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The heroic deed of May 26, 1971
The heroic deed of May 26, 1971

It happened on May 26, 1971. Although it was already part of the
"codes of conduct" of necessary truths and myths of Carchi boast of
being a valiant people that would not be easily overwhelmed when power
would approach them, that those who were brave pupfish would be the
ones to break the fence that allowed the army of Simón Bolívar to
cross south, they were the only ones to be prepared, though belatedly,
to rescue Don Eloy Alfaro from the conservative hordes, etc., etc.
Despite all that memory cultivated almost daily, on May 26, 1971-one
of the last milestones where that people rebelled from the potency of
autonomy and self-determination outside the state and political
parties-, remains completely unknown, and case by those who survived,

Remember that in those years (the last dictatorship of José María
Velasco Ibarra), they wanted to impose a levy of 2 sucres to cross the
border, thereby affecting mainly but not only those who were engaged
in retail trade and because of this they barely made enough for their
daily subsistence. Although at the beginning, by popular pressure in
the first large gathering, a kind of popular council, local
authorities were forced to attend, the agreements that were made
thereafter were made completely by popular consensus, which means that
these authorities were becoming more and more overwhelmed by the
growing popular movement to the point that their role was reduced to
being at the beginning just simple business with the central
government, but without real representation, and in conditions where
people, conscious or not, regarded negotiating an appeal "to see what
happens. " After those failed attempts to have contact with the
dictatorship, the main actors were clearly the people, and especially

This revolt was spontaneous and even sudden to gather up the battered
mauser rifles taken from the cellars of the tight, one more than
another hunting rifle and shouting powerfully YOU DON?T MESS WITH
CARCHI!, they faced the advancement of the army that through air and
ground came with the intention of ending the general strike that had
been decreed. There were casualties on both sides and even the
military imposed itself, did not end this deadlock, but on the
contrary, took unusual forms in which imagination, solidarity and
honor of the town showed its longtime dignity. This, as was obvious,
did not count for the left and right (matching both in reality liberal
mindset with which they read, those who read, be it Capital, or
Churchil, allegedly) at that time, they valued as a movement the
clarity of a political program or its ties to an organization known by
plan (note the consequences of this today).

The persecution continued after the army took positions in the city
forcing many to seek refuge in neighboring Colombian city of Ipiales,
finding among its residents actions of solidarity and fraternity, made
real in truly moving ways. Dazed and confused, the dictatorship did
not know what to do; everything was coming out of the hands, and even
providing food for his troops was hard because women refused to serve
them, receiving only well-earned insults that the soldiers had to
endure with lowered heads. The same response was encountered on the
ipialeño side whose population had agreed to risk it all and be in
solidarity with their neighbors tulcaneños. Anyway ...

Hundreds of stories could be told, all with the mark of courage,
honor, solidarity of indigenous peoples in those days where the time
continuum of power was broken and where, as we know, the events take
on that sense of space in which normality was broken, emerging from
this sort of "carnival" that any rebellion or party involved (W,
Benjamin). But today what matters is to be aware of the local revolt,
especially those who are the children of these stories, because the
greatest asset of a people is their memory, historical memory of
struggle is the only chance of preserving their identity as a people
being, of course, the dignity which is fertilized and kept alive. This
memory (*)-which can only be collective-, we know that sometimes it
lives invisibly quietly sustaining the people that are always below,
or of a particular culture, for she lives and has a projection into
the future, hence, reducing her to the image of individuals,
personalities, is to deny this memory, and the heritage that it allows
a people to be. Memory weaves itself always in antagonism. If this is
the heroic deeds of 26 May 1971, supposedly, all carchense must know.
Say is the case, because what makes this quest is heroic precisely
because the actors were the common people, the usual, not the event
that made this individual political capital (I mean the authorities of
that time actually leaders were not afraid of anything and just
political efforts to reconcile several times, shining their narrowness
and their calculations to not look bad with higher powers than them).
Again, the merits of that movement are that it surpassed those small
local authorities that represented the state as a whole. In fact, the
greatest moment that dignified the carchense people was when
embarrassingly so these authorities, from the balcony of the building
of the government of the time, were booed and incriminated harshly
when they announced that our prisoners would not be released
immediately, admitting with this implication that they were subject to
a law of the dictatorship of that time and that they, as officers,
they agreed to "hire the best lawyers" for their defense. To any
careful reader it is easy to see that the authorities recognize the
legality of such a system from which they were somehow their local
representatives and, as a result, wanted to present an ambiguous
situation for people to accept and end the spontaneous movement. But
what happened then?: For the people flatly rejected such a move and
decided to continue the strike until they released all the prisoners
unharmed. Thus, in spite of the authorities, the strike continued and
forced the dictatorship to release our prisoners who were greeted and
escorted by the Colombian town of Ipiales and delivered them to the a
march to the living forces of Carchi, Ecuador.

Those who have lived through it will remember the tulcaneño people
again fulfilling their tradition of courage and honor, but
unfortunately today it is invisible, perhaps because in silence is
steeping their rebellion, maturing her memory, to the subjugation of
this dynamic and predatory shock that the new guise of neoliberalism
acquires even in the most remote locations.

This, however, as sadly happens when from above in- all variants of
the above that are recycled- using space and available channels and
control, give their version of events, distorted, or perhaps ignored
by her discomfort and giving the appearance of having been the only
actors, erasing the real, the people who only recognize it as a
backdrop for their political calculations.

This rebellion exceeded the State, of course, to political parties
from the Conservatives, Liberals, Communists, Maoists, etc. ..
although many of whom even took up an old mauser have been militants
but some of them acting in their personal capacity, that is under the
sole mandate of the people no more.

Here emerged that rebel ethos collective dynamics below, but not only
..., so that students encounter truncated militia volunteers from
Quito, with the young heart throbbing left the moral imperative that
he wanted to reach carchense land, between songs, cries and promises
of future only held by the government that patrols the capital exit
would say, with that same official tone ever, would not. And indeed
they could not go, but survived at least to tell ...
(*) perhaps this situation will allow reflection over these past
almost 40 years (with the luck that people survived who experienced
firsthand the feat). But we must not remember, we must make memories,
that is, alive nourished from the current dignity.