Bound to the land for their own reasons are Margarita and the Coro alike. While bound to the land for the same reason are Urban Developers, Police, IDF, and Israel. All they see are impediments to economic progress, but it’s clear that there’s more to an old taco truck and some scattered candles on a sidewalk than meets the capitalist eye. While the building itself can be viewed as an extension of colonial-influence for existing on colonized land, its cultural re-appropriation over the years has operated as a form of land reclaiming within the rigid capitalist structure that binds Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Palestinian communities to this day. But this is more than just about that building, this is about land. The colonial imagination is and has always been about land. While the marginalized, ostracized, and demonized operate as carnate obstacles to their presumed rightful claim to it. In order to understand more in-depth how exactly the United States is able to commit these violent crimes, it’s useful to look at how the foundation of the United States was shaped to promote “religious freedom” for some, while simultaneously obscuring freedom from others.
As stated in the first amendment of the United States constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble… ” (Amendment 1, United States Constitution). In other words, a group of individuals with delegated power to represent its citizens does not have the legal power to inhibit their exercise of religion, speech, and assembly. However, while these words appear to promote freedoms, it’s important to recognize how these same words operate to exclude people like Margarita and members of the Coro and their expressions of speech, religion, and assembly in "Who Shot La Miguelito?". Obscured from sight by the liberal nature of the First Amendment is the goal of autonomy from the settler-colonial state. While emphasizing freedom, the United States juxtaposes this notion by establishing a rigid structure under which these freedoms can exist. There’s no question whether the colonial state obscures and benefits from these atrocities, rather, it’s a question of how exactly the state is able to execute these crimes.
It’s the very fact that freedom is expressed within a politicized structure that freedom is unattainable. Sean San Jose's “Who Shot La Miguelito?” addresses these very questions through the character of Margarita and her expressions of grief following the death of Miguelito. Following Miguelito’s murder, Margarita reacted in such a way that re-centered the root of the problem from Police Brutality, to a feeling of resentment toward La Virgen de Guadalupe. In this particular moment, Margarita expresses a feeling of isolation and loneliness.
Obscured from sight by the liberal nature of the First Amendment is the goal of autonomy from the settler-colonial state. While emphasizing freedom, the United States juxtaposes this notion by establishing a rigid structure under which these freedoms can exist. There’s no question whether the colonial state obscures and benefits from these atrocities, rather, it’s a question of how exactly the state is able to execute these crimes. This can be seen operating in “Who Shot La Miguelito?” as a critique of the zionist occupation of Palestine. A tactic that’s proven effective for settler-colonial states is the re-centering of blame. It’s been able to hide its tracks with the help of having people who look just like you and me do their menial work for them. Therefore, a clear face or pattern is never associated with the violence that is faced by targeted communities. There’s no question as to whether the United States re-centers blame in order to preserve the moral standards which it itself has defined. The American state is able to hold power over us in this regard by weaponizing our likeness. Being inflicted harm upon from someone who you would consider to be your friend has a much larger effect than had it come from someone you wouldn’t identify with.
Created with an image by Jon Sailer - "untitled image"