attendance. The community of Blanca Navidad was there as well and there were dozens of children playing all around us so it was definetly a community event. We started to present who we were and about our projects to the comandantas and comandante. We shared how we struggle against the continued racist attacks on our communities and the most recent billion dollar industry of encarcerating our families in immigrant detention centers. We also spoke about the importance of supporting our spaces that we already have and that in Texas we rarely work across cities. The other Texas cities also presented their work and how the EZLN had inspired them to continue working. The more emotional presentations were from the people of Blanca Navidad. They spoke about the problems working in the maquilas and how the chemicals used have left many of the women sick. They also spoke about how they continue to be harrassed to leave the colonia but that they want to build it even stronger. The comandancia then spoke for a while about the connections between the struggles for womens participation and indigenous rights and the struggle of the colonia.

Comandante Zebedeo at the end of the first part of the talk, invited everyone to help paint the mural on the side of the "Casa de la Salud". Folks from Texas started painting with community members and especially the many children that were there. This was the best part of the event. The children were really into the painting and i thought they were so intense to talk to. Many of them spoke and shook the hands of the comandantes and thanked them for resisting. I dont think there was a dry eye anywhere. We ate a delicious meal prepared by the womyn of the colonia (mole with beans and rice and some bomb ass Mango drink). We left with a couple of tentative dates for meetings with Houston and San Antonio. The first meeting will be at the end of the month in Austin, at Monkeywrench bookstore.

The proposals that came out: (review)

* To create a Texas and transfrontera Otra Geografia between Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and the border (up to piedras negras).
* To work on Immigration issues concerning day laborers and the Immigrant family detention centers
* To start thinking about a US meeting of La Otra groups so that we can continue defining our role within la otra campana.
* A cultural component to la otra, proposed by San Antonio
* a Radio workshop and supplies for the colonia Blanca Navidad
* Health promoters for the colonia
* Alternative methods of constructing houses for the colonias
* Supporting our autonomous spaces

Pablo Gonzalez
La Otra Otra (Austin)
APC and Banda Martes (Los Angeles)
La Otra Transfronteriza (Californias)

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