Anti-Drug War Caravan Arrives in Mexico City en route to New York City
Activists on the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice en route to New York City hold signs reading "Stop the War Against Drugs!" Photo: PazVidaJusticia via Facebook
U.S. prohibitionist drug policies have failed and a new global discussion around drugs is needed, say the caravan of human rights workers.
Hundreds of people gathered in Mexico City’s central square Sunday to welcome the Caravan of Peace, Life and Justice, a group whose main goal is to end the war on drugs.
The group took off from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa on March 28 and intend to arrive in New York City by April 18 when the United Nations will hold a special general assembly on the world drug problem.
The caravan has already travelled through Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and much of Mexico, countries that now have some of the highest murder and violence rates in the world, which are largely due to failed policies in those regions meant to attack drug trafficking.
Along its route to New York, one of the caravan’s objectives is to recover testimonies from people who have been affected by violence generated from the drug war and present this to the heads of state at the U.N. assembly, which will take place from April 19-21.
One of the caravan’s main goals is “not only to point out the failure of the war on drugs, but also to denounce the violence, which increases the need to migrate to the US, and the dangers on the road for those forced to leave their countries,” said Ted Lewis, general coordinator of the caravan and director of Global Exchange, to the press upon their departure in March.
According to Lewis, one of the major issues is the prohibitionist anti-drug policies in the U.S., which have “failed.”
“The prohibitionist strategy against this problem will not solve anything, with such a massive consumer market in the U.S. that need tons of illegal drugs and is creating an unsustainable situation in the U.S.,” said Lewis.
The attempt to control consumption has also been used as a pretext to assert military control in Latin America and has led to the overpopulation of prisons, where “more than 2.2 million people are trapped in the prison industry, where nearly half are imprisoned for pure drug possession,” added Lewis.
Lewis suggests the legalization of drugs so that citizens are not so easily criminalized. With this, “there is a possibility for a future of peace in our regions and not a violent solution.”
The Caravan of Peace, Life and Justice seeks to encourage a new conversation around drug policies and new approaches to the issue, and not to politicize the fight against drugs for partisan purposes, they say.