Mexican Collectives Protest in Queens, New York (3/13/2016)
The rise of the autodefensas, imprisonment of community police leaders and disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students has culminated in the Mexican public of New York organizing into a much more potent force in regional politics.
La Cartita --- Many pundits and critics unaware of Mexican politics have openly mischaracterized the nature and politics of New York's large (and fastest growing) Mexican population. For instance, Gustavo Arellano, a widely discredited observer of Mexican politics and editor of the OC Weekly blog/freely distributed newspaper, has explained that the population in New York are as "are as quiet and polite as, say, Indian computer scientists" because the vast majority of [Mexicans] in NYC come from the states of Hidalgo and especially Puebla" which according to Arellano "are historically associated with nice, industrious raza".
However, long before the rise of the autodefensas, imprisonment of community police leaders and disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students, Mexicans in New York were already organizing protests in front of the Mexican consulate over the forced disappearances in Cuidad Juarez. Flash forward to today's protest and the characterization of Mexicans as servants groveling to the United States has never been more false.
Nevertheless, the horrible escalation of repressive acts under Enrique Peña Nieto have culminated into protests routinely taking place in all five boroughs of New York City. The Mexican public in New York is organizing into a much more potent force in regional politics. Old figures: the Mexican consulate, institutions in CUNY, and coopted artists like Andrea Arroyo, are now widely the targets of rebuke by Mexican protestors. Even Chicano politician, Carlos Menchanca, Brooklyn's first Mexican councilman, is disliked for participating in activities funded by the Mexican consulate and meeting with politicians from el Estado de México.
Somos Los Otros NY is today continuing its nearly 2 year struggle for public awareness of México's human rights situation. Citing the plight of journalists, the group decries the lack of democracy in the country, the never ending impunity and constant US meddling in Mexican affairs. The group continues to call for an end to Plan Merida.
Somos Los Otros NY has not restricted themselves to México centric activities too. With the death of Honduran activists, Berta Caceras, Somos Los Otros NY has used its online presence to invoke the parallels between her death and those of activists in México. The activist group continues to spread its message about free trade deals made in secret, its opposition to NAFTA, TPP and other economic laws designed to corporatize as much of the Mexican economy as possible.
Since last summer, the group has been releasing viral videos, protesting in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, Poughkeepsie, New Rochelle, and New Jersey. Protests take place wherever the Mexican community can be found: soccer games, train stations, taquerias - if paisas are there, Somos Los Otros will reach out. And, without fail, people connect. That is why the group garnered millions of views for its "Asesino" video against Enrique Peña Nieto video.
Somos Los Otros' success has not excluded negative consequences, however, with the Mexican government frequently lashing out through its New York consulate. After being accussed of commiting acts of vandalism (and called radical and violent), the group marshalled a large coalition and legal representation. The consulate went on to submit a fraudelant quote to Telemundo's local New York channel asserting that it was Somos Los Otros that launched a bucket of paint at the consulate building.
The group promises to continue its activity regardless of success or fallout. They maintain that being Mexican is reason enough to mobilize against both US and Mexican government's well documented transgressions against the Mexican public.