Mexico peace tour: a cathartic turnout against drug violence in San Luis Potosí(Read article summary)
Javier Sicilia's caravan attracts only a small crowd in San Luis Potosí, near the territory of the notorious Zeta drug cartel. But for some of the victims who attended, it was their first time speaking out.
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
As Javier Sicilia's caravan reaches the main square of San Luis Potosí, in Mexico's northern central highlands, the town's central Plaza del Carmen seems pretty empty. The caravan, which is headed to Ciudad Juárez on the US-Mexico border, is made up by dozens of cars and 13 buses – three of which are reserved for the media.
In the square, it is mainly the journalists that can be seen, surrounding and interviewing every possible local around, and only a bunch of Potosinos sit on the steps surrounding the square, observing quietly.
Mr. Sicilia, a poet, proposed to drive 1,500 miles to visit those cities and states in Mexico that have been most affected by narco-related violence. Sicilia organized a very successful march in early May that he called for after the death of his son.
But it is the second day since the new caravan left Cuernavaca, and a question has emerged: Given the relatively low local participation, is the caravan flop?
On the edge of cartel territory
An important mining town, San Luis was named after the rich mining town of Potosí in Bolivia, which the Spaniards hoped it would be able to rival in its silver production. The town's colonial center remains impressive and the city, which was traditionally quiet, has seen a rise in violence in the past year – like many other cities in the country – because of its vicinity with neighboring Tamaulipas state, which has come to be associated with the reign of the notorious Zeta drug cartel.