A Hunger Strike at Clinton’s Office
Harry Bubbins likes to plant things. When his friend Bradley Will was shot dead covering antigovernment protests in Mexico nearly two years ago, he planted a tree in the South Bronx to honor the slain journalist. This week, days after the Mexican government arrested two leftist protesters in connection with Mr. Will’s murder, Mr. Bubbins is again planting things.
Himself, on a Midtown sidewalk.
In an admittedly extreme move to draw attention to what he — and numerous human rights groups — say is a cover-up by Mexican authorities, Mr. Bubbins is on a four-day hunger strike outside the Third Avenue office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
He and Robert Jereski, a writer who also knew Mr. Will, are urging Senator Clinton to compel the Mexican authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder, as well as ask her to oppose a United States government initiative to send hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for drug enforcement efforts in Mexico and Central America.
A spokesman for Senator Clinton had not responded to a request for comment as of Thursday afternoon.
Next week will bring the second anniversary of Mr. Will’s death. His friends and supporters believe he taped the men who fatally shot him. And Mexico’s own National Commission on Human Rights — a government agency — has criticized and contradicted federal prosecutors who insisted last week that the fatal shots came from protesters at close range.
“Until there is justice for Brad, and the other journalists who have died in Mexico, we should not send money to a government that violates people’s rights,” Mr. Bubbins said. “You saw the pictures. These guys are out these on the loose. They’re not in jail.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists — which has listed Mexico as among the most dangerous places for reporters — also views the recent arrests with skepticism.
“From the various elements taken from the experts who analyzed the size of the wounds, ballistic evidence and other forensics, the shot could not have come from close range,” said Carlos Lauria, the Americas program coordinator. “To say they did is insane. The prosecutors did this without giving us their reasoning. It is insane what they are doing.”
Pedestrians along Third Avenue might think Mr. Bubbins is insane for camping out next to a parking meter by a loading zone. They walk past, cellphones to their ears, carrying on one-sided conversations while striding past the quiet protest.
On Wednesday, Mr. Bubbins was wrapped in a blanket and leaning against a meter while Mr. Jereski engaged a young man in conversation. Zool Zulkowitz, a fellow activist, handed out fliers to passers-by, walking alongside them while he recited quick facts about the case.
“Hi,” he said. “Our friend Brad Will was murdered in Mexico by Mexican paramilitaries. We demand our government investigate.”
Some waved him off. Others took the flier and kept on walking. One man tried to silence him with a glare and a threat that involved a coffee cup, incest and Mr. Zulkowitz’s head.
But people have also stopped to talk to the protesters.
“They might have walked by the first day,” Mr. Bubbins said. “But then they see we’re still here. We tried to set up a meeting with Senator Clinton a couple of weeks ago, but nobody responded. Now we’re here. Now we can meet right here.”