By Jimmy Centeno
I had just tuned into a seminar at el Teatro Nacional in Quito, Ecuador on Indigenous struggles in Latin America on the 29 of July. I and another compañero from Colombia were the last to leave the auditorium that seats close to one thousand people. We both were intrigued by an elder indigenous woman and her PACHAMAMA (meaning, Mother Earth) philosophy of mother earth. As we were about to leave the auditorium someone came running toward us asking who was in charge of the place. What first crossed my mind was something must of happened, since the day before the police and the national guard shot tear gas cannisters at a peaceful march against poverty, near El Centro Cultural.
None of us present knew who was in charge, all we could do was to point to the technicians still testing the lighting in the Auditorio. We came to find out Micheal Moore is in town. “Say what,” I couldn´t understand what was going on. Farenheit 9/11 is all I heard. WHAT 9/11 in Ecuador that couldn´t be. What we were witnessing were crowds coming in to take a seat and watch 9/11. The previous room where the film was to be shown was overwhelmed by 500 people wanting to see Moore`s latest documentary described by some as BUSHKA PLEITOS.
All of the one thousand seats were filled. The pasillos were crowded with an eager audience. Bull horns were shouting anti Bush slogans. As the technicians got ready to rock and roll 9/11 I came across Eddie Torres from CASA DEL PUEBLO IN ECHO PARK organizer of an L.A delegation to the FIRTS SOCIAL FORUM OF THE AMERICAS. I said to him, “ ESTO ES CANDELA.” I wondered how in the world did a copy of 9/11 got down here so soon. Eddie tells me, “Brother, they’re selling copies for one dollar in every corner in Quito.”
Once the film started showing, a dead silence fell upon the audience. What struck the audience the most were the scenes where President Bush did not react to the news of an attack on U.S soil. Another scene that seemed to shock the viewers were the soldiers attitudes towards the People of IRAQ, “AS OTHER.”
It is obvious that 9/11 has had an impact on the world. Many students present during the showing were concerned with U.S foreign policies toward Latin America. Their hopes are that a new world is possible without wars and hostilities toward countries that don`t meet U.S standards as described by BUSH as, either you’re with us or against us. I was asked on several occasions after the film was over what is the American people doing about this. All I said to them was that the American people will not tolerate a president who lies and goes against the people`s will as it is constituted in the Constitution of the United States of America.
Centeno is a student of Latin American Studies at Cal State L.A. Reprinted from LatinoLA.com. Published 8.9.2004.