Ayotzinapa & Uvalde Presente! Victims in the US & Mexico Join Forces to Demand an end to the Flow of Assault Weapons Into Their Communities

Kimberly Rubio, from Uvalde Texas and Cristina Bautista From Ayotzinapa Mexico, Joined Global Exchange in a Call to end Gun Violence in Both Countries Through Binational Legislation.

WASHINGTON – The stories of Kimberly Rubio and Cristina Bautista cannot be heard without sharing in their pain – the void that exists from losing their children senselessly combined with the pain and rage of systemic inaction. This is why The People’s Movement for Peace and Justice (PMPJ) has brought together a unique coalition of organizations and families from two countries to call for the passage of the  Stop Arming Cartels Act and the ARMAS Act with the support of Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04) and Representative Joaquin Castro (TX-20). 

“In the United States, there is a lot of talk about the violence of the drug cartels in Mexico, but there is not enough talk about where their guns originate. We don’t have to look far,” said Congressman García. “A recent data leak of Mexican military intelligence revealed that 78,000 firearms recovered in Mexico came from gun shops and smugglers in the United States. Gun violence is a binational issue, and addressing the root causes of this violence and its interconnected effects requires a binational approach. It requires the commitment and involvement of civil society, elected leaders, advocates, and survivors.” 

In a one-of-its-kind summit, the group gathered in Washington this week as part of the Binational Advocacy Days for Peace & Human Rights, three days of events that included a civil society gathering, a congressional briefing, scores of congressional visits, and a town hall, all featuring survivors of gun violence from the U.S. and Mexico. 

“I am the mother of Benjamin Ascencio Bautista, one of the 43 students in Ayotzinapa that were forcibly disappeared,” said Doña Cristina Bautista. “At first, they blamed the cartels, but then it was proven that the local police and other state actors played a role in the disappearance of my son.”  More than 8,200 receipts obtained from the Mexican military show that the Mexican Army sold U.S.-exported weapons to police, including state and local police in Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Chihuahua, and other states with extensive documented records of state violence and corruption. 

“There were 18 children and 2 teachers murdered on the same day as my daughter. An 18-year-old walked into her building and began murdering students. It took 77 minutes for 376 officers to confront one teenager armed with an assault weapon. They were scared of the guns. It’s the guns. My purpose is to join the gun violence prevention movement to end gun violence. For Lexi Rubio and all victims of gun violence,” said Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was among 19 children killed in the massacre at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. 

PMPJ introduced the Binational Agenda for Peace and Justice, which includes 10 bold proposals to curb illegal gun and drug trade, humanely address the region’s migration flow, protect the environment, and uphold the rights of indigenous peoples. “Weapons of war are taking thousands of lives in the U.S. and 

Mexico every year; we cannot continue to operate in silos,” said Marco Castillo, co-executive director of Global Exchange and founding member of PMPJ. “There are more than 200,000 firearms flowing annually into Mexico from the U.S., more than 110,000 disappeared in Mexico and more than 650 mass shootings annually in the U.S. – that is why we have come to Washington to make our voices heard – the time for binational action is now.”

PMPJ coordinates cross-border demands emerging from civil society across different sectors and issues, organized around four core platforms: Black Co-Networks, Pueblos Indígenas and Native Americans, Survivors of Gun Violence, and Migration. Our goals are to elevate our impact on policy debates that impact our lives and hold our governments accountable.  With the upcoming presidential election the U.S. and the first woman elected President of  Mexico, this work is crucial. The time to build united, inclusive political power is now. For more information, click here.