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Latino Daily News

Monday September 19, 2011

Mexico’s Caravan of Peace Faces Threats and Security Issues as It Approaches Mexico City

Mexico’s Caravan of Peace Faces Threats and Security Issues as It Approaches Mexico City

Photo: Mexico's Caravan of Peace Faces Security Threats

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The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), led by the poet Javier Sicilia, has asked the authorities to ensure the safety of activists that give life to the Caravan of Peace, which has traveled to South Mexico and today will reach the capital.

Emilio Alvarez Icaza, a member of the MPJD, told the Efe agency,  that in the last two days there have been worrying signs for the safety of supporters and members of the Caravan, which had left on September 9 from the center of the country to the south, and now is heading back. He cited the violence against the Catholic priest Tomas Gonzalez, a defender of the rights of migrants, who participated in an act of the Caravan in Palenque, Chiapas. Brother Tomás González was arrested yesterday by the military in the state of Tabasco and one of his collaborators was slapped by a civilian, said Alvarez Icaza, who also complained that during the early hours of Sunday a few strangers tried to enter his home in the capital of Mexico.

He also said that on the evening of Sept. 17, when the caravan was traveling from Tabasco to Coatzacoalcos, the security staff asked the activists to stop the march due to an alleged presence of armed persons. After a check no irregularities were revealed. “These facts invite us to launch a strong message to protect the safety of the caravan”, said Alvarez Icaza.

The MPJD issued a statement which stressed that “the situation is worrying”, and urges the authorities to ensure “the integrity of the defenders of human rights”. The Caravan, which travels on buses, traveled yesterday past the Port of Veracruz and the city of Xalapa, to continue today towards the nation’s capital, where it will arrive in the afternoon. In “Zocalo”, the main square of Mexico, the march will end.

The Catholic Church has always been present in these peace initiatives. Mgr. Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, Bishop of the diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, spoke in favor of the Caravan, and just a few days ago published a letter to the national community, remembering that this initiative seeks peace and reconciliation, raising his voice on behalf of victims of violence.