If I were to somehow have the opportunity to speak to President Enrique Peña Nieto when he and I visit Washington this week, I will begin by sharing what my brother, Javi, said before being kidnapped by masked men in police uniforms dragged him from a neighbor's house in the town of Tala, Jalisco, on October 19, 2013. "Mom, me van a matar!" (Mom, they're going to kill me!) he said as my mother ran towards towards the sound of Javi's voice in what was the the worst night of her life. The men dragged Francisco out of the house and into a car.
I would then tell President Peña Nieto that my mother, my family and I know something about what the family members of the 43 missing students from Guerrero are feeling. And I would then tell him how he can't imagine how much his inaction and failures are costing us.
As President Peña Nieto visits President Obama and members of Congress to talk about his Mexico this week, I will be in Washington to talk about mine. His Mexico sounds like a place where U.S. companies can do business and a place where human rights are getting better. I will be talking about Mexico, the country where I lost my brother, whose case has not been seriously investigated, which is also what happened in most (94 percent) of the more than 4,500 other families that were disappeared by cartels, the government or the alliance of both that we saw working in the case of the 43 missing students.
Unlike the families of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa, I am not a Mexican citizen. I am a U.S. citizen, born in Los Angeles. My brother Javi lived here for much of his life, before being deported in 2006 and then disappeared in 2013. Our story is as much an American story as it is a Mexican story.
As I began working to find my brother, I discovered that my family and I are not alone; I discovered that there are more than 25,000 families in Mexico who also have family that are known as "los desaparecidos," the disappeared ones that neither President Peña Nieto or President Obama really want to talk about beyond an offer by the U.S. government to aid the search for the 43. I also discovered that our story is not being told here in the United States, where the few reports on the dead or of those missing in the "drug war" hide an important fact: many of the dead and desaparecidos were killed and disappeared by police, military and other security forces under the command of President Peña Nieto.
When I'm in Washington, I will carry images in my mind of mass graves like the many found around the single town of Iguala in the ongoing search for the 43 students, images that cause my mother, family and to get a profound sadness, a fear and intense shivers. I will tell senators and their aides why I am especially troubled by the fact that it is likely that security forces involved in or ignoring the disappearance of the 43 students included police and military forces that are trained, armed and paid with my tax dollars.
At the same time, I will talk about how my family in Jalisco is not better off since President Peña Nieto took office. And when people like the 43 students and millions of others throughout throughout the country protest against his economic and other failed policies, his government responds with human rights violation that groups like Human Rights Watch have called the "worst" in all of Latin America in the last 30 years.
I am visiting Congress for the first time in my life because I realize that I am speaking not only for my brother and my family. I am speaking for millions in Mexico and millions in the United States who want an end to the U.S. military aid package known by many as "Plan Mexico." Millions of Mexicans have already said "Ya Me Cansé" (I'm tired) as they completely reject President Peña Nieto and his security forces, bolstered and paid for by my tax dollars. This week, I'll add my voice to theirs and say that here in the United States we are tired too.