Movimiento por la Paz

Movimiento por la paz con justicia y dignidad (Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity) was formed by the poet and activist,Javier Sicilia, after the murder of his son Juan Francisco Sicilia on March 28th, 2011. The movement aims at restoring peace with “justice” and “dignity” in Mexico and embraces the slogans “No Mas Sangre” and “Estamos Hasta la Madre.” Many organized demonstrations to protest against the violence have taken place throughout Mexico throughout the last year. In the initial stages of the movement, Sicilia met with President Felipe Calderon and demanded that lawmakers give more attention to victims’ rights. A year later he remains dissatisfied with the government’s actions to restore peace and reduce violence in Mexico as statistics show an increase in number of victims being killed by drug related violence. Since 2006 approximately 50,000 deaths have been reported – “these numbers demonstrate only the beginning and reflect the break-up of the Mexican society” says Movimiento por la paz.

Movimiento por la Paz reaches out not only to the local community but also to the international Mexican community for support. Around the world Mexicans have come together to share their stories, concerns and build a dialogue on Red Global por la Paz en Mexico.

I. Social Media:

Movimiento por la Paz is increasingly using social media tools such as twitter @MxLaPazMx and Facebook to raise awareness and reach out to the local and international Mexican community online. They currently have up to over 5000 followers on twitter and over 4000 people like their Facebook page.  Given that the organization is less than a year old, this demonstrates that they are very active online targeting a large number of people.

Many videos have been uploaded to Youtube to demonstrate the ongoing struggle against violence and injustice in Mexico. The video En los zapatos del otro  illustrates testimonials, including Javier Sicilia, of victims who have lost family members by assassination and disappearances, reflecting Mexico’s pivotal violence…The video, put together by El grito mas fuerte is a major and successful campaign in Mexico bringing the families of victims together.

In addition, citizens from Mexico and other countries have participated in the campaign “Por un Mexico en Paz” in 2011 and have collaborated in a joint video featuring regular citizens demanding peace in Mexico:

II. News highlights from el Movimiento por la Paz

(i)Can this poet save Mexico?

On October 1st 2011 a 14-bus caravan, which had been traveling under the leadership of Javier Sicilia, a poet and the founder of the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity, arrived in Mexico City after a 10-day trek around the country. Its every move was followed by the national media, and thousands showed up to greet its return. The movement emphasizes the need for the eventual legalization of some drugs and the reconstruction of the social fabric in places damaged by the “narco war.”

Highlights of article also explaining background of the movement:

  • the caravan was organized in protest against the the onslaught violence in Mexico related to the drug war which has caused  40,000 deaths and at least 9000 unsolved disappearances since 2006.
  • the movimiento has captured the most attention out of the civil society groups fighting for peace and safety in Mexico. Since it’s launch in March 2011 it has organized numerous peaceful marches throughout Mexico where thousands of people participated and let their voice be heard
  • The owner, Javier Sicilia and is colleagues offer more than emotional solidarity to their citizens. They are proactive and have organized several meeting with the president and other members of government
  • There have been several waves of political protests in Mexico beginning with the student protests in 1968, at the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake in 1985, but it is only now several decades later has true protest been revived in Mexico.
  • one of the reasons for Mr. Sicilia’s popularity is that he is not seeking power or political office for himself, but is asking that those in power be rendered accountable. Acting from within civil society, he is trying to strengthen our still fragile Mexican democracy. And he is making headway!
  • Mr. Sicilia’s message has direct religious foundations. He is a left-wing Catholic, formed by the social Catholicism that crystallized in the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. There is therefore a quasi-religious atmosphere to the movement
  • the proposals of the movement are nevertheless very contemporary. They call for Mr. Calderón to change his strategy against the drug cartels, one that goes beyond police and military power to include, for instance, a thorough investigation into the connections between politicians and criminals.
  • The movement has likewise asked Congress to modify the proposed National Security Law, which offers stronger tools against the cartels but which the movement considers inadequate on human rights.

(ii) February 24th protest
Activists of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity held a peaceful protest in the streets of Mexico City on February 24 while President Felipe Calderón raised the flag in front of the main plaza (Zócalo). The message echoed by the activists exclaimed that with over 60 thousands deaths since the president has been in power, his hands are not worthy of raising the flag, a symbol of unity and patriarchy. During the protest the activists wore masks and displayed pictures of influential Mexican figures they consider to be detrimental to peace and unity in the country. These figures include: Enrique Peña Nieto, member of the PRI party, Elba Esther Gordillo, also member of the PRI party and Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world owning Mexico’s telecommunication companies Telmex, America Movil and Grupo Carso. When the activists were questioned on their motivation behind the protests they responded that “with more than 60 thousand deaths and 16 thousand people who have disappeared and a shrinking economy with higher inequality, our nation and flag, symbols representing the Mexican people, are destroyed.”

(iii) Sinembargo.mx

April 8, 2012.

The article “Javier Sicilia, Alvarez Icaza y otros fichados…” by Jose Gil Olmos (Proceso) discusses how Calderon’s government after meeting with Movimiento por la Paz and agreeing to a degree of commitment with its members is now revealing public and private information on the MPJD’s leaders, including Sicilia. The revealed profiles include recent photos indicating that the leaders are associated with radical social movements. It even suggests that the leaders have connections with revolutionary guerilla movements such as the EZLN (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional)

The file on Sicilia where he is referred to as a “discreet person in political affairs” is extensive. His file consists of 13 pages revealing personal information and documents that only he and his family should be allowed to access: date of birth, number of children, schools attended, passport number, religion, home address and his ties with religion, authors, politicians and EZLN. Sicilia is also referred to as the “death poet” by himself and the government as he doesn’t care what others say about him…

(iv) Sicilia: Mexico  un ‘narco estado’; caravana por la paz rumbo a Washington

 

III. Interviews with Javier Sicilia

(i) Interview1., Interview2. and Interview3. conducted by Fred Rosen (writer/reporter based in Mexico City) for NACLA – North American Congress on Latin America. January 31, February 14 and February 21,2012.

(ii) Why I protest: Javier Sicilia of Mexico by Tim Padgett, Time Magazine. December 14, 2011

 IV. Major events

(i) March 28, 2012 marks the one year anniversary of Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad.

Several marches demanding peace and justice exploded throughout Morelos, where MPJD is based.

These pictures gathered form MPJD’s photo gallery MxLaPazMx/Galeria illustrate collaboration and support to the movement and families of the victims who have been murdered throughout Mexico.

       

Related articles:

1. Global Voices

2. La Jornada

3. In Sight

4. Seguimos hasta la Madre

Latest video on the Movimiento’s one year anniversary and future actions to be taken involving the U.S.

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