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Dreams becoming nightmares

by Eleazar Pérez Encino

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April 6, 2015

Dreams becoming nightmares

Eleazar Pérez Encino

The following is a reflection on the Border Awareness Experience/Justicia en la Frontera Friendship Tour. To read more reflections, click here.

Leer en español.


They are privileged to live in a country of privileges.

I am privileged unfairly, in a country where opportunities do not exist for all.

My brother and sister do not have the same opportunities I have. Why?

Youth of my people must migrate for pursuing dreams and new opportunities. Why?

Not all of them have the same fate of being successful and their dreams become nightmares. Why?

How do you expect me to feel when I find myself in an unjust country? How do you expect me to feel when my country is corrupt, a place where the rich get more and more rich while the poor become more and more poor? Opportunities are scarce because most are excluded, and there are thousands of reasons to move to the other side.

They dream again and again that the “other side" offers goodness, but not all of them are so fortunate as to cross the border. The other side uses walls and wire for marking its territory, its justice is blind because is not applied equally, it is only applied to those supposed innocent.

Its lying policy makers say: "There are drugs, drug traffickers, terrorists -- that's why the border is secured.” But wait a moment! Perhaps that's not true? It's true that maybe there are drugs, but is there no awareness of who are the dealers and who are the consumers? Yes there is, but is silence is kept for convenience and money.

When I saw those young Mexicans in court, shackled in hands and feet, judged by blind justice, how do you think I felt? What do you believe I think?

It is true, they are considered terrorists, criminals, violent, and they are eventually condemned to six months in prison for crossing illegally. They are accused of crossing without permission – they are accused for being Mexicans, for being Central Americans, for being Latinos, for being Indians, for being Women.  They are accused for being migrants, but these are just excuses used in a horrible manner, only for total control of cheap labor because migrants are paid with the half of what they sweat.

It is illogical that in the North the rights of a dog are respected but, at the borders, human rights do not exist.

How can the undocumented people assimilate the lifestyle of a citizen and live peacefully while being away from their family? How they can think of stepping on American soil without feeling like “illegals”, “undocumented”, “terrorists” or some other category full of prejudices?

The only truth is that everything is a lie. They are ignored, crushed, exploited, greeted from afar, given looks. Some feel superior and assured that they are in the land of opportunity, where most humans are successful, but nevertheless others are tortured.

In Mexico almost always American society was spoken of and was referred to as a place which offered the possibility of equal opportunity for people who decisively and through self effort reached material prosperity. In due time, this opportunity was for migrants and their children the cherished American Dream. Many managed to get ahead with luck. Today the chances are nil, the American Dream changed and became a nightmare.

The nightmare is not only for the migrants, the nightmare is also for families, neighbors, communities who have lost their mother, father, children, cousins, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and grandparents when they crossed the border. This nightmare is also called death.


Eleazar Pérez Encino is the Sustability Programs Coordinator of the Mayan Intercultural Seminary (a regional school of the Baptist Seminary of Mexico in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas). In his role, he works with indigenous communities in developing agricultural processes that are relevant to the cultural, historical, topographical, and nutritional contexts of these communities. He is also the coordinator of the Tseltal area educational programs, engaging Tseltal-speaking Christian leaders in developing the seminary's certificate programs.

Eleazar has a college degree in Sustainable Agriculture of the Universidad Intercultural de Chiapas, and is currently pursuing a degree in Intercultural Theology and Pastoral Leadership in the Seminario Intercultural Mayense.



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