Samir Flores: The Wound of Amilcingo

by Luís Hernández Navarrro

“In Anenecuilco, the history of the country opens like a wound,” wrote Gaston Garcia Cantú in Utopias Mexicanas. Half a decade later, in Xochicalco, repetition of the injury was reaffirmed as a policy toward the hide. In the Amilcingo of today, it was shown in black and white, not only that the original wound never healed, but that it has become deeper and more painful.

The shades of regional history are like windows to peek out on the tragedy of the Republic; the project of Zapata converted into a national project. Anenecuilco, Xochicalco and Amilcingo are all communities in the state of Morelos that sum up the dreams, at once modest and profound, of men of the countryside, and the betrayals they have been subjected to, far beyond Morelos. 

Emiliano Zapata was born in Anenecuilco. There he was incubated, between the summer of 1914 and the summer of 1915, in the heat of the revolutionary struggle fueled by the acceptance of shared traditions, a modern utopia-made-reality: what Adolfo Gilly christened as the Morelos Commune. A practice of genuine agrarian reform from below, armed self-defense and indigenous campesino self-governance. True to their roots, the people won back land, water and forests; they reclaimed their territory and they planted the crops associated with the community that they desired, and back on track, they reinvented their society. In an exercise of memory and innovation, they kept their identity and the legitimacy of their aspirations alive.

En Xochicalco — sings José de Molina — the earth screams, wounded by a knife. What hurts her in her belly, the death of Jaramillo. In the darkness and betrayal, soldiers in formation, dressed as campesinos murdered Rubén1 and his family: his wife Epifania and his sons Ricardo, Filemón and Enrique.

The successor to the Zapatista cause, he combined the armed and electoral struggle and the taking back of land, defended the campesino and indigenous struggles, but also supported projects that could give work to the population, organized in cooperatives. 

The blood of their executions had not yet dried, when a Morelos campesino told Carlos Fuentes: The death of those five Jaramillos was the best fertilizer for life and the action of 500, of five thousand new Jaramillos. The commander died. Now we are all Jaramillos.

Vinh Flores Laureano was born the 18th of December of 1946, and lived there until his parents separated in 1959, returning several times. He was a tireless local hero touring the villages of the region; he defended the rights of campesinos,  and in the spirit of the Zapatista motto of education for the people, with his compañeros, education institutions like the Emiliano Zapata Rural Normal School of Amilcingo (the last of its kind), the CBTA of Temoac, and the secondary school of Xalostoc. His role was key in the struggle for the recognition of the municipality of Temoac. (https://bit.ly/3qGe6I6).

Vinh participated actively in the Communist Youth and was the national youth leader of the Independent Campesino Central, linked to the hammer and sickle party. He was trained in the former U.S.S.R. and paid dearly for defying the government and encouraging the rebellious effervescence of the communities of eastern Morelos. On the 6th of September of 1976, he was tortured and murdered, together with his uncle Enrique Flores, in the mountains of Tepexco, Puebla.

Two years ago on the 20th of February, also in Amilcingo, a group of gunmen took the life of Samir Flores Soberanes, nephew of Vinh Flores, indigenous Nahua, founder of Radio Amilzinko, metalworker, organic amaranth grower, opposer of the Integrated Project for Morelos (PIM) and rebel against the fatalities of submission. (https://bit.ly/3ue3nXn).

If the waters of the insurgents of Ayala became a flood of cries of “Down with the hacienda! Long-live the people!,”  the struggle of Samir for the community continuity and permanence, and respect for the right to decide how to live became a multitude with the demand of “Down with the PIM! Long live the people!”

The resistance, fuelled by Radio Amilzinko, that began as a modest loudspeaker and became station 100.7 FM opened the way for community reconstitution. The station bears the unmistakeable stamp of his work. 

Gifted with a tremendous capacity for listening, Samir Flores was, like Zapata, Jaramillo or Vinh, a man of the people of Morelos. He lived the pride and pain of his people, he defended his cultural roots, threatened by the dispossession that goes hand-in-hand with big business. Like them, he was sacrificed in impunity and cowardice. And like them, he lives beyond his death in the heart of the people. 

The Zapatismo of the Morelos communities is no nostalgia for by-gone times, but rather a patient wait for -as Carlos Fuentes says— the arrival of their time, the original time of their desires. It is not a buried past, but a contemporary constituent force, that refuses to live as human leftovers and claims the struggle for life protecting their lands, their waters, and their ways of coexisting and reaching agreements on that which affects them.The legacy of Samir, remembered this past 20th of February in the most distinct geographies of the planet, from Zapatista caracoles to Copenhagen or Barcelona, reminds us that today in Amilcingo, l — just like yesterday in Anenecuilco— opens the history of the country like a wound.

This article was originally published in La Jornada on February 23rd, 2021. https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/02/23/opinion/016a2pol This English interpretation has been re-published by Schools for Chiapas. Photo taken from Notisistema: https://www.notisistema.com/noticias/familiares-y-amigos-dan-el-ultimo-adios-al-activista-samir-flores/

Footnotes

  1. Ruben Jaramillo Mendéz was a campesino political leader and a military leader in Mexican revolution at the age of 17. He was a powerful  leader and struggling  for the rights of the ejidos, and was regularly at odds with the Mexican government. He was murdered in his home by Federal Police, along with his wife and two sons.