The nearly 150 participants of the Caravan for Peace With Justice and Dignity reached their final destination in Washington, D.C., this week, after traveling to 26 U.S. cities to protest American and Mexican “war on drugs” policies fueling cartel violence south of the border.
Taking a route similar to the UndocuBus before it, the demonstrators journeyed across much of the U.S. south to deliver the contention that American drug policies are feeding a bloody war that has claimed tens of thousands of civilian lives in the past six years.
“We come from afar bringing to the heart of this country all the horror of this useless, lost war,” said Caravan leader Javier Sicilia, a Mexican poet who lost his son to drug violence in 2011, Notitas De Noticias writes.
Sicila is calling for a drastic change to current drug war methods, suggesting an approach to include a mix of legalization, gun control and a tighter crackdown on money laundering, according to Noticias.
The caravan of buses, private cars and RVs began on the U.S. Tijuana border in early August and crisscrossed southern states on its way to the capital. The group held marches, vigils, demonstrations and rallies all along the way. In Washington, it planned to march from the White House to the Freedom Plaza with two dozen congressional officials and the Mexican Ambassador.
“I am convinced that change will come from the bottom up of society, not from the top. If we the citizens don’t voice our concerns and pressure the politicians, nothing is going to happen,” Sicilia said in a statement on the group’s Web site.
The U.S. and Mexico war on drugs has been a controversial policy since ramping up in 2006, and underlies vicious violence between cartels that has claimed thousands of lives in a little more than half a decade.
“Mexico may provide the deaths, but the United States provides the demand for drugs and the weapons to kill thousands,” Caravan member Enrique Morones wrote in a statement provided to Roll Call. “Now is the time for all of us to call for an end to the war on drugs. Join us while we still have the time. Our children are counting on us.”
Along with the UndocuBus, the Caravan is one of a number of traveling demonstrations in the U.S. this summer, including Reyneld Sanon, a housing activist crusading for better housing for Haitians affected by the 2010 earthquake through the organization UnderTents.
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