September 12, 2013
“One of them would say to them: gentlemen we can lend you our weapons, the ones we used
in our rising….but we cannot lend you our balls”…Dr. Josê Mierles
Dr. Mierles says independence may be a possibility
In the latest video interview, José Manuel Mireles Valverde one of the General coordinators of the communal guard of Tepalcatepec, explains how it was that he joined and formed part of the (Community guard) resistance against organized crime and the Government of the State, he tells of the possibility of independence of the State of Michoacán. ….
Interview of Jose Manuel Mireles, community guard coordinator of Tepalcatepec
“I am Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles Valverde, a surgeon; I work in the urban health center in Tepalcatepec. I am president of the parents’ society of the Technical Secondary #9 of Tepalcatepec and based on this I am one of the general coordinators of this citizen’s movement”.
“For many reasons I have paid ransom demands for abductions. One was the husband of my younger sister. Also my uncle Alfredo, I had to accompany the family of my Uncle who paid more than 3 million pesos, it was the first abduction from this region. We tried to rescue the body parts of a close family member of my wife, not even paying 50 thousand pesos so that they would say divulge where they had thrown the dismembered parts, helped. They tricked us for 2 weeks telling us that they would give us the body parts and they never gave us anything.”
“All of us in Tepalcatepec are survivors of those things. I personally was kidnapped last year. They took me out of the hospital at 11 a.m. with three trucks. When they had me on one of the trucks with my head covered, I showed them my pay check and told them: ‘this is what I earn and I have four children in college’. All of us are victims, we, all are brothers, sons, cousins, parents or nephews of someone that was executed, abducted or of someone that was raped and pregnant.”
“At the time of the rising at 9:00 am we were 80 people, at 2 pm we were already three thousand. The regional livestock association only has 1,800 members; my father is one of them and they seized all of his cows, giving him a voucher that never was paid. All of the producers of corn had their corn confiscated, and were given vouchers, also that never were paid. If a person from Tepalcatepec sold 2 pounds of corn to you, the first time they would pay a fine of 25 thousand pesos, the second time was to cut off its head. You could only sell the corn to them and no one could purchase one grain of corn from any producer in Tepalcatepec, only from them and they determined the price.”
Are the people from here?
“No all foreigners, unfortunately they found some kind of local support, most of all in the hundreds of pointers or hawks that they have; kids of 14 or 15 years old, since there is no employment. That is another terrible non-cooperation of the government, federal as well as state. Since there is no job, it is easy to hire for pointers or hawks, kids that came out of secondary school or that definitely could not enroll in it (secondary school) are paid 1,000 or 1,500 pesos every 2 weeks, carrying their Nextel, motorcycle, cap and their marijuana cigarette so they could stand the entire day behind the army or federals.
They are positive, they would not be accused of federal offense; they could not be arrested since they are minors. There were families from Tepalcatepec that benefitted from them (their work). Now we have the complete control of these people, because in three days it will be 5 months that we rose. Before we rose, there were 7 or 8 executions per week, complete families in only one night. If the victims did not disappear, they would leave us all the intestines, thrown in the entrances of town. At the beginning, they would dismember them and leave the parts everywhere, not lately.
We are reaching five months; the first three months we were only the citizens that had absolute control of the entire region: Buenavista, La Ruana and Tepalcatepec. When the federal governmental support arrives, amidst great fanfare by Secretariat of Government and the Secretariat of National Defense, after eight days of the arrival of the first military contingent, we had had the first kidnapping, execution and incineration, here in Tepalcatepec. To us, instead of giving us joy, about the presence of these people, we were very angry. We were very angry since the time that it was announced, because if you noticed, there were complete pages reported in national newspapers.
The reporting lasted one entire week announcing on television, of the operation invented by National Defense and the Secretariat of Government, where they would say that they were going to come to disarm the community and the auto defense groups. But they never said they were coming to unarmed organized crime, because that was not their intention.
That was never clearly mentioned. There were complete pages where it says how to disarm the community guards and there were about two or three insignificant lines that equivocally refer to organized crime.
This past twelve years that we have endured all this, we knew that it involved the presidency of the Republic, and the municipal governments and I am not speaking only of Tepalcatepec. I am saying all the municipal governments. When this movement begins, it is the same Secretary of Government as in the previous administration, now he acts as governor of a temporary government that announces nationally that we were a group of 30 criminals trying to oust a cartel of Tepalcatepec, so that we could occupy their place, and he continues to repeat that.
We are three thousand people, armed 24 hours per day, safeguarding and when we have the need of ringing the bells of the churches or throw fireworks, (as a call to action) we gather about 5 thousand, well-armed. Those are the “30 people” that stupid guy keeps saying we are, that cleaned our region and I repeat the first three months before the arrival of the army, we hadn’t had not even a scare.
Despite that two or three times a day, the criminals tried to take the town; all those times, they were rejected. Many times, the confrontations lasted two hours and a half but we have never let them in again and we are not going to let them in. It doesn’t matter if there are thousands of soldiers here.
What is the operative doing here?
Mainly, they came because the roads to Apatzingán were blocked. The first coronel that came, very noble by the way, did not at that time, believe the truth about what was occurring. It was during his stay, we had the first kidnapping execution, and incineration. He was replaced a month later. We now have another coronel that also has the firm purpose of maintaining peace in our region. He watches over the entrances and exits of the town; he is constantly patrolling the surrounding of the town, but we are not going to confide. We confided in the first coronel and one of us was executed.
We cannot confide because we know that if we do, we are going to be executed one by one because there are many criminals inside when we left the doors open so that the army and federals would watch and everybody entered and exit freely. Since they didn’t know them, it was easy for them to get in and now they are inside.
When we detect someone, our people go after them like dogs. We don’t want them to take possession of our towns again; we don’t even want them to breathe again. The auto defense groups of Tepalcatepec, which are growing, now is Buena vista, La Ruana, Aguililla, Coalcoman, Chinicuilla and Villa Victoria, are growing; we are organizing continuously. We have very private meetings between us.
That is a way of the state government to affront a social battle. The moment the state recognizes the social battle of the groups of auto defense, it automatically accepts their incompetence, (because of the necessity resulting from the government not doing there duty) as a government and automatically you’ll know publicly that there is no state of right in Michoacán and that what it does not convene to the federal or state government because after that moment there will not be credibility in their government system.
That is why they will always try to insult our image, scorn all of our activities even though they have sent thousands and thousands of people, directly and indirectly, to verify what I do for a living and what the others directors of our movement do for a living.
We have told them personally that we do not belong to any cartel; we do not represent any cartel or defend any cartel and we are never going to allow the introduction or imposition of any cartel. Hundreds of times I have been asked: “We know that you are supported by a cartel” and I tell them that is true. It is true, the cartel that support us since the first day of our rising is the Knights Templar because whenever we see them, we go after them like dogs and we take from those sons of bitches a bunch of cartridges, vehicles and radios, which is what we use and that is the only cartel from which we will be supported.
We don’t look for them anywhere, we will never cross our lines to go look for them; we are attacking those that come daily for the same thing. Everything we have is because we have taken away from them. That is the only cartel that we have been supported by and as long as they keep sending us that people we are going to keep doing it.
Did you hear the phone call that I received? They (auto defense group) are bringing me an armored truck that was taken from the Knights Templar. That is the cartel that is supporting us.
We went in the houses of the people that had the control of Tepalcatepec since twelve years ago and we took from them even the furniture because they were stolen. They belonged to the people here. We took two things from them, it wasn’t so many because the bastard that was living here had stolen the house and all the furniture was stole also. We got all of it and put them in a warehouse.
The guy had the guts to call for the community guards, because of the sacking of his house and sent a complaint and we answered it and told him that he had to come to recognize his stuff and to bring a receipt of the purchase. Do you know when he came? We are still waiting for him.
The people that benefited from them (organized crime), are the ones that sold cocaine, and bottles of liquor that cost 2 or 3 thousand pesos, are the distressed people (about the movement) and will always be. We have them well identified, we made the mistake that La Ruana didn’t make; the first day of the rising, La Ruana took out all of them from the municipality, all of the relatives and friends of the Templar and we didn’t do that.
The main heads that managed to escape left here their women, their children and their family. Nobody has bothered them and that is the problem. The ladies of the liquor store had been told that there was curfew; it wasn’t our orders but Coronel Flores orders. He said that there should be a curfew and asked for our help. Every car that we see driving at night, stop them and revise it. It was a very positive recommendation for the safety of the town and ours.
That is what we do, but these people of the liquor stores, where they spent all day and night until 3 or 4 am with loud music before, and when a neighbor would say something to them if when people protested, their head would be cut off. Those are the people that have disagreement with the movement, because now there is person that will buy a bottle of wine for less than 100 pesos and since before it was money that was stolen from the town itself by charging high prices, they had a good living but already sent them the message on the anniversary of the municipality of Tepalcatepec, on June 22nd.
I told everybody: those who miss the life with those people, you can go with them, you know where they live, you know where they went and they should not get mad if we are acting according to our right. We do not want any more criminals in Tepalcatepec, we do not want any more selling of drugs of any kind, nor a production of any kind of drug in Tepalcatepec. What will be the use of kicking out the criminals if we are going to do the same thing? And these people are part of them.;I am native of Tepalcatepec and every Tuesday at 8:30 pm we, the descendants of the founders of the town of Tepalcatepec, meet. The town has reached 136 years as a free and sovereign municipality.
During three years in our private meeting, we would talk about how we were going to take out those people. My wife’s cousin would say: if they are 90 and we are 25 thousand just from this town. Why don’t we kick them out? And I would say but we don’t need the 25 thousand and told one of them: I have seen you kill a goat that is running at high speed, 400 meters of distance and you kill it. We don’t need to confront them, we need to hunt them down and one of them would say, “but it is not the same to kill an animal than to kill a human.) I would tell him, No, it is easier; he is bigger and walks slower. Let’s do it! We all had the decision but we did not have the courage.
We never had the courage because the criminals would pick up a person in front of us and you had to turn the other way while they did it because if you would stare at them, right there they will pick you up or execute you. That happened many times.
The person of the state’s human rights, says on a radio conference why we didn’t file denounces?
When we went to file complaints and you would interview only with the Public Ministry agent in a closed office where the agent would be the only one to hear your complaint, by the time you got home you would find the complaint torn into pieces and you would not make it the next day, neither your family. How are we going to make more denounces?
The same thing would ask the first and the second coronel that came with the military and the federals. They say that they have people of the federal public ministry with them. That is true, they have but they don’t do their job. I call them the classy ones because they would stay on the best hotel of Tepalcatepec and do nothing. They don’t get out of the pavement to chase anybody. That guy that kidnapped and killed our companion, we had caught him 4 days before or three days before, on Thursday. He was a person that came to charge fees to Coalcoman- Coalcoman hadn’t risen yet. We detained him and took him to one of our bases because we were not going to turn anybody in anymore because the 27 people that we turned in with weapons and vehicles, the first time, 12 hours after they were free again.
We had turned them in to the army, the army turned them in to the federal public ministry of Apatzingan and after 12 hours they were free again. So we decided not to turn them in anymore. That guy that we detained, somebody made the mistake of calling the federal public ministry and he went to the place where we held the guy, and the relatives of the person that the guy had killed in front of them, also went and told the agent; “this guy killed my brother on such day at such time; he made him kneel down and put a bullet through his head,” and you know what the agent told him told him?
“If you have a video where you saw that and recorded it, give it to me as proof and I will arrest him right now.”
Just hear the stupidity of the federal law that we have. Nobody could prove anything. Another companion of ours tells the agent: well arrest him because he has a stolen vehicle, that is a federal offense and the agent asks the guy, let me see your papers of the vehicle and the guy even tell him: don’t you here that is stolen but it is mine. And the agent lets him go with the vehicle and gives him the keys, in front of us. Do you think that we are going to trust them? We don’t care if there are a million of soldiers or federals; we are not going to put down the weapons. We have all the weapons at our reach but not at sight for respect to the soldiers but we have not put them away and we will not do so.
Are you armed, Dr. Mireles?
I have only three weapons, here they are; truth, reason and justice. Why would I want to be armed if there are three thousands of my companions that are armed and we help each other?
The future that we want, I think is the only one that we would get because how things are going, the federal government keeps doing their drama and the state government keeps ignoring our things. We know that we are a clean municipality, independent and sovereign. We were concerned that the municipality of Aquila would not rise in arms but they already did. There are two groups but both groups rose against the organized crime and also against the state government. That was all we were waiting for because if the state government doesn’t want to assume the responsibility that corresponds to them regarding the defense of the towns, we will continue doing it. We are not assuming the government of the municipality but we are assuming the responsibility of our own defense because the state or federal government is not doing what constitutionally corresponds to them.
I am deducted 32% of my salary for those institutions and I don’t have the result of their work.
None of the inhabitants of our region have it. We do not trust in absolute any of the government system. A secretary of health came to visit last week. They are walking around the zone of Tierra Caliente; he doesn’t have voice, or word, not even to listen about the problems there are, nevertheless to solve them. I gave him my message, my ideas and he says that they cannot help us because they don’t have budget and I know that 3, 200 million pesos were returned for sub exercise to the health secretariat.
I told him: well don’t worry sir, let us take or raise Apatzingan and Rurapan and then we go for Morelis and you will see how you will have budget in excess. That is true and that is where we are going and I don’t need to get out of my municipality. In all the municipalities of the state of Michoacán, the people that have discomfort of the incompetence of the municipal, state and federal government are already taking action. They calls us, different groups call us. Don’t think that Apatzingan don’t have people that are thinking of rising. They do but they are groups of 10 or 15 people. We tell them that the moment is going to come when they sum all their wills which is what we told the people of Coalcoman.
They would come 2 or 3 times a week and ask us to help them, they wanted to rise. One of them would say to them, “gentlemen we can lend you our weapons, the ones we used in our rising, but we cannot lend you our balls.”
You need to get them yourselves, talk with your people and that’s all you need. That is true, all of us that got into this, are determined. We know that our life has a limit, shorter than what we thought it would be. Our families know that and they accept it. The only one that does not accept it is my father. He says: You don’t know the greatest pain there is in the world and that is for a father to see … (voice breaks) but we are determined.