“More than 54,000 Mexicans have signed a petition calling on the United States to take further steps to combat weapons trafficking,” the Assocated Press reported yesterday.
The AP continued:
Mexico says the majority of guns used by the country’s violent drug cartels are smuggled over the border from the United States.
Mexico’s best-known anti-violence activist and a prominent intellectual presented the petition at the U.S. embassy Monday.
Activist Javier Sicilia said “The United States is partly responsible for our humanitarian tragedy.”
About 70,000 people have died in Mexico in drug violence since 2006, according to the written copy of a speech presented by Mexico’s interior secretary in December.
Before the activists presented their petition, President Barack Obama said Monday he would present a new U.S. gun control plan within days.
Call me suspicious, but when a Mexican activist group calls for gun control in the U.S., you have to be, well, suspicious. However, there is a lot to be learned here.
Keep in mind, it is the Mexican crime network that is trafficking the guns into Mexico — aided and abetted by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress that are responsible for using stimulus funds to continue the Southwest Border Initiative’s Project Gunrunner, ATF’s gunwalking program (2005-2011).
A DOJ Inspector General report from November 2011 did, in part, place the blame for the gun trafficking on Mexico’s severe restrictions:
Violence associated with organized crime and drug trafficking in Mexico is widespread, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. In part because Mexican law severely restricts gun ownership, drug traffickers have turned to the United States as a primary source of weapons, and these drug traffickers routinely smuggle guns from the United States into Mexico. The criminal organizations responsible for smuggling guns to Mexico are typically also involved in other criminal enterprises, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and cash smuggling.
How about the Obama admin initiated “Fast & Furious”? Just whistle past this graveyard, too. There’s nothing to see here.
fyi: None of this has anything to do with proposed gun control for law-abiding gun-owning U.S. citizens.
So, let’s return to our Mexican activists and spokesman, “poet, essayist, novelist, and journalist,” Javier Sicilia, whose son was brutally killed in March 2011 in Mexico by Mexican drug traffickers.
Sicilia was TIME magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year “for his work in organizing the 2011 Mexican protests.”
Believing that President Felipe Calderón’s five-year-long military campaign against Mexico’s narcocartels has simply exacerbated the violence, he created the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity — which is informally and popularly called Hasta la Madre! or Fed Up! — to push for a stop to the mafia bloodshed and for new anticrime strategies and reforms.
Carried out in 40 Mexican cities, the protesters are calling for an “end to the Drug War, the retreat of military forces from the streets, the legalization of drugs, and the removal of Mexican President Felipe Calderón.”
If these seem to be unreasonable demands, here’s a reasonable explanation penned at an April 7, 2011 protest by Al Giordano at NarcoNews.com (emphasis added):
See, what has happened here is politically significant: those who have long had and voiced their grievances with “the evil government” of Calderón have intelligently latched on to the anti-war-on-drugs cause as their own, too, because they smartly percieve it as a “wedge issue” that encompasses the whole of national discontent and which could very possibly result in the toppling of an authoritarian president, “elected” only via well documented electoral fraud, with absolutely not a shred of moral authority among his own people. In just one week, humble and dignified Javier Sicilia has collected the free-floating moral authority that nobody else could credibly assume in this Failed State named Mexico and supplanted the napoleanic Calderón as the moral leader of a nation. A big reason that has happened is because, due to his columns over so many years, everybody knows that Sicilia dislikes political parties, has zero interest in running for political office, and serves as a kind of “anti-caudillo” figure at contrast with the strong swashbuckling machismo of so many previous political and revolutionary leaders that the public has grown uneasy with. This is not to say that “the Sicilian” who now puts order to “the mafias” is any kind of pushover at all. When he speaks of the need for criminals to return to their “codes of honor” and leave civilians alone, a guy named Giordano understands exactly what a guy named Sicilia is talking about: this is a man with guts and cunning, too, and one who knows his enemy, and his enemy’s history. …
… and for the multitude assembled, it was the reestablishment of the proper social order: that in a democracy, an army, if there is one, must be at service of the people. Four years of Calderón having reversed that order – he converted the people into mere pieces on the Army’s chess board, objects to be pushed around, stopped, searched, invaded, molested and assassinated – has brought the public to its absolute limit.
Cuernavaca is now the unlikely epicenter of something of revolutionary potential: the reestablishment of the proper order of things in which a people rule its own country. It has been a bloody battlefield for four years (before that it was a tranquil flowered city with a strong pull on tourists who now no longer come there due to Calderón’s War) but now it is a new kind of battlefield: a struggle to reconquer the terrain of daily life for every citizen, every family, block by block for every neighborhood. …
On August 9, 2012, Tom Hayden, a main SDS organizer, ’60s radical, anti-war activist, and Communist sympathizer, reported at The Rag Blog that Sicilia’s protest movement was winding its way towards the Obama seat of power:
A new peace movement to end the U.S.-sponsored drug war begins with buses rolling and feet marching from the Tijuana–San Diego border on August 12 through 25 U.S. cities to Washington, DC, in September.
Named the Caravan for Peace, the trek is intended to put human faces and names on the estimated 60,000 dead, 10,000 disappeared, and 160,000 displaced people in Mexico since 2006, when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Pentagon, and the CIA supported the escalation of the Mexican armed forces. …
About 70 Mexican activists, many of whom are relatives of victims, and about 30 Americans will accompany Sicilia on the caravan along the U.S.-Mexico border, north from New Orleans through Mississippi and Alabama, to Chicago, Cleveland, New York City, Baltimore and Washington, DC. The U.S.-based Global Exchange is charged with coordination and logistics.
Global Exchange was co-founded by anti-war activist and Code Pink co-founder, Medea Benjamin.
More than 100 U.S. immigrant rights and peace groups are actively involved, including the Drug Policy Alliance, the NAACP, the Washington Office on Latin America, the Center for International Policy’s Americas Program, the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the National Latino Congreso, Presente.org and Veterans for Peace. Fifty grassroots groups are involved from California alone.
The caravan may force a response from President Obama, who at the Summit of the Americans this past April stated “it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are ones that are doing more harm than good in certain places.”
That, however, is not the conversation that Obama will have over gun control. Hint: Fast & Furious, Arab spring, and the list goes on.
Most of the deaths in the Drug War, begun during the Bush era in 2006, are now on Obama’s watch from 2008 to 2012. Yet it’s often difficult for Americans, even sympathetic ones, to see the patterns of violence as a repeat of the Central American civil wars. Many Americans think of the 60,000 dead not as innocent victims but as somehow complicit in the drug culture. This perception is deceiving, as the cross-section of caravan witnesses dramatically reveals.
The Trans-Border Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity came on a mission to “Bring to the American people’s conscience their shared responsibility for the thousands of dead, missing and displaced in the drug war.”
The only problem with this honorable mission is that it is not the American people who are to blame. The blame belongs at the caravan’s intended destination, with the seat of American power, with the “I Won” and Congress.
P.S. I have written extensively about Mexico and the war on drugs and crime at rbo2, which I have temporarily reopened to public access.