Javier Sicilia: Can a poet overcome a state of lawlessness and corruption to bring peace to Mexico? (Photo: Mark Karlin)Sicilia, 55, is a poet, a journalist, a novelist, a professor – a man of letters in the European model. The son of a poet, he considers his foremost passion that most ethereal of arts, the distillation of words and images into revelations. Mexico recognized him with the coveted Aguascalientes National Award in Poetry in 2009. What Sicilia did not anticipate was that he would stop writing – that his poetry would turn to silence – when his 24-year-old son, Juan Francisco, was killed and became collateral damage in the US-backed war on drugs in Mexico. But the silence that fell upon Sicilia’s poems was replaced with his leadership of a movement that began as We Have Had It (Estamos Hasta La Madre in Spanish) and has evolved into a populist movement, The Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity (Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad in Spanish).
Lupita Sanchez, coordinator for community action services at Proyecto Juan Diego, helps Cameron Park colonia residents become empowered through getting out the vote. (Photo by Mark Karlin.)This is the fourth article in Truthout’s series looking at US immigration and Mexican border policies through a social justice lens, focusing on the lower Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville, Texas area. Mark Karlin, editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout, visited the region recently to file these reports. When Roads Turned to Mud in the Colonias Just outside of Brownsville city limits in Cameron Park, Texas, Lupita Sanchez used to park her car a few blocks from her home whenever it rained. The streets of the colonia where she lived were unpaved until 1996. If Sanchez dared to drive all the way to her house, she risked getting stuck in the mud, or, worse still, ending up in a sinkhole and waiting for the road to dry, when her car could finally be towed. Now Sanchez is coordinator for community action services at Proyecto Juan Diego in Cameron Park, and she works tirelessly to improve conditions in what is becoming an empowered community of about 8,000 people.
(Photo: Mark Karlin) The Official Story From the US State Department On March 29, 2012, William R. Brownfield, US assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (in other words, Hillary Clinton’s point person on drug issues), testified before the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. His subject was the war on drugs in the Western Hemisphere outside of the United States and Canada. Few, if any, reporters from the US press attended.