Two years after the worst racist massacre in the US, the wound remains open
Activists claim that the attack on a Walmart store in El Paso is the result of years of policies of racial hatred and xenophobia, and they regret that many of these policies continue in the government of Joe Biden
In the midst of ceremonies and tributes, the victims of the worst racist attack against the Latino community committed in the United States were remembered on Tuesday, on the second anniversary of the massacre at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, on the border with Mexico.
The massacre, which killed 23 people and left dozens more wounded, was perpetrated by a man who allegedly “wanted to kill as many Mexicans as possible.”
The attack continues to be an open wound between residents on both sides of the border. For many, this anniversary is another reminder of the racism and xenophobia that still exists in this nation against the immigrant community.
“The most dangerous thing about this attack is that the murderer saw himself as a ‘warrior’ who was saving his country from an invasion,” said Camilo Pérez Bustillo, a civil rights defender and member of the group Testigos de la Frontera. , an organization that presented a video to honor the memory of the victims.
For many activists like Pérez Bustillo , the bloody attack was a direct consequence of years of xenophobic policies and movements driven by politicians and white supremacist groups . An anti-immigrant sentiment that deepened during the past Donald Trump Administration (2017-2021).
“It is crucial that we keep in mind that the El Paso massacre was not an isolated case; the El Paso massacre must be considered a case of racial hatred and genocide that was fomented during the Trump Administration,” said the activist.
A clear example, he says, was Trump’s obsession with building a border wall with Mexico and criminalizing undocumented immigration.
In his opinion, it is regrettable that many of these policies are maintained in the current Administration of President Joe Biden , including the militarization of the border and the detention of migrants in subhuman conditions.
Texas has become the epicenter of the current immigration crisis along the US-Mexico border.
This has unleashed a new wave of measures ordered by Governor Greg Abbott to combat undocumented immigration.
Among them, detaining and imprisoning migrants under the charge of invasion and stopping cars that transport migrants on suspicion that they could be infected with COVID-19.
For many, the El Paso massacre is not only an example of the consequences of racism but also of failed policies to curb the sale of firearms.
Crosses and prayers
With a procession of 23 crosses and prayers, a group called by the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) also remembered the victims.
“We are reminding our people that they were victims of this terrible racist attack here in El Paso two years ago. We cannot forget them or the reasons why they were attacked,” declared Fernando García, director and founder of BNHR. .
“The community needs to heal, their mental health is in danger right now and what we have to do is hug the families, give them confidence and see that what they are going through is giving us courage to move forward, to do good things and do a difference, “said Ricardo Samaniego, El Paso County Judge.
“I am afraid that another community, hopefully not, but that another community of Latinos, of Hispanics, is going to suffer the same attack that we suffered two years ago,” said Verónica Escobar, Democratic federal representative for Texas, dismayed.
“The hatred and racism did not end that day (August 3, 2019); it did not end the day Donald Trump left the White House either. It continues with people like Greg Abbott, a governor who is wanting to use his position, power and the Government to attack vulnerable migrants and families, “he concluded.
Patrick Crusius, charged with aggravated murder under Texas law and crimes of racial hatred and violation of gun laws by federal justice, has confessed that he drove 966 kilometers (600 miles) from his home near Dallas to El Paso to attack Mexicans, authorities say.
Shortly before the attack, he posted a racist text online. He has pleaded not guilty and his defense lawyers say he suffers from a severe “mental disability” .
Before the attack, he published a racist manifesto in which he expressed his hatred of Latinos.