The “War on Drugs”, fabricated in the US to criminalize substances used by people the government sought to marginalize, imprison, kill, and profit from, has also been exported internationally through US foreign policy. American projects such as Plan Colombia, the Mérida Initiative, the Central American Regional Security Initiative, and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative have sent money, weapons, military equipment and training across Latin America in an alleged attempt to stop the flow and trafficking of drugs to the world’s largest consumer base, the United States. In 2006, Felipe Calderón, then president of Mexico, served the interests of the goliath to the north by replicating US policy in his own declaration of a “War on drugs” in Mexico. Not only has drug production and trafficking increased despite President Calderon’s efforts, more violent and powerful cartels formed while the government sensationalized the capture of a few high-profile leaders. Through all of this, the people of Mexico and the rest of Latin America have suffered from an increase in human rights violations.The members of the Caravan have come in opposition to the US-funded militarization of Mexico, officially known as the Mérida Initiative, and to represent their communities in the fight against repression, disappearances, and impunity of Mexican authorities.
Who is in the Caravan?The participants (seven women and one man) are political prisoners´ relatives and representatives of the following organizations:
- Students of Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College, best known as Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College, where the curriculum has a strong commitment to social justice and respect for Indigenous cultures. The 43 students that were kidnapped in Iguala on Sep 26, 2014, are students of this college.
- Xochicuautla, an Otomí Indigenous community that fights against the forceful displacement of families and communities from their land by transnational mega projects.
- Families of victims of the June 19th Nochixtlán massacre in Oaxaca where federal police forces shot at protesting teachers and the people of this town who reject the recently imposed Education Reform Law.
- Farm-workers from San Quintín, Baja California Norte, who have been in a long fight to defend their labor from hyper-exploitation and have called for a continued boycott of Driscoll’s berries until a collective bargaining agreement can be signed.
- “Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa” from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, who have denounced the violence against women and the forced disappearances termed femicide in México.
- Two mothers who continue to demand the appearance (alive) of their children after the tragic events of September 26th, 2014, where 43 classmates were kidnapped and three were killed by state and federal police and military personnel.
- Teachers of the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), who have been fighting in defense of public education and against the so-called Education Reform Law being imposed as a tool to attack collective bargaining rights of teachers and the subsequent repression against their national strike earlier this year.