Mexico: Caravan for Peace concludes after journeying to Tabasco, Veracruz, and Puebla

September 28, 2011

Villahermosa (@Movement for Peace)

On 17 September, upon leaving the state of Chiapas, the Caravan to the South associated with the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity continued its path through the states of Tabasco, Veracruz, and Puebla before returning to Mexico City on 19 September.  In Villahermosa, Tabasco, the Caravan engaged in a march and several protests in which relatives of victims, those affected by flooding, oil workers, and ambulant merchants exposed their problems.  Symbolically the Municipal Palace was closed and there was held another event in front of the local Congress, a moment in which Sicilia affirmed that “the politicians should listen to us, given that we have now passed over them.  If they do not straighten out the path taken by the country, if they do not begin to build security with the citizenry, this will sadly be the last pacifist movement.”

Several security incidents occurred during the journey between Villahermosa and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, led to a restrengthening of the security that accompanied the Caravan before its arrival to Mexico City.  Alvarez Icaza noted three such incidents: the detention of Father Tomás González, defender of migrants in Tenosique, Tabasco; the activation of a security protocol on the part of Sicilia’s bodyguards on a highway; and the presence of men who traveled in three taxis and attempted to enter the house of the capital’s ex-ombudsman.

Veracruz (@Movement for Peace)

The members of the Caravan arrived in Xalapa where awaiting them was one of the most numerous receptions that the Caravan has experienced, given the participation of more than 5000 Xalapeños.  In a public act, Sicilia called for the unity of all citizens so as to detain the “absurd and imbecile” war and the horror and violence it generates.  “Together we are the moral reserve that the country needs,” he affirmed.

In Puebla, human-rights NGOs welcomed the arrival of the Caravan, noting “Welcome to Puebla, a state in which death wears make-up while violence is promoted, in which no authority is responsible for its actions, in which impunity is official policy.”

The Caravan to the South of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity concluded its journey in the evening of 19 September with a protest in the Zócalo of Mexico City, following a campaign of more than 4000 kilometers that saw visits to eight states, with the objective of giving a voice to victims of organized crime, as well as victims of the political-economic system of the country.  “Guerrero and Veracruz are now a replica of Ciudad Juárez and Tamaulipas,” declared Sicilia.  He demanded that organized crime halt violence: “To the criminals we ask: What happiness do you seek if its foundations base themselves on death?  To the politicians, how will you care for the house named Mexico if its foundations are based on indifference, in legalized violence?”  After a minute of silence, he warned “the men of death and corrupt governments” that “we are many, and we carry alive the country that you want to destroy.”

For more information (in Spanish):


Marcha Caravana por la Paz en Villahermosa (Tabasco Hoy, 17 September)

Caravana al Sur denuncia detención de activista (El Universal, 17 September)

Si no escuchan, será el último movimiento pacifista: Sicilia (El Universal, 17 September)


Veracruz atiende queja de Sicilia y da más seguridad (El Universal, 18 September)

Ninguna amenaza parará caravana por la paz: Sicilia (El Universal, 18 September)

Refuerzan seguridad de Caravana; denuncian intimidación (Proceso, 18 September)

Caravana llega a Xalapa fuertemente custodiada (El Universal, 18 September)

Caravana: al unísono, cinco mil personas en Xalapa claman por justicia(Proceso, 18 September)

Jalapeños se sacuden el miedo y ganan la calle para recibir a la Caravana al Sur (La Jornada, 19 September)

Policías federales apoyarán la expedición (La Jornada, 19 September)


La inseguridad no es culpa de Calderón: Sicilia (El Universal, 19 de septiembre)

Sicilia critica discursos ‘rebasados’ de las ONG (El Universal, 19 de septiembre)

ONG poblanas presentan casos de violaciones de derechos humanos ante la Caravana por la Paz (La Jornada, 19 de septiembre)


Sicilia pide a políticos escuchar a víctimas (El Universal, 19 September)

Freno a la violencia en el país, exige Sicilia en el Zócalo (Proceso, 19 September)

Guerrero y Veracruz, una réplica de Cd. Juárez y Tamaulipas: Sicilia(Milenio, 19 September)

La Caravana por la Paz llega a la Ciudad de México tras recorrer el sur(CNN México, 19 September)

Palabras de Javier Sicilia para finalizar la Caravana de Paz (19 September)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Caravan to the South Day 2 (26 September 2011)

Chiapas: Day 1 of the Caravan to the South (26 September 2011)

Oaxaca receives Caravan to the South (23 September 2011)

Chiapas: Annunciation of the Caravan to the South in Chiapas (23 September 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: organizations will welcome the Caravan to the South of the Movement for Peace (22 September)

Mexico: March “Steps for Peace” (19 August)

Chiapas: Day 1 of the Caravan to the South

September 26, 2011

The Caravan to the South crossing the border to Guatemala @ SIPAZ

On 14 September, the committee of the Caravan to the South, in its sixth day of travel reached the center of Tapachula, where it was received by social organizations.  Subsequently the Caravan moved to the frontier municipality of Suchiate, where it held a meeting with Catholic authorities and representatives of indigenous organizations.

For reasons of security, the agenda for Tecun Uman, Guatemala, was cancelled, this because the poet Javier Sicilia, who leads the movement, brings with him a team of armed guards who are under orders not to allow him to be alone for even a moment, particularly in a region of high risk, as that city is.  Regardless, at the frontier bridge of Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, he asked for forgiveness from the Central American immigrants for all the abuses committed against them in Mexican territory.  Furthermore he noted that Mexicans are laden with “shame and indignation regarding the lamentable acts of murderous gangs colluding with agents of the National Institute on Migrantion.”  He accused the INM, dependent of the Secretary of Governance, of being an institution “[that is the] fruit of cynicism and complicity with organized crime, an example of impunity and corruption.”  “Peace also is the freedom to cross borders” was the cry heard at the activities in the order zone.

Social organizations such as the Emiliano zapata Campesino Organization (OCEZ), the National Union of Autonomous Regional Campesino Organizations (UNORCA), and the Ecological Indigenous Federation of Chiapas (FIECH), among others, read a joint communique that says that “we do not understand how in this Southern Border [zone], it is easier to move commodities than human beings.  This cannot be explained without a profound investigation of the presumed relationship between the operative institutions and criminal gangs.”  The OCEZ, UNORCA, Totikes, Campesino Front of Chiapas, and the Campesino Union of the South, among others, stressed that the incapacity of the government to guarantee dignified treatment of immigrants is evident.

Member of the Caravan to the South in Ciudad Hidalgo @ SIPAZ

Several testimonies were had during the day.  The Honduran teacher Danira Meléndez told of how she was sexually assaulted by the pollero who was to take her to the United Stated; she had to put up with hjumiliation, hunger, and fear, until she succeeded in escaping.  She walked without water or food for 15 hours until she was rescued by a team that works with Father Solalinde (Oaxaca) where she has now been working for six months, committed to the migrants and helping their journey through these violent lands to be less difficult.

Similar stories are told by Willie, a Honduran migrant who became a member of the caravan when it departed to the north; here in the South he tells, now without fear, about how the police, the INM agents, and organized crime detain migrants because they represent easy money, “when there are checkpoints all the police participate and they do not send us to our countries.  They stop us to engage in extortion, to give us to the polleros.  For that reason I would like that there not have to be visas to cross through Mexico; hopefully we could cross in bus and not in train, because the train is where they kill us or disappear us.”

After listening to the testimonies, Sicilia said to the migrants: “We have come to tell you, our brothers of the South and Central Americans, that you please pardon us for not having raised our voices previously.  For not having arrested death and kidnapping.  We want to tell you that it ashames us that you begin in Mexico not with dreams but with a calvary.”

Returning to Ciudad Hidalgo, they met once again at a bandstand, where more stories were told, and one minute of silence was had, with another of applause for women, men, and families of migrants.

In relation to this problem, the advisor of the Commission of Attention to Migrants in Chiapas, Mauricio Mendoza Castañeda, revealed that in 2011 his orgnizations has rescued 88 victims of kidnapping in 14 municipalities of the state upon dismembering 30 criminal gangs.  He stressed that for these crimes have been detained two delegates from the INM, from Cacahoatán and Ciudad HIdalgo, as well as five officials from the civil courts.

For more information (in Spanish):

Caravana de la Paz Día 6: La paz es también la libertad de cruzar fronteras,, 15 September 2011

Sicilia pide perdón a migrantes centroamericanos por agravios en México, Proceso, 14 September 2011

Caravana de la Paz Día 6: La paz es también la libertad de cruzar fronteras, Cencos, 15 September 2011

Continúa Caravana por la Paz gira por Chiapas, Milenio, 15 September 2011

Caravana lleva la paz a Guatemala,, 15 September 2011

Perdón a Migrantes Centroamericanos: Sicilia, El Orbe, 14 September 2011

Chiapas Sigue Siendo un Pueblo Pobre: ONGs,  El Orbe, 14 September 2011


Caravana al Sur – Día 6 – Tecún Uman, Indymedia, 15 September 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca receives Caravan to the South (23 September 2011)

Chiapas: Annunciation of the Caravan to the South in Chiapas (23 September 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: organizations will welcome the Caravan to the South of the Movement for Peace (22 September)

Mexico: March “Steps for Peace” (19 August)

The Caravan to the South in its journey through Guerrero

September 23, 2011

The Caravan to the South in its journey through Guerrero. Photo @Oaxacaentrelí

On 5 September the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights released a press-bulletin announcing the impending arrival of the Caravan to the South, stressing the violent context in which arose the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity.  “In light of this [violent] reality, until recently the citizenry of Guerrero had been paralyzed, in a stupor […].  In this way, until very recently the citizens watched passively and in fear as spectators a continuous process of the degradation of the social fabric, in which violence has degraded that which we most love.  But 5 months ago, from the pain caused by this situation, a force arose that today represents the best hope for those who do not want to continue passively watching how Mexico loses life and dignity […].  At the end of these months, the National Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity has constituted itself without any doubt as the most important civil reference for protest and proposal in light of the prevailing situation. […] The passing of the Caravan through Guerrero marks a special occasion to go out onto the streets to reject violence and to demand that the State observe its basic obligations.”

In Chilpancingo, on 10 September, the caravan was welcomed with the following banner: “Alive they were taken from us; alive we want them to be.”  Abel Barrera, director of Tlachinollan, was in charge of welcoming the Caravan.  In this act he spoke of the human-rights violations that the people of Guerrero have suffered, particularly the indigenous population (17% of the total population= which has resisted militarization since the 1970s.  For her part, Tita Radilla, daughter of the disappeared Rosendo Radilla, shared the pain associated with the crime of forced disappearance and spoke of the long journey in the search for jutsice, not only for her father but for all other victims of this crime.

During the event, which took place at the entrance tot he municipal palace, the denunciations referred to cases of disappearances, human-rights violations by soldiers and other security-forces, impunity, and violence.  The Committee of Relatives and Friends of the Kidnapped, Disappeared, and Murderded in Guerrero, in its message to the Caravan regarding the violent context, reiterated its “commitment to continue struggling against these crimes against humanity, against this aberrant practice that in Mexico has been made State policy so as to maintain through violence social control over organized peoples.  [We are here to] once and for all put an end to this absurd war and demand that the bad governments observe international human-rights commitments, do justice for the victims of violence, compensate physical, moral, and economic damages to relatives, and stop the criminalization of social protest.”

On 11 September, the caravan passed by the port-city of Acapulco, one of the most important commercial ports and tourist-cities in Mexico.  A group of people dressed in white welcomed the Caravan, carrying signs with the faces of relatives and/or friends who have been murdered or disappeared in the waves of violence; youths excluded from education engaged in a hunger-strike; and local organizations attended the mobilization to relate how it is that the social fabric of the port has been destroyed by the advance of violence, whose principal characteristic is always to tend toward impunity.

For more information (in Spanish):

La Caravana que viene a Guerrero (boletín de prensa de Tlachinollan, 5 September)

Caravana contra la violencia parte al Sur del país (El Universal, 9 September)

Caravana por la Paz llega a Guerrero (El Universal, 9 September)

Pide Javier Sicilia en Iguala hacer a un lado el miedo (Proceso, 9 September)

Caravana por la Paz inicia marcha en Acapulco (El Universal, 10 September)

Caravana por la Paz llega a Chilpancingo (El Universal, 10 September)

Acapulqueños exigen recuperar “la tranquilidad arrebatada” (Proceso, 10 September)

Recibe Guerrero la Caravana por la Paz con alud de denuncias (La Jornada, 10 September)

“Disposición total” para la Caravana al Sur en su paso por Guerrero: Aguirre (La Jornada de Guerrero, 10 September)

Boletín de prensa del Comité de Familiares y Amigos de Secuestrados, Desaparecidos y Asesinados en Guerrero (10 September)

Sitio del Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs: organizations will welcome the Caravan to the South of the Movement for Peace (22 September)

Mexico: March “Steps for Peace” (19 August)

Mexico: Movement for Peace announces the route of its Caravan to the South

September 22, 2011

On 7 September, the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity announced in a press-release the route of its Caravan to the South that is to leave from the Zócalo of Mexico City on 9 September at 7am.  The document notes that “We have visited Cuernavaca, Morelos, to Mexico City; we have traversed a great part of the north of the country in our effort to reach Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.  We have seen, sensed, and lived the pain of our country in this national emergency […].  Now, the task is to visit the south, because the country should not only look from above to below, but rather from south to north so as to speak of the diverse violences: not only that of organized crime but also that impelled by the State itself.  Not only of present pain, but also of the pain that has not been recompensed for years and that now results more lacerated by forgetting and powerlessness.  So in this journey to the South, we will speak of the different pains this country has.

The task in the South, now we go as the Caravan of Peace that also will be centered in dialogue and in the victims among migrants and indigenous peoples who for several years have made peace necessary; in diverse meetings with the states that we will visit in which have been established different contacts both with the citizenry as with social and civil organizations which we thank for all the work developed so as to make our meetings possible.  In all these points, the debate will be guided by the focus of how to stop the war and violence, by the following questions: How is the war against narco-trafficking affecting us?  How are we confronting the war?  How are we organizing to put an end to it?  On what things do we agree and what do we disagree regarding our strategies to detain the war?  Which resistance actions can we undertake jointly to detain the war and construct peace?”

For more information (in Spanish):

El Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad anuncia ruta de la Caravana del Sur (7 September)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Guerrero – briefs: organizations will welcome the Caravan to the South of the Movement for Peace (22 September)

Mexico: March “Steps for Peace” (19 August)

Mexico: Letter by Sicilia in response to Subcomandante Marcos

September 8, 2011

Javier Sicilia @

In response to references made in the third letter between Luis Villoro and Subcomandante Marcos “in the exchange on Ethics and Politics,” the poet Javier Sicilia declared to the insurgent Subcomandante that “peace, beloved Subcomandante, is, as Gandhi said, ‘the way,’ a path it is only made with everyone.  You, for 17 years, with civil society at your side, have shown us not only to visibilize and dignify the negated and humiliated past of our indigenous tradition, but also when, beginning from the listening and dialogue, you opened the debate of what, amidst the crisis of institutions, could be a new hope for reconstruction of the nation: autonomies.”

The missive is principally one of gratitude for the affirmations made by Marcos regarding the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity led by Sicilia.  “…this is a new mobilization that, in its project of constituting itself as an organized movement, goes constructing its own path, with successes and failures.  Like all new things, we believe it merits respect.  They can say with reason that the forms and methods can be questioned, but not the causes.”  The Subcomandante speaks in the second person plural as spokesperson of the EZLN regarding the visibilization of the victims carried out by the Movement:  “We thought that it was possible to build a movement to arrest this absurd war.  It does not seem that this is so (at least not yet).  But what can be appreciated is that the victims have been made tangible.  They have been taken out of statistics and the mythical ‘triumphs’ of the government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, out of blame and forgetting.  Thanks to this mobilization, the victims begin to have name and histroy.  And the hoax of the ‘struggle against organized crime’ falls to pieces.”

Marcos’ words also have a critical tone regarding the dialogue between the Movement and the government: “Surely we still do not understand why so much energy and effort is dedicated to discussion with a political class that for much time now has lost all will to govern and that is nothing more than a gang of criminals.  Perhaps they will go on discovering it themselves.  We do not judge and do not condemn or absolve.  We attempt to understand the path and the wishes that animate.”

Sicilia closes his letter of thanks making reference to the next Caravan to the South: “We will see each other in the south, my dear Subcomandante.  While we arrive with the slowness of walking and pain, we send to you and the comrades a big kiss, a kiss with which our heart does not cease to embrace us.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Carta de Javier Sicilia al Subcomandante Marcos, CENCOS, 29 August 2011

SCI Marcos. TAL VEZ… (Carta Tercera a Don Luis Villoro en el intercambio sobre Ética y Política), Enlace Zapatista, 25 August 2011

Sicilia a Marcos: Dialogar y besar, formas de hacer paz ante la violencia, CNN México, 29 August 2011

Sicilia responde a críticas de subcomandante Marcos, El Universal, 29 August 2011

Brinda Subcomandante Marcos total respaldo al movimiento de Sicilia,, 25 August 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal welcome Javier Sicilia’s Pact for Peace (1 July 2011)

Mexico: The Citizens’ Pact is signed in Juarez (21 June 2011)

Mexico: Beginning of the caravan for peace from Cuernavaca to Ciudad Juárez (9 June 2011)

Mexico: Marches for Peace and Justice with Dignity (12 May 2011)

Chiapas: Communiqué by the EZLN: For reflective criticism, individuals and collectives (15 April 2011)

Mexico: National march “We are fed up” (14 April 2011)