Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mexican Peace March crosses into USA

The Caravan for Peace, Justice and Dignity (Caravana por la Paz, Justicia y Dignidad) will cross today into US territory at the border between the two Californias (Tijuana - San Diego) to demand that the USA stops providing weapons to the Mexican mafias. 

Some 12% of all weapon shops in the USA are located near the border with Mexico, what clearly means that they live off selling to the Mexican mafias. The figures are disputed depending on the sources (12,000 out of 100,000 vs 6,700 out of 55,000) but the overall percentage is similar.

Of particular concern is the sale of assault weapons, which was restricted in the USA between 1994 and 2004. 

While the issue of illegal immigrants crossing the border from south to north is often in the limelight in the USA, the reverse of the same coin: huge amounts of weapons crossing the border from north to south illegally as well, is never considered.

In the words of the founder of the pacifist movement, Fernando Ocegueda, a small businessman who lost his son to the mafioso violence that ravages Mexico:

We don't have great hopes because nobody seems to pay attention to us. We know that the sale of weapons is at great scale. Our goal is to raise awareness so not so many are sold indiscriminately to be smuggled into our country anymore.

The caravan is formed by some 70 people (54 of which are victims of the mafioso violence) and plans to cross all the USA from San Diego to Washington D.C.  They claim that Washington stops its direct support to the Mexican Armed Forces, and that it uses that budget instead for humane security actions. They also demand the demilitarization of the US-Mexican border and to stop the criminalization of Mexicans in the USA. 

One of the activists, poet Javier Sicilia explained:
We want to say to the People of the United States that our dead acquaintances are behind their addictions and their weapons. 
If  there is political will [the White House] can stop that flow. The Mexican Government chose war. We have been dumped into a war. Now we demand that they build peace instead.

Route of the Caravan for Peace (each dot is a day)

Sources and more details: IPS[es], Caravan for Peace[en/es]

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