Amid Uproar over Violence in Mexico, US Solidarity Protests Call for End to 'War on Drugs'
Demonstrations planned in close to 50 cities to highlight U.S. complicity in Mexican human rights abuses
Protesters in close to 50 American cities on Wednesday rallied in solidarity with Mexicans who are demanding an end to state-sanctioned violence and relief from the failed international drug war that has left more than 100,000 dead and 25,000 people missing.
The demonstrations were spurred by the disappearance and presumed execution of 43 student-teachers, who were allegedly abducted by police in Iguala, Mexico on September 26, then handed over to a local drug gang that claims to have murdered them and burned the bodies. The incident sparked international outrage and huge demonstrations across Mexico.
Under the banner #UStired2—a translation of the #YaMeCanse hashtag that has been embraced by Mexican protesters as a symbol of being fed up with a broken system—some immigrant rights activists, religious organizations, students, and Latino-Americans are calling for an end to 'Plan Mexico,' a multi-billion dollar U.S. aid package "that has done nothing to reduce drug traffic into the U.S. or drug use here, and has instead supported a corrupt government using the drug war as cover for a war on its own people, especially those like the Normalistas of Ayotzinapa, young souls whose only 'crime' is wanting a better education and life."
The #UStired2 website declares: "It is time for people in the U.S. to demand an end to this failed war—before we contribute to the next Ayotzinapa."
According to those organizing the actions, Plan Mexico money has been used to fund the training of both Mexican military and police. But the #USTired2 coalition says the U.S. government is obligated to cut off aid to security forces found to be in violation of the human rights of its people. To support its claim, the campaign points to an open letter to President Barack Obama posted this week and signed by more than 100 U.S. scholars.
The letter reads, in part:
Given the high degree of Mexican government and security force complicity and participation in human rights abuses, we have reason to believe that U.S. aid has been used to perpetrate the very human rights violations it is supposed to prevent.
Because available evidence indicates that Mexican police and armed forces are using U.S. aid, weapons, technology, and training to systematically commit human rights violations, we believe that continued U.S. political support of the Peña Nieto government would only continue to make mass murder in Mexico possible. We cannot and should not support governments who kill or are complicit in the killings and disappearances of their own people, such as the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.
The call for justice has clearly resonated with people across United States. As of Wednesday, rallies were planned in at least 43 American cities, from Ferguson to Boston, Seattle to San Antonio, and many places in between.
Two survivors of the September 26 attack issued a personal call to allies in the U.S.:
Follow the actions on Twitter: