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Mexican activist, poet brings Caravan for Peace to U.S.

Mexican poet and social activist Javier Sicilia, left, with Mexican actor Daniel Gimenez Cacho at  a news conference on the Caravan for Peace.

Mexican peace activist Javier Sicilia, who helped launch a grass-roots movement in Mexico calling for an end to the country’s drug war, is launching a Caravan for Peace across the U. S., with supporters and victims joining him Sunday in San Diego for the start of the month-long campaign.

Sicilia, an award-winning poet and novelist whose 24-year-old son was killed by organized crime gunmen, has become a prominent symbol of Mexicans’ anger over the unceasing violence and growing toll of victims.

In Mexico, he has attacked corruption and called for the resignation of top government officials.

During the swing through 20 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles on Monday and Tuesday, Sicilia and organizers say they will shift the focus to U.S. policies that contribute to the violence. They will push for curbs on money laundering and weapons smuggling to Mexico and the suspension of U.S. funding of Mexico’s military.

“Our purpose is to honor our victims, to make their names and faces visible,” Sicilia said in a statement. “We will travel across the United States to raise awareness of the unbearable pain and loss caused by the drug war -- and of the enormous shared responsibility for protecting families and communities in both our countries.”

Events in Southern California include a church service Sunday at the University of San Diego and a gathering Monday in downtown Los Angeles at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church. The caravan’s final stop is scheduled for Sept. 10 in Washington, D.C.

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 -- Richard Marosi

Photo: Mexican poet and social activist Javier Sicilia, left, with Mexican actor Daniel Gimenez Cacho at  a news conference on the Caravan for Peace. Credit: Getty Images

 
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