Note from Solidaridad Negra: Thanks to some comrades who were able to travel from one city to another to visit the comrade Henry Zegarrundo, we were able to do an interview with him. To overcome the difficulties they carried out the interview during two visits, the first of which we made the proposal and left him the written interview so that he could respond in the same way. The second visit was to get his written responses and also share opinions-criterion about the repressive situation and about the solidarity of the anarchist-libertarian circles, collectives and movement.
The interview has several parts, which we will publish periodically. In this first part we wanted to talk about how it has affected the comrade to live the circumstances and consequences of the repressive blow. We wanted him in his own words to be in charge of analyzing an especially delicate topic: the complicity with the State of some people who call themselves anarchists.
It must be made clear that if he decided not to tell in detail each of the betrayals to the dignified anarchist struggle, it is due firstly to the existence of an open judicial process, an investigation in its course. Also it is important to say that this interview was made in 2012, which is why there are some dates (such as the mobilization within the prisons of the whole country) that were yet to happen.
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Solidaridad Negra: Explain a little about your case and the process that resulted in your incarceration. What is foreseen for the future?
Henry: On May 29 I was arrested by intelligence agents, while other individuals from the libertarian spectrum here in the city of La Paz, Bolivia were simultaneously arrested–13 in total. They raided our homes and in the afternoon they had us testify before the prosecutor, Patricia Santos. In this way the afternoon went by and after having testified the others were released. But the last four were not. That night they took us to cells in the FELCC (Special Force of the Fight Against Crime). Two to the city of El Alto (Vico and I) and two in the city of La Paz (Nina and Renato).
The next morning they had us “pass” an intelligence mobility in order to keep us out of communication with our families and lawyers. At around midday we were presented by the government minister Carlos Romero in a press conference, with the terror that they had “dismantled a terrorist organization with international connections.” This, according to the minister, after 7 months of arduous investigation. The funny thing is that for those 7 months they didn’t even know where I lived.
In this conference, which was the beginning of the frame-up at the public level, they presented as evidence flags, patches, zines, carnival masks, some studded jackets, CPUs, etc. Trying desperately to place the “public opinion” on the side of the State, since the arrival of the Ninth TIPNIS March in La Paz was approaching and in Cochabamba an OEA conference was coming up. The disinformation media in their servility to Power-Capital endorsed the State’s version.
On May 31st was set the hearing to determine cautionary measures where two (Vico, Renato) were given house arrest and the others (Nina and I) were sent to the prisons of Obrajes and San Pedro respectively, with the charge of “Terrorism and Attempted Homicide.”
The judge came to this decision thanks to the “collaboration and promise of continued collaboration” of the two members of the “Anarchist” Organization for Social Revolution (OARS) . Daniel, a militant of the Youth Anarcho-Communist Collective (CJAC), also collaborated in testifying. The repressive strategy of the State with this attitude of showing a political persecution is to repress the libertarian movement, and the anarchist one most of all, by means of fear and terror. In spite of that, the libertarian and anarchist movement is in the game of passivity, very few remain firm and consistent, the rest are depressed by the fear and terror imparted by the State.
Now almost 6 months have passed. Nina managed to leave prison, I am happy for that but I reject her collaborative attitude. In my case I’ve had 4 hearings suspended. The fifth and sixth I asked for the suspension of because they did not grant the necessary conditions and the rulings could have been annulled. Now my next hearing is on November 23rd.
In the next hearing I expect to be given house arrest, and if not then I will keep fighting to achieve my freedom.
SN: How has your stay in prison been? Tell us a little about the internal dynamic that has been yours to live.
H: I have gone through many difficulties in this period. Aside from the State’s frame-up was added people who are considered anarchist and libertarian, who are inside or outside of the prisons, harming me. Here in San Pedro I received a visit from family members, some friends and one compa or another. I have also received supplies from people who have taken my vegan diet into account. The visitors go through a search and seizure, and in many cases some people don’t want to return because of the way they are treated.
In a prison with open regimen, that is, some prisoners live with their family because their economic situation does not allow them to economically contribute to the outside. We are 2500 prisoners in a prison built for 600 people. Here in the prison I don’t have difficulties or problems with the other prisoners, sometimes we eat together.
In this period there have been three protests. The first and second were against the “retardation of justice,” asking for an ethical treatment of our visitors, that they not suspend hearings, claiming for older and disabled adults that their situations are taken into account and that they can obtain their release.
The third was spontaneous, on that occasion they closed the door to visitors at 3:30 pm. The people here reacted because visitors can enter until 4 pm, that made almost the whole population react. The authorities “solved” the problem by dismissing a couple of officials.
I have been working, doing some craftsmanship for a while. Then some other more informal work. The time stands still when you don’t do anything; I try to confront the boring routine by doing some exercise and sports. The rest of the time I occupy with reading and writing.
SN: With respect to your process, has there been enough commentary about the collaboration that some prisoners have had with the repressive organisms? There is much confusion out there about this very thing. Can you clarify what the facts were?
H: Yes. There has been snitching and collaboration. First, by some of the 13 arrested on May 29 (among them people from OARS and CJAC). Second, by the former prisoner who was released to house arrest. Third, it could be argued that the other prisoner who is in the Qalauma prison also collaborated, implicating other people. And fourth, people from outside the walls who made an open call for snitching.
With their own words (in their communiques) it is clearly noted that they entered into the game of Power, in some cases they confirm their militancy with organizations that are projected toward political parties.
It should also be emphasized that of the 13 people arrested on the 29th, almost half acted in a dignified manner. Unfortunately for us, we were all put in the same bag in the support campaigns. I asked them not to include me in these activities, since I do not accept having to minimize the attitudes of snitching and collaboration. The majority of people from the local libertarian spectrum are not interested in debating the issue, they admit they were wrong and that’s it.
Nor does it strengthen the anti-prison struggle, and this only guarantees the existence and permanence of the prisons. I am an anarchist and anti-authoritarian, I am conscious that authority is also reproduced when one sets down roots in daily life. Saying “I am a mother and I am a woman”  is the antithesis of the battle against patriarchy, it is machista in itself, victimizing, submissive and possessive of the role of mother and woman established by this patriarchal and dominant system. Total Liberation seeks precisely to undo ourselves of this individual “well-being,” intending to build a world that is different from this one, without authority, without parties, and without social roles.
On the other hand, the other prisoner tries to place the blame on his lawyer, stating that they changed his statement. From the basis of my own experience I don’t believe this; everyone is responsible for reading their own statements and changing them if there is something you didn’t say, before signing them. For me, OARS, CJAC, the other two arrested, and in addition these these, the people who comfortably intervene from a keyboard in order to justify the collaborating attitudes of their prisoners, are birds of a feather. What I most want and what I fight for is the end of the prisons for humans and non-humans, in spite of some people’s despicable and undignified conduct, my horizon hasn’t shifted one single millimeter… I hope that everyone takes their own conclusions not on the basis of interpretations, but from the facts of what happened in this scenario of struggle in Bolivia. They are there, filed in the investigation folders–this can’t be covered up, just as a finger can’t cover up the sun.