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Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

The Yukpas Leave Caracas

November 13, 2012 | Print Print |

Caridad

Yukpas ouside Miraflores Palace

HAVANA TIMES — Who was so interested in not seeing the Yukpas come to Caracas? Who was so interested in not having the voice of the Yukpas heard on the national media?

I’m not talking about the “opposition” television or newspapers, who everyone knows are ultimately are part of the landowners and landlords who hire sicarios (hit men) to murder the Yukpa people.

I’m referring to the government media, those who were supposed to have been created to spread the truth, to give a voice to the people.

Is it that — as the inhabitants of Animal Farm would say — everyone is equal, but some people are less equal than others? In other words, those who lived on this continent before the European arrival are less equal than the rest.

That must be the reasoning, but of course I’m just joking, because we all really know why the National Guard violated the rights over a group of nearly 60 Yukpas. These were people who on Tuesday, November 6, left the Sierra Perija mountains, in Zulia state, and could only get to Caracas thirty hours later (when the journey should have only taken between nine and eleven hours).

In the bus (paid for thanks to a collection organized over social networks) there were traveling women with their children (some in their arms), the elderly and youth, all unwilling to brave the threats and abuse to which they were subjected. One of them, Christopher Fernandez, was separated from the group and his whereabouts are still unknown.

Upon getting into Caracas, they had no other choice but to leave the bus and continue on foot. All of them walked along the highway, some barefooted, exposed to being hit by the passing vehicles, because once again the uniformed men carrying weapons — which they pointed at them several times — retained the bus.

The Federal District received them with little attention, inhospitably, because the people there couldn’t understand “all this fuss over these Indians?” Only a group of Watia (criollos) supported and accompanied them in their journey to attempt to be received by the vice president or the president.

(ha ha ha)

Anyone who lives in Cuba knows what “peloteo” (being batted around) means and those who don’t know it will quickly realize its significance. We arrived at the building of the vice president’s office at around noon on Thursday.

The vice president?

I imagine he’s enjoying good health.

At around 4 o’clock in the afternoon we blocked off the street. Armed police arrived.

The vice president?

Still the same, enjoying superb health.

At dusk, they were told to go up the stairs, soon the vice president would show up. But only 10 Yukpas allowed, and no blanquitos (white people accompanying them). Dissatisfaction, protests, the Yukpa chiefs came together and talked.

Abuse and humiliation were suffered by the Yukpas at the entry way of the building. One activist was detained.

The “revolutionaries” who were passing close by didn’t understand those of us who were there. “You people didn’t vote for Chavez. So what are you doing protesting here?”

Yukpas outside Miraflores Palace.

I didn’t vote for anyone, especially since I’m not Venezuelan and at any moment I might wind up being in this country illegally. But the Yukpas (ironically) did vote for Chavez. On October 7 they had to struggle hard to get out of the Sierra – there’s a fence around them. They can’t reach Machiques, the nearest town, without being victims of abuse or even death.

At 9 pm, a group of activists managed to display posters on a program being broadcast live and hosted by a famous pro-government journalist. Another irony, it’s a program for talking about what doesn’t work well here… yet they shoved them out of there. Nonetheless their efforts were successful because the next day, lots of people were talking about those “little signs.”

At 10 p.m. the Yukpas who were still inside the ministry building were leaving, though a bit disappointed. Sabino, their leader, hadn’t swallowed the story about the arrival of the vice president “at any time.” He had already left.

The next day was a similar story in terms of disappointment and manipulation: “The vice president will meet with you.” This time they didn’t take the bait and they left the Miraflores Palace.

This was where the Yukpas became lost among so many other protesters. Every day the area around the Miraflores Palace is filled with protesters. That night — finally — they were interviewed on a state-run channel. Sabino was able to state the reasons that caused them to come all the way there.

It’s supposed that a commission is coming to the Sierra Perija to study the “matter.”

It’s supposed.

The Indigenous People’s Ministry…

Fine, what about you people?

I apologize for the lack of photos, this time I was carrying other types of cameras.

I will leave you with a poem by Jo Carrillo:

Our revolutionary comrades
Our radical friends
I would love to have pictures of us
sitting beside the earthenware pot
grating yuka
handling the machete
wearing bright-colored guayucos (loincloths) and necklaces
carrying our yellow-brown children
reading books about
campaigns
receiving bags of food brought by MINPI [Ministry of Indigenous Peoples]
our revolutionary comrades
our radical friends
you should think again

To our revolutionary comrades
Our radical friends
I would love to have pictures of us
walking along the Conuco in the hot sun
barefoot, native
wearing bright loincloths and necklaces
Carrying yellow-brown children
receiving bags of food brought by MINPI
smiling.

Our revolutionary comrades
radical friends
You should think again.

Nobody smiles
When facing one’s day
hiding in the bush because the farmer’s hired killer is gunning for you
or burying our children who have died of diarrhea, fever and flu
Our revolutionary comrades
Our radical friends.

And when our revolutionary comrades
and our radical friends see us
in the raw
not like in their own portraits
they are not very sure, they’re not very sure
if
they love us so much.

We don’t look that happy
on
their
walls.

 


What's your opinion?

  • Cort Greene

    I would agree they were disrespected by the bureaucracy and in particular Vice President Nicolás Maduro, who is a traitor to the revolution as far as I’m concerned (for so many things, like foreign policy which is no different than most capitalist countries). As are many in bureaucracy who have taken the side of the Boli- bourgeois and have tried to divert the revolution from its socialist path, whether its blocking workers control, land reform and the power to the communes.

    They are not the revolution, the tens of thousands of grassroots groups, workers and rank and militants are.
    We must not lose sight of that.
    As for the media, grassroots media did its best to cover it and VTV did have a “special” program but was not very enlightening or friendly.

    Without struggle (lucha), there can be no victory!

    Cort

  • Cort Greene

    here is is another example from yesterday, Vice President Nicolás Maduro had time to meet with a representative of the opposition MUD coalition and member of the AD Edgar Zambrano and talk about “political prisoners” , the “exiled” and “immunity” but no time to speak to the indigenous Yukpas , the trade unionists on strike from Polar, Pepsi, Petrocasa and many others workers who came to Caracas or hunt down the assassins of the over 200 peasant leaders and organizers in the last 10 years or other trade unionists but he has time to meet with reps of the opposition???

    This is a another example of the corrupt bureaucracy, its not “socialism” of the 21st Century they practice but more like the “Scared Union” of the SPD in Germany of the second international before WW2 .

    Cort

  • Cort Greene

    There seems to be some movement by forces within the government but as the Yukpa says below;

    “The government ministries are manipulating us,” said indigenous leader Sabino Romero during an interview with state channel VTV. “The problem is that there is a political division within the ministries.”

    President Chavez should handle this one or a real trusted revolutionary…
    story below

    Venezuelan Government to Hold Assembly With Yukpa Indigenous Group
    http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/7495