Mexican Bishop Advocates Ceasefire to Feuding Drug Cartels

A Mexican bishop is supporting a peace activist's call for a ceasefire to the mass killings between feuding drug cartels.

The Bishop of Cuernavaca in Morelos, Mgr Alfonso Cortés Contreras, offered his support to Javier Sicilia in his cause to put an end to the violence in Mexico. Sicilia, who recently pleaded with Mexican drug cartels to remain peaceful on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25., has been personally affected because of his warnings.

His 24-year-old son, Juan Francisco, was murdered along with six other men by the "Pacifico Sur" drug cartel in Morelos this past March. Sicilia went from being a poet to adopting his new role as a peace activist after his son was slain.

Bishop Contreras spoke to Mexican newspaper Vanguardia about his thoughts on the current situation.

"I appeal to them as brothers and in the name of God to understand that this is not the way of goodness, that this is not the way of peace, that this is not the way of life as brothers and sisters, and as human beings," he said. "We must be messengers of peace. We hope that this Christmas will be a time of peace and love for all."

Father Kevin Mullins, who lives in the Juarez section of Mexico, has experienced the violence firsthand. According to Borderland Beat, Mullins estimated that 50 to 60 gang-related executions occurred in his parish over the past three years.

Mexico has been stricken by daily shootings and murders for years due to the drug cartels. Violence erupted in 2006 when Mexican President Felipe Calderón unofficially declared war on the drug gangs.

From 2006 until this year, the number of slain people is believed to have risen to 45,000. Twelve priests have reportedly been murdered, adding to the number of this growing toll.

Recent reports of drug cartel violence have been reported. In November, Mexican authorities discovered the body of a blogger who was beheaded by drug cartels. This act was done in an apparent attempt to silence members of the media that have spoken out against them. More than 80 journalists have reportedly been killed in Mexico since 2000.

The constant killings in Mexico caused by drug cartels has taken constant lives and put fear into the hearts of its people. The ceasefire requested for this holiday season could quell the violence and inspire peace in Mexico.