|Portland Independent Media Center|
Growing Bi-National Coalition of U.S. and Mexican Organizations to Trek Across U.S. to Give Visibility to Victims of Failed Drug War on Both Sides of the Border
Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, Mexican Poet Javier Sicilia, To Lead 6,000-Mile Peace Caravan Against Drug War in U.S. This Fall
Live Press Conference and International Teleconference to Announce “#CaravanaUSA” on Monday, June 18 in Mexico City
As the number of innocent people who continue to die in Mexico because of the failed War On Drugs rises to 71,000 , the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) has announced that it will lead a month-long “Caravan for Peace” across the United States to draw attention to the misguided Drug War policies that have caused a crisis of violence and impunity.
The MPJD and dozens of organizations from both countries are joining together to coordinate the Caravan, a more than 6,000-mile journey, leaving San Diego on August 12 and arriving in Washington, D.C., on September 10.
Led by victims of the Drug War on both sides of the border, the Caravan aims to inspire U.S. civil society to stem the flow of weapons into Mexico, to support humane and health-oriented alternatives to drug prohibition, and to demand more effective, non-violent security strategies. Bi-national respect for justice and human dignity lies at the heart of this initiative, making humane immigration policy another central concern of the Caravan.
|Portland Independent Media Center|
|Last year, the Caravan visited dozens of cities in the U.S. and Canada and spent six days in Mexico meeting with authorities and family members of the dead|
On Monday, June 18, organizers will hold a live press conference in Mexico City (and subsequent international teleconference) to formally announce “#CaravanaUSA”. The conferences will feature speakers from Mexico and the U.S., including renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, other family members of victims of the violence, and a diverse group of supporters from across the U.S. that includes the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Border Angels, Latin America Working Group (LAWG), Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Presente.org, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Global Exchange.
Javier Sicilia rose to prominence as a leader in the movement to end the Drug War after his son was killed in prohibition-related violence last year. Because of his courage and leadership, Javier Sicilia was named one of Time Magazine’s 2012 “Person of the Year” activists – in its segment called “Why I Protest.”
|Javier Sicilia rose to prominence as a leader in the movement to end the Drug War after his son was killed in prohibition-related violence last year|
The goal of #CaravanaUSA is to engage in active citizen diplomacy to stop the U.S.-led paradigm of the War On Drugs, and to start a healing process from the “National Emergency” that has devastated large areas of Mexico, as well as historically vulnerable communities in the U.S. Since 2006, Mexico has experienced unprecedented pain: more than 71,000 people have been killed and more than 10,000 have disappeared as a result of prohibition-related violence.
The militarization of drug policy has increased corruption and impunity, leading to more deaths and disappearances that have torn the fabric of Mexican society. The Caravan seeks to expose these root causes of violence in Mexico, to raise awareness about the effects of the Drug War on communities in the U.S. — especially people of color, immigrants, young people and the poor and working class — and to demand new policies that will foster peace, justice and human dignity on both sides of the border.
Last year, the MPJD undertook similar Caravans across Mexico to collect stories of the destruction caused by the failed war against drugs and organized crime. The first Caravan of more than 500 people left Cuernavaca, Morelos and traveled north through 15 cities to arrive at the epicenter of violence in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. The second Caravan left Mexico City, traveling south through 21 cities with more than 700 people.
Through the Caravans, victims have expressed in their own voice the disastrous consequences of the War On Drugs. The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity has also carried out historic meetings with the President of Mexico and the National Congress, demanding that the voices of the victims be heard in what became known as the Chapultepec Dialogues for Peace.
MPJD has placed the issue of justice for victims on the national electoral agenda through the latest of the #DialogosxLaPaz by making presidential candidates publicly address the concerns of family members.