16 November, Wellington, New Zealand
To the editor of the nzherald.co.nz,
to the Mexican embassy in New Zealand,
to the Global Network for Peace in Mexico, and
to various stakeholders,
In response to the article “Day of the Dead festivities split Wellington’s Mexican community” written by Sarah Dunn and published in nzherald.co.nz on 10 November 2011, the Global Network for Peace in Mexico (Wellington) raises several issues to be addressed:
* Antonio Gonzalez was misled to answer an interview he believed was not intended for publication (especially not in a national media outlet). In addition, his photographs were published without consent;
* The correct name of “Peace for Mexico” (a misnomer in the article) is ‘Global Network for Peace in Mexico (Wellington)’. This is important since the proper name recognizes it as part of an expanding global network. It currently exists in over 22 cities around the world and not only in Wellington. The purpose of this organization is to raise awareness of the ineffective military strategies, known as the “War on drugs”. This policy implemented by Felipe Calderón since 2006 has impacted negatively Mexico’s general population. For more information see <http://www.redglobalpazmexico.org/>;
* “Global Network for Peace in Mexico (Wellington)” consists of several members of different nationalities. Thus, stating that we represent 10% of the Mexican community in Wellington (para 4, line 2) is inaccurate. Moreover, any comments made by any given member do not necessarily represent the position of the group;
* The article misquoted Mr. Gonzalez’ words (para 4, line 2): “Antonio Gonzales […] said they boycotted the event [the Museum of City and Sea’s Day of the Dead exhibit] because of the embassy’s official involvement this year.” No boycott whatsoever was planned. This was explicitly expressed to the Mexican Embassy through its cultural attaché, Mario Alberto Garcia Barrera, on 1st November, before the celebration of the Day of the Dead took place;
* The article reports inaccurate figures (para 10, line 1): “He said in the past four years more than 30,000 people have been killed in the war between the Mexican state and drug traffickers”. Reliable estimates place the number of people killed during the “war on drugs” at over 50,000 in the past 5 years in Mexico;
* The article gives an inaccurate account of the facts (para 16, line 1): “They [the people working for the embassy] have been contributing materials since 2009,
working alongside organisers from Wellington’s Mexican community.” Access radio program ‘¡Oye Latino!’ had organised the Day of the Dead together with the Museum in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Before 2011, the Mexican embassy has not been involved by any means, let alone by contributing materials;
* The article inaccurately reports the group’s position (para 22, line 1): “Peace for Mexico was received at the Mexican Embassy last week to discuss cultural matters and the group is considering stepping back from its position and working with the embassy on cultural events in the future.” While the group is open to everyone for adhesion or discussion, it is not considering stepping back from the “raising awareness” position, which serves as the basis for its actions; and
* The article inaccurately reports that the party at Mighty Mighty was organized by the Global Network for Peace in Mexico (Wellington) (para 28, line 2). In fact that party was organized by the ‘Wellington Zapatista Solidarity Committee’, which has been organising fundraising events already for a few years.
The group values the possibility to live in a country where freedom of expression is respected, so we can politely communicate our values and concerns about the current situation in Mexico. This has also been appreciated through the amazing support obtained from the local community during our celebration of the Day of the Dead. For this reason, it is important to clarify the information published about the Global Network for Peace in Mexico (Wellington), whose main objective is to raise awareness about the “war on drugs” that is damaging communities and the entire social fabric in Mexico.
Finally, we did not expect that a national renowned news site would publish an article filled with erroneous information obtained through unethical methods. We believe, however, that amendments can be made and a sincere dialogue can be further pursued.
We look forward to receiving your reply, and please feel welcome to contact us if you have any questions.
Global Network for Peace in Mexico (Wellington) firstname.lastname@example.org
Original article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10765121