CONSULADO MOVIL / MOBILE CONSULATE
I, Omar Pimienta, declare myself Consul of Colonia Libertad. Colonia Libertad is famous due to its geopolitical location; it is the first neighborhood off the San Ysidro entry port into San Diego California. It is Tijuana’s oldest colonia—one of the few border-fenced settlements in the world. I was born and raised in this neighborhood. Many, if not most, of California’s Mexican illegal immigrants that entered the country before 1994 crossed through Colonia Libertad. The militarization of the border delimited the neighborhood with a metal fence made of remaining landing strips from the first Gulf War; also, high voltage lamps light up living rooms throughout the night and surveillance cameras rise high over the fence and peer into the daily lives of the Libertad citizen. Colonia Libertad is a historical zone of transit, a buffer zone, a no man’s land and the perfect space for freedom.
I have conceptualized the neighborhood Libertad: Freedom as an independent free nation that grants Ciudadanía Libre to anyone willing to interchange their current passport for Pasaporte Libre. “Consulado Móvil/Mobile Consulate” is a performance that takes place anywhere outside the neighborhood. I install a desk, typewriter, camera and backdrop to take the picture of the soon to be Free Citizen. I create a passport in situ. The participants fill out an application—signature and thumbprints are required in order to obtain citizenship. The passport that I have created is interchanged for the current passports owned by the participants (most of them are voided passports). These passports eventually become part of an Archive of Free Citizens. This archive is ever growing and is displayed during the performances. The performance has no specific time duration and it usually ends when there are no more people willing to trade their passports.
Ciudadanía Libre functions within a political structure of no gains, no benefits and no political advancements. In Colonia Libertad, we believe in horizontal and vertical movement across race, class, culture, gender, disability, time and space. We are reluctant to acknowledge any activity as either a benefit or a disadvantage. Ciudadanía Libre will respect and validate your civil rights even if we, in Colonia Libertad, think you are wrong. Yet, since we lack actual military power, we can’t enforce that your local government act according to our Libertad laws.