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12th Day of International Caravan for Justice in Juarez and Chihuahua

A Portland IMC videographer has been participating in and documenting this important solidarity campaign that is visiting dozens of cities across the U.S. as they converge on Juarez, Mexico, to demand justice from the authorities in the neglected cases of approximately 400 young women.

Steev's Blog

It is only my 5th day, but the 12th day since it left Seattle, the west coast leg of the International Caravan for Justice to Juarez and Chihuahua has been proving to be quite the adventure. Yesterday especially was fraught with stress and weird mishaps. Some people on the trip are not used to hectic and stressful travelling. They are more the hippie back-to-the-land type (and I mean that not in a negative, derogatory way at all! I have fantasies about drastically changing my life and moving to some remote wilderness to grow vegetables. But when you do that and then you come back to Babylon, you have to be very prepared!). So the very fast pace of this trip has been taking its toll on some, and the stress sometimes gets taken out on the rest of us, sadly.

Anyway, the events have been good, for the most part. In San Diego we had an amazing turnout at this big world music center. We were treated very well by the local organizers, as well, in terms of food and stuff. That afternoon we also went to a manifesta├žion at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego. It was a big success, I think - the Consul came outside with his assistants to talk to us, because we wanted everyone to be present, and they said there wasn't enough room inside. He and his people were wearing very fine suits, better than any U.S. politicians or bureaucrats I've seen up close. The poor guy was really on the spot and visibly nervous and uncomfortable. We gave him studies from Amnesty International, a bunch of statistics, reports on very recent killings, and a recent article from the Washington Post about Juarez, which he seemed to be suprised about. He made all these stupid comments about how there was progess being made and how President Fox's new commission was an important first step. Jessica, our fearless leader from Mexico Solidarity Network, basically said no, the commission isn't doing anything, it's toothless. The guy was like a deer in the headlights. One other amusing thing was that as I filmed the whole thing, during the introductions the Consul turned to me and said "and who are you?" I kept shooting and just said "I'm with the Independent Media Center." He paused briefly, looking confused. He obviously had never heard of Indymedia. Then he just said "okay," turned away and his weaselly assistant took a photo of me with a tiny digital camera, and I taped him taking my photo. (I was going to post a still from the shot I got of this, but I have just not had time today)

The important thing with an action like that, as Jessica explained, is not what information we give him and or what we even say to him, or what he says to us, but what he says to his boss, President Fox. The idea is for Fox to hear about people in the U.S. showing up, in numbers, hear that we care very much about this issues and are going to keep pressuring him till he does something.

So yesterday we went to Phoenix, did our show and then immediately got back on the road and drove to Tucson, to avoid morning Phoenix rush hour, which is supposedly hellish. So at 10:30 at night we're half an hour away from Tucson and one of the vehicles runs out of gas. I go with Luma in the other truck to go down the road and get some. We eventually found a gas station that was open and that sold gasoline jugs and we brought a gallon back. Finally we got to our resting place here in Tucson by midnight - and we had skipped dinner.

It is only 8am and Jessica has already run off somewhere to do a TV interview. Ramona Morales, the mother from Juarez that is with us, has another interview at 9:30. Then at 2 we have an event at the university, and then the main one for the public at 6 tonite. This has been pretty much what every day has been like. Crazy hectic fast. I don't even like to travel this way. I know it's for the sake of the success of the Caravan, but I wish there was another way, a way to live values of peacefulness and awareness and care while also fulfilling the goals of the Caravan. The problem is always that time is money, I guess, and time is time. Every hour we relax is an hour not getting closer to an event, or to Juarez itself, or giving an interview, or what have you.

Well, at least I'm getting good footage. I kind of wish I was some kind of muckraker that could tape all the trials and tribulations we're going through too, and reveal some of the inner workings, so as to make the documentary a sort of drama with interpersonal tension and stuff. But I'm too nice of a guy to do that, and also I'm PART of the Caravan, not just covering it. I guess one might say I'm "embedded." Oh well.

homepage: homepage: http://www.mexicosolidarity.org/juarezcaravans.html

good work for a fine cause 29.Oct.2004 21:10


I appreciate this fine report! The caravan is exposing the truth to many, many people who might not otherwise know of the hundreds of female murders. Thanks for sticking with it throughout the stress and tribulations. Find time to be good to yourselves. I admire your journey and would have loved to be with you. I look forward to more posts!

you can also check out Steev's Blog 30.Oct.2004 04:40


Insulting attitude towards frontline mothers 01.Nov.2004 05:35

swaneagle frontlinemom@yahoo.com

I am the hippie that Steve is referring to. I have some perspective here having been the only driver from the beginning from Seattle til Luma joined with her truck in Arcata.

We started the caravan with Ramona Morales, Jessica Marques, the organizer and translater, Taina, my 12 year old daughter and me, a 54 year old grandmother/mother who has been both on the land and in the streets standing for justice for over 23 years. I felt disrespected from the beginning by Steve who i feel is middle class, insensitive and sexist. Once he decided i was not in his league he was rude and intrusive. He also could not sit still in my van and was getting up, moving around while i was driving and broke my table. He did glue it, but not in the spirit of friendship. I am sorry he felt the need to insult me on his blog.

By the time he joined us, we had made 8 stops already. His superior attitude struck me as undermining and definitely ignoring what i had been doing on the road successfully long before he hopped aboard. I am so sick about reading his assesment that it really isn't worth responding to. He knows nothing about my work, my many months living with Pauline Whitesinger at Big Mountain, my work as a longtime frontlinemom, the work i have already done to bring attention to the situation in Juarez, my fight for women's rights and the rights of children, my anti-racism, my work in Berkeley and elsewhere. This is just simply too much.

He and his friend thought they could tell me how i should let them drive my van and take orders from them once they joined up in San Francisco. It was very disruptive. Now i am in Tucson with my daughter as my van died and Jessica, Ramona, Steve and Nicole continued on in a rented car. Luma stayed with me and Taina after the van was towed to where i had the oil changed the day before it died.

I say as a longtime frontliner that Steve and the woman who became his friend were very rude. She finally heard me, but Steve thinks he is better than me especially because i am Hippi, 54 and no longer cute. He liked my daughter but was profoundly disrespectful to me and ignorant of the depth and length of my work. I am still angry.

Why a man like that participated in a caravan addressing the torture, mutilation, rapes and killings of over 400 women when he displayed such sexism is beyond me. He admires young, beautiful women and treats older women like shit. I am horrified. No wonder we have no unity on the frontlines. I will never participate in such a project again unless it is with people i know and trust. Affinity group model is a good one.

If there had been sensitivity and respect, i believe the outcome would have been much different. We were not able to finish the trip and participate on the delegation to Juarez. I believe Portland Indy Media should post my story. This is really shocking after all the effort i put into this. Yes, i brought food i grew as well as other organic farmers and Steve ate some of it when i was finally able to cook in Tucson at Borderlinks. I think he has some real growing up to do.

In peaceful struggle, swaneagle

!I am the child of a hippi that can live in the city and the woods! 01.Nov.2004 08:13

taina one of the caravanistas to Juarez monkeykisses_12@hotmail.com

I think what you said was really rude and insensitive!!!! I hope you learn from what we write to you! I thought you were a sort of nice guy then when i read this i changed my mind. What i think of you now is you are inmature,hate full of hippis and you're just a Mr. Smarty pants. Why would you say something like that about my mom what the heck you are dising her on the inter net thats going down in history! You DO NOT know what it is like to be a single mother and i don't either but i am WAY closer to her than you are and always will be!

You say we need to be fully prepared and we have lived in the city and mountains. When we lived in the city we rode bikes and we did marches for
PEACE! And i made lots of friends in the city and still KEEP in touch with them.
Some came to the event in San Francisco.

I have lived in the woods most of my life. When it is winter i chop fire wood and when it is summer i help pick FOOD! At list we grow our own food and KNOW where its coming from unlike you do! We were doing FINE for 8 stops on the caravan. Then you joined and
after a couple of days i got the feeling that you were rude acting and thought you were better than everyone. You said to me "don't lean on my back pack there's a camra and computer in there". Then you leaned on our eating table and broke it down the middle.

I enjoyed what i liked about you but when i read this report of yours it mad me feel really bad because you are talking about me (back to the land hippi) i may not dress like a hippi but i'm one inside.

You know you made my mom cry (which you most likey won't give a *&^%) what fun do you get out of this when it ain't even TRUE! I'm her daughter i know what i'm talking about!

We were ready for this caravan and brought food and all sorts of stuff to share with people like you. We gave food to people in Arcata and we are eating it here in Tucson while we wait to find out what will happen to us.:(

It was very nice of you to play games with me in the car and be nice but i wanna know were you just being nice because i'm who i am?

thanks for gluing the table!

much love
!swaneagle's side kick!

fantisies? 01.Nov.2004 16:03

Michael Monet

Ive read this news before about the murders, and am glad to hear folks are doing something about it. Thank you....all of you, including "The back to the land one" who responded reciently. I was interested in weather Steve knows you - "Swaneagle", well enough to know your motives for living close to the land? He says he shares your "fantasy" but it sounds more like a life style that has been chosen for you due to poverty or your own integrety...there are more reasons to live close to the land besides growing veggies...like learning how to humble oneself in the awe of nature. I agree with you Swaneagle, that not many in this world are as compassionate as it requires to do activist work with others respectfully. We are all called to it differently and perhaps Steve should do more solo actions since he seems to need it to move at his pace in his way. Any way thanks again to all involved for doing the work. Good job!!!! And blessings to you!...I keep all of us in my prayers!

Please reconsider 08.Nov.2004 16:05


Swaneagle and Taina,

I respect you and I honestly did not make my comment about hippies to be insulting at all, and that's why I followed it with the explanation that I did. To me the word hippy is not a bad word.

Frankly Swaneagle, I think maybe you need to lighten up and not take things so personally, and give people the benefit of the doubt. We're from different cultures, really, and perhaps I was not as sensitive as I could have been, but perhaps you need still need to learn some things too.



good piont taina! 03.Jun.2006 21:36


after reading all of those articles, i am really glad that taina and swaneagle are my friends. i totally agree with them, because it's my nature, they're my friends, and i am basically a hippi myself. and even if i wasn't, THAT SHOULDN'T MATTER, besides, all of my best friends are hippies anyway.