In Cuernavaca, remembering drug war victims

By Lela Singh

The central plaza in the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos today looks like a typical Mexican square where vendors sell snacks, raspadas and giant balloons. A banner over a shoe-shine booth still advertises the 2010 celebration of ¨100 years of Revolution.¨ But today marks a different anniversary in Mexico: it’s been one year since the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity emerged, demanding to end the violence of the drug war and justice for its victims.

Click for here for the version in Spanish

In the afternoon people gather to watch indigenous dancers perform. The rhythm of drums shakes the ground, where chalk outlines of bodies serve as a strong reminder of Mexico´s approximately 50,000 dead. People hold photos of their loved ones and crosses decorate the square in memory of the victims.

Women throughout the crowd embroider white cloths with red thread. The cloths give the names of one of the many murdered, the date they died and how they were killed. One woman reports that in Guadalajara, women come together every Sunday to embroider these cloths, despite police surveillance and intimidation.

After the dance performance, speakers from Churches for Peace ascend the stage. ¨God works with his people to improve their communities,¨ says one female minister, citing liberation theology. She urges all Mexicans to participate in this movement. A banner above her declares: ¨If you exist, demonstrate. Indifference has a name: complicity.¨

These movement members are unwilling to be complicit in the pain felt by those around them. When the mother of a boy who was assassinated alongside Javier Sicilia´s chokes up onstage, a chant surges up from the other movement members. ¨You are not alone!¨ they shout together.

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