Revolution #208, July 25, 2010

Anastasio Hernández Rojas—Murdered by Border Patrol

On the evening of Friday, May 28, three days after Obama's announcement that 1,200 troops would be sent to the U.S./Mexico border, dozens of people crossing the pedestrian bridge connecting San Ysidro, California, with Tijuana, Mexico, heard horrifying screams: "Ayúdame, por favor! Help me please! They're going to kill me!" In the cage-like enclosure where deportees are sent through the gate into Mexico, three Border Patrol agents were beating a handcuffed man. A crowd watched in horror as he was tortured to death in front of their eyes. Humberto Navarrete Mendoza, a medical student, videoed the encounter and this was posted on YouTube. Mendoza can be heard yelling out repeatedly to the Border Patrol, "He's not resisting! Why are you using excessive force on him?" He described how three migra were kneeling on top of the man who lay face down with his hands cuffed behind him and they were beating him in the ribs on both sides of his body.

Like wild animals attracted to the smell of blood, cops from different agencies arrived to get in on the killing frenzy. Wackenhut detention center bus drivers rushed over to join in the beating.  Then the Customs and Border Protection jumped in, until the unconscious, handcuffed man was being beaten by 20 cops. At a certain point, the beating stopped and the Tazing began. Finally an ambulance came, but it was too late: Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was brain dead.

Anastasio's heart stopped beating on its own on June 1. On June 2, the Border Patrol agents union sent out a tweet: "Lesson learned: Don't fight with the Border Patrol!"

On June 3, 500 people marched to the site of Anastasio's murder. When they stood at the top of the pedestrian bridge, the signs "Justice for Anastasio Hernandez Rojas" and "We are all Anastasio" were visible to thousands of cars waiting at the checkpoint on the Mexican side of the border. Drivers in ten lanes of cars began honking their horns in support for one mile into Mexico.

Imagine this: That everyone who sees the YouTube of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas’ murder and is haunted by his screams and is sickened by the injustice and brutality of this crime, resolves not to let one more day go by without standing up and resisting and convincing others to do the same as part of a movement to make a revolution to end this system. Wouldn't that be a fitting response?

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