“Beauty in Ruin” by Kinsee Morlan
A manifesto just came in from my friend, artist Luis Ituarte, who plans on sending it with signatures to the United Nations and other international human-rights organizations. If you want your name to appear on the document, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click below to read the manifesto:
Sent to: United Nations
Human Rights Watch
Mexican National Assembly
Mexican and International media
Mexican and International General Public
The war against the trafficking of drugs and organized crime in Tijuana has produced a situation of barbarism with numerous social costs. The police corruption and the inability of government to address the violence generates a climate of chaos and uncertainty at this moment in the northwest region of Mexico, thereby affecting all the productive activities and the healthy coexistence among its citizens. The most varied groups in the civil society (teachers, doctors, lawyers, artists, housewives, students, managers, etc.) have made public that they are fed up and that they feel impotent because of the inefficiency and impunity their lives are subjected to.
In this “scenario of war”, as described on many occasions, by the Mayor of Tijuana and the Governor of Baja California, the active forces of Education, and Arts and Culture in the community has given the City a positive image internationally, as covered by diverse media and prestigious publications for some years to date. For this reason, their comments represent a contradiction wherein the government tries to counteract the negative image that the violence generates by allocating ridiculous low budgets for arts and culture; arts and culture is a real alternative to reverse such a hostile scenario long term and permanently as it has been demonstrated in other parts of the world.
We are convinced that hollow advertising campaigns and similar programs that will not improve the negative image of Tijuana. The people of Tijuana accept without prejudice some of the past and present contrasting and multifaceted condition of the city that offers advantages and disadvantages because it is a border town. That is why many of us believe that there is in fact where their strength resides.
We denounce that the abuses of action and omission against the citizenship and the threat to the future of this city as a workers haven, as a tourist town, and as a commercial and cultural center, are mainly the responsibility of government officials who should guarantee the opposite. It is evident that the authorities at the three levels of government are losing the battle against violence perpetuated by organized crime. The figures are overwhelming compared to last year. In the first quarter of this year in Tijuana the crimes rate has increased 56%, kidnappings 450%; bank robberies 600% according to the Secretary of Public Security in Baja California.
We have arrived, in a gradual and almost imperceptible way, to an alarming situation never before imagined that has caused the exodus of frightened citizens, some of them already victims of these lamentable circumstances. Based on the facts an atmosphere of rejection and alerts that this city is a latent danger for all the visitors is promoted to the world by the media. On the other hand, what is being ignored or minimized is that a dynamic cultural movement and other positive aspects of Tijuana has been recognized and lauded by the international media.
We raise our collective, determined and energetic voices up to the highest levels of public opinion and international forums so that via existing structures the powers that be recommend, pressure and demand from Mexican authorities, that they demonstrate a stronger commitment to guarantee the safety of the residents of Tijuana and visitors to the region. Also, that they agree to commit increased spending for arts and culture and education to strengthen in the long term the social fabric of Tijuana. Less speeches and good wishes and more concrete actions and results are what we demand!
El Foro Cultural Ciudadano, A.C. (FOCUC), the organizations and list of names that accompanies this Manifesto, are all active members of the cultural community of Tijuana. We reiterate our energetic claim that the responsible authorities offer results to the community immediately in regards to security and support of Education, Arts and Culture. We also request that international entities, for example, the United Nations, Global Exchange, International Amnesty and Human Rights Watch supervise and press for action from its respective environments that the governments at the three levels of Mexico assist and fulfill the demands that this case warrants. Also, we request the urgent creation of a plural non-partisan commission of “La Camara de Diputados” of Mexico (Mexican Assembly) to investigate and explain the impotency of the police agencies of Baja California in their fight against the al the aspects of violence and organized crime.
For our part, we reiterate our commitment to the value of Education, Culture and the Arts as a catalyst for the formation of a more civilized, tolerant and harmonious society, presently at risk for the reasons stated in this manifesto.
Jaime Chaides & Luis Ituarte, Co-Chairs
FORo CULTURAL CIudadano DE TIJUANA, A. C. (FOCUC)
Tijuana, Baja California, June 7, 2008
*El Foro Cultural Ciudadano, A.C. (Focuc) Is a civic Arts and Culture, think tank comprise of Artists cultural promoters from Tijuana “an interdisciplinary group, plural and inclusive, without partisan neither institutional representation, citizens involved with the cultural development of our city.” Writers, painters, theater directors and cultural promoters, the members of Focuc look for “to establish a permanent forum of reflection and public debate on matters related with Culture in general and the arts like a substantive part of it. Our objective is to intervene actively through proposals and positions in the definition of federal, state and municipal cultural policies that affect the artistic community and the cultural development of Tijuana’s society.”
MIEMBERS: Ivonne Arballo (Writer), Mario Castillo (Photgrapher), Jaime Cháidez (Journalist/Radio Host), Carmen García Montaño,(Education and Cultural Promoter), Saúl Huerta (Musician), Luis Ituarte (Visual Artist), Alfonso López (Book Store Entrepreneur), Raquel Presa (Theatre Director), Guadalupe Rivemar (Profesor), Jorge Sánchez (Profesor), Vianka Santana (Multidisciplinary artista ), Carlos Sarabia (Cutural Promoter) and Leobardo Sarabia (Cultural Promoter.)