Chiapas: What is the Cost of Justice? Update on the Prisoners in Struggle

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This piece comes from the Working Group No Estamos Todxs, updating us on the dire situation of the prisoners in struggle on hunger strike in Chiapas. After more than eighty days of struggle and hunger strike, the imprisoned compañeros have doubled down on their commitment to justice and freedom, or death.

What is the cost of justice?—What does it cost?

What is a life worth?—To whom does a life concern?

Does justice cost life?

It has been more than eighty days since the beginning of this process of struggle for justice and freedom. Hours, days, weeks and months; a succession of events that have ranged from resistance to exhaustion; from dignity to ignominy; of the commitment to life and freedom, even at the cost of a willingness to surrender life itself in order to achieve it.

What is the cost of justice?—What does it cost?

Can you imagine being imprisoned for 15 years, 14 of which you serve without a sentence, having lost your family, not counting on a single peso of income during this time, because the prison has you kidnapped. Then, the justice system asks you for more than 18,000 pesos to be able to access a copy of your legal file, and with that the possibility of legal defense?

This is the case of Adrián Goméz Jiménez who is locked up behind the walls of CERSS No. 5. For 85 days he has been engaged in a struggle, and on a hunger strike; and the private companies that manage the “copier” of the prison’s court, asks him for that amount of money to be able to get his hands on his legal file.

And this is just one of the cases. Can you imagine how much the sum of all the legal files of our compañeros on hunger strike would cost? Who turns justice into a business, who benefits from the confinement, at what cost?

For our compañeros, justice has cost them their life trajectory, their dreams, their expectations for the future they had hoped for, and for which they have given everything, and everyday, to achieve.

Justice interfered with their lives and gifted them arbitrary detentions, torture, the fabrication of crimes, and long years of imprisonment and brutality. Furthermore, justice gave them total and absolute defenselessness.

They have no doubt, if you are poor, if you are marginalized, if you are of those that are born marked as expendable, justice it not within your reach, much less the reach of your pocket.

The cost of justice is extortion, humiliation, contempt and defenselessness for the same group of people as always: the poor.

What is a life worth?—To whom does a life concern?

Since the beginning of this struggle, our compañeros told us that this would not end with anything other than freedom or the end of their lives. And today, that word and that determination remains intact. The process of deterioration that they have suffered has been sever and at this moment they are entering the period of greatest importance and of greatest risk to their physical well-being.

The body, as a defense mechanism against the lack of food intake, begins first by consuming the reserve of glucose, then the fat, and with that all of its toxins. That leads to the appearance of different infections in our organism, something that all our compañeros are already suffering.

The hunger strike begins by damaging the liver and the kidneys. With that, it affects the circulatory system and the brain. In the final phase, comes a coma and in the case it is continued, death is what follows.

In the current stage of our compañeros, the body has already begun to eat itself. This leads to accelerated thinning and extreme weakness. Our compañeros have already lost more than 14 kilos in some cases, and the weakness is constant in their daily lives. Their mobility has begun to be affected and this is only the beginning of everything that is coming from this moment on.

From now on, everything is accentuated; immobility, the lungs stop functioning in their normal capacity, the kidney and the liver are damaged without return, the brain has lapses of consciousness, the heart functions with difficulty. The total collapse of the organism will depend on the constitution of the person, but it is only a matter of time.

Can you imagine the despair of their families, of their friends, of their loved ones? Can you imagine what it feels like to see someone arrive to that situation in his or her quest for justice? What does the life of someone cost when they feel they have nothing to lose but their own life? To whom does it matter?

It doesn’t matter to the government, no, to those who promised to take care of the situation, not the health nor the lives of our compañeros.

What are they waiting for, for their health to deteriorate to a point of no return, or until they die?

Does justice cost life?

Our compañeros have been very clear in their demands since the beginning of this process of struggle. They want the review of their legal files, the investigation of torture, and immediate and unconditional justice and freedom.

They have always been emphatic in asserting that they do not have anything to hide, that they only seek the truth. They seek the truth not only for them, but also for all of the cases that in these long years of imprisonment they have known first hand. With these cases, they have been able to directly verify that their cases are not isolated ones.

They say and demand through their own process of struggle, a manner of constructing another way of achieving justice, one in which not only them, but also the victims of these crimes can achieve justice. Justice isn’t achieved through the fabrication of cases, through the imprisonment of the first person seen and through burying the investigations.

No. These lives are not statistics. They are not numbers, they are not docket numbers, and they are not tools with which the authorities can fill their mouths with the discourse of “efficiency.”

They are people with dreams, lives, families, people that we love and that we have to support when they are kidnapped from our side.

No, men of government!

Absolutely no, you men of power!

We are not going to allow anything to happen to our compañeros. We will not allow them to be hurt any more. How far do you intend to go? Doesn’t it seem like too much pain already? Too much anger? To much revenge? Too much sadism?

Enough!!!

Put an end once and for all to this nonsense you call justice. They, us, we are not going to surrender, so assume that you will have to govern with the cost of these lives haunting you.

They are not going to stop. We will not stop until we see them free!

Working Group No Estamos Todxs

San Cristóbal de las Casas

June 5th, 2019

 


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Voices in Movement
Voices in Movement publishes translations and analysis – both contemporary and historical – to share strategy, solidarity and histories of resistance across imaginary divisions of nations and borders, drawing insight from struggles of below and to the left, where the heart is. They also author Revuelta Comunitaria, a semi-regular column on It's Going Down addressing social struggles and political repression in the territory of so-called Mexico.