Up and down the Rio Grande
A thousand footprints in the sand1
Claudia Gómez González had studied to be an accountant. But she was unable to earn a living in her homeland, a country wracked by extreme poverty and violence; reeling from decades under the thumb of U.S. imperialism, including genocidal campaigns of mass slaughter by an American trained and funded military.2 In mid-May, she left her hometown to come to the U.S.—to continue her studies, live with her boyfriend in Virginia, get an income and support herself and help her family in Guatemala. She told her mother, “Mamita, we’re going to go on ahead. I’ll make money. There is no work here.”
Soon after Claudia Gómez crossed the river separating the U.S. and Mexico, she lay bleeding to death from a shot to the head by a Border Patrol pig. Her cold-blooded murder is a bloody concentration of the violence and repression the most heavily armed country on earth rains down upon impoverished, unarmed immigrants.
The Pigs’ Lies
The Border Patrol first said that one of their pigs had come “under attack by multiple subjects using blunt objects.” They called Claudia and the people she was with “assailants” who used two-by-fours as weapons. It was all a lie.
A woman living nearby recorded the aftermath of Claudia Gómez’s murder. Marta Martinez can be heard yelling in Spanish,
“Why do you mistreat them? Why did you shoot the girl? You killed her. He killed the girl. She’s there. She’s dead. I saw you with the gun!”
Martinez said the Border Patrol captured two men after the shooting, and an agent said to them,
“This is what happens. You see? Be quiet; you have weapons.”
A couple of days later the Border Patrol dropped mention of “blunt objects,” and no longer claimed their agents had been assaulted. But they continue to uphold their actions, and have released no word of the whereabouts of the immigrants arrested that night.
A Death Zone
For decades, the U.S. has made its border with Mexico a death zone. Thousands of immigrants have died trying to cross the line that divides the two sides. Countless others have had their lives torn apart by imprisonment, brutality, and deportation. These abominations are not “collateral damage,” or the actions of “rogue agents.” They are the results of conscious policy enacted and enforced by the monsters who run the U.S. system of capitalism imperialism.
This is being taken to entirely new levels of slanderous insult and murderous assault by the Trump/Pence fascist regime. Vigils for Claudia Gómez were held in at least seven Texas cities, as well as Alexandria, Virginia, and Miami. Many more people should join in these protests, not only to call out this horrible murder but to demand a stop to all attacks on immigrants—and should join with Refuse Fascism to work to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence regime.
There is a moral and political challenge facing everyone. Are you okay with unarmed 20-year-old immigrant women being murdered by gun slinging pigs? Are you okay with a “commander-in-chief” who calls immigrants “animals” and has made relentless assaults on immigrants a battering ram for all-out fascism?
More fundamentally, the illegitimate system of capitalism-imperialism that gave rise to Trump/Pence can only be sustained by crushing literally hundreds of millions of lives. This system must be overthrown, through an actual revolution, when it is in deep crisis, and millions understand that its murderous violence is illegitimate, and are won to the need for revolution and the possibility of a radically different system and society. We are working and organizing right now to prepare the ground, the people, and the vanguard for that possibility.