Ordered To Lay Her Head In A Pool Of Blood
Valentina Palma: "They Ordered Me to Lay My Head In a Pool of Blood"
May 12, 2006
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Perhaps nothing so far in the pages of the Other Journalism with the Other Campaign communicates so clearly the terror and suffering that the Mexican government unleashed in the town of San Salvador Atenco last week like the recently published testimony of Valentina Palma Novoa. Unlike most of the political prisoners of Atenco who continue to languish in prison, Palma, a Chilean citizen who has lived in Mexico for eleven years, was quickly released and deported to her home country. Palma suffered intense physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of the police, and saw even worse crimes being committed against others. Upon returning to Chile she began courageously denouncing this state violence in radio, television and press interviews. She also wrote an lengthy, eloquent letter detailing what she had seen and experienced, which we publish today in English in Narco News:
"I came down from the roof slowly, terrorized by the sight of the boys being beaten in the head. Two police officers took hold of me and pulled me forward while others beat me on the chest, back and legs with their clubs. My cries of pain increased when I heard the voice of someone asking my name for the list of arrested. I responded, 'Valentina... Valentina Palma Novoa,' while a police officer ordered me to shut my mouth and another hit me in the chest.
"A man's voice ordered the officers to cover me with shields so people could not see how badly they had beaten me. They paused to one side of the church and ordered me to join the rest of the arrested, then forced me to kneel and put my hands behind my head. They continued to beat us. My cell phone rang and a voice ordered me to turn over my bag. In that moment, I was separated from my video camera, my cell phone and my small purse containing my identification and fifty pesos.
"They pulled me up by my hair and said, 'Get in the truck, bitch.' I could barely move but they demanded that we move incredibly quickly. They tossed me on top of other wounded and bleeding bodies and ordered me to lay my head in a pool of blood. I didn't want to put my head in the blood, but the black boot of a police officer forced me to do it. The truck started and began to move. Along the way, I was groped by the hands many police officers. I just closed my eyes and clenched my teeth, hoping that the worst would not happen.
"My pants were down when the truck stopped and I was ordered to get off. I got down awkwardly and a female police officer said, 'Leave this bitch to me,' then hit my ears with both of her hands. I fell, and two police officers took me through a line of police who kicked us as we moved towards a bus.
"Once on the bus, another female police officer asked me my name, while two male officers grabbed my breasts violently and threw me on top of the body of an old man whose face was nothing more than a crust of blood. The old man cried out in pain when he felt the weight of my body on top of him. I tried to move but a kick to the back stopped me. My own shout made the old man scream out again, asking for God's mercy."
The Mexican government has several hundred more people locked up (not to mention the scores of missing and "disappeared" whose fate remains unknown) as a result of the May 4 raid on San Salvador Atenco, each another story like this one waiting to be told. Each day that these people remain in prison strengthens the indictment of Mexico's so- called democracy, only adding credibility to Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos' case that there is no remedy for the country's political crisis under the current system of government.
The Other Journalism's reporting from the front lines of that crisis continues, so stay with us...
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The Narco News Bulletin