09/20/11– The Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, headed by poet and activist Javier Sicilia, departed on September 9 from central Mexico for the south on its second tour. The movement is in response to the drug-related violence that has plagued Mexico since 2006 and the militaristic reactionary strategy of the government. It is comprised of 600 families of victims, activists, and journalists aboard 14 buses. Through this movement, Sicilia intends to gather testimonies of the endemic violence and spread a message of hope and peace to communities shattered by the brutality. The caravan is now returning to central Mexico and will eventually end in Mexico City. On Sunday the 18, the movement passed through Veracruz where they received a warm welcome from the Archdiocese who stated, “the presence of the movement brings a message of peace and reconciliation” and it “renews the hope of the town”. On Monday, the caravan arrived in the zócalo in Mexico City, and Sicilia is expected to meet with President Calderón in the capital on Wednesday.
Although the movement garnered widespread support in Mexico, Sicilia’s caravan experienced threats this weekend and has since called on officials to guarantee the safety of the activists. One of the priests in the convoy was detained and harassed in Tabasco on Saturday, and later that night the caravan was stopped to investigate the possible presence of armed men. The movement issued a statement on Sunday saying that the situation was worrying and asking for government assistance in providing security; however, they also stated that there will be no change in the itinerary for the caravan and they will continue in their cause.