Lauren Villagran (2013). The Victims’ Movement in Mexico. Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence, San Diego.
This source is an excerpt from a book by Lauren Villagran that focuses on how important the public activist groups will be in finding the solution to the drug war in Latin America. The main argument that is presented is that the drug war has created a problem whereby the states in Latin America have proven unable to guarantee a right to human security, leaving individuals and groups to their own devices. As a result of this, it has meant that it has become more important for activist groups to rise up and attract global attention on these regional issues. This source is particularly valuable because it is directly related to the discussion of activist groups in Latin America. The author suggests that activist groups in the most affected regions in Latin America have begun to concentrate on reforming their respective justice systems and laws, in order to reach their ultimate goal of real justice.
The most essential reason for why this source is valuable for our group’s research is that it gives a thorough historical background for the activist movements, beginning with the 1997 founding of the MUCD in Mexico. Although the focus is primarily on the region of Mexico, this is nonetheless an important aspect of the source. Not least of all because Mexico is a key aspect in the topic of the Latin American drug war. The source details how the MUCD drew in international attention after a 2004 march dubbed “Let’s rescue Mexico” that drew hundreds of thousands of citizens dressed in white onto the streets and central plaza of Mexico City. Moreover stating how important this international media coverage was in implementing stricter laws against drug trafficking and violence in Mexico. In more recent years, the source details how the use of social media (particularly Facebook and Twitter) have been prime tools in new victims’ movements that aim to bring people together. Villagran suggests that this shows a growing consciousness and engagement among crime victims in Latin America, which is promising. And those activists appear to be moving beyond fear or fatalism to create mechanisms to pressure the state for justice.
I believe that the observations made in this source about how activist groups have become a force of civil society with which the government (particularly in Mexico) must reckon, are important in strengthening our own research and arguments about activist groups in Latin America. Furthermore, the specific examples of activist movements in the region of Mexico, as well as the detailed historical context provided for victims’ movements in Latin America, contribute substantial background knowledge.