MEXICO CITY, April 5. – The image of a group of children from the city of Tijuana, during the Army Day uninhibited play with a long gun as if it were a stick with which to try to break a piñata, it is chilling.
In the same room of Memory and Tolerance Museum in Mexico City lie also pictures goat horns (AK 47), the weapon that has caused more deaths in the history of mankind, and the Barrett M82, an assault rifle used by the U.S. military in wars, capable of penetrating the armor stronger air and ground vehicles.
These raw images are part of the photo exhibition “A Farewell to Arms. Smuggling at the borders”, a narrative voices raised by claiming the traffic impact of U.S. arms to Latin America, and to hit the United States Congress Washington in August.
Sergio Aguayo, president of the Civic Alliance citizen and promoter of the show, told The Associated Press that the exhibition will come to the U.S. Congress supported by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA, for its acronym in English) and Global Exchange, both instances of human rights defenders, in order to extend its work to raise awareness about the implications of arms trafficking is in Mexico.
“This exhibition is a long project of raising and training of a sector of Mexican society on the issue of arms trafficking, which is apparently the most superficial of the problem, but whose background is a culture of violence,” said Aguayo in a recent interview.
Comprising some 30 photographs, the exhibition features the work of photojournalists Mexican Guillermo Arias, Octavio Nava, Nicholas Tavira, Octavio Hoyos, Monica Gonzalez, David Jaramillo, Francisco Mata, Gustavo Duran, and includes works of Filipino artist Eduardo Olbes and video and images of the Spanish-French filmmaker Christian Poveda, murdered in El Salvador before the premiere of his documentary “La Vida Loca” in 2009.
The exhibition is the result of an effort by public and private institutions in Mexico and the National Council for Culture and the Arts, through the National Institute of Fine Arts, the Civic Alliance and the Museum of Memory and Tolerance. The latter protects the exhibition forum since last November until 15 April.
The activist said the initiative to bring “A Farewell to Arms. Smuggling at the borders” to Washington is one of the tasks that the Civic Alliance works with WOLA and Global Exchange.
“The exhibition is part of a larger project based on building a culture of peace,” said fellow professor. “The most important thing is to start working on a project that part of the point where we face a long war (the war on drugs) and although one of its key ingredients is the smuggling of arms, not alone” said.
According to a report in 2011 by the Regional Center of the United Nations for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Latin America and the Caribbean there are 80 million guns, mostly from the United States.
The Mexican newspaper Milenio recently published until 2009, Mexican authorities had seized more than 35 000 weapons, including grenades long and more than 4 million cartridges.
Aguayo said that the issue of arms smuggling unifies much of the Mexican population and the Federal Government, saying it is urgent that the societies of both countries are aware of the origin of the drug war in Mexico that has left more of 50 000 deaths in the country, according to figures released by Mexican officials.
The researcher also said that in addition to the replica that will be the U.S. Congress, the exhibition will feature a traveling version to accompany the Caravan for Peace, headed by Javier Sicilia through the Movement for Peace, which formed the Mexican poet a year ago after the death of his son Juan Francisco hands of organized crime to require the administration of President Barack Obama to halt the illegal crossing of arms to Mexico.
The exhibition has already had a first edition arrived in March roaming the Faculty of Political Science at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and is now looking to bring other cities.
Aguayo said that although the exhibition has a newsworthy, its aim is also to pay tribute to the photographers and recognize their work on the subject, so it was decided to open a national call to enroll their material.
AP Former collaborator Guillermo Arias, whose photograph titled “Body of an alleged drug dealer” is part of the sample and which in 2009 received an honorable mention in the World Press Photo, said he wanted to participate to help raise awareness society on the issue of victims of drug trafficking and organized crime.
“I firmly believe that as photojournalists, our duty is to support and we are working on these stories about the victims of drug trafficking and organized crime. Here (in the sample) there is no money involved, but really wanted to send a Post: while there is money, weapons, drugs, everyone loses, “said Arias.