“Estamos hasta la madre!” (“We’ve had it up to here!”)
By Claudia Ana Rodriguez International Team – Mexico Witness for Peace
The chant was heard throughout Mexico last month in a series of marches occurring all over the country, crying out for an end to the violence endured in Mexico due to the U.S.-backed Mexican military’s anti drug efforts. This attitude is apparent throughout the country today from the countryside to major cities, especially as the mobilization begin in Cuernavaca. Mexican citizens are gathering there today to initiate a silent march of peace, which will end in the Zócalo in Mexico City on May 8th.
Frustrated with the insecurity in the country, people are taking to the streets all over Mexico to participate in solidarity marches in their own towns. People who have never participated in marches or protests find themselves leaving their homes and joining their fellow citizens in the streets. They are demanding an end to the U.S.-backed drug war strategy in Mexico and a new social pact among the people to reconstruct aspects of Mexican society that have been destroyed by violence and war. Throughout the world, thousands of global citizens will stand up in solidarity with the Mexican people.
Since 2006, the United States government has supported Mexican President Calderon’s militarized drug war, resulting in close to 40,000 deaths. Now some Mexican government officials want to expand the power of the military even further by reforming the National Security Law. The law would give Calderon the power to deploy Mexico’s Armed Forces against broadly defined internal threats to Mexican national security – a dangerous prospect considering the risks already faced by journalists and human rights activists in the country.
This same military continues to receive aid from the U.S. government, even though the State Department’s own human rights report recognizes the inability of the Mexican military to uphold human rights standards.
Despite all this, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton met with Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa last week to reconfirm the United States’ commitment to sending military aid Mexico’s way to fight the drug war.
Civil society and many Mexicans are reaching a boiling point with opposition to the current strategy. Vulnerable communities hit hardest by free trade economic policies endure the direct consequences of this drug war– not the trafficking organizations. They are the families losing loved ones and any sense of security in their homes and their country.
Now more than ever U.S. citizens need to stand in solidarity with them and yell “que estamos hasta la madre!”
The current U.S. government strategy to throw more money and military training at Mexico is failing to curtail the violence or growing market of the drug trade. Rather then treat the drug war as something that can be “won” by dismantling drug trafficking organizations, we must demand that the U.S. change its policy focus and concentrate on its role in the crisis –domestic consumption and demand for drugs, U.S. financial institutions laundering drug money, and the government’s failure to end illegal arms smuggling. Beyond this, we need to demand the reexamination of free trade policies that have left over half the country in poverty and without legal means of survival.