Julio Cesar

But every little difference may become a big one if it is insisted on “(Lenin,1904).


One the most difficult parts for me since we got back from our travel seminar is to phrase and try to translate what meant the travel seminar and try to explain all the stories, the charlas, the people, the memories, the frustrations and what is next. Of course, as we were gone for 3 weeks so different people inquired about the trip: my boss, my mom, my hermanos, friends etc etc. Every single time I try to express and explain the trip I feel I do not justify at all the intensity and meanings that I want to transmit, to portray. Therefore, while asked to write to this blog I have been facing similar issues. Because I do defend the whole experience was made by different things and different people and leaving anything out is a crime and perhaps even disrespectful to the stories and to the people that took the time to talk to us. One should not choose parts of the experience, everyone should go and make up their meaning and not listen to folks like me but of course that is not that easy and then I must choose and must select parts of it.

I ask permission and apologize for not portraying all that I would like and I am solemnly speaking about what is my mind and heart. So first I would like thank you all the faces and stories that we encountered during the travel seminar. The travel seminar probably will be not forgotten easily. It were days of wonder, days of deep breath in order to look for strengths to persist, to move forward. To where? I am not sure but we got take this walk. A lot of what I learn from those folks is to stand straight, and keep your heads up without falling, perhaps shaking but never falling down. I am here to salute each of you individually for the courage and guts to stand for what you believe. I am proud to feel the militancy in the movements that we met during trip. I am honored to get a share of this passion for fighting to what we believe to be the right. I am astonished to have talked to some of the members of such different movements and see their desire for change, even in days of defeat. I am more than convinced that the struggle must persist. Therefore, I want to salute those faces that have the courage to be the voice that never silences, that have the guts to voice against the ruling normative, the ones that do not give up under any circumstance. I am here to say firmly with my heart and mind: persist and fight. You are on the right way. Your voice has been making noisy and has already promoted changes. Defeats today or tomorrow are just partial, it is just a sign that we must go further and try harder.

Compa Julio Cesar
I am a believer that all single pieces when they come together they make up the story . One may have preference for this or that but like poetry every single word matter and is the whole structure that make it meaningful. Even the parts that one may disagree or dislike are powerful part of the whole.

I would like to express my admiration to companero Julio Cesar. Which, I am pretty sure that he wouldn’t be very content knowing that I am writing a post just about him. That is exactly where my interest in Julio Cesar lies. This “self-made” person where it is all about the group, the community the other, to serve and not be served. Even the simplest fact of using more “we” than “I”. For me, writing about him is about writing about someone that best define what I understand by a beautiful person.

Julio Cesar, as he introduced himself, is chauffeur by profession and that how his relation to our program started off some year ago. Apart from being an excellent driver, that does not make use of gps by the way, he is a powerful person that guided us magically throughout our experience in Chiapas, Mexico. Coincidentally, we drive exactly the same type of van. I am a fleet manager at Earlham College and shared that with him. This was how my bonding with this intriguing compa started off.

I remember sitting in the lobby of our hotel and Julio introduced himself. He spoke so beautifully, in such way making us so comfortable. He said so many times “I am just a chauffeur” but a chauffeur that he was there to share some of  his world. And, what a world.

I cannot possible try summarize who I understand Julio is. But I do think he is a poet, his speaks with his heart and he taught us about Zapatismo, about time, about speaking with your heart and believe me also about life-whatever this means.

With Zapatismo, I think he dismantled a lot of misconceptions about the movement. He truly remedied a lot of the questions in my mind about the struggle. I think he mainly made a powerful case in how the Zapatismo was an answer to years and years of structured and embodied physical, emotional, economical and social violence. His words illuminated for me why the necessity to take on guns. I cannot understand the desperation that companeros y companeros were in to do that, but now I deeply respect that courage and it is a little more clear for me what means an armed resistance.

About time, it is something that has been stuck in my mind. I have wondered hours and hours about the idea of time. As he told us the caracol(which is also the name for the Zapatista headquarters)  used to be the fasted animal in the world. He was so fast that his job was to delivery messages to different communities. But one day while in his way to delivery another message el mundo cambió, and suddenly the caracol was considered the slowest. But is the caracol too slow or is the world that is going too fast without control?

Julio provided us a lot of charlas, many things to think about and also for me and hopefully to the whole group a lot of esperanza. He sounded very hopeful and he transmitted a lot of that. He is lucid and coherent that the roads ahead of us are not clear, sometimes dangerous, sometimes misleading. But the road is there as he said waiting para ser caminada. Si nosotros caminamos juntos, tomo como cierto, nosotros vamos lejos.

Well. that was Julio Cesar for me. A poet, inspiring, knowledgeable and I couldn’t forget to mention the most beautiful dad. I don’t plan to be dad but you know, people change, life changes. I got tell you if I can be half of a father that he is my child will be a luck kid.

I forgot to mention Riley Merline our director and Julio Cesar have a great relationship. I can totally picture their kids playing together in San Caralampio while they are talking about life.

Here a extract from a letter written by Julio Cesar in November of 2012 that he gave me to guard and share with Border Studies. His own words will enlighten what I tried to express in this post.

Para todos y todas las y los jovenes corazones que en estes dias nos permitieron  caminar a su lado. Gracias por mostrarnos el color de sus sorrisas!!”

Esperando que te encuentres bien, te compartimos un poco de nuestra realidad y pensamientos sobre Chiapas y sobre nuestro Mexico, como bien sabes hoy es muy dificil poder llegar a los sentimientos de las personas, todas y todos estamos viviendo este mundo que no elegimos, este mundo lleno de injusticias, cegueras y sorderas, este mundo que parece insensible, pero vien sabes que tambien no es asi, es mentira que no hay sentimientos en la gente, lo que pasa es que estamos vivendo un mundo lleno de mentiras y enganos y no cuadra porque no es el mundo que queremos, lo que vivimos no es, no coincide con los informes y con los datos oficiales, es decir, todas las noticias que escuchamos, hablando de cosas buenas, lo que dicen los medios oficiales, la Tv. La radio, loes Periodicos y los anuncios pagados en los menos peor, no pareciera que nadie se da cuenta, pero algo si es seguro, no importa a quien preguntes, a nadie nos gusta lo que estamos viviendo, es decir todas nos damos cuenta, pero no sabemos que hacer […]<

La gente parece cansada, creo que la energia se nos va en tratar de convencernos a nosostros mismos de que manana sera mejor, claro![…]

Mero bien lo sabes Compa, que cuando nos dirigimos a los corazones es para provocarlos, es para despertarlos, es porque sabemos que ahi mero vive la dignidad y ella mantiena la esperanza.

Es el Corazon que nos mantiene de pie, son los Corazones que empujan la rebeldia en contra de las injusticias y las mentiras.

Ya para terminar compa, me gustaria saber como esta tu Corazon?
Que siente? Esta contento? Esta conforme?

Piensalo bien Compa, ya lo sabes que aqui estamos y esperamos una tu respusta, pa saber si me escuchaste, solo tu decides que hacer y sera respetado! […]"

"Compa" by Julio Cesar Nov/2012

-Marcos Ramos


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