After the victory of Pedro César Carrizales, better known as El Mijis, as a deputy in the state of San Luis Potosí, his story has gone viral among Mexican users
Pedro César Carrizales Becerra is not a typical politician, he is a former gang member who now devotes his life to help young people to get out of crime and to rebuild the social fabric. With his proposals for inclusion and his search for being the voice of the excluded, El Mijis is a representative of the most vulnerable and forgotten sectors of Mexico.
The life of El Mijis
Carrizales, who is currently 39, suffered family violence as a child, he said in an interview with Buzzfeed News. For this reason, in his adolescence, he joined a street gang and became addicted to drugs and alcohol. At this stage of his life, he was arrested several times by the police and on one occasion was arrested for an "invented" crime. This experience helped him to understand the shortcomings of the law enforcement and the problems of social reintegration.
According to the BBC, for years he has been part of the chavo banda, an urban subculture of young people who are characterized by the use of loose shirts and pants, bandanas and sunglasses. However, the detail that attracts the most attention are the many tattoos on their arms and chest. In addition, Carrizales said that he has not left the world of gangs and drugs, because it is precisely in this world where he has been working for more than a decade to defend the rights of young people and combat addictions, according to the same media.
For more than a decade, El Mijis has become a social fighter. According to the BBC, in 2002 he joined the Movimiento Popular Juvenil, of which he is now a leader. This is a state organization of San Luis Potosí that promotes social programs and employment for young people immersed in gangs, with the aim of lead this community.
As of 2009, Carrizales leads the organization Un Grito de Existencia, an organization like the first, explains El Universal. Through both, he has participated in truces of peace between gangs in order to reduce violence and crime in the area. In 2015, he and a group of chavos banda traveled from several states on bicycles to deliver petitions to local congresses to stop criminalizing and discriminating against these young people, according to the BBC. This at the same time they were trying to keep the boys away from drugs and illicit activities.
For the election of this year, Carrizales obtained the deputation for the state of San Luis Potosí from the hand of the coalition Juntos Haremos Historia. Carrizales considers, according to what he said in an interview with El País, that even though the figure of AMLO was a great help for his campaign, the one who gave him the victory was his work with the youth. He has even remarked that even though other parties offered him the same opportunity and that he also considered himself an independent candidate, his main commitment has always been with young people and not with the parties.
Attacks on social media
Although his work has been recognized internationally, in social media circulate images that seek to discredit and encourage discrimination. One of the most popular photos during this week is one of a conference in 2015, during his bicycle tour around the country. This photo has been taken out of context and fed by false information, a situation that denied the Mexican newspaper Vanguardia.
Carrizales denounces in his Twitter account that, in addition to the images, there are multiple accounts that are impersonated him, disclose photos of his youth and comment on criminal events in which he was involved, but in which he did not actually participate. In response to these unfair criticisms, Carranza published in his social media the non-criminal background report issued by the Dirección de Servicios Periciales de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado, a record that exempts him from any crime.
This is a situation that gives an account of the discrimination and prejudices that are clouding the eyes of some Mexicans, who seek the minimum inconvenience to attack those who have been elected on July 1 and are not to their liking. However, the change in Mexico will only take place with the help of a unified society.
LatinAmerican Post | Ana Gabriela Martínez
Translated from "El Mijis: Un representante de los sectores más vulnerables y olvidados de México"