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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