Members of Derechos Humanos were present for the sham preliminary hearing that released the four marines involved with Esequiel's murder from any criminal liability.
We have been pressing for the realization that these policies result in damage to ALL of us, including U.S. citizens, and native sons like Bennett Patricio, Jr., a young Tohono O'odham man who was killed by a Border Patrol agent in 2002, Francisco Dominguez in 2007 and most recently Ramsés Barrón Torres in January and Carlos Lamadrid in March of this year.
Fourteen years ago today, Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. was shot and killed by U.S. Marines. The 18-year old was herding goats, a mere 100 yards away from his home in Redford, Texas. We honor the memory of this young man who never got the chance to live his dreams, whose life was lost in the most tragic way.
This is an excerpt from a memorial gallery online honoring his life:
"Unknown to Esequiel or any of the other residents of Redford, a group of four Marines led by 22-year old Corporal Clemente Banuelos had been encamped just outside the small village along the Rio Grande River for three days. After watering his small flock of goats in the river, Esequiel started on his way back home when the Marines began stalking him from a distance of 200 yards.
The four camouflaged Marines were outfitted with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment and weapons. Esequiel carried an antique .22 caliber rifle - a pre-World War I, single shot rifle to keep wild dogs and rattlesnakes away from his goats. The autopsy showed that Esequiel was facing away from the Marines when he was shot. He probably never knew the Marines were watching him from 200 yards away.
Thus it was that a 22 year-old United States Marine shot and killed an innocent 18 year-old boy tending his family's goats. This outrageous act was the inevitable consequence of a drug prohibition policy gone mad. Esequiel Hernandez was killed not by drugs but by military officers of the United States government."
Today, as we remember the life of this young man who deserved the future he dreamed, let us promise to seek just border policies that protect the life and dignity of those that live on both sides of the border. Policies that would allow the military into civilian have proven to be deadly, and we cannot afford to lose our brothers, sisters, and children to policies that seek to demonize those who only seek a better life for themselves. The deaths must stop!
The gravesite of Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. Standing at this spot one can see where he was killed, where he was born and the church where he was laid out. Photo courtesy of James H. Evans.
To view the online memorial gallery, visit: http://www.mapinc.org/hernandez/