|Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity set off from San Diego on August 12 to traverse the country with a message: To end the war on drugs in the U.S. and Mexico.
Poet Profiled in Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” Javier Sicilia and Other Drug War Violence Survivors from Mexico & U.S. Will Conclude Cross-Country Journey in Washington
Press Conference Will Call for Halt in Arms Trafficking to Mexico and Drug Policy Changes to Reduce Violence in Mexico
The Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity arrived in Washington, D.C., on September 10 on the last stop of its 25-city journey across the United States to call for an end to the failed Drug War that has devastated individuals, families, and entire communities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Drug War has led to more than 60,000 murders in Mexico in the last five years and incarcerated millions in the United States at a cost of over $1 trillion in the past 40 years. The Caravan’s ultimate goal is to help bring an end to that war by urging alternatives to drug policies and sensible regulations of the U.S. gun market, among other critical changes.
Led by poet and movement leader Javier Sicilia, profiled in Time Magazine’s 2011 “Person of the Year” issue, and others from Mexico and the United States that have lost loved ones in the drug war violence, the Caravan for Peace is a bi-national effort of more than 100 U.S. organizations and more than 50 Mexican organizations.
The Caravan has traveled more than 6,000 miles through dozens of cities, including Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, and New York. (See this Reuters video about the Caravan’s New York visit.)
“We have traveled across the United States to raise awareness of the unbearable pain and loss caused by the drug war — and of the enormous shared responsibility for protecting families and communities in both our countries,” said Javier Sicilia, the poet-turned-activist and Caravan leader who galvanized the movement to end the drug war violence in Mexico after his son, Juan Francisco, was killed last year. “Our purpose is to honor our victims, to make their names and faces visible.”
Over the course of the past year, Sicilia’s movement — the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad, MPJD) — has traveled across Mexico to some of the most dangerous areas of the country, including Ciudad Juarez and the Mexico-Guatemala border.
Throughout Mexico, courageous families who have suffered Drug War violence have come forward to tell their stories, often at great personal risk.
The MPJD launched the current Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity because few people in the U.S. understand the role their government plays in fueling violence in Mexico. U.S. consumption of illicit drugs stimulates drug production and trafficking in Mexico, while current drug policies, rather than reducing drug use or supply, have created a vast and destructive illicit market that finances organized crime.
The Mexican government’s strategies to combat drug trafficking, funded by the United States, have only intensified the violence while causing or contributing to gross violations of human rights. Weak regulation and lax enforcement also make the United States’ gun market a paradise for Mexican drug traffickers. Thousands of guns trafficked illegally from the United States end up arming violent drug cartels in Mexico.
The Caravan will be in Washington, D.C. from September 10-12. During their visit, they will participate in a number of activities and meetings with government officials and community leaders.
Please click here to view the full schedule of events.
|Caravan for Peace and Justice
Tuesday, September 11
8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
The Peace Movement in Mexico: Efforts to Bring Justice to the Victims of Violence in the Country
Sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Panel with members of the Caravan for Peace
Sponsored by the American University Kay Spiritual Life Center
4400 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest
4:30 a.m. -6:30 p.m.
Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity: A Bi-national Initiative
Sponsored by WOLA and Latin American Studies at George Mason University
George Mason University (Fairfax Campus)
Johnson Center, Third Floor, Room D
6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
U.S. Guns and Violence in Mexico: A Bi-national Call for Solutions
Sponsored by WOLA, the Latin America Working Group, and the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street Northwest
Lindner Family Commons
Wednesday, September 12
5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Vigil and Procession for Peace
5:30 p.m.: Procession meets at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church
1525 Newton Street Northwest
6:30 p.m.: Procession begins from St. Stephen’s and proceeds down 16th Street Northwest toward Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park
7:30 p.m.: Music and caravan closing