On 21 September UCL welcomed Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, a leading campaigner against injustice and violence and for solidarity with migrants in Mexico. After meeting with Rector Vincent Blondel and Pro-rector for International Affairs Dana Samson, Rev. Solalinde hosted a press conference concerning violence in Mexico.
Who is Alejandro Solalinde? He founded and coordinates several shelters that house (generally for a few days) Central American migrants making their way across Mexico.
He has become a moral authority in a country plagued by violence (more than 120,000 deaths and 30,000 missing since 2007; 2017 has been the most violent year in Mexico’s recent history), earning a place on the list of nominees for the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize but also frequent death threats from the cartels that dominate the country (one of his main collaborators was killed in March).
The international support he receives is essential to both raising awareness of his campaign for a less violent Mexico and providing the international renown that ensures a certain level of protection (eight journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1 January).
It was important for UCL to welcome Rev. Solalinde in support of his struggle and, more broadly, of democracy worldwide. Geoffrey Pleyers, UCL professor of sociology and a Mexico expert, explains the importance of Rev. Solalinde’s campaign.