Caravan Across US Calls Attention to Human Impact of Mexico’s Drug War

Javier Sicilia once wrote poetry inspired by Catholic mysticism, but traded his pen to work for justice and peace after the March 2011 murder of his son Juan Francisco, 24, whose body was stuffed with six others into car in Cuernavaca.

Sicilia founded the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which has protested violence, impunity and the unexpected consequences of the government crackdown on drug cartels and organized crime.

He’s also convened caravans to the country’s northern and southern borders and pulled no punches during public forums with politicians including President Felipe Calderon, who told Sicilia that he had no regrets for cracking down on the country’s drug cartels upon taking office in 2006.

Mostly though, Sicilia has given a voice to victims and their families, whose cases often go unsolved and who sometimes suffer from the stigmatization of having suspicions surround them that their loved ones were somehow mixed up in criminal activities. During the last six years, more than 50,000 lives have been lost. Thousands more simply have disappeared.

“His complaint is much more than his son’s case,” said political analyst Jorge Zepeda, director of the online publication Sin Embargo. “It’s saying, ‘Enough.’ It’s about all victims.”

Sicilia now brings his movement north of border, where the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity will cross the United States. The trek begins Aug. 12 in San Diego and is set to conclude Sept. 10 in Washington, stopping in 20 cities along the way.

– Read the entire article at Catholic News Service.