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Yesterday, I came across a story about plans for a march today in Mexico. It touched my soul. Often, I forget or disbelieve that I even have one left.

“We have had it up to here because the corruption of the judicial institutions generates the complicity with crime and the impunity to commit it, because in the middle of that corruption that demonstrates the failure of the State, each citizen of this country has been reduced to what the philosopher Giorgio Agamben called, using a Greek word, “zoe”: an unprotected life, the life of an animal, of a being that can be violated, kidnapped, molested and assassinated with impunity. We have had it up to here because you only have imagination for violence, for weapons, for insults…”

-Javier Sicilia

[Pity is, by definition, a feeling of sympathy. I do not pity Sicilia, for it is empathy I feel instead. To see someone put into words a feeling that I feel but cannot express, though I've tried, is something that reaches your soul and affects you. Only those of us who participated in the drug war, us soldiers and victims, truly understand the reality behind Sicilia's words. But his gift as a poet puts the intangible into language, as only an artist can. On so many levels, modern society has become a violent orgy of Predation, Control, and Hatred. Who but a Poet could respond to those things, both abstract and very real with the death of his son....]

Here is the story of an emerging movement, and a personal story. The story of a poet whose son was slain in Mexico's Drug wars last month. Javier Sicilia is his name.

In the time since, he has become a leader in the anti-drug war movement. Today, an estimated 10,000 took to the streets of Mexico at Javier's urging. While so many of us are mired in apathy and political hopelessness, Javier Sicilia has in one month helped galvanize a movement, and TODAY the cowardly president of Mexico, Calderon himself, granted an audience to this Poet and Revolutionary, Javier Sicilia.

Since his son's death, Javier Sicilia has urged Mexicans to take a stand against the violence, generating enough publicity to earn him an audience with Calderon on Wednesday.

Thousands of Mexicans protested the country's raging drug war on Wednesday as dozens of bodies were found in graves near the country's border with the United States.

Demonstrators marched in cities across Mexico, holding signs condemning the wave of killing that has claimed more than 37,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and launched a military-led crackdown against drug cartels.

"We are fed up with this war that nobody asked for," said protester Leticia Ruiz in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, where some businesses have closed because of gunbattles in the streets and rampant extortion by cartel members.


Prosecutors said on Wednesday they discovered 59 bodies in a series of graves in the northern state of Tamaulipas, not far from a ranch where 72 Central and South Americans were executed late last year by drug gangs preying on migrants traveling north through Mexico


Renowned as a peaceful colonial-era jewel south of Mexico City where young couples go to marry, Cuernavaca became a hotbed of protests after the son of a leading poet and author was discovered killed there last month.

Police there found the bodies of 24-year-old Juan Francisco Sicilia and several of his friends in a car, along with a menacing message from drug cartels.

Yesterday, Javier Sicilia released this message to the citizens and governments of both Mexico and the USA:

....narco-trafficking has existed for a long time in our country. It is part of our life. However, since the war was unleashed as a means to exterminate it, the US, which is the grand consumer of these toxic substances, has not done anything to support us.

“The weapons that are arming organized crime and are killing our kids, our soldiers, our police, come from the US and they are not doing anything to stop them. These guns are maybe worse than any kind of drug, they are powerful, terrible and widespread,” said Sicilia.

He asked that “if the US doesn’t prosecute and put a stop to its arms industry – a legalized horror – why should we prosecute the producers of the drugs?”

Recently, dailykos recommended a diary about howthe ATF was allowing assault weapons from gun shows/shops in America to go across the border. One of those weapons was traced to a murdered Border Patrol agent. So, it is obvious that Sicilia's words are quite truthful.

Here is an open letter from Monday that Sicilia penned, which includes the paragraph quoted at intro to this diary:

There is no life, Albert Camus wrote, without persuasion and without peace, and the history of Mexico today only knows intimidation, suffering, distrust and the fear that one day another son or daughter of another family will be debased and massacred. You only know what you are ask us, that death, as is already happening today, becomes an affair of statistics and administration and which we should all get used to it.

Because we do not want this, next Wednesday we will go out into the street: because we do not want one more child, one more son, assassinated, the citizen networks of Morelos are calling for national citizen unity that we must maintain alive to break the fear and isolation that the incapacity of you, “señores” politicians, and the cruelty of you, “señores” criminals, want us to put in our bodies and souls.

I remember, in this sense, some verses by Bertholt Brecht, when the horror of Nazism, which is to say, the horror of the installation of crime in the daily life of a nation, appeared: “One day they came for the blacks, and I said nothing. Another day they came for the Jews, and I said nothing. One day they came for me (or for a son of mine) and I had nothing to say.” Today, after so many crimes supported, when the destroyed body of my son and his friends has brought the citizenry to mobilize anew, and in the media we must speak with our bodies, with our walk, with our cry of indignation, so that those verses of Brecht are not made a reality in our country.

Additionally, I opine that we must return dignity to this nation.

Meanwhile, we learn that Wells Fargo/ Wachovia will walk away with a slap on the wrist for laundering drug money. Which isn't even news: the story about Bank of America, Wachovia, and others laundering drug money actually broke last year.

Their hope, as usual, is that the ebb and flow of news cycles will wash all of this away.

Now, please move along.....nothing to see here.

maybe the update will post later, in the meantime:

“The military should not be in the streets,” Fox said. “It is not prepared to carry out police functions, probably because it is not prepared to profoundly respect human-rights processes.”

Asked if he was challenging Calderón, Fox said: “I am not talking about President Calderón, nor am I going to. I am going to speak about the strategies that are being followed and which I believe could be improved considerably.”

Fox is expected to speak Thursday afternoon at the University of San Diego, at the invitation of the Trans-Border Institute and the Center for Community Service-Learning. He was originally scheduled to give a lecture at Point Loma Nazarene University, but the invitation was rescinded due to his views on drug legalization.

“The flow of drugs is not going to be detained. It’s like sex, like alcohol, like cigarettes, like abortion,” Fox said Wednesday. “It’s like marriage of people of the same sex. Life is changing, prohibitions are crumbling and this seems to be the last frontier of prohibitions.”

Originally posted to theytookmyblogalready on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 01:16 AM PDT.

Also republished by LatinoKos, America Latina, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  fiasco. (41+ / 0-)

    In this day and age where we wait for Smart to come save us from Stupid, the coverage and focus on marches is almost exclusively on how many people show up. Like any well-behaved "outsider" or "Other", we obediently sit and wait to hear what Happened, And How Did That Story End.

    Egypt. Wisconsin. Iran. Libya.

    Just give me the highlights. You know, like ESPN. And tell me who Won.

    Well, not in this diary.

    I've said in past diaries how illogical it is for anyone, of any political stripe, to expect certain swathes of our citizenry to trust politicians who are too stupid to figure out how to regulate a cannabis plant. Unfortunately for all of us, the drug war is much more complex than that single plant. And those who opened Pandora's Box by criminalizing marijuana so that cartels would profit from it, they now disingenuously claim that legalizing it will do little to hurt the cartels.

    in other words, prohibitionists created a monster, but don't want us to use legalization against the monster that THEY THE PROHIBITIONISTS created....because it's "not enough". I, for one, oppose legal cocaine or meth. But the Prohibitionists have stoked the drug addiction problem in America to the point where this country is just a giant star-spangled junkie.

    and junkies.....well, they don't have the luxury of possessing a plethora of options, now do they?

    witness the GOPranos...rethugs....Paul Wolfowitz: "If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too."

    by change the Be on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 12:38:15 AM PDT

    •  Poems? (5+ / 0-)

      Do you know where we can find his poetry? I'm interested in reading his work.

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

      The Rapture will be cancelled due to budget cuts. -- Bill in Portland

      by brooklynliberal on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 07:25:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sicilia announced that he would no longer (0+ / 0-)

        write any poetry, six days after his son's death.

        CIUDAD DE MÉXICO (03/ABR/2011).- Seis días después del hallazgo de su hijo muerto en el interior de un auto, el escritor Javier Sicilia pronunció lo que, dijo, sería su última inspiración artística. Jamás volverá a escribir poesía porque el crimen "le aniquiló el alma", expresó junto a la ofrenda que colocaron agrupaciones civiles en las puertas del Palacio de Gobierno en recuerdo del joven de 24 años.

        Six days after his son was found dead inside of an auto, the writer Javier Sicilia announced that which, he said, would be his last artistic inspiration. He will never resume writing poetry because the crime "annihilated my soul", he said, next to the offering that civil associations had placed in the doors of the Government Palace in memory of the 24 year old youth.  (Translation is mine.)

        Several of his poems can be found here (in Spanish).

        "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

        by flitedocnm on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:36:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Drugs Lords don't care about drugs (6+ / 0-)

      It's the money, it's the power.  They are attracted to any prohibition. The Italian mafia isn't smuggling cigarettes across the eastern Mediterranean because they are promoting tobacco use, they're in it for the money.  We already know how to break down the power of organized crime in this scenario, because of our previous experience with prohibitions.  We legalized alcohol after a failed experiment turned parts of Chicago and other American cities into free fire zones.  We know what's driving the Mexican drug war and we know how to defeat it.  When a public health and morality effort has, as an unintended consequence, increased the danger to Americans and Mexicans and threatens the foundations of Mexican government, the sane thing to do would be a repeal of the drug laws, just as we did once before.

      Will we do it?  Will we restrict the flow of weapons into Mexico?  Of course not.  The drug war and unrestricted gun sales are little gifts to the right wing in the country, corrupt pandering to keep them happy.

      "It was like that when I got here." - Homer Simpson

      by rbird on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 09:34:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am writing from Mexico.. (4+ / 0-)

      and having Mexican friends who are participating in these protest, I can tell you that it takes courage.

       Where I live, on the coast of Oaxaca, we are not seeing the kind of problems that are on the border. Partly because we are far from the border, and partly because it is mostly poorer communities in this region.

       Acapulco, though also far from the border, has always had problems of this type. It is also now a big city ( more than a million people!), with a fast highway to Mexico City.

      But of course, even though we here are more removed, it affects us also. My community has a tourist based economy...can you imagine what it is like here now?
      The beach is empty...the city of Oaxaca itself is very quiet.
      People still have business to run, and families to feed.

      And the other place I live, New Mexico, has its toenails on the border with Juarez...a place that has become hell.

       It is all so tragic...and our weapons are fueling this war. Our banks are laundering drug money  - making money doing it.

    •  This makes me sick to my stomach... (0+ / 0-)

      The cartel killed my best friend's 21-year old son on March 31st.  She is down there right now fighting the damn US government to help her get her 20-year old daughter-in-law out of that lawless country.  

      However, since the petitioner (her son) is now deceased, the immigration visa they were about to get (after living in that hell hole place for almost 2 years) is void.  They shot him 80+ times for his laptop and computer.

      My friend will join this movement as soon as she gets her son's body and his family out of there.  She can tell you first hand about these thugs.  Her life is seriously in danger and we're begging our Dem senator's people to call on Clinton and Obama if necessary. Why don't our damn members of Congress and our president do something to STOP this illegal immigration problem and do something to help the children of families who brought them over the border as babies or young children?

      I've been a part of the team of people exerting pressure, writing letters, making calls and FIGHTING this damn government of ours to get them out of there.  

      I cannot begin to tell you how my life has changed by doing the work to force this government to help her.  You can't imagine the BS I've heard from so many of the ones I've spoken to:  1) Well, we can't do anything.  The killing took place in Mexico; 2) Their laws are different than ours; 3) Frankly, they don't care; 4) These situations are difficult; 5) This is not the US.  Mexico is a lawless country.

      I wrote so many e-mails, made so may calls and cried so many tears just to be able to contact someone at the US Embassy in Juarez who would even attempt to think of an "out of the box"  or "making a call that might slightly stretch the rules" in order to help.

      I have become cynical, angry, sick and willing to say, "WFT is wrong with this country?"  Something sure is and I can tell you: Stay out of that damn place; don't buy anything made or grown in Mexico, and do everything you can to push IMMIGRATION REFORM because there are thousands and thousands of families with one American spouse, one Mexican spouse and a kid or two (or three, four or 5) sitting in the homes of relatives waiting for the damn immigration service to handle their cases!  And not only are families split because one spouse is sometimes here attempting to make enough money here, but children are separated from both parents and forced to live either in a violent, foreign country or be separated from one of their parents.

      This is NOT about anything that makes sense.  This is about racism and 2 political parties who frankly don't give a damn about humanity.  Poetry?  

      I might write one for my friend, her deceased son, his 20-year old widow, his 4-year old child (who watched them beat up and murder his daddy) and the child who was conceived just shortly before the murder, but I can't do it until they are safely out of that hell hole place and safely back in their home, which the thugs gained all access to the entire family history, names, bank accounts and who knows what else they were able to learn when the stole his computer after they murdered him.

      Nice story, eh?  Obama doesn't care.  He is ready to create another hopeless situation in Columbia, where he wants to declare a NAFTA-like trade agreement and further destroy our agriculture market and cause further poverty in this country.  Nice, F*#*&^% NOT!    

  •  I'm sorry I only rec'd and tipped (17+ / 0-)

    because now I've been Googling Javier Sicilia's story and his son's death, thanks to your diary. Thank you for this and it just pains me that we have so many crises on our global hands right now that we can't pay enough attention to a country that is our neighbor, that we have screwed in many ways with our policies.

    It's never too late to be who you might have been. George Eliot

    by begone on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 01:46:18 AM PDT

    •  We are truly a BAD neighbor (8+ / 0-)

      to Mexico. When I was a kid in the '50s, we traveled there first when I was eight and then every couple of years for a month or so. After my dad saw the poverty on the first trip, we went back with things to give people. He always went to Rotary and met a man there who found someone who wouldn't be offended and could use the clothing and toys.

      When we drove to their house, they greeted us with the beautiful smiles typical of Mexico and a huge tray of beautiful fruit. After more than 50 years, I remember the joy of the moment.

      All my life I've wondered why the US didn't help. When I read the banksters story, it came to me that maybe it's because we need a place for our criminal upper-class to operate.


      •  cotterperson... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        All my life I've wondered why the US didn't help. When I read the banksters story, it came to me that maybe it's because we need a place for our criminal upper-class to operate.


        I'll tell you why:  the US is owned and operated by a very few, very wealthy families who care about nothing except themselves and leaving a nice trust fund for their kids.

        I'm ready for a revolution.  

        And I'll repeat your closing question: Anybody?  

    •  Well, yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We screwed them but what the hell do you think they are doing to us?

      Mr. Fox wants to further enrich himself and his #$%^@*& family by growing dope in Mexico and selling it to the dopers in this country so they can get high.

      No thanks.  

      We need to stop this NOW!  And thanks to my best friend's deceased son, I understand the problem quite well.

      HELL NO to former president Fox and to a man whom I hope will become former president Obama in November of 2012.

  •  Thank you for posting this. (16+ / 0-)

    Tiped, rec'ed and republished to LatinoKos.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 03:30:31 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary (12+ / 0-)

    Tipped, rec'd and republished to America Latina.

    O povo unido jamais será vencido

    by SLKRR on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 04:54:54 AM PDT

  •  Amy Goodman reports at Democracy Now TV (14+ / 0-)

    this morning.  It may be the only television that airs the story in the US, although Univision usually does a good job of airing reports from Mexico.  The video is not posted on her blog yet, but I share a link to the brief here:
    Mexicans Protest Drug Violence Nationwide; Mass Graves Found

    I'm happy to see links to Narco News in your story.  They are a great resource with talented journalists in Mexico and other Central and South American countries.  

    Thank you for reporting the story on Kos.

    The USA will host the World Alpine Ski Championships on Feb. 3-15, 2015 in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colorado. This is my hometown!

    by greenchiledem on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 05:59:41 AM PDT

  •  What an inglorious mess (9+ / 0-)

    Thanks for posting this. It is so annoying that the so-called news pays more attention to the incoherent ramblings of Charlie Sheen than what is happening in Mexico.

    Be radical in your compassion.

    by DWG on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 06:46:02 AM PDT

  •  Legalize ALL Drugs (5+ / 0-)

    Legalize cannabis, and I believe all others should be legalized too.

    Do we want to protect people in this country who might have an addictive personality, and protect them very imperfectly to boot, at the expense of the very lives of hundreds of people like Javier Sicilia's son?  NO!!!

    Spend the money instead on research and rehabilitation resources.

    [profit is] low in rich, and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin. --Adam Smith

    by cantelow on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 07:36:45 AM PDT

  •  My heart (6+ / 0-)

    cries for this story - this is something we CAN help - not like earthquakes or tsunamis where we can only hold on ( of course we can help after the fact...) but this we can prevent - we can not support the drug runners (have a garden?) we are the problem here and the Mexican people are paying. When we wake up and own this problem we will be better Americans. in my opinion.

    •  redstella... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I cannot say much now because she is still there and they are watching her, tracking her phone calls.  She told me that they will kill her and the rest of the family unless she shuts up... so we will shut up for now.  I ask you to keep in touch with me because my friend and her family are going to start raising hell with the Democratic Party and I assure you that it will not make any of them happy when she starts her campaign.

      I wouldn't doubt it if she is already connected to this guy who started today's rally.  

      I'm so angry right now.  I would like to tell you everything I know, but I can't because... who knows, perhaps they might do a google search and read this with her dead son's computer!  They will pay... trust me.

      My friend is a Hispanic activist and she won't let her son die for nothing.  

      I'm going to change my e-mail addy because some hacker hacked into the one I have as my profile address.  Wait a couple of days and e-mail me.

  •  US 2nd largest bank launders $378B Mexican (6+ / 0-)

    drug money, gets a 2% fine on its profit, no jail time.

    The evil is compounded by the reality that banks routinely launder drug money, enabling the business and in effective partnership with the dealers. If bankers suffered for this it would be a major blow to drug-dealers. If bankers revealed who they were dealing with, it would be even a bigger blow.

    But they don't have to, they just have to count a 98% profit on their dealings, nobody's going to hurt them. After all, how can you win elections without banker's bribes? Or do they call all that money "free speech" these days?

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 12:07:29 PM PDT

    •  I friend (Jim P)... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Yep.  And it is going to take a revolution because Obama has obviously received his own death threat from the TOP 1%ers, the Federal Reserve,  the Geithners of this country, the Mafia, the small-time gangsters and Mr. Kissinger, Mr. Bush (all of them), the Cheney family and you know the rest!

  •  I lived in Mexico City for a time (8+ / 0-)

    in the early 80s. It was a beautiful city, filled with incredible treasures. It has some of the most incredible museums one can ever imagine and a riches of art like no other city.

    It pains me to hear what has become of this country. I have friends there who will be moving soon. They don't feel safe anymore. And their children were born in Mexico. This is their country they are leaving behind.


  •  I have spent many happy days in Mexico .... (8+ / 0-)

    ..... enjoying the sun, the wonderful food, and most of all the warm and honest hearts of the long-suffering Mexican people.

    Twenty years ago, it was possible to freely cross the border at Ciudad Juarez or Nogales to enjoy a vibrant culture and practice one's halting Spanish on the ever patient and open-hearted people -- no longer, too much to fear, too much suffering.

    Shame on us for exporting our drug habits, our guns, and our tacit support for the corruption that oppresses them.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 12:53:34 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this heartfelt diary. (4+ / 0-)

    Saving it for re-reading and sharing.

    What a total  stupid unnecessary horror the whole war-on-drugs is. Despicable. If humanity makes it through the next 100 years it will become one of historic events that people shake their heads about in disbelief.

    Pisses me off to feel so helpless about it.


  •  Thank you for the excellent diary. (4+ / 0-)

    Considering the recent history of brutality along the border Sr. Sicilia's courage is remarkable. All who participate at taking their lives into their own hands. The good people of Mexico never cease to amaze me.

    In the meantime, as the US twiddles its thumbs and throws pot-smokers into for-profit jails, another mass grave is found in San Fernando.

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican security forces searching for abducted bus passengers in a violent northern state bordering Texas have stumbled on a collection of pits holding a total of 59 bodies. Authorities said the first victims to be identified are Mexicans, not migrants from other countries headed to the U.S.

    Investigators made the grisly find early Wednesday near the ranch where drug cartel gunmen less than a year ago massacred 72 migrants from Central and South America.

  •  Oh Mexico (0+ / 0-)

    Hang in there, neighbors to the south. God be with you.

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