Atenco 13′ sends political message with art display, film

By Suzanne Khazaal

Cal-Pulli Sound System, a student online radio blog, is working
in collaboration with the Bronco Student Center’s Exhibit Gallery
to portray politically charged artwork as well as an informative
rally during U- hour at the University Park and a documentary at
the Bronco Student Center from 1 to 4 p.m. on April 9.

Chris Rodriguez, a sixth-year gender, ethnic and multicultural
studies student and an art intern at the Recreations, Programs and
Marketing department also serves as an active contributor to the
Cal-Pulli Sound System blog.

“[The art] work speaks out against impunity, particularly the
failure by the Mexican government to meet its obligations to
investigate, persecute, try and duly punish all of the local and
federal agents responsible for committing criminal acts during a
state-sponsored repression of over 200 social activist members of
the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land,” said Rodriguez.

The activists were protecting the flower vendors in Texcoco and
Atenco, Mexico from being displaced in early May of 2006 in order
to make way for a new airport and a Wal-Mart, according to

“”Repression breeds resistance, for the struggle to support the
flower vendors led to pitched battles between the people and the
state police.

“For two days, May 3 and 4, 2006, the two sides battled back and
forth, baton and rock”,” said Mumia Abu-Jamal, a renowned
journalist, in an article he wrote for the San Francisco Bay View,
a national black newspaper.

“When the state seized several townspeople, people in turn held
some of their agents, demanding freedom for their captive

The police then arrested more than 200 people, beating, sexually
abusing, raping and, indeed, torturing them.

Two young boys were killed,” said Jamal.

Some of the more prominent activists in the FPDT include Ignacio
del Valle, Felipe Alverez, Hector Galindo and nine other members
who later became known as the Atenco 13 for their resistance in the
Atenco struggle.

“[They] were sentenced to 32 years in prison for their
involvement in the Atenco struggle. A year after the May 2006
repression, three of the leaders were sentenced to an additional 67
and a half years and transferred to the Altiplano maximum security
facility,” said Rodriguez. “One of the most symbolic leaders,
Ignacio “Nacho” del Valle was among the three transferred to
maximum security and he was given an additional 45 years.”

Due to a lot of support of the campaign, one of the political
prisoners was recently released.

The Atenco 13 were charged with kidnapping, a charge many,
including Rodriguez, disagree with.

“This bogus charge is still being held against the now Atenco 12
for their apparent involvement in the temporary citizens’ arrest of
state agents, a tactic that was used to demand the immediate
freedom of FPDT members who were held captive and tortured by state
and local police agents during the two day exchange between the
people and state agents in May of 2006,” said Rodriguez. “If
conducting a citizen’s arrest of state agents who are explicitly
responsible for holding hostage and torturing innocent people of a
community in struggle is a crime then not only should the community
denounce this criminalization of human rights activism but should
also inform, analyze and denounce the unjust incarceration,
sentencing and treatment of people who defend the human rights of
their communities like the Atenco 13.”

According to Rodriguez, the documentary, “Atenco: Breaking the
Siege,” will be shown to expose tactics and strategies that tie
together mass media, state agents, co-opted civilians and U.S.
State intelligence influence the criminalization and repression
against the FPDT.

Reach Suzanne Khazaal at

Atenco 13

Suzanne Khazaal/Poly Post

Atenco 13′ sends political message with art display, film

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