(…) Yo temprano me levanto para estar bien enterado,
y para el que no lo crea traigo en mente tu formato
Yo te lo digo: ¡Bomba, camará!
Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz
I’m writing this invitation with no desire to write a line, not because of the great project that Mónica Rodríguez will show at Selecto this Friday, July 10th, but for the general situation under which I am writing this message. On the other hand, probably, the situation I’m talking about is just another manifestation of the hidden forces that moved Mónica to produce an important part of her work, in opposition to the expansion of those forces. So, if I talk about here and now, somehow I could be talking as well about there and then. Please, let me tell you what I’m talking about.
During the last couple of weeks, a series of explosions have had occurred in Bogotá, Colombia, where I am now. Those explosions created panic among the citizens, and also a big amount of false information, confusion, and media-political opportunism. The government stated that the bombs were put by the Maoist guerrilla of the ELN (National Liberation Army), after several attempts from the radical right wing party from Alvaro Uribe Vélez, former president of the country, to incriminate the FARC, as a way to force the interruption of the peace talks between the current government and the illegal organization (I mean, the FARC, not the government, equally illegal.)
So, today, police proceeded to arrest 14 people, all of them members of human rights, social justice, and gender equality organizations. The police argued they have evidence to incriminate these 14 individuals as the organizers of the terrorist acts. Nevertheless, it seems very unlikely that any of them are related to the attacks.
Some years ago, close to the presidential election at the end of Uribe’s first term, members of the National Army orchestrated a series of bomb attacks to create panic among the population, showing the explosions on local media as a FARC escalate in the main cities of the country. Other several acts were executed by state forces in conjunction with paramilitary groups, including illegal surveillance and spying, assassinations, massacres, torture, and a wide spectrum of practices that we must firmly define, regardless of the country, as state terrorism.
In Colombia, there’s a long history of activists from social organizations that have been harassed, arrested, taken to tribunal, sentenced and submitted to public scorn by different instances of the government. After corrupted trials, bans, incarceration, threats, torture, illegal search warrants, raids and confiscations, the ones who remain safe and sound got usually killed, and their crimes are never resolved.
Years, and sometimes decades later, after exhaustive independent archive investigation, archeological research, interviews and leaked files, the truth emerges, but usually, when it happens is too late to force legal action against the deciders of the crimes. Nevertheless, the truth that comes out of the archives is the only resource available to understand the national history in order to create, at least, some sort of collective memory and a chance to mourn the dead.
Without archive excavation, truth is impossible, and without truth is impossible to stand against tyranny. A tyranny never restricted to the confines of a local power.
So, tired and angry, I have the pleasure to invite you to Donde estalló la bomba, a beautiful project by Puerto Rican artist Mónica Rodríguez, consisting on the exploration and reenactment of police archives from October 30, 1950, “when a series of coordinated uprisings erupted throughout the Island of Puerto Rico. Led by the president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, Pedro Albizu Campos, the Nationalist Revolt was an armed insurrection against the establishment of Puerto Rico as a Commonwealth of the United States and a call for the international recognition of Puerto Rico as a sovereign state. Despite the efforts of the Nationalist, the uprisings were suppressed by U.S. military forces resulting in the majority of its members to be imprisoned or killed.”
Please don’t miss this chance to come and share with us the shrapnel of this bomba, blowing once and again on perpetuity as an eternal demand of justice, truth and sovereignty.
Mónica Rodríguez, Donde estalló la bomba – Opening reception: Friday, July 10th, 6–9 pm