Monday, December 4

Why did I kneel?

This is how Ana Paula Castillo, daughter of Alejandra Cuevas, told me, who has been in Santa Martha Acatitla for 472 days despite the fact that, when they caught her, she was protected. After seeing the video of her kneeling down, we contacted her to interview her and this is what she told us…

January 11, 2022

I arrived at the Ibero, where the minister president of the SCJN, Arturo Zaldívar, would give the conference The great judicial reform of the year 2021.

I went downstairs and entered the auditorium, my heart beating at breakneck speed. My brothers and my dad were sitting in the second row and the idea was that, at the end of the conference, my brother Alonso, in the question and answer section, would present the case to Minister Zaldívar, since more than 60 days had passed since the Court attracted the file at the request of the prosecutor.

Since that day, November 9, 2021, my brothers and I have presented seven trades, and the only thing we have received has been a deathly silence, like the one that has lived in my soul since the illegal arrest of my mother, Alejandra Cuevas Morán –Ana Paula breaks down, cries, but continues. Her innocence was of no use, nor the protection that protected her, because when Gertz Manero persecutes you, the law disappears, it does not exist. Police, public ministries and CDMX officials, from Sheinbaum, also participated in this legal barbarity, who violated due process and committed federal crimes to arrest my mother. That day, my brother Gonzalo was with her when they put her in a car that was not a patrol car.

The biggest pain of my life

The conference started and every word exploded in my ears. They talked about human rights, the application of the law, the strength of the Constitution, respect for the rule of law and, as I listened, an emotional volcano grew in my insides, which today I have destroyed.

Human rights? Do I respect the law? Rule of law? Utopian concepts, because in practice, at least in our case, they are a dead letter, no one told me, I am, we are living it – my mother, my brothers, my dad, my yaya (grandmother) and my three children– .

I was short of breath, between the mask and the impotence of seeing myself there, surrounded by students who listened to what we all seek: a country with justice.

Zaldívar stressed that public defense is something very transcendent, since it will not be possible to have a different kind of justice while the most humble people do not have a quality defense, and he is absolutely right. I thought of my mother’s companions, in the stories they tell us, in the files they give us and through which we confirm the general abandonment of their families, by the public defenders who cannot cope and by society; they are, as my mother says, invisible women.

Zaldívar also emphasized that the judges should be more committed to the people, have greater social and human sensitivity, and as I listened to him, I thought of the 67th judge who issued the order of formal imprisonment against my mother, on the 19th. October 2020, knowing that he had an injunction; I also remembered the magistrate of the Fourth Criminal Chamber of the CDMX, who of 28 grievances presented by my mother’s defense, analyzed only four and committed countless irregularities to keep her in Santa Martha. Said anomalies were exhibited by Judge Patricia Marcela Díez Cerda, who granted protection to my grandmother and my mother, which the prosecutor challenged.

The moment of truth…

The presentation ended and I immediately felt tachycardia, seeing my brother Alonso stand up from his place and walk to the microphone to present the case, as we had planned during the questions and answers.

And so he began to narrate our nightmare. While I was doing it, I watched my father, almost 80 years old, and my brother Gonzalo. I felt that my heart was going to come out, although it beats I have it dead, like this, Lourdes, dead, since my mother is in jail.

And so, without further ado, without having planned it…

I got up from my chair and started recording with my cell phone, I walked towards the minister’s table, while everyone was listening to my brother and I snatched the word:

-Where is justice, where are the laws? There is nothing, minister. If it was your mom, what would you do?

When asking the minister, before the silence of the audience, a vertigo that I had never felt took possession of me, and before this desperation that is killing us all, I knelt down and crying I asked him:

-What would you do? Where are the laws? This cannot go on, I am a mother of 3 children.

I got up and as an involuntary reflex, I banged on the table and continued stating that I am terrified because there are no laws, my mother did nothing and she is in jail, and as an instinctive reaction, I knelt down again to beg for mercy.

Why did I kneel?

I do not know. When I left, my dad scolded me, but then I was overcome by frustration, pain, silence and fear. What was done was done. Later we learned of endless expressions of affection from the people who saw the video – for the first time, in the more than two hours that the interview lasted, Ana Paula smiled. Yes, I live, we live in fear because of the death threats we receive, but there is no way we are going to leave our mother in Santa Martha. I love her and miss her every day.

The president of the SCJN replied that each minister “will vote according to the records of the file that we have. My family has confidence in the justice of the Court”.

We can only trust and continue fighting, my mom deserves it.

Ana Paula Castillo Cuevas