Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity in Los Angeles

15 Aug

Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, and Alejandro González Iñárritu, as well as actors Diego Luna and Kate del Castillo, came out to support Javier Sicilia’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) as the Caravan for Peace arrived in Los Angeles, Monday.

“I’m here as a citizen, and not as a citizen of Mexico, but as a citizen of the world, as a human being, and as a father, and that’s what’s important”, Cuarón told AP. The Mexican filmmakers and actors participated in events Monday and Tuesday in Los Angeles to show their support for the Caravan, which began its journey at the San Diego US-Mexico border on Sunday. The Caravan is expected to cross some twenty US cities before arriving in Washington D.C. on September 12, calling for an International Day of Action for Peace in Mexico.

The poet-activist Sicilia began his campaign against the “War on Drugs” after the gang murder of his son last year. Del Toro, González Iñárritu, and Luna also described how communities on either side of the border have been affected. “It is impossible to speak with someone who does not know a missing person or someone who has died, but in most cases [they] are still talking about a war that has affected only the security forces and drug traffickers, and it’s not true,” said del Toro. Read more.

According to Sicilia, the government’s “War on Drugs” that began six years ago has left 60 000 dead in Meixco, another 20 000 missing, and 250 000 displaced.  Another 500 000 Americans have been incarcerated for drug-related offenses. L.A. city councilor José Huízar also described the millions of Mexicans who have had to leave their communities in search of security, counting himself among them. “It’s horrible to have this feeling, like many millions of Mexicans in the U.S… you don’t know who you’re working for, if you will be kidnapped, if something will happen…” Read more.

González Iñárritu expressed support for the legalisation of drugs to fight trafficking and drug-related violence. “You have to understand that [drug use] is a public health problem, not public safety. If one accepts that it is a public health problem, then you can act on preventing the causes of drug addiction,” said González Iñárritu. Luna said the policy is something that needs to be examined as soon as possible. The filmmakers did not comment on their expectations for the recently elected Mexican government. “I do not want to contaminate this totally non-political movement with my politics,” said Cuarón.  Read more.

Los Angeles – On Sunday, August 12, a broad bi-national coalition of more than 100 U.S. civil society organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Global Exchange and the Drug Policy Alliance joined the Mexican Movement for Peace with Justice & Dignity (MPJD) to embark on the “Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity” across the United States.

The Caravan will be led by renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, who emerged as a leader of the MPJD after his son Juan Francisco was killed in senseless prohibition-related violence last year, together with  family members of Mexican victims of the drug war. They will unite with victims and supporters from the United States for a month-long voyage across the continental United States.

The Caravan for Peace seeks to end the failed drug war that has left more than 60,000 dead in Mexico in the last five years, and resulted in more than 500,000 Americans behind bars for drug offenses.

“Our purpose is to honor our victims, to make their names and faces visible,” Sicilia said. “We will travel across the United States to 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.”  Read more.

***

[Updated with English subtitles] Yesterday, emergenciamx.org posted the video below, featuring Cuarón and del Toro speaking about their support for the Caravan.

They also posted video featuring Diego Luna in LA, and Javier Sicilia in Tijuana, preparing to cross the border.

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