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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Drug War

Mexican Nonviolence Organizer in SC, Watsonville, Monterey, SF and Bay Area
by Anita Seth ( ifexecdirector [at] gmail.com )
Thursday May 5th, 2011 12:38 PM
Fed up with the spiraling collateral damage of the drug war and sparked by the torture and murder near Cuernavaca of several young people, including the 24-year-old son of Javier Sicilia, poet, columnist and nonviolence activist, Mexican civil society groups are coordinating nationwide actions May 5 to 8, including a march from Cuernavaca to Mexico City.Pietro Ameglio, a prominent Gandhian nonviolence educator/activist and close collaborator of Javier Sicilia, will be in the Bay Area May 13 to 20, speaking about the current crisis in Mexico and the emerging nonviolent resistance.
Fed up with the spiraling collateral damage of the drug war and sparked by the torture and murder near Cuernavaca of several young people, including the 24-year-old son of Javier Sicilia, poet, columnist and nonviolence activist, Mexican civil society groups are coordinating nationwide actions May 5 to 8, including a march from Cuernavaca to Mexico City. The theme for the May 5-8 actions is “Estamos hasta la madre. Alto a la guerra. Por un México justo y en paz,” or “Fed up! Stop the war! For a just and peaceful Mexico.”

The planned actions are building on a groundswell of mass mobilizations and pointed criticism by groups and communities across Mexico over the past few weeks, marking some of the most heated condemnation yet of the Mexican government’s increasingly unpopular military campaign to defeat organized crime . On Wednesday, April 6, over 25,000 people marched for peace in Cuernavaca – one of the largest protests in the history of Morelos (the state where Cuernavaca is located); thousands of people took to the streets in at least 20 Mexican cities to demand an end to the violence and impunity associated with President Calderón’s U.S.-supported “drug war.” That day of protest has been described as a historic “sea change” in Mexican public opinion .

Pietro Ameglio, a prominent Gandhian nonviolence educator/activist and close collaborator of Javier Sicilia, will be in the Bay Area May 14 to 20, speaking about the current crisis in Mexico and the emerging nonviolent resistance. Pietro has worked for more than two decades promoting active nonviolence in Latin America. A university lecturer, popular educator and author, Pietro is a key figure in an emerging nonviolence movement in Mexico, offering new hope against uncontrolled drug violence and increasing militarization. He was one of the founders of the Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ) in Mexico. SERPAJ is a Latin American organization working in 10 countries to promote human rights, social justice and nonviolent culture and struggle.

Over the past four years, the drug violence in Mexico has claimed the lives of close to 40,000 people. In January 2011, Pietro played a key role in a public demonstration and fast in Juarez, the most violent city in Mexico. He wrote:

“In the two days following our original gathering in Juarez, six women were murdered, two of them in Juarez itself; there were kidnappings, disappearances, massacres. All of which raises the question: If our gathering and a public fast didn't halt the violence, what good were they?

"But it was never suggested that this action was going to stop the barbarity. Rather it was intended to contribute to creating better conditions for listening, for coming together and for community action; to increasing the ties of national and international solidarity; to developing the next stages of our broad-based and peaceful struggle; and to shouting out in a very public way ‘Enough!’

"We are in the midst of a tragic war not of our making - the Mexican government declared war against organized crime, and we know that violence generates violence. The saying of Gandhi is more than ever applicable here: 'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.'”

Several groups are coordinating events throughout the Bay Area to raise public awareness and support for nonviolence efforts in Mexico. Pietro’s engagements currently include:

May 14, 7pm: IF Latin America Dinner, a fund raising event for Pietro’s work. 160 Sunflower Lane, Watsonville. For reservations or more information, visit http://www.integrities.org or email ifofficemgr [at] gmail.com

May 16, 6pm: Presentation at Monterey Institute for International Studies. For information please contact Pushpa Iyer at 831-647-7104 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              831-647-7104      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or pushpa.iyer [at] miis.edu

May 17, 7 pm: Presentation at the Metta Center for Nonviolence, 1730 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley (near Berkeley Center BART) Sponsored by Fellowship of Reconciliation and Metta Center for Nonviolence. For more information contact John Lindsay-Poland at johnlp [at] forusa.org

May 18, 7 pm: Presentation at the Center for Political Education, 522 Valencia St., San Francisco (near 16th St. BART). Sponsored by Global Exchange, CPE, and Fellowship of Reconciliation. For more information contact John Lindsay-Poland at johnlp [at] forusa.org
May 19, 7PM: Presentation at Watsonville Brown Berets Bike Shack. Contact Sandino Gomez at sandinista [at] freakreadio.org

May 20: Presentation at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, 515 Broadway, Santa Cruz. 7PM. Dessert and coffee will be served. Contact Anita Heckman (831) 423-1626

The Bay Area groups coordinating Pietro Ameglio’s events include IF and the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz; Fellowship of Reconciliation and Global Exchange in San Francisco; and the Metta Center for Nonviolence.