Planning to Stop ‘Plan Mexico’
November 8th, 2007 – Friends of Brad Will write: While Friends of Brad Will joined Brad’s family in D.C. to lobby for justice for his murder and for other people murdered in Oaxaca, Atenco and elsewhere, the Mexican authorities which Bush would like to lavish with ‘drug war’ money were busy arresting activists and mourners in Oaxaca.
Here is the report on our convergence on D.C.
The Friends of Brad Will advocacy trip on November 1st and 2nd to Washington, DC was a great success, thanks to our nation-wide network. Over 100 people took part in the wide spectrum of activities, events and lobbying that we organized to coincide with Dia de los Muertos commemoration. Our efforts gained in impact and poignancy, having family of Brad with us.
The two day whirlwind trip was slated to continue the effort to achieve justice in the murder of U.S. Journalist and activist Brad Will, end the impunity for human rights violations in Oaxaca and elsewhere and stop the proposed funding of a Bush/Calderon ‘Plan Mexico’ that would have disastrous consequences for the Mexican people.
Audio: Download the mp3 | 100 riders in Critical Mass protest Plan Mexico, then ride to Georgetown
Besides a full schedule of daily briefing and lobbying on the “Hill”, we conducted a press conference, organized a panel discussion with leading advocates, and held a demonstration.
We met with over 15 Congress Members and their staffs, mostly on the House Foreign Affairs committee. There were a variety of supportive responses by Congress people and we will be building on the unifying themes shared by Democrats and Republican alike, including that:
‘Plan Mexico’ was formed without input or consultation from Congress, it needs to be pealed off from the Iraq Appropriations Bill and considered as a stand alone item, and human rights concerns must take precedence over unaccountable militarization that would insert Blackwater-style mercenaries and practices into Mexico.
Most were familiar with the details of Brad Will, human rights violations in Mexico, and the fact that Mexico is second only to Iraq in danger to reporters. Although they are hearing us, many expressed clearly a need for reinforcement from the grassroots. In response to this request, we suggested that there should be no problem among our network to give them a much needed boost now for the week preceding the November 14th 2PM hearing to consider ‘Plan Mexico’. (see below)
We held a press conference in front of the Embassy of Mexico and met with high-level staff who emerged to see what the crowd was all about. One evening we organized a panel discussion with Amnesty International, Global Exchange, National Lawyers Guild, Beehive Collective and others. Parallels were made with ‘Plan Colombia’ and the verified deleterious impacts, which that militarization package has wrought. Military suppression and ecological devastation have gone hand in hand with “free trade” and corporate exploitation, according to the stunning poster by the Beehive Collective.
The culmination of the trip was a procession and demonstration in front of the Mexican Cultural Institute where a Frida Kahlo exhibition and celebration brought hundreds of the DC cognoscenti; artists, writers and people interested in Mexican politics and culture were in attendance. We gave out 1000 info/action fliers to seriously interested people. We seemed like a welcoming part of the gala event with the puppets, banners and a skull hat worn by one participant. The highlight was when the DC Critical Mass ride arrived, stopping their ride at the Mexican Consulate and joining our efforts against Plan Mexico and for Brad and others murdered.
ACTION: Plan Mexico should be opposed by those with the power to do so; that means, US. U.S. taxpayers and activists in a privileged place to talk to Congress and make our voices heard. Go to http://friendsofbradwill.org/tag/plan-mexico/ for next ACTION steps to stop Plan Mexico.
About 100 Critical Mass riders in D.C. joined a dozen or so advocates for a rally at the Mexican Embassy on November 2nd for Day of the Dead.
See you all in D.C. on November 14th to Stop Plan Mexico and demand justice for Brad Will.
Many thanks to the Human Rights Committee at St. Mark’s Church in Adams Morgan, D.C. for joining FoBW for advocacy efforts and meetings with Congress people. Their questioning of Plan Mexico will be due to your work and that of our entire network.
Special thanks to Ms. Sanchez and her 4th grade class for their interest in Oaxaca and stopping Plan Mexico!
And to our friends at the NLG!