March 6th, 2017
When we talk about violence in Latin America and in other parts of the world, it is thought that it only implies talking about an unstable, self-conflicting and self-defeating society, an endless of patterns that condemn our neighborhoods, towns and communities, reproduced in the streets, in social relations and within oneself.
But there are more elements within this scheme, there is another violence in the media, misinforming what happens daily; then we find a selective violence that is based on criminalization by institutions and bad governments, condemning innocent people through their laws, imputing them fabricated crimes and blaming them as violent people, precisely because those bad governments – in their own myth- are placed as the only guardians of order and life.
What happens then with those who realize that it is not like that? Mateo Gutiérrez León is a committed and critical student of the 5th semester of the career of sociology at the National University of Colombia -Bogota-, an excellent companion, son, friend and an active and solidary mind in different national circumstances that considers unfair and product of that social manipulation.
Today he is the victim of a false judicial verdict. The Colombian State – in the voice and act of the Minister of Defense, Luis Carlos Villegas and the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office – declares him guilty of placing a “pamphlet bomb” on September 18, 2015 in the city of Bogota, a fictitious fact that has been refuted by his own parents and his people nearby, since Mateo was in a trip outside the country along with his mother Arecely Leon.
Similarly, his father Omar Gutiérrez, mentions that it is perfectly probable that the prosecution is looking for a ‘scapegoat’ because of its inability to find those responsible for the wave of insecurity in Bogotá. Mateo is considered guilty because he belongs to a “university of revoltosos“; Because he has visited Cuba and other Latin American countries “lands of the devil socialism”; In addition to changing his look constantly and painting his hair.
These are arguments from the mass media and the powers of attorney, not a joke! This is the selective violence that we have to stop once and for all, because it seems that the worst crime that a student can do is occupy his knowledge for the benefit of society. Recently in Mexico, three hñáhñú indigenous women – Teresa González Cornelio, Jacinta Francisco Marcial and Alberta Alcántara Juan – were imprisoned for allegedly subjecting and abducting six ‘defenseless’ agents from the extinct Federal Investigative Agency. They spent little more than 3 years to get their freedom. Now, one of the phrases they leave us says: “until dignity becomes habit.” With this powerful call to dignity, we express our solidarity and demand the immediate and unconditional release of Mateo Gutiérrez.
We embrace his peers in the UNAL, his family and all the friends who weave networks of empathy and solidarity to achieve his release. We also embrace the resistance of indigenous peoples in the North Cauca for the liberation of Mother Earth, Putumayo in defense of natural resources against fracking, students of the University of Valle in Cali against the privatization of education, the agrarian struggles in Arauca and La Guajira, as well as the multiple student and popular processes in the big cities that fight for peace and against the advance of paramilitarism in the most unprotected communities.
In the words of his friends: “Mateo is characterized by a huge smile in good times and bad, joy is one of his greatest weapons.”
To the joy always!
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