Mar 13, 2012

Drug War: Intellectuals and NGOs call for Peace and Self-Sovereignty

La Jornada: New civil society group calls upon society as a whole to unite their efforts to rescue the country

Facing a situation of “national emergency” in Mexico where “liberty and sovereignty are at risk,” intellectuals, artists, academics, civic organizations, and union leaders called upon Mexican society as a whole to unite their efforts to rescue the country.

Figures such as the former dean of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Pablo Gonzalez Casanova; the Bishop of Salitllo, Raul Vera Lopez; writer Javier Sicillia; priests Gonzalo Ituarte and Miguel Concha, researcher Magdalena Gomez, actors Julieta Egurrola and Daniel Gimenez Cacho; activist Miguel Alvarez; and anthropologist Gilberto Lopez y Rivas, among others, have joined forces through a “call” for civic participation beyond the 2012 elections to solve the country’s problems.

In a conference in which several signatories of the “call” participated, Miguel Alvarez, of Services and Advising for Peace (Sepaz) indicated that the objective of the document is an effort of unity during the campaign suspension period (veda electoral) in order to encourage action outside the political parties and apart from the candidates. The goal is to transform society itself into an actor in the country’s transformation.

He added that the initiative has been signed by more than 100 people and organizations from 26 states, such as the Movement for National Liberation (MLN), the Mexican Electricians Union (SME), and the National Coordination of Education Employees. Those interested in joining the initiative can register through the group’s email

“The country (is) caught up in an absurd war that seriously threatens social coexistence; it renders the people’s dignity vulnerable and it denies justice. The economic crisis deepens the severity of the problem. But despite everything, the poorly run government persists in following the same strategy. Now we are facing the grave risk that the contenders to succeed the President will assume the continuation and commitment to this strategy that’s causing a humanitarian disaster,” declares the initiative that was read by Magdalena Gomez. It will be passed out to diverse political organizations, embassies, and even Pope Benedict XVI during his nearing visit to the country.

The initiative adds that much of the country is mired in “anxiety and living in fear because of a bloody and cruel war (against drugs) that the government declared, proclaiming peace, and now in the countryside and in the cities people are suffering the most irrational form of violence."

It emphasizes that right now state institutions “are immersed in processes of profound decomposition and deterioration caused by corruption and due to the penetration of organized crime in all levels and spheres of the government. The armed forces are irresponsibly exposed by sending them on missions divorced from their constitutional functions which, in turn, gives rise to grave human rights abuses. Paradoxically, the backbone of drug trafficking remains intact due to the systematic refusal of the Executive to address their financial networks.”

The signatories underline that the State “abdicates its constitutional responsibility by failing to provide for the security, tranquility, and well-being of the people,” and that this federal administration “cedes important principles and levels of sovereignty under pressure from United States.”

Facing this “national emergency” and on the eve of the changing of powers, those who subscribe to the proclamation said that they have an autonomous and independent front against the power of the parties, even while some members share certain party sympathies.

“We have the conviction that independently of the electoral result, the participation of civil society will be necessary: if the option for change wins, the mobilization and organization to demand and support the changes in strategy and policy from the previous governments will be important. If the result doesn’t turn out that way, it makes even more sense that a great, peaceful movement of resistance will be necessary to force a change in direction.”

"Today economic and social policies of former governments are becoming even more entrenched, aggravating the difference between a couple of powerful millionaires and the great majority. There is unemployment, inflation, low wages, shortages, insufficient aid in the countryside, loss of sovereignty, drought and famine without precedent, oppression of indigenous peoples and communities as well as their natural resources, wisdom, and traditions."

“Without a doubt, the current government has condemned millions of Mexicans to hunger and extreme poverty, which contributes to the rising threat to the secular state by religious and conservative forces.”

The supporters of the new initiative called for more debate and diffusion of the group’s ideas, for more activity through social networks “that give substance and strength” to the main components of the initiative, and to reconstruct the coordination and unity of the movements and struggles of the countryside and the cities to join the actions of the initiative and to form a “a wide and representative patriotic front, committee or commission” that promotes the objectives of the document." read more

By Emir Olivares Alonso

Translation by Mikael Rojas, CIP Americas Program intern 

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