On Jan. 14 Mexican poet and human rights activist Javier Sicilia and Mexican political scientist Sergio Aguayo Quezada brought the US embassy in Mexico City a letter signed by 54,558 people calling on US president Barack Obama and other officials to stop the flow of smuggled firearms from the US to Mexico. “Our country is bleeding to death,” the letter read, referring to the violence that followed the militarization of the “war on drugs” by former president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (2006-2012). “More than 60,000 Mexicans were murdered during the Calderón administration. In the first month of [current president] Enrique Peña Nieto, December 2012, 755 people were executed. The majority of them died from wounds caused by weapons obtained in the US.”
The signers asked for the US government to enforce its existing prohibition on the export of assault weapons to Mexico; to expand the current mandate for the reporting of sales of assault weapons in the US border states; and to improve the analysis of arms trafficking routes and other available information, including arms identified in criminal complaints and in the government’s weapons database, to help identify arms vendors who supply smugglers. Sicilia heads the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity (MPJD), a movement focusing on victims of Mexico’s “drug war”; Sicilia founded the group in 2011 after the murder of his own son, apparently by gang members. The signatures were gathered by Civic Alliance, an organization that Aguayo founded in the 1990s to monitor elections; the Civic Proposal Investigation and Training Center; and two US-based organizations, the Washington Office on Latin América (WOLA) and Global Exchange. (SDP Noticias, Mexico, Jan. 14)
Sicilia and Aguayo also presented the embassy with a letter criticizing Harvard University’s decision to grant a fellowship to former president Calderón at its John F. Kennedy School of Government. They called Harvard’s action an insult to the victims of the “drug war.” (Reforma, Mexico, Jan. 14, via Terra.com)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 20.