Mexicans in NYC Protest against Their Country’s Government

A monthly demonstration is held by Mexicans in front of their country’s consulate in Manhattan. (Photo by Mexican American Photography via Queens Latino)

A monthly demonstration is held by Mexicans in front of their country’s consulate in Manhattan. (Photo by Mexican American Photography via Queens Latino)

On the 26th of every month, a group of Mexican activists express their displeasure with their native country’s government, which they brand as “corrupt and criminal.” The protests are held in front of the Consulate General of Mexico in New York. Last Friday, Aug. 26, nearly 40 Mexicans raised their voices. The activists have been holding the protests here for 26 months now.

Carrying signs and chanting slogans such as “The struggle continues, the People are alive,” “Free Mireles” and “Who took the students? The State did,” the activists hope to gain support for Mexicans abroad.

Their goals are the release of Dr. José Manuel Mireles, leader of the self-defense groups in Michoacán and jailed since  June 2014, and to share the struggle of the families of the 43 students who vanished in Ayotzinapa, in the state of Guerrero, in September of 2014.

Antonio Tizapa, father of Jorge Antonio Tizapa, one of the disappeared, asked for “the students to appear and for other compatriots to continue to support similar causes.”

The protesters said that they represented groups including Unidos con el Pueblo, Semillas, Somos los Otros NY, Independientes, Running for Ayotzinapa and Ayotzinapa NY.

“El Luchador 43” demands the liberation of Dr. José Manuel Mireles. (Photo by Mexican American Photography via Queens Latino)

“El Luchador 43” demands the liberation of Dr. José Manuel Mireles. (Photo by Mexican American Photography via Queens Latino)

“We must not forget that, as Mexicans, we have a moral commitment with our relatives who have stayed in Mexico, and we must show solidarity with them,” said one of the demonstrators, who wears a luchador – wrestler – mask and a mariachi hat and identifies himself as “El Luchador 43.”

“In addition to demonstrating against our government, we seek to open the minds of our fellow Mexicans. At the end of the day, that is the biggest struggle we have: Getting our compatriots out of their conformity, of their ignorance,” said demonstrator Miguel Suárez, who works as a cook at an Italian restaurant in Chelsea, Manhattan.

José Obdulio, born in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, and who works in construction in Long Island City, said: “You get home worn out from work, and all you want is to do is take a shower, rest and watch TV. But if you don’t make an effort to learn about what’s going on in Mexico and do something about it – even something minimal like joining a protest movement such as this one – the situation will continue to be the same, or worse.”

“The damned indifference of the People themselves is even worse than the crimes the narco-government is committing, because it is like giving them permission to continue abusing us. I understand that in Mexico you can get kidnapped and killed for being an agitator, but here, what’s the excuse?” said one of the demonstrators, who only identified himself by his nom de guerre, Pancho Villa-Zapata.

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