José Eduardo Bartolo Tlatempa
At the beginning I was afraid, but not anymore. We are not going to just cry anymore. These tears are going to be used to encourage us.
- María de Jesús Tlatempa Bello
In childhood, José Eduardo’s routine was to attend school, and then to work in construction with his father, Cornelio Bartolo Victoriano, who is a bricklayer. After his responsibilities were fulfilled, he would join his friends at the kiosk in the El Santuario neighborhood, in the city of Tixtla, Guerrero. Fascinated by breakdance, he and his friends choreographed and practiced their dance moves almost every day.
José Eduardo’s mother María de Jesús Tlatempa Bello, sold boiled corn on the streets, and the family saved for four years to put a solid roof on their house. In September 2013, Hurricane Manuel ripped the protection from their home, signifying the years of despair that were to come. In 2014, María was diagnosed with pelvic cancer. It was a struggle for the family to pay for the regular trips to Acapulco for treatment, and José Eduardo became preoccupied with worry for his mother’s health.
Affectionate and described by friends and family as a romantic, José Eduardo often said that he did not want to fall in love, determined to finish a career before starting a family. He wanted to study law but the family lacked the resources to send him to the Autonomous University of Guerrero, in Chilpancingo. Encouraged by the brothers of his paternal grandfather, graduates of Ayotzinapa, he took the option of studying in the rural normal, which is just 10 minutes away on foot from his house. His dream is to earn enough money for his mother to stop working. When he passed the exams and won a place in the 2014-2018 generation, he returned home happy. His grandmother was angry to see him thin from the rigors of the test week, and with his head shaved. He replied: "I am proud to belong to the Ayotzinapa school.”
José Eduardo, still a committed B-Boy, was known on the Ayotzinapa campus as “Bobi.” He liked to push aside the sleeping mats on the dormitory floor and demonstrate breakdance moves with hip-hop music playing at full volume. After his forced disappearance, among his belongings in the dorm room, was an undated love letter that is still waiting to be sent.