During the Global Week of Media and Information Literacy that took place this year in Kaunas (Lithuania) and Riga (Latvia), I met the Mexican Máximo Domínguez, who participated in the event by offering a talk in which he recounted the work they do from National College of Librarians of Mexico. Máximo is a librarian, bibliographer and activist. A very smiling, optimistic and fighter.
With him I spoke about the current situation that Mexico is experiencing of massive migratory movement from Central America to the United States and the plan that librarians in Mexico want to start to help immigrants.
"There is a constant migration of Central Americans (Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans). Mexico has been the obligatory transit to reach the United States, but this has never happened, in a massive way, at the same moment. Faced with this, there is no infrastructure to serve them and the government does not know how to act. It is there that the librarians already have an infrastructure in border libraries, universities, ... where the immigrants pass. Libraries can serve as monitors. "
Shortly after having this conversation, in the media I saw the plan of the Mexican government "you are in your house".
Although the government has already created this plan, I think it is interesting to share the view of how librarians think they can help migratory movements and how they plan to organize for it.
"The National College of Librarians works with the states through which migrants pass. We have thought of a plan, it is emergent, since we did not have contemplated this type of situation. The objective is to monitor through an application, receive help, tell them what their rights are, the institutions that protect them in Mexico and give them support so they know they are not alone at this time.
First we have to make the diagnosis of how many staff we are, how many libraries want to be part, who are the leaders to motivate others. Then, the training, a training for professionals who want to be part of the plan. Thirdly, to reach agreements with the organizations involved, civil societies, ... to join efforts and for the whole society to be mobilized.
We do not have a budget allocated for it. We do not have a lot of staff. We request help from the libraries of Mexico, the United States and Central America.
The National School of Librarians has an annual agenda. In November we will talk about this situation and the first dates, the first agreements, who will participate, ...
Libraries must comply with the UN 2030 agenda. Cities that are intelligent, peace, justice, equality, ... The basis is coexistence. The role of libraries is to agree to solve problems that were not contemplated and are a reality with the geopolitics we live.
Why libraries? The reason for the libraries is the user. The people that require information. That's what librarianship is for. In this conjuncture of political strategy, the librarians are joining us to be able to solve these needs that exist with the migratory movement, the corruption, the organized crime. The library is a safe, neutral place.
In Mexico there are border, rural, school libraries,... The library provides effective, reliable information. It helps maintain relationships with society. "
Realistically, they are aware that reaching agreements with border libraries in the United States will not be an easy task. "There is a discrimination of Trump towards Mexicans and Central Americans. Relationships are very cold. It took more than a year to reach an agreement with the free trade agreement.
A group of American soldiers will be guarding the border of Mexico and the United States. The border is being militarized. There is no human transit, where we are all people. Rapes have been committed and the distance between the United States and the Latin American peoples has increased.
Discrimination does not only come from the United States. There is also a part of Mexicans who do not agree with the arrival of immigrants, they are afraid that Central Americans will rob them. Eight years ago there was a massacre of migrants where they left more than 70 dead in a courtyard. There is no guarantee that the transit is safe and we can not guarantee it when they arrive at the border with the United States.
Statistically, it will not know how many people are going to die in transit or at the border. Do not forget that we are talking about lives, about human beings. And that is the priority, always. "