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Caravan For Peace Arrives In DC Lead By Mexican Poet Javier Sicilia

9:51 PM, Sep 11, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) - Leticia Mora Nieto stood among a crowd holding up a sign with the picture of her daughter who went missing in Mexico over a year ago.

"My daughter left behind two daughters, a two and three year old, when the eldest asks me where her mother is I don't know what to tell her," Nieto said as her eyes filled with tears. "Every time someone knocks at the door she asks if that's her mom."

She is one of many people who have fallen victim to the violence in Mexico and have joined the "Caravan for Peace" movement. The group arrived in D.C. on Monday after a cross-country tour promoting their campaign "End the Drug War- No More Violence."

The two-bus and multiple car convoy, departed from San Diego on August 12 and headed east along the US-Mexico border to eventually go north, visiting a total of 25 cities.

Mexican poet Javier Sicilia began Mexico's Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity after his son, Juan Francisco, was killed along with six friends in March 2011.

"I came to the U.S. because this is a shared problem and we have to work together to save our dignity, our democracy and our children," Sicilia said.

He added, "I won't get my son back but I don't want more parents or children to suffer the way we have suffered."

There are five areas that Sicilia says are crucial in order to put an end to the violence: drug war policies, arms trafficking, immigration, U.S. foreign policy and money laundering.

It is estimated that 60,000 people have been killed due to drug violence in Mexico in the last few years; 10,000 people have disappeared and over 160,000 have been displaced, according to the group's site.

"It's like a cancer that is slowly killing us," Nieto said. "The worst thing is that we are helpless because the authorities don't take action."

After not getting a response from state officials, Nieto set up a Facebook page called "Donde Esta Ivonne" (Where is Ivonne) in hopes of getting information about her daughter's whereabouts and to help other mothers whose loved ones have gone missing.

Upon their arrival in D.C. the group began marching from the AFL-CIO building located on 815 16th Street NW holding signs reading "No More Drug War", and chanting "Alive they took them, alive we want them" in Spanish. The group then made a brief stop at the White House and headed towards Freedom Plaza where they held a rally.

The Caravan for Peace plans to stay in D.C. until Wednesday with hopes of speaking with a legislator. It will conclude its tour with a vigil in front of St. Stephen & the Incarnation Episcopal Church on Wednesday.

To see the full schedule CLICK HERE.

Story by: Jackie B. Diaz

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