Caravan for Peace crosses U.S. to highlight the failed War on Drugs

The 6,000-mile journey through 20 cities is to honor lives lost due to failed prohibition policies, culminating in an international day of action in D.C. Photo: Mexican poet and leader Javier Sicilia receives a priest's blessing at a rally AP

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. August 30, 2012 — This  August in conjunction with the Mexican Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, a high profile Caravan of Peace is crossing the U.S., starting in San Diego/Los Angeles area, heading east along the U.S.-Mexico border and then swinging north to Chicago, and cross to Cleveland, New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. to heighten the awareness of the failed “War on Drugs.”

The 6,000-mile journey through 20 cities is to honor lives lost due to the failed prohibition policies, culminating in an international day of action in Washington, D.C.

These days it is almost impossible to listen to the national news without reading about the rapidly escalating drug-related violence in Mexico, most particularly the areas of Mexico that share a common border with the United States.

The deadly mayhem and the greed that fuels it recognizes no borders, often making the American side of these drug war zones just an extension of their battlefield. Both sides of the border are tired of law enforcement’s failed efforts to put an end to the bloodshed and the breakdown of society in general.

So weary in fact, that renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia has become the primary spokesperson for the Mexican Movement for Peace with Justice  & Dignity (MPJD). Also joining MPJD on the Caravan of Peace will be a broad bi-national coalition of 100 organizations.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition joined Caravan

U.S.-based organizations and foundations including the Latin American Working Group, Washington Office on Latin America, The RFK Center, regional leaders of the Brady Campaign, Heeding God’s Call, Presente.org, LCLAA, NALAAC, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Fellowship of Reconciliation, Veterans for Peace, Institute for Policy Studies, Drug Policy Alliance, and many others, who realize a new approach is required.

To illustrate the gravity of the problem, Sicilia points out that more than 60,000 people have been killed in drug violence in Mexico in the last few years. More than 10,000 people have been disappeared and over 160,000 displaced.

“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.”

The U.S. Caravan For Peace states that its mission is to:

Caravan For Peace’s route across the U.S.

* To shine a light on the crisis of Drug War violence, impunity and human rights atrocities that are rending Mexico’s social fabric;

* To make the connections between the impacts of the Drug War in Mexico (violence, deaths and rise of organized crime) and in the U.S. (criminalization, incarceration, and life-long marginalization, disproportionately affecting African-American and Latino communities);

* To promote a civil society discourse with the American public and opinion leaders about the policies (easy access to assault weapons, militarization of drug enforcement and U.S. prohibition policies) at the root of the crisis;

* To foster collaboration and effective solidarity among a broad range of North American;

* To promote progressive, grassroots, religious, humanitarian and other organizations; and

* To leave, in the Caravan’s wake, informed, organized, and mobilized communities of activists, who will pursue reform strategies in the long term on both sides of the border.

Simply legalizing marijuana would cut the operating capital of the Mexican drug cartels IN HALF. For a substance that a majority of Americans already agrees should be legalized, it seems like a positive and effective approach at beginning the efforts to eliminate the cartels and the senseless violence their world breeds.

Banner along the Caravan’s route East

The latest trend by the Mexican cartels is the cultivation of massive outdoor patches on American soil, primarily in California. Make no mistake though; the proliferation of these cartels will have its effects felt nationwide.

Rather than be bothered with the risk of transporting marijuana across the border, the well-funded operations provide material, immigrant labor, and well-equipped, motivated security to guard the multi-million dollar industry.

The question is really quite simple: Would you rather give billions of dollars to ruthless drug cartels or to the tax coffers of this country?

To learn more about this crusade go to Caravan For Peace.


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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.

 

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