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SEACOAST ONLINE: Mexican family paid terrible price

June 22nd, 2011

To the Editor:

I want to take you deep into the tragedy that is unfolding across the U.S.-Mexican border, beyond the headlines of drug cartels and the 35,000 murdered in drug-related violence. I want to tell you the heart-wrenching story that has kept me awake nights, the story of the Reyes Salazer family.
Josefina Salazer, a women’s-rights advocate, would not stand by silently as those around her were killed in Ciudad Juarez. She knew drug gangs were responsible for many of the killings, but she also knew the U.S.-backed Mexican security forces were part of the problem, not the solution. She spoke out against the violence, against the military’s arbitrary detentions and killings.

Days later her son disappeared. Soon thereafter, despite protections granted to her family by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Josefina was murdered. Then the killers went after the rest of her family. On Feb. 25, Josefina’s sister, brother, and sister-in-law were found dead, their bodies dumped along a roadside, making it six murders in the Reyes Salazar family.
Josefina’s surviving sister, Marisela, believes the U.S.-backed Mexican security forces are responsible for her family’s tragedy. Her outspoken stance has now put her life at risk. The Mexican Military and police “have done a great deal of damage during operations here on the border,” says Marisela.

Witness for Peace has joined voices with Marisela for an end to U.S. military aid to Mexico that pumps more guns and troops into this senseless and unwinable war and skyrocketing human-rights abuses.

• Witness for Peace and our members have been in the halls of Congress, highlighting the human costs of the excruciating failure of a military approach to ending the violence associated with the drug trade.

• We have been on the streets of Mexico accompanying those who are bravely speaking out against violence and calling for real solutions to the drug trade on both sides of the border.

• We stood with the people of Ciudad, Juarez in January when they fasted and protested against violence and bloodshed.

But with so many lives on the line and Marisela’s prophetic voice leading us we must do more. We have plans to redouble our efforts to end the U.S. military aid that is pouring fuel on Mexico’s violence, but we cannot do it without more support.

Please help us with a donation to: Witness for Peace, 3628 12th St., NE, Washington, D.C. 20017.

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