Photo Chronicle of Mexico’s Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity

by Kristin Bricker and Santiago Navarro

This article first appeared at Upside Down World.

On June 4, poet Javier Sicilia and farmer Julian LeBaron led a 500-person caravan through what one major Mexican magazine referred to as the country’s “route of blood.” Over the following week, the caravan passed through some of the most dangerous places in Mexico: Michoacan, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Chihuahua. The caravan ended on June 10 in Ciudad Juarez, which Sicilia dubbed Mexico’s “epicenter of pain” because just over one-fifth of the country’s homicides occurred in that city in 2010.

One of the caravan’s principle goals was for drug war victims to network and organize. The caravan collected victims’ stories and contact information in every town it visited.

Dozens of drug war victims from across the country, such as Nepomuceno Moreno Nuñez from Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, travelled with the caravan to meet other victims and share their stories.

Moreno Nuñez (above, right, shown hugging Javier Sicilia) wants to find his son, 18-year-old Jorge Mario Moreno León, who was kidnapped and disappeared along with five friends on July 1, 2010.

Moreno Nuñez spoke with the kidnappers when they answered Jorge Mario’s cell phone. They told him that the young men were kidnapped because they collaborated with the Beltran Leyva criminal organization. “They made a mistake,” laments Moreno Nuñez. “They said that one of the boys [Mario Enrique Diaz Islas] was the son of an accomplice to the Beltran Leyvas. It’s not true.” In reality, Mario Enrique’s father, Mario Diaz Garduño, was the director of the Hermosillo municipal Health Department.

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Politician’s Disappearance Raises Questions About Mexico’s Security Strategy

by Kristin Bricker

A shorter version of this article appears on the Security Sector Reform Centre’s blog.

The presumed kidnapping of Diego “The Boss” Fernández de Cevallos, one of Mexico’s most powerful politicians, has put Mexico’s security crisis in the international spotlight yet again.

The Mexican government hasn’t officially classified de Cevallos’ disappearance as a kidnapping. However, the fact that his car was found abandoned on his ranch with traces of blood and signs of struggle has lead his family to plea that his “captors” make contact in order to negotiate his release. At the time of writing, it is unknown if de Cevallos is alive or dead.

The crime itself isn’t shocking—kidnappings are all-too-common in Mexico. Nor would de Cevallos be the first politician to fall victim to violent crime—several local politicians have been killed or attacked in recent weeks as the country prepares for interim elections. What sets this crime apart from others is that the victim is one of the most powerful men in Mexico.
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Mexican Soldiers Murder Two Children, U.S. Media Covers Up the Crime

"New Federal Government Slogan: So drugs don't fall into your children's hands, we are killing them for you."

By Kristin Bricker

Mexicans returning home after Easter vacation were greeted with horrifying news: Mexican soldiers opened fire on a vehicle full of children as their family headed to the beach for Easter Sunday.

According to Mexican press, the soldiers indiscriminately opened fire on the vehicle, and even threw fragmentation grenades.  La Jornada reports:

According to the victims’ complaint, the seven children and four adults were traveling in a Tahoe truck, driven by Carlos Alfredo Rangel, early Sunday morning.  When the vehicle passed the military checkpoint, Rangel observed that the soldiers were alongside the highway. Rangel slowed down, but the soldiers did not signal for him to stop.

After passing the checkpoint, the soldiers began to shoot indiscriminately at the vehicle; the adults say that they even threw multiple fragmentation grenades.

They recount that they experienced moments of terror and confusion as they got out of the truck and tried to run for the brush. Martín Almanza carried his sons Bryan and Michel, but at that moment he felt a bullet graze him.  His son Bryan was covered in blood.  He died in his arms.  Despite the fact that the civilians were screaming at the soldiers to stop shooting at them because there were children present, the soldiers ignored them and injured the other youngster, who died at the scene.”

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