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Anniversary of the Signing of the Treaty of Tlatelolco

February 15, 2018

I hope everybody who has reason to celebrate St. Valentine's day yesterday had a very pleasant time. This year, the day of love had an added treat of falling on Ash Wednesday as well as a new moon and the lunar new year. I enjoyed seeing couples out and about with their foreheads bearing ashen crosses. Every year, St. Valentine's day shares the anniversary of a different occurrence of peace, the signing of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons in Latin America, more commonly known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

At the border between Mexico and the United States stands a modest monument bearing a plaque which reads:

“Here in Tijuana, the most northwestern municipality of all Latin America, begins the Nuclear Free Zone of Latin America and the Caribbean, which extends to the farthest southern extreme of the Continent. As established by the Treaty of Tlatelolco in 1967, within this 80 million square kilometer region there are no nuclear weapons nor will there ever be.”

In our film, A Hand Through The Smoke, we will bring you to this plaque to discuss the treaty with members of the organization which overseas the treaty as well as academicians and, of course, students from different countries who will all be sharing ideas and knowledge with one another.

We will also be visiting the location where the treaty was signed in 1967, a site that overlooks the Tlatelolco Archeological Zone, the treaty's namesake. Here, we will engage more in-depth in discussion with academicians about the structure of the nuclear weapons free zone and how this differs from other treaty conventions. We will also be in discussion about the more historical details of Tlatelolco.

Tlatelolco is to us an interesting location for these discussions. It was here that the Aztec emperor Cuauhtemoc and the last of his warriors made a final defense of Mexico City from the armies of Hernan Cortes. In those days Mexico City was afloat in the center of an enormous lake, canals and causeways made up the physicality of the city. After the conquest the Spanish gradually filled in the canals and even the lake itself all the way to it's farthest shores. Eventually no water remained.

Vanishing water has become an important theme in the story of our film. Drinking water in Navajo contaminated by years of Uranium mining, the Columbia river in imminent peril from leakage at the Hanford Site, the fishing waters of the Marshall Islands becoming barren.

Yesterday, as couples were gripped in the throws of romance, speaking to each other of love and possibly marriage, all of these thoughts of imperialism, contaminated water and weapons negotiations hopefully were a million miles from their minds, and rightly so. As these couples plan their futures, living securely in peace and health seems like an inherent right worth protecting.

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