Yesterday, I walked with 100 men, women and children from El Paso across the international bridge and into Juarez to rally for peace. We joined nearly 3,000 people gathered in downtown Benito Juarez Park to greet poet and writer Javier Sicilia’s caravan for Peace, Justice and Dignity. The caravan of about a thousand people has been traveling during the last week stopping in Durango, Monterrey and other northern cities hardest hit by Mexico’s drug violence. The caravan ended in Juarez yesterday where Sicilia and other protestors signed a pact for peace.
At the rally Juarenses grieved for kidnapped and murdered family members. One after another grieving parents took the microphone on an improvised stage to testify about what had happened: A 14-year-old daughter disappeared at the bus stop one day never to be seen again. A young boy went to school but never came back. Along the main avenues of Juarez, stores and homes are abandoned. The walls are plastered with posters of missing women, missing men.
A banner a man and woman from Juarez held aloft during the march summed up the pall of sadness hanging over the city:
“I live among the ghosts of my city among faces I can no longer see. There’s nowhere to go. Here are all of my dead…”