When his 24-year old son was killed in drug war crossfire last year, the Mexican poet Javier Sicilia decided to put away his writing and begin a peace movement against the policies that have led to 50,000 dead in Mexico alone since 2007. His marches and caravans have mobilized thousands of Mexicans in a nonviolent Movement for Peace and Justice, against the violence and official impunity. Sicilia recently visited Los Angeles, and may bring his campaign to the United States later in the year.
According to an organizer of the LA events:
“Sicilia was and still is really a mystical Catholic poet who is extraordinarily erudite as well politically sophisticated and audacious (face to face meetings with President Calderon, huge marches & caravans across Mexico) and well aware of the subtexts of political performance. He wants both policy change and a spiritual awakening. For all those reasons (including a very public kiss of Felipe Calderon!) he has a tense relationship with the Mexican Left. I don't think that matters much to people on this side of the border -- he doesn't play up the metaphysical-spiritual discourse unless he's asked about it. Here, he's a living symbol of the price paid for the "drug war."
The source continued:
“The dream coalition for this movement is urban activists of color, Native Americans who have drug issues (smuggling and abuse) on their reservations, poor rural whites devastated by meth, all the "víctimas" of drugs on this side of the border (Fr. Greg's kids, the 22,000 annual drug overdoses), all alongside Sicilia and his entourage of victims from the other side of the border.”
For more, please see LFLA's account of the meeting held at the downtown public library, moderated by Ruben Martinez and Betto Arcos, and sponsored by Global Exchange.