Objective: You will analyze non-fiction texts in order to describe how the overall structure and meaning are determined by its aesthetic impact.
Non-Fiction: I am facing 21 years in jail for a crime I didn't commit
Summary: I was convicted of kidnapping six Mexican federal agents. I didn't even know what the word meant.
Jacinta Francisco Marcial is serving a 21 year sentence for kidnapping six federal agents.
I am a Mexican Indian and growing up I didn't learn Spanish. I spoke only my mother tongue, Otomi. I spent my childhood looking after sheep and selling chewing gum on the streets. When I had my own children I was determined they would have shoes and an education. I had to work very hard, but all six of them went to school. On Saturdays we would all get together: sometimes we could only afford tortillas and beans, but my neighbours said we laughed so much they thought my daughters were my sisters. Now all that has been taken away.
On March 26, 2006, I had set up my stall as usual selling ice pops in the weekly market. I went to mass and afterwards everyone was talking about a police raid on the pirate DVD vendors. Later on, I took my daughter to the chemist and on our way back we noticed an argument between some women and a man. People said he was one of the Mexican federal agents who had taken the DVDs from the vendors without a warrant. The agent was paying compensation for the discs. I stopped to have a quick look then went back to my stall.
I forgot all about it until, on August 3rd, a man and a woman came to get me. They said I had to answer questions at the police station about a tree that had been cut down. As I couldn't speak Spanish, my husband came to translate. When they put me into a car I noticed there were other cars on the street corner filled with men with big guns. But I wasn't frightened because I knew I hadn't done anything wrong.
At the police station I saw the two women who had been arguing with the police in the market and we were all taken into a room full of press photographers. I was separated from my husband and I still didn't understand why I was there. Now, I know that six federal agents said they were kidnapped by the market stallholders and were claiming they had not been paying compensation, but a ransom. Someone had taken a photograph of me looking on at the argument and now they were arresting me for kidnapping – although at the time I didn't even know what the word meant.
I was taken to prison where they made me take off my traditional dress and put on overalls. Then I was taken to court. The other women arrested could speak Spanish but they wouldn't tell me what was going on. Instead they talked and talked to a court official. I sat in a corner and went to sleep until they woke me up to give me papers to sign.
It wasn't until a week later that my cellmates saw the news on the television and tried to explain to me what was being said. I was really scared and for a long time all I could do was cry. At night I hid under my blanket and wept. I never left my cell in the day. I had always been with my husband, my children and my people and I didn't know anything about prison.
Last year my daughter, who is a teacher, found Centro Pro Juárez, a human rights organization, who agreed to help. They say they know I couldn't have kidnapped six men and that I mustn't lose heart. In December the court clerk told me I had been sentenced to 21 years. I had been praying to God to make me strong when I heard the news, and at first I was able to stay calm, but that night was terrible. I called my husband and we cried together. I will appeal, but even if there are people who believe me, if the judge doesn't want to let me out what can I do? I never saw the judge throughout the trial, only court officials. I wanted to tell him the truth about what happened, how they tricked me when they arrested me and how nobody explained to me what was happening. I wanted to ask him why he had sentenced me to 21 years if he had never met me.
Sometimes I am frightened that the police will do something to my family. They know it wasn't a kidnapping, but they will never admit their mistake. They are very bad people and might retaliate because I am daring to fight back. I know there are lots of people like me in prison. People don't understand that the police just pick you up and take you to prison, where nobody listens to you and nobody believes you.
When I first arrived a few of the prisoners would call me "dirty Indian," and the prison guards would pick on me, but now I speak Spanish I can stand up for myself. I am learning to read and working in the prison workshop. I still get desperate, like the other day when my niece told me that the plants in my patio have all dried up. All I want is to go home to the way things were before. But things will never be the same.