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Mexico revolts against U.S. drug war
4 years ago
| Government & Politics

<a href="http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/4372/and-what-history-looks-mexico" target="_blank">http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/4372/and-what-history-looks-mexico</a> And This Is What History Looks Like in Mexico Yesterday, multitudes took to the streets in more than 40 Mexican cities - and in protests by Mexicans and their friends at consulates and embassies in Europe, North America and South America - to demand an end to the violence wrought by the US-imposed "war on drugs." <a href="http://chillychilango.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/javier-sicilias-letter-to-politicians-criminals-english/" target="_blank">http://chillychilango.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/javier-sicilias-letter-to-politicians-criminals-english/</a> Javier Sicilia’s Open Letter to Mexico’s Politicians and Criminals

4 years ago

The Field on the Narcosphere

 

 

Yesterday, multitudes took to the streets in more than 40 Mexican cities - and in protests by Mexicans and their friends at consulates and embassies in Europe, North America and South America - to demand an end to the violence wrought by the US-imposed "war on drugs."

 

What? You haven't heard about this? Or if you have heard something about it, did you know that it is the biggest news story in the Mexican media, on the front page of virtually every daily newspaper in the country?

 

A sea change has occurred in Mexican public opinion. The people have turned definitively against the use of the Mexican Army to combat against drug traffickers. The cry from every city square yesterday was for the Army to return to its barracks and go back to doing the job it was formed to do; protect Mexico from foreign invasion and provide human aid relief in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Since President Felipe Calderón unleashed the Armed Forces, four years ago, to combat drug trafficking organizations, the violence between it and the competing narco organizations has led to a daily body count, widespread human rights abuses against civilians, and more than 40,000 deaths, so many of them of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire and used by all sides in the armed conflict that still has no winners, that never will have any winner.

 

A fast moving series of events that began on March 28 have converged to usher Mexico into its very own "Arab spring." And it began just outside "the City of Eternal Spring," Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos, about an hour south of Mexico City. Narco News has been covering these events for the past week (sadly, we are so far the only English-language media to do so at each step of the story, even as it has huge consequences for United States drug policy not only in Mexico but throughout the world and at home). On that date, in the town of Temixco, seven young men were assassinated. These were kids with jobs, who went to school, model kids, not criminals. And one of those kids, Juan Francisco Silvia, was the son of a nationally respected journalist and poet, Javier Sicilia, of Cuernavaca.

 

In a week, the soft spoken, increasingly beloved, intellectual has become the national vessel through which millions of voices now demand: End the war on drugs.

 

We translated Javier's Open Letter to Mexico's Politicians and Criminals this week, and penned what is our third editorial in eleven years to provide you with context and background to understand the magnitude of what he has unearthed. Yesterday we translated his statements calling for the legalization of drugs to restore peace and dignity to Mexico, and then we headed out to report the marches that this increasingly and deservedly beloved man called for to happen only days ago. We had reporters with Sicilia in his city of Cuernavaca, in Mexico City, and correspondents in numerous other Mexican and international locations, and over the course of the day I will be adding photos and more information about what happened to this page as updates.

Truth is that so much has happened in a day that processing it all tends to overwhelm. Last night, returning from the marches, ten reporters, photographers and video makers (all students or professors at the School of Authentic Journalism) met to compare notes. Everyone was so shaken - I mean that in the best possible way - by what we had seen and heard, and wanted to talk about it, to understand what exactly is happening here on the other side of the US border.

 

I was part of the team covering the demonstration in the capital, at which about 20,000 people came for the first ever demonstration against the war on drugs (there have been annual marijuana legalization marches in Mexico City for some time, but this was the first time a mass of people had convened to collapse the entire policy of the drug war, and the attendees were far more diverse). Here are some observations: A good half of the crowd looked like they had never attended a demonstration before. Couples, young and old, with homemade signs, many of which were versions of a popular piece of artwork that Mexican political cartoonists have caused to "go viral" on the Internet. Practicing the Debordian art of détournment, people added their own messages to it. Here is one example:  

 

cont'd...

4 years ago

 

In Spanish, the plus sign ("+") translates as "mas," or "more." So to say "one plus one," you say "uno mas uno" (or "one, more one"). The original image - "No + (the red ink blot)" is immediately understood in Mexico as "No more blood."

 

Everyday people added their own specific demands to this design, on placards, tee shirts, stickers, Xeroxed and photoshopped copies on letter paper. They called for no more deaths, injustice, impunity, corruption, police, and Calderón, among the related things they want no more of. The rage personalized on Calderón was particularly interesting, since many of these people were of the "middle class" demographic that constitute his electoral base. It's certain that a good number of people who came to this march had voted for Calderón in 2006 for president, but here they were, yesterday, chanting, "Out Calderón!"and "Urgent! Urgent! He Must Resign, the President!"

 

Many mothers and grandmothers carried signs they had made asking questions like, "If the children killed were named Calderón would you still want this war?" They marched next to businessmen in suits, Christian religious groups, punks with spiked hair, entire families with baby carriages, a few people walking their dogs, bicyclists, lesbians, gays, young office professionals with stylish printed placards, each of them unique, and small groups of three, four, five friends who told our reporters that they were not part of any organization or collective, but they had read about the march in the media or on Facebook and decided together to come out for it. I have reported on marches throughout Mexico for fourteen years and this was the first time I had seen so many of these kinds of people at a protest; regular people, who had they been walking without their signs on any given day on any corner wouldn't necessarily draw one's attention due to their sheer and pleasant normalcy.

 

That was about half of the march's attendees.

 

The other half were sectors of society that had obviously marched for causes before. I recognized many from the Zapatista Other Campaign and anti-electoral fraud protests of 2006. The electrical workers union brought a contingent of hundreds, the teacher's union, groups of professors or students from the universities in the city, indigenous campesinos, alternative media makers numbered over 100 among the ones I recognized, and there were about as many reporters and cameras from official news organizations. There were people peddling newspapers from every leftist "tendency" that exists: the marxist-leninists, the trotskyists, the anarchists, the maoists, even the stalinists. There were people, pushed by NGOs, who had marched "for more security" in the past and had interpreted that as "more police and prisons." But here they were answering don Javier's call to march against the war on drugs! The People's Front for Defense of the Land came from Atenco - I huggedNacho del Valle, who was freed from prison almost a year ago - who had arrived with his neighbors at this march against violence with their machetes high in the air.

In other lands it might seem paradoxical the sight of machete swords at what others called a "march for peace" but it caused absolutely no concern or fright among other attendees. In Mexico, it is well understood that people's self defense is a less violent alternative to corrupt police forces. And so they fit right in.

 

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.  ...read more here

4 years ago

How surprising (not) that this got nary a mention in MSM in the U.S.

 

Thanks, Libramoon, for this article.

 

4 years ago

Still haven't heard anything about these happenings right next door in the media here; yet we heard about a suicide-shooter in the Netherlands, on the other side of the planet, today - big story on CNN.

 

My heart goes out to Mexico.  God/dess bless these protesters  

From Campaign For Liberty
4 years ago

Mexicans Are Fed Up with the War on Drugs

By Robert Higgs

 

A few days ago, tens of thousands of Mexicans in scores of Mexican cities participated in public protests against the War on Drugs and the use of the Mexican army as anti-drug warriors. The violence that has accompanied the Mexican government's attempts to defeat the drug dealers during the past several years has claimed perhaps as many as 40,000 lives. Some cities, especially Ciudad Juarez, across the river from El Paso, Texas, have become virtual battlefields.

 

All of this would be sufficiently dreadful if it had accompanied legitimate efforts to suppress real criminals. But although the drug dealers have committed murders, robberies, and other genuine crimes, to be sure, the foundation of this entire “war” is the U.S. government's attempts to suppress actions -- possessing, buying, and selling certain substances -- that violate no one's natural rights. Not to mince words, the War on Drugs is completely evil, from alpha to omega. No one who believes in human liberty can coherently support it. That its prosecution should have resulted in death and human suffering on such a vast scale constitutes an indictment of every person who has conducted or supported this wicked undertaking from its outset.

 

The Mexican people are showing in many ways, and with unprecedented determination, that they are completely fed up with this gringo-prompted war in which, in recent years, they have become the most devastated victims. Governments that treat their people in this way have no legitimacy whatsoever. They deserve to be brought down. And if the people of Mexico bring down Calderon's government, then peaceful, rights-respecting people everywhere will have reason to cheer and hope.

 

However, not until the source of this manifest wickedness, the government of the United States, is also brought down will be world be able to believe that justice might be reestablished and human rights elevated to a higher plane. Aside from Puritan busybodies who take pleasure in bullying their neighbors and causing them to suffer, government officials and their palace guards -- pandering politicians, the police, the prosecutors, and the prison-industrial complex -- are the only real beneficiaries of this horrendous policy. This fact alone justifies its immediate termination. Yet, because the government's tyrannical apparatus benefits so greatly, it will fight with every resource at its disposal to hang onto this evil undertaking.

 

Children who encounter something called the Hundred Years' War in their history books must sometimes wonder what possessed people to keep them fighting for a century. If it seems crazy, however, one need only recall that we are just three years away from the one-hundredth anniversary of the enactment of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. An even worse statute, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, as amended, has now been in force for more than forty years, and no prospect of its repeal looms on the horizon. In our eyes the Europeans who continued to slaughter one another more or less continuously from 1337 and 1453 seem like madmen. Future historians may well look back at our War on Drugs with equal incomprehension and dismay.

 

 

4 years ago

I believe the reason there are such few comments- just plain right. And everybody knows it.

We're Number One! We're Number One! We're Number one....
4 years ago

.........In per capita prison population.  

 

The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, 756 per 100,000 of the national population.  With 5% of the population of the world, we have 25% of the prison population!

 

The other contenders.... Russia (629), Rwanda (604), St Kitts & Nevis (588), Cuba (c.531), U.S. Virgin Is. (512), British Virgin Is. (488), Palau (478), Belarus (468), Belize (455), Bahamas (422), Georgia (415), American Samoa (410), Grenada (408) and Anguilla (401).....  All really impressive names there, but sorry, the good ol USA breezed by you all.

 

Yeah, we absolutely blew away those Europeans....  Great Britain was 153 (one of the highest in Europe) but the USA has scored 6 times as many!!! 

 

And those wimpy French and Germans?  96 and 89 respectively.  What a bunch of losers.