Miguel, Amaya and I are onboard Bus #2 of the Caravan for Peace organized by the Movement for Peace and Justice with Dignity. We are crossing the United States from the west coast to the east coast, going south of the Rio Grande to the Great Lakes area of Chicago, beginning in the August summer in San Diego and ending in the September autumn in Washington DC. The goal of the Caravan is to raise awareness, generate dialogue between victims on both sides of the border, and influence public opinion and the mass media with the message of pain we all carry. The victims tirelessly repeat their testimony, they carry photos of siblings, children, parents, both those recently dead or those missing for decades. They also carry the voices of the indigenous people and communities who have been exclused and exploited for centuries, and are victims of the violence and suffering that has caused. But the main message is to radically change our way of life, on the most basic level, to show that we can accompany the pain of those who suffer and work although we have never had to live under those conditions.
With the voices of victims and victims’ families as the backbone of the Caravan, it was established that the Caravan would try to influence the following five policy issues:
- Arms trafficking
Comprehensive analysis of each of these issues is essential, but by focusing on our main topic (drug policy), we would like to highlight a few points:
As noted, the issue of drug policy is a matter of great disagreement. The official position of the Caravan on this issue is “to generate open discussion” and not towards a proposed solution to the many conflicts that revolve around this topic but can be understood differently so that if there is consensus, it is that there is no single solution to solve the drug problem.
From a somewhat optimistic perspective, we can consider two advances:
- On one hand the issue is at least on the table, it is driving the debate and dialogue, and it has become clear in these first 10 days of the Caravan, that drug policy is the issue around which the others revolve.
- On the other hand, there is by no means a consensus regarding the solution to drug policy which makes for a more nuanced issue. We don’t have one flag, one fixed posture that excludes those who do not think like us, compard to other isssues, such as the death penalty, torture, forced disappearance, etc. In the case of drug policy, the only consensus is that we need alternatives jointly and because each context is different, each community must think what way they want to relate to the substances we call drugs and how to solve the potential problems they can generate (along with taking advantages of their benefits). That is, there is no single magic solution that does away with these substances, as prohibition would have us believe, therefore we must stop applying a linear recipe to a complex problem.
To close this post, we would like invite anyone who wants to join us in the next 15 days we have left before arriving in Washington DC on Sept. 10. Please let us know, there are many things that we would like to talk about, discuss or we would love to continue collaborating (or meeting us in any of the cities in which we stop would be wonderful).
Greetings from Houston, Texas