Well, it is a year now since you were gunned down in the streets of Santa Lucia del Camino, Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, while filming an uprising against that state’s much-despised leaders.
In the first days after your killing, there were dozens of protests and vigils held all over the world including here in New York. Since then, Friends of Brad Will has evolved into a national network of activists demanding accountability through the arrest and prosecution of the people responsible for your murder. Jail may not be a solution, but something must be done.
We have been working with other organizations such as Amnesty International to pressure Congress to take a stronger interest in the human rights abuses that are still happening in Oaxaca. On March 1, some of us traveled to Washington, D.C., and met with members of the congressional subcommittee that guides U.S. policy in Latin America and confronted Thomas A. Shannon, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Besides suit-and-tie lobbying and meetings, direct actions have taken place across the country including occupying a Mexican Consulate in North Carolina, besieging Mexican officials at a fine Midtown restaurant and interrupting a recent booksigning appearance at the Union Square Barnes & Noble by former Mexican President Vicente Fox. As the Spanish-language daily El Diario noted, “While the ex-president preferred to center his discourse on Mexico’s democratic gains … [and] personal themes like his love of God, … the unresolved death of the U. S. journalist was converted into the focal point of the event.”
Although we are making progress with Congress on your case, there is a need for more grassroots resistance as the Bush administration pushes a billion-dollar “Plan Mexico” that would ramp up funding for Mexican security forces, lead to greater collaboration with corrupt local officials and introduce Blackwater-style mercenaries into that country. We are working in solidarity with a number of other groups to halt Plan Mexico and to mandate that any taxpayer aid to Mexico be predicated upon accountability for human rights violations, including your death.
Meanwhile, I can already hear you strumming a song about the paradox of working to secure justice through our warmongering government’s official channels, as you once sang against government injus- tice at public hearings to stop the auction of our community gardens.
Harry Bubbins is a South Bronx community activist and friend of Brad Will since 1995. Please see, friendsofbradwill.org.