Mexico: Javier Sicilia’s Peace Caravan Marches On Despite Threats
September 19, 2011 By Andrew OReilly
Poet and activist Javier Sicilia promised that no threats or intimidation would stop his caravan for peace from heading deeper into southern Mexico, even as the state of Veracruz bumped up security to protect the marchers.
Sicilia, whose son was killed in March by alleged drug cartel members, has led a march for peace around the country called the “Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity.” The poet is also a main proponent of legalizing drugs, ending the drug war and advocating for the removal of Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
While traveling through southern Mexico in recent days, the caravan has encountered several incidents that threatened the safety of the human rights activists. In one incident, federal police stopped the group after the presence of hooded men was reported on the Cotzacoalcos-Villahermosa highway.
The organizers of the caravan asked the state government of Veracruz for protection while traveling through the region, said the state’s undersecretary Érick Lagos Hernández.
“We hold, once warned, the federal government and any state government for what happens to this caravan and any victim, advocate and activist who has decided to raise their voice against corrupt practices.” Sicilia said, according to Mexico’s El Universal newspaper. “If something happens to us they are responsible.”
Coinciding with the beefed up security and threats to the caravan was the arrest of Father Tomás González, a migrant rights activist from Tenosique in the state of Tabasco, by the state police and military who argued that the activist was drunk. Rubén Figueroa, one of the priest’s companions, was also allegedly beaten in the face.
“We know what it is, but the bottom line is that you can’t be at peace in this country. There is no authority,” Sicilia said to El Universal. “Thank God we have professional bodyguards.”
While in Veracruz, Sicilia also defended the two so-called “Twitter terrorists”, María de Jesús Bravo Pagola and Gilberto Martínez, and demanded their release from custody. He condemned the classification of an offense that considers issuing a tweet the same as terrorism.
Photo: Sarihuella @ Flickr.