Larisa Viridiana Lara-Guerrero
Institute Convergences Migrations University of Liege.
Article published by MOVIMIENTOS. Mexican Journal of Studies of Social Movements,Vol. 3, No. 1, January-June 2019
This essay aims at deepening the study of political transnationalism. In particular, this article analyses the implications and role of women in the formation, structure and dissemination of extraterritorial social and political movements. Based on empirical data, this essay presents an original typology that highlights the type of mobilization strategies deployed by Mexican migrants living in Belgium. In conclusion, it is established that the mobilization of Mexican women living abroad depends on their perception of insecurity and the national context of their country of origin; the available political opportunities they find abroad; the political remittances and flows of information that they maintain with the Mexican society; and finally, their skills and abilities to navigate between two social, economic and political contexts.
Political transnationalism, extraterritorial activism, Mexican diaspora, women activists.
This essay seeks to deepen the study of political transnationalism, with reference to the implications and role that women have in the formation, structure and dissemination of extraterritorial political and social movements. Based on empirical data, this essay presents an original typology that highlights the type of mobilization strategies deployed by Mexican migrants from Belgium. In conclusion, it is established that the mobilization of Mexican women from abroad depends on their perception of the insecurity and national context of their country of origin, as well as the available political opportunities they have encountered abroad, the political remittances and information flows they maintain with Mexican society, as well as their skills and capabilities to navigate between two social contexts , economic and political.
Political transnationalism, extraterritorial activism, Mexican diaspora, women activists. Political transnationalism from Belgium: social movements organized by Mexican activists.
Since 2006, Mexico has faced a major security crisis. The increase in the number of murders, disappearances, torture and human rights violations has sown great outrage in the Mexican population both inland and abroad (Anaya, 2015).
In particular, some analysts have hypothesized that the case of the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa, in September 2014, sensitized the Mexican population and reinforced their political commitment (González Villarreal,2015). An example of this is the reaction of Mexican migrants who have organized political mobilizations and demonstrated their support for victims of the wave of violence that is affecting the Mexican population.
Studies on political transnationalism have highlighted that gender, age, level of education, immigration and social status, time spent abroad and interest in national political issues are key elements in understanding migrant political mobilization related to political issues in their country of origin (Portes, Escobar and Walton Radford, 2007; Guarnizo, Portes y Haller, 2003; Lafleur, 2013; Lafleur and Calderón, 2011).
In general, these studies have revealed that married men over the age of 40 and with a high level of education are the most likely migrants to organize transnational political activities (Portes, Escobar and Walton Radford, 2007). D’Aubeterre Buznego (2005) and Bermúdez (2016) have stressed the importance of analyzing the migration phenomenon from a gender perspective to recognize the opportunities, power relations and social constructs that determine the transnational behavior of women.
This essay seeks to deepen the study of political transnationalism, with reference to the implications and role that women have in the formation, structure and dissemination of extraterritorial political and social movements.
From this theoretical framework, it recognizes the weight that migrants and society, both in the country of origin and in the receiving country, have in the organization of transnational political activities.
To this end, an ethnographic study carried out over 18 months in Belgium was based in which the dynamics, organization and implications of transnational movements organized from the capital of the European Union were studied.
It should be noted that, at first, the study did not intended to study exclusively Mexican women involved in political activities; however, the results revealed that most transnational activities organized from Belgium are orchestrated by women.
Mexican migrants have been key players in organizing transnational political movements that contribute to extraterritorial democratization processes. In this case, its domination in the transnational political sphere can be explained by:
1) Your level of education, occupation and time available to organize political activities;2) For your personal interests and family situation;3) For the desire to return to your home country.
The profile of the interviewees varies according to their age, occupation, marital status, immigration status and time abroad (table 1).
Theoretically, it is proposed that political and social movements organized by Mexican women from abroad arise from their perception of insecurity and social situation in Mexico; they depend on their political and social connections to Mexican society, personal networks and the resources they have in Brussels to organize movements, convene an audience and spread their political message.
The essay begins with a review of literature on political transnationalism and extraterritorial political participation; exploring previous studies to determine the origin, patterns, and objectives of the political mobilization of migrant populations (Astergaard-Nielsen,2003; Guarnizo, Portes y Haller, 2003; Lafleur, 2013; Portes, Escobar and Radford, 2007). The concept of “political remittances” is then discussed (Piper, 2009; Tabar, 2014; Boccagni, Lafleur and Levitt, 2015) and delves into its usefulness and implementation in the study of transnational political mobilization. The next section introduces the methodology and design of the research. Subsequently, empirical data organized from a typology are presented that highlights the type of mobilization strategies implemented by Mexican migrants from Belgium. Typology is the result of the analysis of the tactics applied by migrants to support their transnational political activism.
First, transnational political activities are conceived as an extension or a reflection of political movements organized in Mexico. In other words, it is proposed that the form, message and objectives of transnational political movements organized by Mexican ones in Brussels is the reproduction of Mexican political movements. Second, transmigrating political mobilization techniques are recognized. This type of mobilization and political strategies are orchestrated by migrants who move frequently between Mexico and Brussels. In general, the mobility of these migrants presents new opportunities for transnational mobilization by being in direct contact with society in various geographical territories.
The dynamics of transmigrating political mobilization lie with the personal initiative of migrants and their determination to achieve tangible short-term political and social objectives. Finally, the third category of political mobilization encompasses the techniques of political lobbying and exploitation of local political opportunities available in Belgium.
Political transnationalism and political remittances
Political transnationalism has been a topic of great interest among migration experts. One of the greatest contributions, in the study of political transnationalism, is the theoretical framework developed by Astergaard-Nielsen (2003) to categorize the political participation of migrants. According to the author, migrants can engage in political activities related to immigrant, country of birth, emigration, diaspric and translocal politics (2003, p. 762). Participation in immigration policy encompasses transnational political activities organized by migrants seeking to improve the social, political and economic situation in the host country. On the other hand, policy involvement in the country of birth concerns activities organized by migrants interested in engaging in their nation’s political issues. This category includes political activities organized around the national policy or foreign policy of the country of origin of migrants. The involvement in emigration policy refers to dialogue between migrants and their countries of origin on their legal, economic and political situation (Astergaard-Nielsen, 2003, p. 762), while involvement in diaspural politics includes the political struggle of groups of migrants who cannot participate directly in the political system of their country of origin. Therefore, this type of extraterritorial involvement connotes a political dispute and a delicate relationship between migrant communities and the governments of their home countries.
Finally, participation in translocal policy consists of political initiatives organized abroad with the aim of improving the situation of local communities of origin (Astergaard-Nielsen, 2003). Such initiatives do not necessarily involve the governments of the country of residence or origin (Lafleur and Martiniello, 2009).
The typology developed by Astergaard-Nielsen (2003) has several limitations. First, as Lafleur and Martiniello (2009) explain, it does not make clear how translocal policy differs from the politics of the country of birth; second, this typology reduces the role of society in countries of origin in transnational political activism of migrants.
Indeed, this typology focuses on the role of migrants and governments in both the country of origin and the country of residence, omitting the impact of society in the country of origin on the initiation and durability of extraterritorial political movements.
On the contrary, members of the home society are not passive actors; in fact, they act as key informants by sharing information about local politics and the social conditions of the country of origin with immigrants living abroad (Nedelcu and Wyss, 2016), it can be said that they are in constant contact with the facts of their place of origin, and that is why members of the society of origin can play an important role (whether information , support or as a network) to keep migrants informed about political and social developments in the country of origin. One of the great theoretical contributions to understanding the impact of exchanges, between society of origin and migrants, is political remittances.
According to Piper (2009), political remittances can be defined as activities, actions and ideas that aim to change the political practices of the country of origin of migrants. The circulation of such political ideas and practices originates in the social context of both the country of origin and the receiving country. Political remittances are also directly shaped by migrant migration experience (Piper, 2009). Boccagni, Lafleur and Levitt (2015) emphasize the usefulness of the concept of political remittances, as it allows us to analyze the drivers of political transnationalism, its origin and the dynamics created by migrants as generators of transnational political activities. It is important to recognize that migrants play a decisive role as generators, transmitters, transformers and recipients of transnational political ideas, values and behaviors. As Pérez-Armendáriz and Crow (2010) rightly point out, migrants have the power to influence the political processes of their home countries through three channels:
(1) Visits to their homeland,2) Cross-border communication with their relatives and loved ones and3) by the networks of information that exist between migrant communities.
Other important aspects to consider in the flow of political remittances, in addition to circulation channels, are the transportability of ideas and the frequency and intensity of transnational connections (Boccagni, La fleur and Levitt, 2015). It is important to consider that the use and exploitation of political remittances depends, on the one hand, on their transferability, but also on the willingness of recipients to transform and process them to shape political transformation projects.
The objectives of political mobilization also vary depending on the capacities and desires of migrant communities (Koser, 2007; Van Hear and Cohen, 2016). The political mobilization of diasporas abroad has several objectives. On the one hand, migrant communities seek to directly influence the political situation of their countries of origin by coming into contact with political actors, organizations and institutions responsible for making public policies or political actions in their country of birth (Muller-Funk, 2016). On the other hand, diasporas seek to raise awareness among society in the country of residence about political events occurring in their home country (Muller-Funk, 2016). In order to influence public opinion in countries of residence, migrants resort to various local political mobilization techniques. For example, by convening members of local civil society, making alliances with local public bodies or characters, or by inviting local media interested in reporting on their political and social struggles. In general, the concept of political remittances allows political transnationalism to be studied for three main reasons. First, the concept allows reflection on the mobility, transfer and circulation of political ideas between at least two geographical regions. Secondly, this concept recognizes the influence that societies have, both in the country of origin and that of residence, in the process of generating, transforming, and implementing transnational political practices. Finally, the term political remittances accentuates the role of migrants as protagonists in the formation of transnational political movements.
Migrants are the protagonists in the processes of transmission of political ideas and practices. They are also the ones who transform and articulate these political messages into actions of change and transnational political activism. Considering that migrants play a central role in the dissemination of transnational political strategies, this research proposes an ethnographic analysis to understand the social behaviour, motivations and interests behind the practices of transnational activism supported by Mexican migrants residing in Belgium. The typology presented in this article provides a complement to previous studies, as it analyzes contexts and actors usually not taken into account what Mexican women in Europe may look like and the use of the concept of “political remittances” to capture the flow of political ideas and practices between at least two territories. MethodologyThe data presented in this article were obtained through participatory observation at political and social events organized by members of the Mexican community residing in Belgium, for 18 months. 14 semi-structured interviews were conducted with Mexican women who organize transnational political activities; Also attended were political events that included: artistic activities, reading poems, gastronomic events, inns, concerts, academic conferences, book presentations, video screenings, demonstrations and events for the collection of signatures for different causes. From these ethnographic methods, it was possible to observe specifically the processes, meanings, emotions and interests that make activists engage in political activities (Herbert, 2000). The data collection phase was accompanied by two major position reflection processes (Vivas Romero, 2017; Schwartz-Shea and Yanow, 2012) of the researcher on earth and on the protection of participants’ data (Markova, 2009). Throughout the data collection process, the researcher maintained a thoughtful and critical attitude to the social and political phenomena she observed (Murillo and Martínez-Garrido, 2010). It is important to mention that repeated interaction with several women in the Mexican community in Belgium was indispensable to know their daily activities and lifestyles. During this phase, the researcher had the opportunity to participate in the boards of organization and preparation of
several transnational political events, this served to observe group and organizational dynamics, division of labor and interaction between transnational Mexican activists. It is essential to refer that the researcher maintained a neutral stance during these meetings, by not ruling on decision-making, for example, on where the event would be organized, its form, its content or on broadcast channels. All participants gave their explicit and oral consent to participate in the research and it was decided to use pseudonyms to protect their Identity. At last, it is important to clarify that this research focuses on individual cases for two main reasons. First, according to pitiful subjection (Pleyers, 2017), the individual is the centerpiece of the winds because they make the decision on form, sizey time of mobilization. Second, these theories explain that’s on the other time social movements are increasingly est distanced from institutions and formal organizations, thus privileging individual actions and Personal.Extension national political movements in the ForeignExist studies showing that the political mobilization of migrant populations is closely linked to political developments queocurren in your home country (Koinova, 2013; Muller-Funk, 2016). I mean that, at the same time, mobilize from abroad, migrants tend to replicate political movements that previously happened in their countries Origin. As can be seen from the examples presented below, the movements organized by Mexican migrants from Brussels have come to inspire in the form, slogans and symbols, of the mobilizations that occurred previously in Mexico.In this section discusses two examples of transnational political mobilization organized from Brussels, closely related to Mexican mobilizations (Pleyers, 2017). Examples of mobilization demonstrate that organization, outreach strategies, political messages and even political objectives are highly influenced by social movements organized in Mexico.Las migrant women who have organized political movements from Brussels are kept informed about Mexican politics and maintain a cross-border and constant communication with their family and friends, who inform them about the political situation Mexico. Beyond the importance of political remittances that influence the nature and demands of transnational political movements, it is important to recognize that exchanges between members of Mexican society and migrants Mexico. It is important to mention that each example presented in this section shows that the realization of political movements depends on the resources and political opportunities exploited by migrant women leading movements Transnational. Natalia she has been living in Brussels for a few months. When he arrived, he did not actively search for other Mexicans in the capital Belgian. To principle, one of his great goals was to adapt to his new life and learn from other cultures; however, her interest in the Jarocho son brought her closer to a group of young people who practice this type of music every Monday in one of the most multicultural neighbourhoods of Brussels. Before moving to Europe, Natalia had experience participating in social movements in Mexico:Got to publish photos in newspapers in the movement of #YoSoy132. It was well lit there. I got to publish the pictures in newspapers. Like even There. Collaborate, march, take photos, search for information, soaking up what is happening (Semi-structured interview, 24 November 2017, Brussels).In Mexico, Natalia was interested in social movements and supported certain mobilizations; however, I had never had the initiative disorganize a political event until he arrived in Brussels; there, he decided mobilize around the campaign to collect signatures for the independent candidate for the Presidency for the July 2018 elections: Mary of Jesus Patrick,”Marichuy”. Her enthusiasm, political convictions and desire for the situation of violence and discrimination in Mexico to change motivated her to organize and participate in three types of political events to support the spokeswoman for the National Indigenous Congress. Natalia organized an inn, a five-day signature fundraising campaign and was a moderator in a video conference involving members of the Indigenous Council, “Marichuy” and Mexicans in more than 20 cities around the world. Natalia became an assistant to collect firms in Europe after a well-known one in Mexico told her that it was possible to support this political cause from abroad through a mobile application developed by the National Electoral Institute (Ine, 2018). Natalia’s political mobilization is an example that migrants living abroad continue to be interested in the political affairs of their home country because of their political convictions, their personal interests, as well as their ties to the society of their country of birth. However, it is important to emphasize that the organization and execution of the three events depended specifically on Natalia’s resources and network of acquaintances, her agility in convening the rest of the Mexican community, and the willingness of other connationals to support her initiative. Finally, the kind of political activism that Natalia organized is structured according to established standards and material produced in Mexico. For example, the National Electoral Institute (Ine) ruled that the deadline for collecting signatures to support independent candidates for the presidency was 19 February 2018. This standard structured the political activities organized by Natalia in a timely manner. With a deadline, the young migrant devised a campaign strategy in which she repeatedly summoned the Mexican population in Belgium over three years Months. Other example of political mobilization, closely linked to political movements that have happened in Mexico, is the demonstration organized by Ana paraconmemorating the third anniversary of the disappearance of Ayotzinapa students. On September 26, 2017, she summoned members of the Mexican community in front of the Mexican Embassy in Brussels to remember Alos 43 students missing from Ayotzinapa. The demonstration brought together unadocena Mexicans dissatisfied with the situation of injustice and violence in Mexico, and included a series of political messages delivered through a megaphone and banners with portraits of the 43 students Missing. Ana she has been an artist living in Europe for more than 20 years. His political awareness began from an early age, when he was participating in donation campaigns. Later, he became a student leader and worked as a social worker in an indigenous community in Jalisco. She has always been interested in the political situation in Mexico and, despite the distance, is kept informed through newspapers, online news broadcasts and the regular communication she maintains with her friends and family. Two of the problems that most unsettle the singer are insecurity and femicides in Mexico:The femicides across the country are crazy. I have sisters, nieces and I suffer a lot. I was crying today because they found the body of a thirteen-year-old girl in Guerrero. […] I’m very saddened by what’s going on. What I can do, fortunately, through social media and for being a singer, an actress, a public bodies, is to denounce (Semi-structured interview, 22 November 2017, Brussels).The Mexico’s violent events and injustices prompt Ana to mobilize from abroad and organize demonstrations and concerts to raise funds to support various causes. Ana uses the information she reads enlos newspapers, and the one that share his personal contacts in Mexico, to make social and political demands from Brussels. Once he decides to mobilize for a cause, he seeks the necessary permits before the Belgian authorities, in order to be able to organize political demonstrations with others Mexican. Is important to mention that Ana uses social media as a tool to summon other Mexicans to the marches, to spread political messages and share news that she considers relevant. In general, Ana replicates political manifestations that occur in Mexico from Brussels for three main reasons: first, to support her personal contacts who ask her to speak out for some specific cause to the European authorities; secondly, because it considers the Belgian capital to be a strategic place to make social demands, because of the symbolic and political weight of the fact that this city is the seat of the Commission and the European Parliament. Finally, Ana is mobilized for her political convictions to denounce the injustices that occur in Mexico and for the great attachment and affection she has to her country of Origin:Frankly, Mexico is going through an emergency situation and, frankly, the Mexicans living abroad have to point it out and report it. […] What motivates me and takes me out of my house is the thirst for justice. It’s something that’s going to move me until I’m very old. The thirst for balance. Thirst for peace is what gets me out of my house, even if it’s snowing or raining. Above all, what motivates me is Mexico. It motivates me that injustice in Mexico will end […] If you don’t report, you’re a callous, vile person. It seems to me that everyone should be pointing and denouncing (Semi-structured interview, 22 November 2017, Brussels).Ana is a Mexican worried and outraged by the situation in her country which, since more than 20 years ago, he made political demonstrations from abroad. Her profession as a singer and her extensive network of personal contacts, so muchen Mexico and as in Europe, have allowed it to have a position privileged for convene marches, benefit concerts, political debates, between Other. Mobilization transmigrant: experiences between Belgium and Mexico.El second type of mobilization organized by migrant women Mexican Brussels are transmigrant political activities. According to
Glick Schilleret al., “transmigrants are immigrants whose daily international lives and public identities are configured in relation to more than one nation” (Glick Schiller, Basch and Szanton Blanc, 1995, p. 48). The notion of transmigration underscores the ability and ability of migrants to navigate between political, economic and social institutions in various geographical locations. This section discusses two examples of political mobilization called “transmigrating” to capture the intensive flow of ideas, strategics and techniques that Mexican women have developed and implemented in Brussels. By using this term, it is intended to emphasize the circulation of ideas and political mobilizations of Mexican women between Belgium and Mexico who have maintained from physical displacement, cross-border communications and political remittances (Piper, 2009). Susana has been a textile designer and political activist who has lived in Belgium for eight years. After working on cultural events and craft projects in Mexico, she decided to move to Belgium for family reasons and to be able to offer better educational opportunities to her two children. Thanks to her extensive experience in textiles and embroidery techniques, Susana has managed to join the textile world in Brussels by designing molds and patterns. Both in her professional career and in her career as a social activist, Susana has managed to combine her interests for indigenous communities and the protection of women. Susana always had a creative spirit and a need to help the most vulnerable people living in conditions of marginality. From a very young age, he participated in an artisanal project for the iconographic rescue of textiles from small Mexican indigenous communities. From this experience, Susana was able to identify many of the social, economic and inequality problems faced by many indigenous women in the Mexican Republic. The living conditions of these women prompted Susana to form a civil society association in Mexico whose objective is to support the development of indigenous communities and the protection of girls and young people through the strengthening of local crafts. For several years, Susana has been collaborating with young embroiderers and reading machines in Mexico to improve their living and working conditions. Susana’s political activism can be described as transmigrating as it depends on her personal convictions and her interconnectivity between Mexico and Belgium, but at the same time on her economic ability and legal ability to cross borders between the two countries. Indeed, the legal rights that Susana has obtained in the European capital have allowed her access to new political opportunities (Martiniello and Lafleur, 2008), which has operated to form an association against domestic violence for Latin American migrant women residing in Belgium.In short, Susana is a woman who has been able to adapt to the context wherever she is, while manipulating the social and political structures at her disposal in order to develop and implement policies of transnational activism. Berenice is a young professional dancer who has lived in Brussels since 2009. When she arrived in Belgium, she sought opportunities to continue dancing and create stage productions. His perseverance and experience in the world of choreographic production have allowed him to work in important productions in Mexico. Berenice approached the Mexican community in Belgium following the #YoSoy132. Her outrage and concern about denting what was happening in her home country motivated her to form a small group of five young activists who organized demonstrations in front of the European institutions, made press releases and lobbying letters:That time of #YoSoy132 was so productive that we made connections. We had such good prestige that the people of Amnesty International contacted us. We did some events that went super well. A lot of people came. From there, the Ayotzinapa thing happened, but that was later. It was a very political time. I feel like I was going through a lot of time seeing what was going on in Mexico and doing replicas here (Semi-structured interview, 8 November 2017, Brussels). Initially, Berenice’s political activism focused on reproducing social movements that took place in Mexico. However, his activism changed in form and frequency once one of his relatives was arbitrarily arrested in Mexico. From his political experience replicating movements, Berenice managed to design political pressure strategies using the political and social capital at his disposal in Belgium. His transmigrating activism crystallized into movements physically organized in two territories, but influenced by the constant flow of information, the exchange of lobbying techniques, and the coordination of a network of personal contacts, both in Mexico and Belgium.Organizational techniques for political mobilization, learned in
Belgium, helped Berenice to effectively organize her family in Mexico to divide political lobbying tasks, establish media contact, follow up on the case with lawyers, and allocate financial resources for greater impact. During his family member’s incarceration period, Berenice traveled several times between Belgium and Mexico in order to present his family member’s case to the Belgian authorities and report one more case of injustice. I came to Belgium to tell all my bosses that maybe I was not coming back and that I had come to get signatures from [European] parliamentarians. I was lucky that day. I came here [to Brussels] and took the Commission and Parliament out on the street. […] That day there was a fair of doors open to Parliament and there were all the parliamentarians or at least the most important ones there, directly to talk to all people. So I trained and told them about my family’s case. I took pictures with everyone. They promised me some signatures. Some gave them to me, some didn’t. But I had pictures. […] I arrived in Mexico with three firms, one from the group of exarlamentarios and with two that I got that day of the fair (Between-semi-structured view, 8 November 2017, Brussels). Berenice’s political conscience and ability to exploit the political opportunities available to him in Belgium allowed him to submit documentation showing that his family member’s case was being heard in European instances before a solicitor in Mexico charged with carrying his family member’s case. Berenice is convinced that thanks to this transnational lobbying effort and its great media communication strategy in Mexico, her family member was granted freedom free of charge. Berenice’s activism changed as soon as he had to mobilize for a specific cause and that he knew that his transnational political activities could have a decisive weight in gaining the freedom of his family member. This case shows that migrants abroad are able to mobilize the legal and political structures at their disposal to achieve concrete policy objectives. The two cases presented in this section of transmigrating political activism reflect that migrants with the economic and legal capacity to travel, between their country of origin and that of residence, can exploit the political opportunities (Martiniello and Lafleur, 2008) available in both territories to design mobilization strategies for a specific purpose. It is also recognized that migrants adapt the accumulated political and social capital in their lives to design political mobilization strategies that best suit their context and goal in mind. Use of social capital and political opportunities in BelgiumThe third type of mobilization, presented in this section, focuses on the analysis of transnational political practices resulting from the search and exploitation of political opportunities in the country of residence of migrants. The main objective of this type of mobilization is to raise awareness of the problems of the countries of origin of migrants in the society that hosts them (Muller-Funk, 2016). Because these types of activities are mainly aimed at members of the society of the country of residence, their form and content tend to vary. Andrea has dedicated her whole life to acting. He has lived in Belgium for 18 years and has not always found it easy to find job opportunities in the field of acting, so he has carried out different activities such as working in the cultivation of roses. Andrea is an extremely energetic and cheerful woman. She is married to a Belgian citizen and together they organize activities to support various social causes in Mexico. The best way for Andrea to raise awareness of what’s happening in Mexico is through private concerts at home:In my house we [she and her husband] started doing concerts to bring together
funds for the ’43 and so far it’s going on. Well now it’s not just for the ’43, it’s for other causes. I started at my house with my husband and friends and with the people around me to organize concerts. There are 40 people in my living room. It’s not big, but everyone’s sorry. What I have found is many supportive people and artists who show up in the house with incredible quality and do not charge us. Almost all of them are Belgian. […] It’s quite a convivivial and people love it. They are also given more information, always from Mexico, always, always (Semi-structured interview, 2 February 2018, Brussels).
Andrea has organized concerts several times at her home where she exposes what is going on in Mexico to an audience of Belgian friends and acquaintances. Between her and her husband they make advertisements in Dutch so that their guests know what is happening in their home country and stand in solidarity with the Mexican population through financial donations. Once the concert is over, Andrea sends the money collected to people she trust in Mexico who work on specific social causes or who support a political movement that is a child of their political ideals. In most concerts, the European musicians he receives at home stand in solidarity with the political cause by providing their services for free. The jazz or blues concerts, which she organizes with her husband, have allowed her circle of acquaintances to be informed about the situation of violence and injustice in Mexico while raising funds to send them to causes they sympathize with. In addition to the concerts, Andrea has done other activities for political purposes, such as collecting signatures to denounce injustices, campaigning political information, and sticking small stickers with political messages. Rosa is a woman who arrived in Belgium more than 15 years ago with her family, so that she could offer a better education to her child and access better employment opportunities. He has university studies in communication and speaks fluent Spanish, Dutch and English. Since her parents died, Rosa has limited her travels to Mexico; however, her brothers, cousins and friends keep her informed of important political events happening in the country. His political interest has origins in his family history, as his grandfather was a high-ranking politician in Mexico during the 1940s. As a result, Rosa has always taken an interest in politics and has questioned a lot about the privileges of the Mexican political class. Rosa has no intention of returning to Mexico, but she cares about the situation of insecurity and widespread violence that the country is going through: I no longer have much family in Mexico, but it does give me something to hear people whohave children of mine’s age and who can’t even go out and do absolutely nothing … So is the issue of girls disappearing. Gee! No way! I have nephews, children of friends. I’d like those jackets to have the same freedom mine has here. May the popes live with the same tranquility with which one lives here … Before, you did hear “there was a little bite” or “a missing person.” Right now I don’t know a single person in my countrymen who doesn’t have a close friend or a family member who hasn’t had something ugly happened to him. Not one. It’s happened to everyone. Either they were assaulted, or they raped a relative, or they kidnapped someone, or they were called to extort them. Really, I don’t know anybody. I think people are waking up more. And what I hope is that the people who live abroad will also react. Let us not live in the bubble of “here I am calm”, but on the contrary, take more interest in what is going on there (Semi-structured interview, 2 December 2017, Brussels). Mexico’s current insecurity and Rosa’s moral obligation,
to be able to contribute to improving political and social conditions, have motivated it to organize political lobbying strategies with Belgian and European authorities. I’m more than I like to go with politicians. Talk to politicians. We’ve already done that. We met with several of the MPs, handed them letters, handed them information that they didn’t have firsthand. Doing lobbying work, I like it better than going to protest in front of the embassy. It’s very respectable and someone has to do it. This protesting. […] But I’m more of a better subject, I write me a letter, I’m looking for sources, I make an appointment with a politician and I go and leave them or talk to them. That catches my eye more and I do it more …. For example, on one of these visits, they were made observers from here [Brussels] to Mexico. It was possible to contact some ong in Mexico […]. I think that’s very important, that you don’t think there’s only one and that you just yell from here. We presented information to parliamentarians and there were concrete results (Semi-structured interview, 2 December 2017, Brussels). Rosa considers “all forms of activism” to be important (Semi-structured interview, 2 December 2017, Brussels). Recognizes the efforts of other Mexicans who decide to organize demonstrations, cultural events or fundraising events. However, it stresses that lobbying is an extremely important activity that takes place behind the scenes. It describes political lobbying as a very exhausting form of activism by not seeing an immediate reward, such as a journalistic note. From their point of view, lobbying is a time-consuming activity: from getting an appointment, preparing meetings with politicians, to convincing them that Mexico’s problems are relevant to Europe. Rosa has managed to boost political activities for Mexico by coming into direct contact with European politicians, demonstrating that she has learned to navigate mexico’s political system in order to organize lobbying activities at the international level. ConclusionThis essay explores the transnational political activities they have led
Mexican women from abroad. From the narrated life stories, various types of extra territorial political mobilization were identified. First, movements that are a replica or an extension of the political activities that arise in Mexico. Secondly, the transmigrant activities are analysed, demonstrating the relevance of considering the physical mobility of migrants involved in this type of political activism. Finally, political mobilizations were presented with the aim of raising awareness and attracting the attention of the Belgian and European people. The purpose of these actions is to inform the foreign population that what is happening in Mexico is relevant in order to improve the protection of human rights at the global level. Empirical data – obtained from interviews, observation and participation in various spaces, presented in this essay – show that the mobilization of Mexican women from abroad depends on their perception of the insecurity and national context of their country of origin, as well as the available political opportunities they have encountered in Brussels, political remittances and information flows they maintain with Mexican society; Finally, their mobilization also depends on their skills and abilities to navigate between two social, economic and political contexts. Both the transnational political interest maintained by migrants from abroad, and their ability to adapt to different contexts, have allowed them to create their own and extra institutional channels to try to contribute to improving the social and political situation in Mexico.Recognition of the answering political experience, which migrant women acquired in Mexico before migrating, is more not indispensable to trigger their transnational political mobilization. Finally, it is shown that the time migrants have spent abroad does not affect the initiative to engage in extraterritorial political movements. Transnational political activities organized by migrant women have been important at the individual level, as this allows them to maintain personal and political ties with Mexican society, weave support networks with other Mexicans abroad and contribute in some way to improving the political situation of their home country, through access to social justice. 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Research and exploratory project to identify the needs and migration trajectory of Latin American Women to Belgium.
Meeting with migrant women and focus group to talk about the migration trajectory and the integration experience in Belgium. Precisely in Antwerp
Program (pilot) Mujeres Siempre, Mujeres with 5 Interviews made to indispensable Latin American Women who are living in Belgium: Ms. Norma Goicochea – Ambassador of Cuba, Ms. Guadalupe Ramos – Feminist Lawyer, Ms. Silvia Ábalos – Mexican Artist, Ms. Ligia Uribe – Defender of Human Rights – Colombian, Ms. Cecilia Torres – Ottignies-LLN-Ecuadorian Councilor.
Presentation in the national week of Literature, InterlitraTour with the reading of poetry by writers from Belgium, Sudan, Vietnam, Colombia, Mexico and Turkey with traditional music from Peru.
Conference with the PhD. Guadalupe Ramos Ponce legal expert in law and femicide in the framework of t within the framework of the international he International Women Day in Brussel
Participation in the World March with the testimony and participation of victims.
Date of receipt:
July 6, 2018
Date of acceptance:
October 17, 2018
Larisa Lara Guerrero is a PhD student in migration and political science at the University of Paris VII and the University of Liege. She holds a degree in International Relations, graduated from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey y Sciences Po, Paris. He holds a master’s degree in Migration from Oxford University and a master’s degree in Security, Conflict and Development from King’s College London. Larisa has worked on various migration, development and security projects at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Organization for Migration. His research focuses mainly on the dynamics of political transnationalism, extraterritorial political participation and conflict zones.