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from all regions of the country and all walks of life gathered today at
a national forum on how best to deal with the endless cycle of drug
violence which is racking the nation. The so-called Dialog for Peace
was held in Mexico City’s historic Chapultepec Castle. President Felipe
Calderón, accompanied by his wife, presided over the often emotional
gathering, accompanied by various government officials and cabinet
Many family members of victims of narcoviolence appeared
and delivered statements, often imploring Calderón’s government to
change its strategy, or to abandon altogether the offensive against the
drug cartels. Some accused the president of having turned Mexico into a
police state, and of violating the country’s
constitution by using
military forces to suppress domestic crime. Calderón denied both
charges. One speaker told the president that he owed an apology to Los Zetas, generally regarded as the most violent and brutal of Mexico’s cartels. “That I will never do,” responded Calderón.
Mexican poet and peace activist Javier Sicilia,
whose son was murdered in May, accused Calderón of actively fostering
the popular belief that vigilante or paramilitary squads – such as Los Matazetas
– would assist the government in its ongoing war against the cartels.
“There are no paramilitaries in Mexico,” said the president.
president denied that Mexico has taken on an “authoritarian face” by
aggressively going after the cartels. “I, too, favor an integrated
approach” to the problem of crime, he said, in reference to the demands
of many speakers for more focused attention on economic and social
issues which promote drug trafficking.
Earlier this week a group
of Mexican attorneys and others submitted a complaint to the
International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, asking that
Calderón and other Mexican government and military leaders be indicted
for acts amounting to war crimes. An initial hearing in that case is
scheduled for November 25.
Today's Dialog for Peace began at 9:00 a.m. and ended at 3:30 p.m.
About the International Criminal Court case: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/mexican-intellectuals-will-file-hauge.html;
About Los Matazetas : http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/09/mexicos-new-vigilantes-los-matas-zetas.html;