Mexican poet Javier Sicilan destroyed a gun during the Caravan for Pace this summer, 2012.

Mexican poet Javier Sicilia destroyed a gun during the Caravan for Peace this summer, 2012.

Millions of anguished conversations about the murder of so many small children at a Connecticut elementary school have produced new resolve to do something. As the holiday season starts, there is a palpable wave of revulsion against the gun industry, the gun fanatics, and the powerful lobbyists who have intimidated our political representatives into allowing all manner of guns – even military style weapons – to be widely and easily available.

Now, with a sense of sea change in public attitude, politicians are waking up. Several unlikely Democrats have spoken in favor of the initiative by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D. CA) to reintroduce the now expired ban on assault weapons she successfully championed in the mid 1990s. Meanwhile, for the first time, the Obama Administration is tentatively articulating leadership on gun regulation. If President Obama commits to strong and sensible gun regulation, we should have his back.

This new commitment to at least talk about gun restriction is heartening. Nevertheless, those, such as myself, who have watched previous waves of horror sweep in, and then recede in the wake of other gun-murder outrages, know we need a broad and resilient coalition against gun violence. We have to be able to win battles now as well as in future confrontations with gun industry interests.

A coalition that can effectively parry the U.S. gun lobby needs to work at a local, state, national, and international level. Locally, we need to involve the representatives of communities and neighborhoods most affected by the more than 30,000 annual gun homicides in the United States in the evolving conversation about how to make our communities safe. At the state level we need to work with legislators like California Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) who is working (with our partners at the Brady Campaign and other Senators like Kevin de Leon, (D-Los Angeles) to make California a laboratory for sensible and exemplary gun policies.

At the national level we need vision and leadership from an Administration that has not previously engaged the difficult politics of gun control. For more than a year, we have worked with allies from Mexico, Washington and important networks like to petition Obama to use executive power to ban the import of assault to the U.S. This request to President Obama was a central element of the Mexican Caravan for Peace that crossed the country last summer, led by victims of the wave of violence 60,000 and counting – fueled by drug profits and guns smuggled from the U.S.

Candlelight vigil at East Los Angeles Church for Caravan for Peace

Candlelight vigil at East Los Angeles Church for Caravan for Peace

Restoring the ban on assault weapons, as Senator Dianne Feinstein seeks to do, would be a vital first step that would go much further than any available executive action to limit access to military style assault weapons. But passage, even such a common sense bill, is by no means guaranteed. Those who profit from the gun trade and their lobbyist enablers like the NRA have a strong grip on the leash of legislators, especially the Republican who control the House of Representatives.

For sensible gun control measures to succeed, the local political math must change. That is why sea change moments – when Washington’s policy silos disappear momentarily and the grief of a few moves the hearts of millions – are so important.

Such a moment came in Mexico when the Mexican President Calderón suggested that 14 teenage victims of an October 2010 massacre at a birthday party in the border town of Ciudad Juarez were linked to organized crime. In fact, the teens were all football players mistakenly targeted by cartel hit men. Later, when the boy’s mothers confronted the President about this during a televised meeting the video of the encounter went viral and caused an opinion watershed and eventually a powerful movement led by victims of Mexico’s drug war. This is the same movement that crossed the border to dramatically make the case for steps to regulate assault weapons in 29 US cities last summer.

As the New Year dawns and members of Congress will likely face decisions about how to weigh in on restoring the assault weapons ban and other possible gun control legislation. We must keep alive the urgency of these initiatives even as attention to the families and victims of Newtown recedes.

Constituent pressure on specific members of Congress will be key to any legislative success. Additionally, the voices of people from both sides of the border with loved ones lost to this long plague of gun violence bring a powerful and morally urgent voice to this conversation. There is no question that banning assault weapons would benefit the security and safety of Mexican border communities. Ending the large scale smuggling of assault weapons used by criminals throughout Mexico is human and national security priority.

As the year closes people gather. I hope we can all look each other in the eyes and muster the courage to ask what kind of world we want to live in and how we can love and work together to get there.


Please join the call on President Obama to stop the flow of assault weapons into our communities.

Most of the 60,000 people killed in Mexico as a result of the “Drug War” were killed with guns sold in the U.S. Tell President Obama that you don’t want greedy gun merchants selling assault weapons, built for war, into our communities where they are then used to massacre tens of thousands of innocent people on both sides of the border.

The Mexican Peace Caravan that crossed the United States last summer was bracketed between elections. It began in Tijuana, just six weeks after Mexico’s July presidential election, and concluded in Washington just six weeks before Obama’s re-election. Now, as 2013 is dawning, Mexicans can begin to see the outlines and true colors of their return to PRI rule.

On Dec. 1, in the final act of his blood-drenched presidency, Felipe Calderón passed his tri-color sash to incoming PRI strong-man, and now President, Enrique Peña Nieto. The handover was backlit by protest and chilled by concerns about what it means to hand Mexico’s executive branch back to a party that, until 2000, had absolutely controlled — and corrupted — the nation during 71 years of unbroken one-party rule.

Of course, millions of Mexicans voted for Peña Nieto last July. Some undoubtedly yearn for the peace and security they associate with the earlier era of PRI domination. To suppose that restoring the PRI’s power might facilitate clandestine contact with major drug trafficking organizations is not unreasonable. In decades past, such ties have reportedly allowed PRI operators to communicate with, take bribes from, and exert significant influence on major drug trafficking organizations. The current vision is of a restored pax mafiosa that could reset or even free the country entirely from the disastrously aggressive drug war policies of outgoing President Calderón.

Few say so publically, but whispers that Peña Nieto should somehow reach out to the drug bosses are widespread. Peña Nieto decried this notion in a New York Times op-ed the day after the election, but speculation continues about the possibility of a pact that could effectively legalize the wealth of the big traffickers in exchange for peace and their eventual conversion to legal enterprise. Such an amnesty brought the Kennedys and countless other American families back into the fold after U.S. alcohol prohibition was lifted in 1933. More recently, large drug syndicates in South East Asia’s golden triangle have paid steep one-time taxes to repatriate capital into the legal economy as part of a broader deal aimed at ending their participation in the drug trade.

Yet, in fact, even if Peña Nieto did want to return Mexico to an imagined earlier era of tolerance or otherwise evolve drug and security policies, it won’t be easy. This is especially true due to continuing U.S. rejection of real discussion about international drug policy reform. Yet ongoing prohibition guarantees continued drug mega-profits that are a siren song for the most ruthless criminal elements. This grim reality, in combination with strong U.S. pressures to stay the drug war course, severely limits the options and flexibility of Mexico’s new president.

Peña Nieto also faces a suspicious civil society and energized opposition. More than 60% of the electorate rejected the PRI and voted for opposition candidates. A significant social movement arose to oppose his election under the broad banner of Yo Soy 132. This group continues to organize on both sides of the border and was an essential part of gathering grass roots support for the Peace Caravan in several key cities.

Millions of Mexicans fear the PRI will resort to its authoritarian playbook while it pushes the same brutal mix of neo-liberal policies the party forced into place at great cost to Mexico’s economic sovereignty and well being during the crisis ridden 1980’s and 90’s.

But the realities of deepening poverty, inequality, and humanitarian crisis don’t stop Mexico’s plutocrats and their enablers from smearing lipstick on the pig of an economy that has left a majority of Mexicans in poverty. I recommend this article “Mexico’s New President Is Off to a Troubling Start” that UNAM professor John Ackerman just published in The Atlantic Magazine. In it, Ackerman repudiates highbrow happy talk about Peña Nieto and the Mexican economy currently emanating from Washington establishment sources such as the Woodrow Wilson Institute, the Inter-American Dialogue, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Many agree that Mexico urgently needs to undertake thorough and difficult internal reforms. To be effective, such reforms must challenge impunity all the way to the upper echelons of the military and Federal Police as well as top political and corporate circles. Washington officials and the Obama administration have shown little stomach for pushing such actions on Calderón. Similarly, Obama gave no visible signs of pushing Peña Nieto on such reforms during their first encounter in late November. Pressure for change must come from somewhere else. That is why we must continue to build the movement against the drug war into an unstoppable force.

The violence unleashed in Mexico during Calderon’s six long years has resulted in 60,000 murders but resolved nothing. In fact, drug trafficking organizations have thrived, diversified, and some think that they have deepened their penetration and corruption of Mexico’s institutions during this period. Any genuine change starts with an end to the drug war.

Last summer, victims and activists from Mexico rolled with people from across the United States for a 5,700 mile-journey through 29 cities. They had the support of Global Exchange and more than 200 other U.S. organizations who shared the ambitious goal of revealing how Mexico’s murder epidemic is rooted in more than forty years of deadly and fruitless drug war fostered, funded, and implemented by the United States.

The caravan relentlessly made the case for concerted action north of the border to regulate drugs more sensibly in order to remove the hyper-profits of illicit drug trafficking. Such a move could dramatically reduce the large scale brutality in Mexico, slow southbound gun smuggling, reverse mass incarceration trends in the U.S., challenge corruption on both sides of the border, and address the distortion of our national security priorities.

Mexican peace movement organizers are calling for a meeting in early 2013 to evaluate, strategize, and strengthen ongoing work between the organizations and peoples movements that built the Caravan on both sides of the border. They know the momentum around drug policy is on the side of reformers.

Recent elections in Washington state and Colorado are potential harbingers of a mature, new approach to drug policy that embraces regulation and public health metrics instead of the “just say no” militarization we have lived with for decades. Domestic and international opinion is moving faster than the politicians. And on a range of related questions — like the absurd legality of assault weapons for civilians or ill-advised U.S. support of Mexico’s military security apparatus — our job is to keep the debate moving and force them to catch up.

By Ted Lewis and Manuel Pérez Rocha

In the last year, an unprecedented number of Mexicans have received international recognition for their courageous work on behalf of migrants, workers, and the millions of victims of the country’s spiraling violence, institutional decomposition and appalling inequality. Just today, Mexican poet, Javier Sicilia, received a nod in this year’s TIME Magazine Person of the Year issue.

Below, we profile some of these movement leaders, artists, grass roots organizers, labor leaders, and clergy people working in the front trenches of the struggle for human rights. Through them we can hear the voices of millions more Mexicans crying out for justice and for the very soul of their nation.

They urge us to respond to the frightening militarization of Mexico, the hyper-exploitation of the poor, indigenous, and working classes; and the infuriating impunity enjoyed by well-connected and ruling-class criminals. They embody the struggle to end the profound injustice — both economic and legal — at the root of the murderous crime wave sweeping the country.

These eight distinguished advocates have been recognized because the Mexican government has failed to respond to a growing national emergency. As Mexico’s crisis deepens these patriots have gone abroad to sound an urgent alarm — amplified by the human rights, labor, and cultural groups who invited them — that Mexico is at the breaking point.

These are the kinds of Mexicans that President Obama, Congress, the media, the American public, and philanthropic foundations should be listening to and taking their cues from. These are the voices of those who have lived the tragic consequences of bad bi-national policies – so unlike President Calderon and his supporters north of the border who echo the hollow victories of the drug war and repeat market based delusions of success in the face of NAFTA’s bitter harvest.

The need for profound systemic changes on both sides of the border is painfully clear. 50 thousand Mexicans are dead since Presidents Calderón escalated the war for drug prohibition. Millions are displaced by the economic disaster of “free trade”. In Mexico, as in the US, ultra-rich plutocrats have hijacked the political system and are trying to foreclose on a dignified future for the poor and middle classes.

We need intelligent strategies and urgent action to end the “war on drugs”, level the economic playing field, and to make real our democratic aspirations on both side of the border. We must not let the inheritance of Mexico’s NAFTA generation be a disintegrating society where neither jobs nor educational opportunities exist for an expanding and politically repressed underclass.

In 2012 presidential elections will be held in Mexico as well as in the U.S. These elections, while no doubt important, will not bring the kind of deep changes needed in both countries. Such change and the movement necessary to make it happen must be driven from below — by those who bear the greatest burdens of inequality and have the most to gain by shattering the toxic status quo.

During 2011 movements led by victims of violence and those who are alienated from politics as usual have broken through the discourse of silence, altered the political landscape, and brought calls for revolutionary change back into view in both our countries.

The new struggle for fundamental reform is just getting underway and will take many forms, some of them unpredictable. But, you can be sure that, as resistance to war and inequality grows on both sides of the border the Mexicans leaders profiled below will be on its frontlines, joining their voices together with millions more on both sides of our shared border.

  • Abel Barrera, a anthropologist and human rights defender of indigenous and rural communities, who founded the respected and successful NGO Tlachinolan in the southern and impoverished state of Guerrero, was honored by the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights;
  • Javier Sicilia, leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity awarded a “people’s choice” human rights prize by Global Exchange; The movement is led the victims of the “drug war”. He was just profiled in TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2011 issue;
  • Gael Garcia, well known Mexican actor, and AMBULANTE, an organization he co-founded, headlined the Washington Office on Latin America’s (WOLA) annual Gala in recognition for his passionate and committed work to give visibility to the plight of migrants who undertake the perilous journey north and to the organization’s work to promote documentaries and to bring these films to the Mexican population;
  • Father Pedro Pantoja received the Letelier – Moffitt International Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC on behalf of Bethlehem, the Migrants’ Shelter of Saltillo, for their work to protect migrants in Mexico from kidnapping, extortion, sexual abuse, and murder — courageously challenging organized crime and corrupt public officials.
  • Marta Ojeda, a long time maquiladora activist was saluted by the New York Radio Festival and received an award for her organization, the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras and “La Frontera” a documentary investigation of organized crime, violence and impunity and injustice along the Mexico – U.S. border; Marta connects the dots between neoliberal policies, economic dislocation, arms industries, money laundering corruption and impunity that have Mexico submerged in a deep crisis.
  • Napoleon Gómez Urrutiais the mine workers’ union president. He received the AFL-CIO Kirkland Award in recognition of his honest work work that included accusing the Mexican government of industrial homicide following a mine explosion that killed 65 miners –and whose bodies remain buried. The government retaliated with bogus charges and he has been forced into defacto exile in Canada.
  • Sister Consuelo Morales who received the Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forges Award for her work in Mexico to defend victims of human rights violations and hold their abusers accountable. She has worked with indigenous communities, street children, and founded Citizens in Support of Human Rights (CAHDAC) in her native Monterrey.
  • Tita Radilla was granted an award byPeace Brigades International and the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk for her relentless struggle for human rights.She has worked for more than 30 years with the Association of Relatives of Disappeared and Victims of Human Rights Violations (AFADEM), demanding justice for the victims of enforced disappearance in Mexico.

Ted Lewis directs the Mexico Program of Global Exchange.

Manuel Perez Rocha is an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Mexico’s Peace with Justice and Dignity Movement looks north of the border

After months of marches and caravans covering thousand of kilometers of Mexico’s highways and back roads, Javier Sicilia, other family members of murder victims, along with a small support team, traveled to Washington, DC and Los Angeles, CA at the invitation of Global Exchange.

They came with the goal of making the movement more visible in the U.S. and to talk about three things:

  1. breaking the Pentagon’s co-dependency with Calderon’s failed and duplicitous war strategy;
  2. challenging lax U.S. regulation of assault weapons that allows thousands of guns to be smuggled into Mexico and criminal hands every week (please sign the petition);
  3. ending drug prohibition policies that have led to 40 years of a foolish, counter-productive, and ever more bloody “war” on drugs.

The decision to more deeply engage the public and officials in the United States is based on a recognition by the movement that any real and lasting solutions to the crisis of violence and impunity that has exploded during Mexico’s drug war will require deep changes on both sides of the border.

In Washington, they gave testimony to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the head of Human Rights Watch (which just delivered a scathing report on torture by Mexico’s military including the elite marine units favored by President Calderón). In events organized by our partner, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), they also met with Obama Administration officials, key Senate offices and addressed the public at a forum hosted (and videotaped) by the Woodrow Wilson Institute.

Ted Lewis and Javier Sicilia at #OccupyLA

In Los Angeles, Sicilia was a headliner at the International Conference of the Drug Policy Alliance attended by over 1,000 advocates and organizers from around the world. During his brief visit Sicilia visited the Occupy Los Angeles, met with reporters and editorial board members, spoke at a large open air rally against the drug war in MacArthur Park, and gave TV interviews broadcast nationally on Univision and Telemundo.

At the Drug Policy Conference, Sicilia took part took part in a roundtable conversation I facilitated on “Mexico’s Crisis and the Bi-national Movement Against the Drug War”. The wide ranging discussion also featured: Brisa Maya, Director of Mexico’s National Center for Social Communication (CENCOS); John Gibler, Journalist and Author of To Die In Mexico; Zulma Mendez, Director of the Pacto por la Cultura in Ciudad Juarez; Diego Osorno, Journalist and Author, El Cartel de Sinaloa; Victor Quintana, social leader and Former Congressman from Chihuahua; and Susie Byrd, a City Council Representative from El Paso, Texas.

The conversation probed the causes of Mexico’s anguish and the terrible forces tearing and testing the fabric of the nation. For the United States, Mexico’s emergency tests our national character and ability to learn as people and neighbors.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity has plans to do more in the U.S. during 2012 as both Mexico and the U.S. face presidential elections. Mexico’s crisis and the urgent need to address it need to be put front and center whenever and wherever possible.

While in the U.S., Javier Sicilia gave voice to the idea that the same impulse to seek deep structural reforms that inspires the movement in Mexico is reflected in the Occupy Wall Street and other surging movements that aspire to break the death grip of money and power over our democracies. We are all in this together.

Our friends from Mexico will be back up north soon and will be looking for your help to take the struggle for peace to the next level. Stay tuned and refer your friends to our e-mail list.

The following was originally sent to the Mexico News list. Be the first to get latest news and action alerts from our Mexico program by signing up to the list

Mexican President Calderón has broken his public pledge made to Mexican peace movement representatives to evaluate steps taken by the government since an internationally televised dialogue held in the Chapultepec Castle, three months ago.

Contending that the president reneged on his promise, peace movement leaders have challenged him to honor his word by moving ahead with plans to convene, as agreed, at 10:00 AM on October 7 at the Chapultepec Castle with or without the President and his cabinet.

Calderón’s eleventh hour reversal came just a week after the “Caravan to the South” –organized by Mexico’s peace and justice movement — completed a two week, 3,900 kilometer loop through Mexico’s long-troubled and increasingly violent southeastern states. Led by Javier Sicilia and others who have lost loved ones in Mexico’s still expanding war, the 30 vehicle bus and car convoy plied the highways and back roads of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco and Veracruz.

Movement leaders, now back in Mexico City, had been preparing to meet with Calderón despite his stubborn insistence that his decisions to militarize the enforcement of drug prohibition is absolutely correct, or at least irreversible. Even with little or no visible progress, movement leaders were prepared to continue talks on a broad range of topics related to the war and its victims –until Calderón closed the door to dialogue.

Now the movement is planning an unprecedented gathering of war victims on October 7th. They will put their positions forward and announce new peace movement actions for Day of the Dead (Nov 2), Constitution Day (Nov 20), and beyond.

Please check the movement website for possible broadcast details for the Oct 7th events.

Also coming up in October is a month-long speaking tour with investigative journalists, John Gibler and Diego Osorno, on the political uses of the drug war. See the full listing of dates and locations of the tour.

Help us connect the dots to build a powerful movement for peace in Mexico north of the border. Visit our Mexico program page to see some of what we are doing and who we are working with to get it done.

See NYTimes’ recent profile on Javier Sicilia, “Can This Poet Save Mexico?”

Like the caravan that traveled through Mexico’s brutalized north to Ciudad Juarez last June, the caravan south was joined by hundreds of Mexicans determined to shine national attention on hidden sorrows and horrors caused both by long standing political repression in the south as well as the new national dynamics of criminal and state violence. Local organizations staged public marches and meetings, large and small, in the dozens of cities and towns the caravan visited. During these events, a specialized team set up tables to take testimony and give assistance to local citizens ignored by, ill-attended by, or too afraid to speak-up to local and other authorities.

For Micaela Cabañas Ayala, the link between past repression and today’s is painfully clear. She is the daughter of Lucio Cabañas the peasant school teacher turned guerrilla leader who was killed by the Mexican Army in the 1970s. But she joined the caravan as a victim of recent violence. Her mother Isabel Ayala and her aunt Reyna Ayala were killed on July 3 in Xaltianguis, outside of Acapulco. She and other family members are now seeking asylum in the U.S.

The caravan is an expression of a new movement, born of urgent necessity and led by victims. It is powered by resonant truths, spoken from the hearts of mothers, fathers, sister, daughters, sons, brothers, and others whose sorrow is compounded by the absence of justice and the infuriating corruption in Mexico’s judicial, police, and military institutions. The moral compass of these leaders is strong and accurate, but the complex and difficult task of connecting with and convincing their fellow citizens is incomplete.

Most Mexicans, undoubtedly, share the movement’s goals of peace and justice with dignity, but not necessarily its non-violent vision. Fear predominates and polls continue to show majority support for President Calderon’s aggressive use of the Army and military tactics. Connecting with the Mexican public was the goal of the caravan, but that road is still long and, even as the caravan was underway, events elsewhere cast ominous shadows across the path.

In Washington, Rep. Connie Mack, the Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee previewed dangerous new Republican election-year talking points. “Mexican drug cartels have evolved into…the greatest national security threat faced by the United States with the ability to severely damage the U.S. economy”, says the Florida Republican. Criticizing the Obama Administration’s implementation of the Bush era military package called the Merida initiative, Mack calls for a multi-agency “counter insurgency strategy” to “combat insurgent activities, such as violence, corruption and propaganda near our border.” Rejection of this barely disguised call for military intervention was fast and furious across Mexico’s political spectrum, but the specter of deeper U.S. intervention has clearly been set loose.

Another deeply disturbing event was the public hanging of two mangled bodies from a pedestrian bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo on the eve of Mexico’s independence celebration. The victims, a young man and woman were alleged have denounced drug cartel activities on social networking sites, according to hand written signs left at the scene. These murders were especially chilling given that traditional print and electronic media have long ceased reporting on widespread criminal activity. Despite its limitations, social media was the last authentic information channel. Traffickers drove their point home. The hangings were followed just days later by the beheading of the editor-in-chief of Nuevo Laredo’s Primera Hora newspaper. Her killers placed her decapitated head with her computer, mouse, cables, and headphones.

A macabre detail (visible in the accompanying photo) that passed unmentioned in most coverage of these so-called “twitter murders” was the exit sign for a branch office of Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), the organization responsible for conducting the July 2012 presidential elections. The killers made no mention of the IFE, but intentional or not, the appearance of the familiar IFE logo in the crime photo was a reminder that just ten months prior to the 2012 presidential elections, basic conditions for free and fair elections — physical security, freedom of movement, and the freedom to speak without fear of retaliation — simply do not exist in significant regions of Mexico.

Yet another shocking leap in violence took place just days after the peace caravan left Veracruz, a major port city on the Gulf of Mexico, now engulfed in conflict. Thirty-five cadavers, some with signs of torture, were dumped — in full public view during evening rush hour in the center of the city. The bodies were left abandoned in two trucks, just a kilometer from where Mexico’s top state and federal prosecutors and judiciary officials would meet in a closed-door, national strategy meeting the following day.

Without a doubt, Mexico’s peace advocates have a long and taxing road ahead. They need many things, including reliable and strategic allies north of the border who can organize to reform U.S. drug policies, stop southbound gun smuggling, and challenge the flawed military/security priorities the U.S. pushes on Mexico.

It won’t be easy to shift U.S. drug policies away from the costly prohibition-enforcement-incarceration model that has made the drug trafficking obscenely profitable for the last forty years. But there is little doubt that a well -resourced public health strategy would be less expensive and more effective.

The NRA and their allies will fight any effort to limit and more closely track the sales of assault weapons that are the weapons of choice for the cartels. We need all hands on deck to expose the extremists and build a coalition to turn off the open spigot of assault weapons and other criminal firepower gushing into Mexico.

The biggest challenge of all may be how to transform the current military priorities of the drug war so as to instead channel resources to support community policing, build effective investigative capacity, restore community confidence in police and strategically fund educational and economic alternatives to the drug economy.

Help us connect the dots to build a powerful movement for peace in Mexico north of the border. Click the links above to see some of what we are doing and who we are working with to get it done.

For more news on the caravan, see Calderón breaks word to Javier Sicilia: Movement responds.

This month:
Stop the Drug War Speaking Tour: John Gibler and Diego Osorno – Oct 10-Nov 4 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua; El Paso, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; Mexico City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles.

This post was originally sent to the Mexico News updates e-mail list. Be the first to received urgent news and actions from Global Exchange by signing up to our e-mail lists.

We are sending information on how to watch the extraordinary meeting planned on Thursday, June 23 between Javier Sicilia — together with his close advisors, and a group of family members of drug war victims – with President Calderón and his war cabinet.

This meeting represents a major milestone for the growing anti-war movement in Mexico. It is a moment of opportunity and peril. The opportunity is for the movement to speak directly to the Mexican public about the atrocities inherent in the current drug war model and the urgent need to change it. The peril is that the vast public relations machinery of the presidency could paint the moment to win Calderón points for listening, while ignoring the movement’s challenging call for deep change and reform of Mexico’s failing institutions.

You can view the meeting live at:
Also view it on TeleSur:
Listen to it on Radio Chinela: and Radio Centro

The televised public meeting begins at 10:00 AM on Thursday, June 23rd Mexico City time. (This means 11:00AM Eastern; 10:00AM Central; 9:00AM Mountain; and 8:00AM Pacific)

Stay with Global Exchange as we continue to provide you with updates and analysis on the growing anti-war movement in Mexico.