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End Bloodshed in Mexico

January 27, 2011

By Sister Betty

People on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border will be calling attention this weekend, Jan. 29-30, to an effort to “Halt the War…No More Bloodshed” in the violence-plagued city of Juarez.

On the first anniversary of the massacre of 18 young people in the neighborhood of Colonia Villas de Salvarcar and the World Day of Non-Violence, we are inviting individuals, local, national and international groups of high moral character to be present in solidarity with us during this day and a half of fasting and reflection or to be in union with us on these days from your various places and communities.

Just last year 3,000 people were killed here, and among them 300 women, to say nothing of the kidnappings, extortion and robberies that are not reported.

Over the weekend a teacher was shot as she waited in the car for her children to finish soccer, just three blocks from here. Two guys came up and wanted the car and she would’t let them have it. She was screaming out, then the one guy shot her near the heart. No one came to assist them for fear of being shot. The two guys walked down the street and got on a bus. It took a half hour for the ambulance to arrive. She is in critical condition.

Then on Sunday, Jan. 23, seven young men, teenagers, were shot dead about 12 blocks south of us at a soccer field. Over 100 bullet shells were found on the ground.

We are excited about the weekend’s nonviolent action because it will be the biggest event yet to try and bring a stop to this madness. This lifts our minds and hearts.

Recently I went to El Paso to speak to female students from a university in Minnesota. They wanted to know what U.S. citizens can do. And there are a lot of things: Pressure President Obama that Mexican President Calderon is going down the wrong track and the U.S. should not be sending war materials. Instead, dialogue is needed between Calderon and the drug cartel leaders. Economic development is also needed. Supporting a drug war and sending war materials is not wanted and has never been asked for by the people.

Also, U.S. citizens can call for changes in the North American Trade Agreement, as it has caused more poverty and migration. For example, NAFTA has wreaked havoc on Mexican farmers and small businesses. Farmers can’t compete with the cheap subsidized products from the United States. Migration will continue until a just trade policy is created. The growing poverty leaves people without work and young people are easily drawn into delinquent crime.

You may immediately support the Mexican people with letters of solidarity to be read during the days of fasting. They may be sent to Father Oscar Enriquez, director of Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte (Center of Human Rights Paso del Norte): . The Sisters of Mercy’s letter of solidarity may serve as a model.

In addition, you may sign a petition to President Obama urging him to uphold human rights and halt the drug war and military aid to the government of Mexico. You may sign onto this petition at the bottom of that website screen

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