President Obama travels to Mexico today to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Obama’s visit comes at a time when President Peña Nieto is riding a wave of adulation, especially in international media. Nevertheless, as analyst John Ackerman points out in Foreign Policy this honeymoon effect is unearned and is likely to be short lived because the underlying Mexican realities of widespread violence, rampant corruption, and harsh inequality remain unaddressed.
Unease about many unresolved human rights matters in Mexico was reflected in a letter to the administration signed by 24 U.S. Congressmen last week and in a powerful piece published in today’s Los Angeles Times, movement leader Javier Sicilia says that no issue, “is more urgent than the search for peace, justice and dignity for and between our peoples.” After more than 70,000 deaths it is time for, “our leaders to have deep and frank discussions about how to transform the failed policies exacerbating the violence.”
Our countries need to work together in prioritizing public health and regulation over a strategy that makes suspected drug offenders into military objectives. The effect of four decades of Mexico's drug war has been, ironically, to strengthen and enrich the very criminals we oppose. We also need urgent common action to shut down the torrent of guns being smuggled from the United States into Mexico, and into the hands of criminals, at a rate of more than 200,000 a year.
Sicilia says President Obama and Peña Nieto need to be “supported, nudged, cajoled, convinced, assisted and otherwise pressured to work on the right causes and make good decisions. It is the role of an engaged citizenry to make that happen.”
Join us next week on a conference call featuring Javier Sicilia and others to hear about the visit and discuss next steps with allies from the Mexican and U.S. peace movement, next Wednesday, May 8 at 12PM Eastern. We will discuss work on weapons trafficking, drug policy reform, and other important topics. If you want to see how you can get involved, please join us.
I will be happy to send you the agenda and call information. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us next Wednesday. We look forward to working with you.
Human Rights Director