In this second part of the interview by Americas Program director Laura Carlsen with Javier Sicilia on the road with the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, we talk about the Mexican federal government's response to the peace movement. Sicilia notes that President Calderon seems to be heading toward a military/police state and responding to the call for peace with violence.
Note: this interview took place before the illegal break-in at the offices of the Paso del Norte Human Rights Center on June 7 by Federal Police. This outrageous action seems to underline many people's fears that the government seeks to intimidate participants in the events.
LC: President Felipe Calderon has a made a series of declarations--starting with the military parade in Ciudad Juarez, then calling the federal police a ‘civic priesthood’, and now the campaign to recruit young people, young people without other options, for the federal police. Is this a response to the movement for peace?
JS: Yes, it’s a response--a bad response. As I’ve said a thousand times about President Calderon, whom I’ve had the chance to meet with two times, and throughout the mobilization effort, I have always said that he is not understanding: he is hearing, but not understanding. And their response to our search for peace, which this caravan is a part of, for dignity, which has been taken from us, and justice, which we don’t have, their answer is violence and the glorification of violence.
It seems that Calderon, and others in government, don’t have imagination for anything but violence-- and that is terrifying. I’ve asked Calderon, and I won’t stop asking him, to send a good message. This message is just bad for everyone, it’s putting all of us in danger.
It seems that what he wants a military state, which would be a terrifying state. Or a police state, which would be just as terrifying. This is the last chance we have to save democracy and the rule of law in this country. But not with violence or imposition or by ignoring the demands of the people.