10/22/11– Poet and activist Javier Sicilia, the leader of the “Movement for Peace in Mexico,” continues his protest of the Mexican government’s militarized approach to combating drug trafficking and his demands for a peaceful and safe Mexico. Sicilia’s activism began after the murder of his son, Juán Francisco Sicilia, on March 28 earlier this year. Seven months later, another one of the suspects allegedly involved in his son’s murder is behind bars. On October 5, 2011, government officials captured Daniel Pérez Patricio, “El Dany,” and took him into custody, along with two other individuals for possession of a stolen vehicle under the name of César Patricio Sánchez. The three men were apprehended in La Venta, near Acapulco. Pérez is being investigated for the use of false identities, car robbery, kidnapping and homicide. He claims that the order to kill Juán Francisco and his friends came from his boss, Julio de Jesús Radilla Hernández, “El Negro Radilla,” who was captured back in May.
A week and a half after Pérez’s arrest, Javier Sicilia met with President Calerdón to continue the dialogue. In his speech to the president on October 14, Sicilia suggested that Mexican politicians in power have ignored the pain of the people and have bought votes in the election process. In order to remedy this, he made the following demands of the government:
“1) A sharp and clear demarcation of all political parties from organized crime. This means that they should not accept a single peso from drug, crime or other unlawful activities; they must not accept a single candidate who has ties to organized crime; they should report any threat or extortion that threatens the process election.
2) The roadmap for the demilitarization of the country, strengthening civil institutions, and ensuring security and respect for citizens’ human rights. We want no more deaths or more missing people.
3) Justice that we owe to our dead and the emergence of those missing from this war. Regardless of this dialogue, it is the duty of the State to ensure access to justice, so that attention to individual cases and collective cases prevails to maintain service areas already established.
4) A national agreement on long-term investment in education and employment to ensure the youth of Mexico several educational options such as the rescue of higher risk regions where organized crime has harboured armies.
5) The restoration of social fabric through respect for regional differences and the recognition of indigenous autonomies with all the rights that entails.
6) The rescue of the roads in Mexico to return the safe and free movement of citizens within the territories of the nation.”
Now Sicilia’s attention is turned towards the U.S. audience as he will head to Washington D.C. next week. Sicilia has been invited by two U.S. organizations, the Institute of Mexico in the Woodrow Wilson Centre and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), to participate in a forum on the peace movement in Mexico, which will take place on October 27. Sicilia will speak about his new book, Estamos hasta la Madre, and plans on sharing his ideas on the violence in Mexico and what President Obama can do to help. Through his book, explained Sicilia at his book presentation in Mexico at the end of September, he seeks to spread awareness about the situation in Mexico. As quoted in Univisión, “You must have an understanding of what we lost, the moral and spiritual basis of political and economic life that we need to rebuild as the country runs the risk of losing itself,” he said.