Community Leader Delegation to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas
February 9-16, 2013
Afflicted by the violence of state and drug trafficking forces; police, military, and civil corruption; a brutal and indifferent U.S. border policy; economic depredation; and the iron flow of guns from the U.S. commercial market, Ciudad Juárez has been called the “epicenter of pain.” Murder rates have declined significantly, offering a window to visit and understand a city that has experienced more than ten thousand murders in the last six years.
But both Juárez and its sister city, El Paso, Texas, are also the sites of creative and courageous activism and nonviolent resistance to violence and injustice. Women, youth, church, artists, medical, and human rights groups have bravely challenged the destruction and impunity. El Paso, which has received tens of thousands of Juarense refugees, has organized for political asylum, to support Mexico’s peace movement, and for city resolutions against the drug war and gun trafficking.
Protesting at the DEA in El PasoThis delegation is an unequaled opportunity for community leaders from around the U.S. to learn first-hand about the violence in Juárez, its causes and human impacts, and be inspired by what they are doing about it. We will meet those affected, and community activists who are responding, as well as with officials on both sides of the border. On the U.S. side, this will include either Border Patrol or representatives from a drug war intelligence center in Fort Bliss, as well as El Paso leaders who have passed resolutions against the drug war and to control gun trafficking, while on the Mexico side, it may include local Juárez officials and the Human Rights Delegate.
We are seeking community leaders, including pastors, journalists, and activists, who will use this rich experience in their own communities to convey a better understanding of the border at El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, the related issues of the drug war, gun trafficking, and immigration policy, and what we can do to respond constructively. We hope for a group of between 10 and 15 persons.
Cost: $675 covers airport pickup and drop-off in El Paso, simple lodging, food, local transportation, language interpretation, background materials, and program costs. Delegation will spend three nights in secure lodging in Ciudad Juárez. Arrival will be Saturday, February 9; departure will be Saturday, February 16.
Security: Annunciation House has led hundreds of delegations to the U.S.-Mexico border, including in recent years. Fellowship of Reconciliation has organized dozens of delegations in Latin America and maintains a permanent team in a Colombian war zone, with no injuries from violence. The sponsoring organizations will maintain strict security protocols and assessments to ensure the safety and informed consent of delegation members.
Organized by Fellowship of Reconciliation, Annunciation House, and Paso del Norte Human Rights Center.
For more information, contact: John Lindsay-Poland, Fellowship of Reconciliation, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 510-282-8983.
Background materials on Juárez and El Paso (more will be available):
The Contradictions of the “New” Juárez, by Kent Peterson, November 2012
The Peace Caravan in El Paso - Challenging Assault Gun Traffic, by John Lindsay-Poland, September 2012
Despatch from Juárez: Fear and Happiness at War, by Debbie Nathan, October 2010
As Juárez Falls, by Ed Vulliamy, December 2010