Friday, December 24, 2010

Spontaneous Anti-Drug War Student Activism Erupts In Northern Mexico

This holiday season ABC News reports that students at the Autonomous University of the City of Juarez (UACJ) (in its Spanish acronym) have formed a group to resist the drug war. The students are targeting corruption in the police and military, highlighting human rights abuses as part of their campaign.

One videoed episode of state violence drew the students ire: the late October police shooting of nineteen year old UACJ sociology student, Jose Dario Alvarez. Student marches against the police who shot him at the entrance to the UACJ campus have apparently drawn 200 people in the northern city, and interest from student groups at Mexico City's National Autonomous University (UNAM).

The ABC reporter describes a student movement interested in human rights and social justice. The focus on the latter can be identified by community projects, such as Pistolitas por Libros, or Pistols for Books. The way these students see the intersection of different issues and the drug war, is characteristic of student movements throughout the hemisphere, including Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

The Student Association has not confined its activities to political activism. Members teamed up with medical and dentistry students doing a Health Brigade event and implemented Pistolitas por Libros, the first Pistols for Books campaign. While adults in the neighborhood sought free medical advice from the students, their children could exchange toy guns and weapons for books, games and other, more peaceful, items. The organization said between 120 and 150 participated.