On Tuesday, September 11, the MCC Washington Office hosted five members of the U.S.-Mexico Caravan for Peace at a brown bag lunch. Each shared personal stories of tragedy and loss due to the drug war with meeting attendees, mostly members representing faith groups from across the United States.
Over 60,000 people have died in Mexico due to drug violence in recent years. Victims of the war have unified to support the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), founded by poet and peace leader, Javier Sicilia. Since the murder of his son, Juan Francisco, Sicilia has been a loud voice in the fight for peace, drawing crowds throughout Mexico. He has since led the Caravan for Peace, a group of over 80 activists who have travelled through August and September 2012 in the United States, starting in San Diego, visiting cities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and ending their journey in Washington, DC.
Caravan representatives outlined a number of U.S. policy items in need of change, including a call for the U.S. government to cease military support for the drug war, which Caravaners argue only fuels the problem. Numerous connections between impacts of the drug war in both Mexico and the United States were drawn, calling for open dialogue and collaboration between nations, particularly on the issues of immigration, money laundering, and gun trafficking.
A representative of Mexico’s indigenous community discussed issues surrounding North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the open window it has given foreign corporations to pillage and pollute the land, highlighting that they do not directly oppose development. Multinational corporations are reaping all of the benefits of Mexico’s natural resources, with no accountability measures in place to include local communities and prioritize sustainable development.
The caravan participants called on U.S. citizens to advocate for a change in U.S. policy toward Mexico, highlighting that the current militaristic approach to addressing the drug trade has only fueled more violence and death.
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