Conchita Calvillo, an example of political consistency

Cochita Calvillo in a sit-in of activists in front of the government palace in San Luis Potosí, on October 15, 1992.Photo The Conference

oña Conchita Calvillo de Nava went to heaven at 12 noon, on May 7, in her house with doors open to all in San Luis Potosí, her land. A woman of extraordinary virtues, I met her thanks to her brother, Manuel Calvillo, poet and secretary of Alfonso Reyes; I had the joy of treating her notable family, especially Luis, her son, and Patricia, her daughter-in-law. The one I no longer met was Salvador Nava, who died too soon.

A graduate of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Salvador Nava was an ophthalmologist who began at the General Hospital of Mexico, but returned to his beloved San Luis. His total dedication made him very dear and his office became a court of miracles.

His political career began in 1958 as an opponent of the tyrant Gonzalo N. Santos. In the magazine Always! I remember that the editorial writers spoke of Gonzalo N. Santos as a cacique, and that Salvador Nava led the opposition and that everyone loved him. Sweet and calm, Dona Conchita supported him by marching in the street next to her and listening to all the complainers in her house with its open doors.

If the mornings of Andrés Manuel López Obrador have a precedent, perhaps it is in the custom of Salvador Nava at the time municipal president.

The doctor decided to publish news from his government on boards on the walls of the municipal palace that served as a thermometer. He insisted that all spending be disclosed so that any passerby could find out what the government was doing just by reading the billboards. Loyal and committed, Doña Conchita supported him in everything.

What politician had thought of informing the population like this? Only Salvador Nava could have thought of bringing to light the finances of his mandate. The honesty of his management gave confidence to the reluctant and his dedication earned him the admiration of a multitude of Potosinos, but the hatred of his adversaries and, above all, of many affected made several detractors exclaim: What a naive political measure! Nava confuses the government with a confessional.

In 1960, Don Salvador ran as a candidate for governor of San Luis Potosí. Those who felt alluded to began campaigns against him and against Navismo, a movement based on the honesty of the entire Nava family.

The strength of Doña Conchita, his life partner, paved that path that would turn his family into an outstanding political bulwark.

Being such an upright man attracted the love of the people, but the hatred of his adversaries. In Mexico, in politics and unfortunately for us, being honest has its price.

Nava founded the Potosino Democratic Party, with which he ran for the government of San Luis. The PRI handed victory to its candidate Manuel López Dávila and the navistas contested the election with repressed protests in the streets. Bernardo Bátiz, whom we love and admire so much in The Day, He participated in those demonstrations when he was a beardless youth and wrote about Don Salvador Nava: He himself defines himself as an ordinary man, and that is what arouses the most admiration; Democracy is a matter of ordinary men, of citizens who live from their work and also deal with politics without making much fuss, without giving the fact a greater importance.

Democracy was also the great objective of the struggle of Doña Conchita, whom the Zapatistas elected in 1994 when Salvador Nava had already died. Kind and smiling, sweet and calm, her presence was a balm and she endured all the limitations and discomforts of her stay in Chiapas. At the request of Bishop Samuel Ruiz García, the Zapatistas honored her by giving her the role of first judge of the National Intermediation Commission between the Zapatista army and the government of Mexico. (Of course, Doña Conchita favored the former.)

The meetings lasted from 1994 to 1998; I remember how Juanita García Robles, wife of one of the best foreign ministers in Mexico, and judge and party, admired the integrity, the lucidity of Doña Conchita. His words full of common sense, respect and prudence are what guide usdeclared the wife of Alfonso García Robles.

Doña Conchita already knew what she was facing going to the jungle, because almost 30 years earlier, on September 15, 1961, an armed conflict between navistas and public forces left several dead in the capital of San Luis. The army arrested Salvador Nava. Doña Conchita experienced firsthand all that a prisoner’s wife suffers and she dedicated herself to bringing food to her husband in jail.

Salvador Nava was released, but after a month he was arrested again. On February 5, 1963, he entered the San Luis Potosí Penitentiary where he was tortured. So, Doña Conchita advised him: Maybe it would be better if you stopped fighting, for you, for our children, for me, but I will do what you decide. What I do want you to know is that you are in danger of deathhe assured him with the integrity of his attitude and his house open to all.

Despite imprisonment and beatings, politics did not leave Don Salvador, and in 1981 he founded the Frente Cívico Potosino. The PAN and the PDM nominated him as a candidate for municipal president.

At that time, I was working as a reporter for the magazine Always!, directed by José Pagés Llergo, and I remember that, in his absence, Francisco Martínez de la Vega from San Luis Potosí directed the chocolate-colored pages. Martínez de la Vega influenced political work with his editorials. He entered Iván Restrepo’s house with a tray of cakes. At Iván’s table, they talked about San Luis Potosí and the meringues represented the goodness of Martínez de la Vega, but the name of Salvador Nava was not pronounced.

Don Salvador, sick with cancer, ran for governor with the PRD (I think). He won on August 18, 1991, but the government recognized a young Fausto Zapata, from the PRI. very chattythey said at Iván Restrepo’s house. Nava denounced the fraud and came on foot from San Luis Potosí on the arm of Doña Conchita, and both led a memorable march: the March for Dignity. Zapata was replaced by Gonzalo Martínez Corbalá, who had been our good ambassador in Chile before the good government of Salvador Allende.

In addition to accompanying Dr. Nava in his struggle, which included prisons, hunger strikes, betrayals, and death sentences, Doña Conchita was the main character in an act of peaceful civil resistance that the friends of the Nava family still remember today. For me, Doña Conchita was an example of political consistency, a social fighter as well as the mother of a line of patriots. She is hard on herself, she consented to those who approached her.

We remember her in the jungle of Chiapas in 1994, in the National Intermediation Commission next to Juanita García Robles, an engaged woman, wife of the former Secretary of Foreign Affairs; the great Zapatista day laborer, Pablo González Casanova, and the Chiapas poets Óscar Oliva and Juan Bañuelos.

By Editor

Leave a Reply