After Son's Death, Poet Fights Mexican Drug Violence

In Mexico, nearly 35,000 people have died in the war against drug cartels — and the violence seems to be getting worse. In March, one 24-year-old victim was found dead, wrapped in masking tape, in a vehicle near the resort town of Cuernavaca. That young man was also the son of Mexican poet Javier Sicilia. Since his son's death, Sicilia has abandoned poetry to fight the drug violence. He is now leading a silent, three-day protest march from Cuernavaca to Mexico City.

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In Mexico, nearly 35,000 people have died in the war against drug cartels, and the violence seems to be getting worse. In March, one 24-year-old victim was found dead, wrapped in masking tape in a vehicle near the resort town of Cuernavaca. That young man was also the son of Mexican poet Javier Sicilia. Since his son's death, Sicilia has abandoned poetry to fight the drug violence. He's now leading a silent, three-day protest march from Cuernavaca to Mexico City.

NPR's Jason Beaubien sent this postcard from along the route.

JASON BEAUBIEN: There are hundreds of people walking along this main highway between Cuernavaca and Mexico City. At the front of this march, they're holding up a big banner that says: Stop the War. Other people are holding up signs that say: Enough Already. Some people have signs that say: No More Blood. All of these, of course, are in Spanish. Some people have pictures of loved ones who've been killed during this bloody, four-year drug war of President Calderon's.

What's so interesting about this particular march is, it's being organized by poet Javier Sicilia. His 24-year-old son was found tortured and killed on March 28th. And since then, Sicilia has come out as this figure who's managed to organize Mexicans around this drug war, calling people into the streets. This isn't the only march. There are other marches coming from other parts of Mexico. They're all planning on converging on Mexico City this weekend.

Sicilia has said straight out that he believes that this is a poorly planned and poorly executed war. But he also has been very critical of the drug cartels themselves, calling on them to regain their honor, to once again have a sense of code, to have some sort of method to their madness.

And he has really organized people in a way that no other figure has so far, around a social issue that has really dominated Mexico over the last four years.

On the highway between Cuernavaca and Mexico City, I'm Jason Beaubien for NPR News.

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