The Narco News Bulletin
November 22, 2017 | Issue #67
narconews.com - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America
It is already nearly a month since the April 6 march in which 35,000 people, motivated by the urgency to stop the wave of violence that has flooded Mexico and to fight for a just and peaceful life, gathered in Cuernavaca. The writer Javier Sicilia has become the representative of the
movement for peace, following the murder of his son and six others who were falsely tied to organized crime. Sicilia is inviting the public to partake in a major challenge: a ninety kilometer silent protest caravan leaving from Cuernavaca to Mexico city from May 5-8.
The march leaves at 7 a.m. from the La Paloma de la Paz statue in Cuernavaca. Participating in the march doesn't mean you have to walk ninety kilometers. There will be rest stops each eight kilometers and buses for those who want to rest.
Young people in other states remain in Cuernavaca after attending the National Forum of Young People in the National Emergency on April 28-29 to join the march. At the forum, 150 young people came from some of the states most affected by the violence- Michoacán, Sonora, Chihuahua, and Jalisco- to agree on the resolutions and actions to put a stop to what they called a "national disaster" in their "Final Declaration of Young People in the National Emergency."
Javier Sicilia's movement in Cuernavaca is far from being a middle class movement, like it initially was. During the forum young people from all social classes attended. What they had in common, in many cases, was a family member or close friend who had been disappeared or assassinated in this War. They are the young victims who have met with urgency to stop the violence. The constant life experience with violent death and injustice has caused them to have even more radical resolutions than those posed by Javier Sicilia. Watching as their future becomes uncertain, one participant at the forum asks, "What the fuck is peace? It's not the same peace that Samuel Ruiz is defending, or that the Harmony and Pacification Commission is defending...We must begin that discussion." Julián Contreras is from Ciudad Juárez, the most militarized city and where, ironically, the murders number 8,400 since 2008. His cousin disappeared for month and then was found dead. He says, "When you see your aunt tear up you have to go out into the streets...we call on organized and non-organized civil society to organize frombelow to demand justice, peace with dignity, and a process forimmediate demilitarization."
Some of the most important resolutions from the forum are: One, the immediate demilitarization because, "the disappearances, rapes, extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, raids, body searches, torture, and the murders are some of the main crimes that Army has committed with complete impunity," says a declaration. Two, to stop the violence and impunity, and three, decriminalization of drug consumption. The complete document can be found at www.radiochinelo.org.
A day ago a group from the state of Oaxaca began walking to join the march in Cuernavaca (at 480 kilometers). The members of the contingent are mostly Central American immigrants. This speaks again of how the movement has gone beyond the middle class in Cuernavaca to join victims of this War. The Central American immigrants have frequently been assaulted and murdered in their travel through Mexico to go to the Untied States. They're coming carrying a coffin that represents the thousands of immigrants who have died in Mexico. The march came to a halt in front of "the beast," which is what they call a train that has been the scene of many deaths throughout the immigrants' travel.
In the rest of the country, 29 out of the 32 states are organizing marches. Other groups in the struggle, like the Zapatista Other Campaign, have called for a march. And of course other countries are joining the "Enough Already!" and "No More Blood!" protest, like France. One Facebook page says, "In Paris we're going to meet on May 8 at 5 p.m. at the Place du Trocadéro. We will hand out flyers to visitors of the palace explaining what is happening in Mexico, and we will carry out an 'Empty Envelope Action.'" The demonstrators will send empty envelopes to symbolize the absence of the murdered victims.
In the United States cities in New York, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia will join. In Bologna, Italy they will erect an alter for the victims and they will listen to Mexican music. In Germany they are participating in Frankfurt and Berlin. In the Netherlands, the The Hague. In Canada they're joining in Montreal. In Scotland, St. Andrews. In Spain they will protest in Barcelona and in England, London.
The team for the Network of Peace and Justice is finalizing the preparations for the departure. The route, with maps, an itinerary, and instructions, has been published online. There is also a bulletin circulating that recommends wearing cotton socks and adequate tennis shoes.
There is a health commission organized by CAPUFE (Federal Roads and Bridges) and Gerardo Gómez, a teacher of one of the four young people killed on March 27 in Temixco, Morelos. The red cross will provide an ambulance. In addition to this assistance and health infrastructure there will be public bathrooms and ten trucks, including one that will return daily to Cuernavaca and come back to the March. There will be water, security, doctors, bathrooms, food, and houses to sleep and eat in.
It is a march that means a big challenge, but as a result, citizens, NGOs, and even government organizations have united to make it a safe and comfortable march. The convenience will make it possible for any kind of person to march.
The bigger the challenge, the greater symbolic value. Thus, this march is being well planned to achieve a symbolic value that will give such strength and momentum to the peoples' demands on May 8 in the capital's Zócalo, demands which can't be ignored.