“For some reason, people react very strongly to the sight of red water”
Victor Garcia Zapata is an anti-drug activist in Mexico City. He is one of the organizers of the ‘Paremos las balas, pintemos las Fuentes’ movement.
The idea of dying fountains red came up almost by accident. I and a group of friends – mostly artists and political activists from Mexico City – were discussing ways of showing our support to Mexican poet Javier Sicilia’s call for a “National Pact for Peace
” on May 8 [a list of propositions to shift the fight against organized crime from a militaristic approach to a public safety and anti-corruption strategy; full text in Spanish here
]. We wanted to organise events that would draw attention to his message and get as many citizens and organizations as possible to endorse the pact. The dye is vegetable-based paint that dissolves fairly easily and does not stain the monument itself.
“Our message is addressed mainly to the government”
The ‘blood fountains’ were part of a series of other public actions (demonstrations, video projections, art installations), but they were by far the ones that drew most attention. For some reason, people react very strongly to the sight of red water: they stop in their tracks, ask questions, some get very emotional. Maybe it’s the biblical connotations, maybe the fountains remind them of the “narco-pozos” [wells containing bodies] that have been discovered across the country in recent weeks.
Our message to stop the violence is partly addressed to drug traffickers, of course, but mainly to the government. We believe it needs to change track entirely in the war on drugs. It’s no use pitting violence against violence. If actions like the blood fountains help mobilize public opinion enough to put pressure on the government and push for change, then I consider them a success.”