HAVANA TIMES — Like in a Greek tragedy, early this past Monday morning I couldn’t stop dreaming about Zenaida Romero, the Yukpa chief’s daughter who we accompanied last year in her ministerial odyssey in Caracas.
In the dream we were looking for a place where she could be with her young son, but I woke up without finding that piece of land.
The phone rang earlier than usual. A friend had called to share the news that left me wanting to scream, but at the same time I was stunned. I cried out the pain, shocked, because one is always left like that when someone dies violently, unexpectedly.
But perhaps Sabino’s death wasn’t so unexpected.
Those who admired him, those who were with him from the beginning of his struggle for land, those who persecuted him — and even he himself — knew he would die before the Parcae decided.
When the interests of powerful groups are focused on land (and what’s in it), even these same Parcae lose their power of decision making.
On Sunday night, when he and his wife were traveling along the Tokuko highway in the Sierra Perija, on their way to vote in the elections for the head chief, he was shot by two masked men on a motorcycle. His wife, Lucy, was also wounded, but there isn’t any news yet as to whether her life is in danger.
Before midnight, Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas announced that a serious investigation would begin into that act of violence.
Now everyone’s wondering…What’s next?
Why are they in such a hurry to investigate his death now but they weren’t interested when his father and his son were killed (after being tortured), along with Alexander Fernanez and six other Yukpas in 2012?
Why wasn’t action been taken against the heads of the Bolivarian National Guard who abused, threatened and did everything possible to prevent the arrival of a group of Yukpas who traveled to Caracas late last year?
Why did the media give them hardly any coverage? – and when they did, it was because of the immense pressure from the social groups that were accompanying them in their struggle.
Why wasn’t action taken when several women were injured – including Sabino’s daughter, Zenaida Romero?
These and thousands of other questions exist, and behind them lurk not only the hacienda owners of the Sierra de Perija, in Zulia, with their excessive love for beef and unproductive land.
There are also the gunmen waiting for an order to give them the opportunity to kill and then have money to spend again; there are also the mining and petroleum transnationals, and everyone who, in one way or another, acts deaf so as not to lose their job or a considerable amount of power.
Sabino is all of us, everyone fighting for the earth, all native peoples, everyone concerned about not destroying nature. We’re also all responsible for the murder of the chief.
Sabino once said: “If they kill me, indigenous peoples will rise in the land of Perija.”
I wonder…What if they do? Wouldn’t it be the perfect excuse to wipe all of them out at once so their deaths would be an example to other indigenous peoples?
…like in the cruel days of Spanish colonialism.