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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Democracy Now! Reports: US Encouraged Gun Sales to Mexican Cartels

Michigan Peace Team members following the situation and work for peace in Juarez are encouraged to read, watch or listen to the latest report from Democracy Now!  A summary follows, with more information and coverage in this post, which is also available at: Democracy Now!: Watch/Listen/Read

 From the Democracy Now! Coverage:

New Report: U.S. Encouraged Gun Sales to Drug Cartels

70% of Seized Mexico Guns Are from U.S.

Some 70 percent of guns seized in Mexico from 2009 to 2010 came from the United States, according to a new report from three U.S. senators. The report finds Mexican drug cartels are arming themselves with U.S. military-style weapons and urges a strengthening of U.S. regulations to stem the flow of guns to Mexico. It comes as lawmakers are holding hearings into a once-secret government plan to encourage U.S. gun shops to sell thousands of guns to middlemen for Mexican drug cartels. We speak to David Heath at the Center for Public Integrity. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Police Raid Human Rights Center in Juarez, MPT Continues Support Work

MPT holds our friends in Juarez in our hearts this week (as ever) and encourages our members to follow the conflict in Juarez.  MPT was shocked and dismayed to hear that earlier this week Federal Police forces in Juarez broke into the Center For Human Rights Paso Del Norte.  The Center reports that there was significant property damage when 5 armed and uniformed police men broke into the Center on Monday, June 6th at approximately 8:00pm local time.  So far, the Center is not sure the reason for the raid, nor what the Police hoped to accomplish by destroying property.  Please watch www.mptinjuarez.blogspot.com for updates as we hear more.
As you may know, MPT has been working with the Center and other friends in Juarez to help promote nonviolence and awareness for over two years.  We have sent two Peace Teams to Juarez.  After many months of discussion and deliberation on this matter, MPT has decided will not be sending Peace Teams to work on-site in Juarez in the immediate future due to the nature of the violence and the high degree of risk.  We cannot thank enough those who have been involved in our program and Teams to Juarez, including Peace Team members and Friends on the grouns in Jaurez-- who all accomplished amazing nonviolence work despite the high level of violence and risk. 
MPT does plan to continue awareness and support work around Juarez to support our sister and brothers there; including, possibly virtual accompaniment and other options.  We will share more information as we explore the best ways to support the people of Juarez and movement for nonviolence on the ground.
One such action on the part of MPT was taken at the end of May, when we signed on to support to Coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns as they sent a message to President Obama asking him to take action on a proposed measure to stop the trafficing of illegal guns to Mexico.  As the Coalition put it,
"90% of guns recovered and traced at Mexican crime scenes have come from U.S. gun dealers. Ninety Percent.  And violence from the Mexican cartel wars is spilling back over the border into the United States. Right now, the Obama Administration is taking public comments on a new rule that will allow the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to require licensed dealers to report whenever a person buys multiple AK-47s and other assault rifles along the U.S.-Mexico border."
MPT signed on when we heard about this measure just before the deadlien for public comment.  We hope to share such calls to action with you, our members, when future opportunities to take action arise.
In peace,


Nicole L. Rohrkemper
International Team Deployment Coordinator
Michigan Peace Team

            (586) 419-1070       (direct line)
NicoleR. MPT@gmail.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thank You: Juarez Fast and Letters

A Citizen Fast and Reflection:  Stop the War...No More Blood! A Journey to Justice. 
By Julie Slowik, IHM
We are deeply grateful to you who joined in fast and prayer for justice and peace in Juarez. Your presence in spirit along with so many others was deeply felt. We received 1,800 letters of solidarity from around the world.
Overcoming fear, some fifty groups and organizations among whom were national and international representatives gathered in downtown Juarez on January 29 and 30, 2011. During the event at the Monument some of the group journeyed in caravans to the U.S./Mexico fenced border, joining with a large group from El Paso, Texas. Though divided physically, all were united in one voice in the demand for justice. In a beautiful gesture, hands from both sides linked together through the fence in solidarity.
Late Saturday afternoon groups journeyed to the site of last year's youth massacre, where families and friends had placed pictures of their beloved children on posters. There the Bishop of Juarez celebrated the liturgy. Saturday night at the Monument in a moving ceremony we, with lighted luminaries, formed the word "justicia" along the monument steps. The night was filled with cultural expressions of song, poetry readings, theater, and music. On Sunday morning, small groups listened and gave comfort to mothers who begged for justice for the disappearance or death by violence of their sons and daughters. An ecumenical service closed the fast.
We left interiorly strengthened with a deep sense of harmony among the many organizations who coordinated the week-end. A political statement had been declared by our united presence. We go forth with courage to continue the struggle.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Juarez Fast: Heartening Solidarity (Photos from Juarez)

The fast organized by the community of Juarez (and solidarity actions around the world) were a wonderful success this past weekend.  Friends of MPT in Juarez shared these photos of the event.

Participants in the fast 'vigil' stayed out all night in Juarez, braving the after-dark dangers of the city together, and very cold weather (especially cold for Mexico).  Friends report that the turn out was very satisfying.

Best of all, participants say the event brought real hope to those in the city.  Both the local turnout, and the solidarity actions by those around the world gave people a feeling that not only do people near and far know and care about the conflict in and violence in the city, but there could be real change in the future.

Thanks for reading, and thank you to the MPT members and friends who participated in the Solidarity Fast this past weekend (January 29/30, 2011).  

Composed from eye-witness participation reports by MPT Friends 
by Nicole Rohrkemper.
International Peace Teams Coordinator
Michigan Peace Team


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Basic & Team Training Dates, Deadlines and More

Here is a preview of the E-News; click here or below to read it in full resolution online!

Read the latest for those interested in following (or joining!) our teams: http://bit.ly/fXw08l.

Click the link above for training dates, application deadlines, 
deployment timelines, budget information and more.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Call to Action: Fast and Letters Support Juarez

All of us at Michigan Peace Team would like to share with our blog readers this invitation from the community in Juarez, Mexico (with a short introductory note from MPT's good friend and Team Contact in the area):

Dear Friends

I send you this letter (translated) of  invitation from the Human Rights Center Paso del Norte, which is convoking a public fast and reflection on January 29 and 30, 2011 seeking truth, justice and the common good for Juarez. On these dates we commemorate the first anniversary of the massacre of 18 youth in the colonia Villas de Salvacar, and the world day of non-violence (which is the date Ghandi was assassinated).

Could we ask you in whatever way you can, to be in solidarity with us in spirit this day and a half? 

Thanks so much. 


From the Center for Human Rights Paso del Norte A.C.
       From Saturday January 29 at 9:00 a.m. to Sunday Jan. 30 at Noon
Place: Juarez Monument
Juarez City, Chihuahua, Mexico

                            STOP THE WAR.....NO MORE BLOOD

"Do you not know the fast acceptable to me? This is the fasting that I wish: breaking the chains of injustice, untying the thongs of the yoke, setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke" (Is. 58,6)

In Juarez City, Chihuahua, Mexico we are living in one of the greatest crisis in our history. From the perspective of human rights we are a city profoundly wounded, pained, and, and offended. For three years we have not been without blood. We are living a Way of the Cross which seems interminable. During this last year we have suffered more than 3000 painful assssination. They have assassinated children, youth, and adults. En 2010 more than 300 women have been assassinated.

From this profound pain and in the context of war, which the Mexican government declared, not in our name, against organized crime; and conscious that violence generates violence, we want to celebrate in fasting and reflection, the first anniversary of the massacre of 18 youth in the colonia Villas of Salvarcar.

Let us realize a day and a half of fasting as a non-violent and political action, of personal sacrifice and collective pressure, which seeks to build a space for  reflection within each person and in society, in order to seek together truth, justice and the common good, thus in this way, to denounce and confront the authorities for the constant violation of human rights, for the climate of violence and insecurity, and for the lack of responsibility in procuring justice.

We want to offer our city, wounded by violence and injustice, a sign of solidarity and hope in order to rebuild our society with human values. We also want to pressure the three levels of governmental authorities to stop this war which continues profoundly hurting our city, and to denounce publicly that we do not have a Right of State (State of Justice) due to the high rate of impunity.

At this moment of anniversary and on the world day of non-violence (remembering the assassination of Ghandhi) we are inviting people and groups, of high human and moral quality - local, national, and international - to be in solidarity with us in participating on this day of fast and reflection, or of uniting together from different places and communities to this action on these same days.

We ask you also to send us letters of solidarity to the following email that they may be read during the days of fast. cdhpasodelnorte@hotmail.com

We are grateful to you beforehand for your generous response of solidarity.


                  Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte, A.C.
                  Centro de Derechos Humanos del Migrante
                  Centro de Pastoral Obrera 
                  Comite Medico Ciudadano
                  (Nine parishes also listed as conveners.)

P.S. We are also grateful if you could send letters of solidarity to national and international media as well as to the following addresses:

Lic. Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa
Presidente Constitucional de la Republica Mexicana
Residencia Official de los Pinos,
Casa Miguel Aleman,
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, Mexico DF

Lic. Cesar Horacio Duarte Jaquez
Gobernador del Estadode Chihuahua

Monday, December 20, 2010

Team Safe in Michigan

The Fall 2010 MPT Peace Team arrived home in Mochigan moments ago, after their months of service in Juarez.

We at MPT want to thank the team and everyone who worked on this project for their invaluable contributions.

Please watch for updates and information about Juarez and the program here in coming months.

Happy Holidays,

Nicole Rohrkemper
International Teams Coordinator
Michigan Peace Team