Jun 6, 2011

Laura's Blog: Americas Program on the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity

Dear readers,
I have just returned from the first leg of the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity. At least one member of the Americas team will be reporting all the way along the route. Because of the intensity of the journey, and because we are participating in other aspects of the work, it sometimes takes us awhile to have time and Internet access for posting, but please check here often for updates and alerts.

For now, I can report that the Caravan has proceeded smoothly with some 300 participants in nearly 15 buses (at last count). Many are relatives or friends of victims, like the poet Javier Sicilia, who catalyzed this stage of the movement for peace in Mexico following the murder of his son Juan Francisco. Others are students, press, peace activists, community organizers, promoters of anti-militarization and nonviolence, indigenous peoples, called on by conscience and conviction to from part of this historic movement to end the drug war in Mexico.

Also called the "Caravan of Consolation", the emphasis in our stops so far in Morelia, Michoacán and San Luis Potosí has been on the victims, with many heart-rending stories of their losses and their frustrations in trying to make justice work. The situation of violence and impunity in the country is more than evident as the Caravan rolls along gathering testimonies in each place it visits.

We are greatly concerned by the news that the Paso del Norte Human Rights Center was raided by Federal Police without a search warrant yesterday (see below). Please send statements of solidarity to  the Americas Program or the people listed below.

Yesterday I did an exclusive interview with Javier Sicilia on the role of the U.S. government and binational organizing. We are working to get that up in English as soon as possible. His statements against the Merida Initiative and in favor of a different approach to fighting transnational crime in Mexico--a position clearly shared by many in the caravan--raise many questions about what the U.S. government is doing and what we as citizens should do to change policy.

Today the Caravan left San Luis Potosí and headed on to the northern cities of Zacatecas and Durango. I will rejoin in Chihuahua on June 8. Meanwhile, we have a full reporting and multi-media team at work, producing materials in English and Spanish.

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