Mexico inaugurates memorial to drug-war victims

Mexico City, Apr 5 (EFE).- A memorial to the more than 70,000 people killed in drug-war violence in Mexico since December 2006 was inaugurated Friday in this capital.

"To build a Mexico at peace, this place is a reminder that we must accelerate efforts to eliminate all room for violence and impunity," Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said during the ceremony.

Located in Chapultepec Park, the memorial consists of 64 large steel panels engraved with quotes from figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Octavio Paz, Edmund Burke and Rainer Maria Rilke inviting visitors to reflect on justice, memory and the loss of loved ones.

President Enrique Peña Nieto's approach to fighting crime is based on the conviction that "violence is not fought with more violence," Osorio Chong said.

The memorial was completed last November as then-President Felipe Calderon was preparing to leave office, but authorities delayed the inauguration in the hope of winning support from the various groups representing the victims.

That consensus never materialized and the most prominent of those organizations, the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, repudiated the project in Chapultepec Park.

Indeed the Movement's founder, Javier Sicilia, has called on the government to turn Mexico's still-incomplete Bicentennial Monument into a memorial to victims of violence.

The 104-meter (340-foot) tower of light, whose budget is now up to $78 million, has been plagued by cost overruns, delays and allegations of corruption.