Julieta Ramirez is a congresswoman in Mexico, a role she took on when she was just 26 years old. She was one of the participants from Latin America at the fourth Conference of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds in Ankara earlier this month. Her political life started when she sought to improve conditions in her home town of Mexicali, a border town in Baja California. She was supported by her parents, who drove her from place to place for a youth group that organised political, ecological and social activities. At the time, she had no political party or defined ideology to follow.
Ramirez went on to study law at the state university, where she collaborated with the UN and participated in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights based in Costa Rica. She is currently studying for a Master's Degree in Public Administration.
I started our interview by asking her to explain the political situation in Mexico.
Julieta Ramirez: By the end of the twentieth century, Mexico was applying neoliberal policies that resulted in rising unemployment, the privatisation of government services, the banks having a lot of power and cuts in social programmes. Wealth accumulated in very few hands, while millions of Mexicans became poorer. At the same time, organised crime, usually involved in drug trafficking, took control of the country, creating an army of mainly poor people. The current administration headed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the Morena Party, of which I am a member, have promoted a leftist government at the service of the people, against corruption. Its main policy, for the good of all, is to put the poor first.
Abdullah Omar: What is the political future for Latin America?
JR: Mexico's current role in the region, with Latin America and North America, is setting the agenda for our continent. This has been said by international leaders. Our president makes no distinction between anyone, and is promoting a work plan to help the people who have faced the most problems during the pandemic and those most in need. The future of the continent is taking a very fraternal and supportive turn.
AO: What is the connection between the Palestinian people and the Mexican people?
JR: Historically, Mexico as a country has always extended ties of friendship without distinction in favour of the dignity of every human being and self-determination. The people of Palestine have many committees in Mexico that look after their resistance, their cause and their problems, and they have thousands of Mexicans in solidarity with them.
AO: How do you see the future of the Middle East?
JR: My position is to put peace as a priority for the children, the women and all human beings living in the Middle East. War hasn't solved anything; it only creates wounds, displacement and death. Dialogue and the participation of the international community is the only solution for this crisis, with respect for all residents in the region to choose their way of life.
AO: You have participated in the Conference of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds for the first time. What was your impression of the event?
JR: I was honoured to be invited by the Grand Assembly of Turkey and the Latin-Palestine Forum (LPF) to participate, and for my country to commission me to attend. There is no doubt that such steps only bring positive results and a sense of fraternity among people, which are the best things to avoid conflicts. We cannot be oblivious to the pain of human beings, so if we can reverse this situation we must act, as long as it is in accordance with the law and for legitimate causes, such as that of Palestine and its people.
AO: How was it to meet parliamentarians from all over the world?
JR: It was a unique experience. The exchange of information and knowledge allowed us to understand the different legislative practices around the world. The causes are generally similar everywhere; we all care for the welfare of our people, to give them peace and economic development to improve the living conditions of each person we represent and their families. I will return to my country with a lot of knowledge and things picked up in Turkey that I will put into practice.
I was very surprised by, and am grateful to, the people of Turkey, and to the legislative representatives for the opportunity to contribute to this conference. We are involved collectively in the defence of human rights. As a recommendation, in the future we could extend the call to get more countries involved, or perhaps the conference could be held in our cities and countries.
AO: What is your message to the Palestinian people in particular, and the Arab people in general across the Middle East?
JR: My message is simple. In Mexico you have a brotherly country that will always listen and look for peace, social justice and the dignity of the people. This world is our home and we cannot allow armed conflicts to continue to disrupt and destroy it. History has shown us that nothing good comes of conflict, so we must opt for dialogue and the search of human rights. Only then will we have a better future.