Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena grew up in Calexico, California and joined the US Marine Corps in 1972. He served for 2 years before transferring to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) division. In 1981 he was transferred to a field office in Mexico, where he was sent undercover to investigate a major drug cartel believed to include officers of the Mexican Army, police, and government.
On February 7, 1985, Kiki was kidnapped in broad daylight by corrupt officials. These officials worked for a drug lord Kiki was investigating, whose 1000-hectacre marijuana plantation had recently been destroyed, costing him an annual production income of $8 billion. (The Last Narco)
Kiki’s body was found a month later. DEA investigation showed that Kiki had been brutally tortured before his murder, and audiotapes recorded medical doctors had been kept by his side to keep him alive to further the torture and interrogation.
After Kiki’s death, family, friends, and neighbors of Calexico wore red ribbons in his honor. Congressman Duncan hunter and high school teacher David Dhillon started “Camarena Clubs” in California high schools to “honor the sacrifices made by Kiki and others on behalf of all Americans” and to encourage lives free from drug abuse. (Camarena Foundation)
Questions for Discussion:
1. Did you know why we wore Red Ribbons the last week of October?
2. Even though Special Agent Camarena knew the dangers of his mission, he decided to embark on it anyways because he wanted to protect our country and his children from the dangers of drug trafficking. Are there things you do to protect your family?
3. Kiki gave his life to protect our country. Are you willing to wear a red ribbon to honor him and others like him? Will you take a pledge with me to avoid illegal drug use and illegal use of legal drugs (Rx drugs)?
** In 1988, the National Family Partnership organized the first National Red Ribbon Week, an eight-day event proclaimed by the U.S. Congress and chaired by President and Mrs. Reagan. (Camarena Foundation)
** Today the Red Ribbon Campaign symbolizes support for efforts to reduce demand for drugs through prevention and education programs. Each year from October 23rd to October 31st thousands of schools, communities and drug abuse prevention organizations throughout the country distribute red ribbons to honor Special Agent Camarena's memory and visibly show a dedication to avoid drug abuse. (Camarena Foundation)
** The 2011 Red Ribbon Week Theme is “It’s Up to Me to Be Drug Free”.
What Can Mentors Do?
** Take the pledge for adult community members. You can find it here.
** Encourage your mentee to take the pledge at their school and to wear the red bracelet throughout the week.
** Thursday, October 27th is Wear Red Day in Santa Barbara County. You know what to do.
** Visit RedRibbon.org to see example facebook and twitter posts to spread the word about the Red Ribbon campaign.
** Think about participating in the Red Ribbon Theme contest for 2012. Click here for more information.