On August 13th, the “Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity” will hold a major event in Los Angeles on its voyage across the United States as it works to create a bi-national movement against the failed drug war that has left more than 70,000 dead in Mexico in the last five years.
Led by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, families of victims from Mexico will tell the story of the human toll of the war on drugs, while building powerful ties with local communities in the United States that are also deeply impacted by the failed drug war—the longest and deadliest war in U.S. history.
The goal of the Caravan for Peace is to engage in citizen diplomacy to put an end to the war on drugs and start a healing process from the national emergency that has devastatedMexico. The Caravan will include several family members of those killed since the drug war began inMexico. Presente.org and the more than 100 US organizations supporting the Caravan will announce a petition demanding that the Obama Administration take concrete steps to stem the flow of US-made arms responsible for killing most Mexicans during the Drug War, including:
- · Immediately detain and prohibit the importation of assault weapons from theUnited States
- · Order dealers to report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) about the sale of multiple assault rifles to the same person over a period of five days.
- · Increase the regulatory capacity of the ATF in those regions of theUnited Statesthat supply the weapons contraband toMexico, especially inborder states.
“Our purpose is to honor our victims, to make their names and faces visible,” said Sicilia, who emerged as a leader of the MPJD after his son Juan Francisco was killed in senseless prohibition-related violence last year. “We will travel across the United Statesto 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.”
Since 2006, more than 70,000 people have been killed and more than 10,000 have disappeared in Mexico due to violence resulting from the failure of drug prohibition. This national emergency is fed by the illegal weapons and laundered money that flow into Mexico from the U.S., and made worse by the militarization of drug policy, which has only escalated violence, corruption and impunity, leading to more deaths and disappearances that have torn the fabric of Mexican society.
“We here in the United States are joining the Caravan for Peace because, like Mexicans, we understand deeply how much of a tragic failure the drug war is” said, Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org, one of the key members of the Caravana coalition.
The Caravan will trek over 6,000 miles through more than 20 cities and communities in ten states—including Los Angeles, Atlanta, El Paso, Houston, Montgomery, New Orleans, Chicago and New York—before arriving in Washington, D.C., on September 10. At each stop, the Caravan will be welcomed by local communities, who have planned rallies, marches, candlelight vigils, forums, performance art and more. The Caravan will officially conclude on September 12 by calling for an International Day of Action for Peace in Mexico. You can learn more at: http://www.caravanforpeace.org.