Mexico City – Dozens of Mexican artists and intellectuals say they will organize a series of activities and rallies in support of a peace and justice movement headed by prominent poet and activist Javier Sicilia.
Theater and film actors and producers including Diego Luna, as well as writers such as Paco Ignacio Taibo II took part Tuesday in a meeting in this capital led by Sicilia and pledged to join the poet's Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which he founded after his 24-year-old son and several other young people were murdered earlier this year by suspected drug-gang members.
The artists and intellectuals promised to participate in a march that Sicilia has organized for Sunday to protest legislation that gives congressional endorsement to President Felipe Calderon's militarization of the struggle against drug trafficking and organized crime.
Activists say the use of the military to battle drug cartels is only exacerbating the drug-related violence that has left more than 40,000 dead since Calderon took office more than four-and-a-half years ago.
"This movement is born out of poetry and the artistic community is looking for some way to express the sorrow of a grieving people, for we artists are also repositories of suffering and repositories of peace," Sicilia said in a press conference following the gathering.
Last week, Sicilia said talks he had been holding with lawmakers and the Mexican government had broken down after Congress gave general approval to changes to the country's National Security Law. But the poet said Sunday that the dialogue was being revived.
He said that actors, painters, dancers and writers will take part Sunday in a silent march and give performances alluding to their demand that "the government end its failed war," the poet said.
The marchers will set off at 11:00 a.m. from the Anthropology Museum and make their way to the presidential residence and the Senate building, where they will leave hundreds of old shoes to represent the dead and also exchange kisses as a symbol of peace, actor Jesus Ochoa said.
Paco Ignacio Taibo II, for his part, described the Calderon administration's militarization of the conflict as "an absurd and failed war" that only has "turned the country into a state of disaster."
"The movement for peace and justice is going to continue and we artists will contribute in some way," the writer said.
Actor Diego Luna, who is best known for his role in the critically acclaimed film "Y tu mama tambien" (And Your Mother Too) but has also made forays into directing and producing, said it is important for the artistic and intellectual community to accompany Mexicans in their "just" demands.
"We're tired of the violence and the government's mistakes," Luna said.
He added that other actions will be organized for Thursday, including holding a minute of silence during theater presentations in honor of those killed in drug-war violence.
Finally, the actor said a citizens' initiative aimed at combating weapons trafficking will be submitted to Congress that same day.
Sicilia has led numerous marches since his son's murder to demand an end to impunity for violent crimes and denounce the president's decision to militarize the struggle against the cartels.
While several suspects have been arrested in his son's killing, Sicilia says it is shameful that thorough investigations are only seen in high-profile cases.