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Michoacán: A Fight to the Death…for life

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November 16, 2013

 

Note from Chivis:  on Monday We received the following video from Dr. Mireles, autodefenzas leader,  asking us to please post and share it with others.  I asked him if he would clarify a report in the press indicating autodefenzas were pulling back and allowing the feds to take over.  His reply is at the end of the video narrative.
I called on Vato, the most talented translator I know, asking if he would please transcribe and translate the video.  We worked together on this post, for sure he more than I.  I want to thank readers for the incredible response I had to my call for a translator for this 45 minute important video…
“Michoacan: A fight to the death…for life.”
Special report for Rompeviento TV. 11-7-13–Hipolito Mora Chavez, Leader of the La Ruana Self Defense Group:
(00:20) All of Michoacán should do what we are doing. All of Michoacán and, I believe, many other cities in Mexico. I think that the cities are going to do what we are doing, fighting, rising up for their freedom. Because that’s what it’s all about, freedom, that we no longer had here.
–Dr. Mireles (00:34), General Counsel for the Citizen’s Self Defense Council for Tepalcatepec:
The way we are living in our cities compared to the last 12 years.. It was a town with a lot of fear, a town full of ghosts, a lonesome town on weekends, when, prior to the last 12 years, weekends were a celebration among families, generally, there were festivals in the gardens, social gatherings, there was folklore. There was life in this town. (01:20)
(01:30) (Screen script):
Tierra Caliente (Hot Country) Michoacán, honors its name. It’s a dry valley, with extremely hot temperatures that rise above 50 deg. C (122 deg. F.) in the summer.
Tierra Caliente encompasses parts of Michoacán, Guerrero and the State of Mexico. In Michoacán, the region is divided into two valleys: Apatzingán-Tepalcatepec and Huetamo. This field investigation deals with only one part of the Apatzingán-Tepalcatepec valley, which includes the municipalities [equivalent to U.S. counties]  of Buenavista, Aguililla, Coalcomán, Tepalcatepec and Apatzingán, on the southeastern part of the State of Michoacán.
The gradual and terrifying incursion of organized crime transformed the Tierra Caliente region into at least three realities, in the view of those who are living and suffering them: a true war zone, a land of horror and fright, and a land populated by courage and hope.
–Dr. Mireles (02:40): With the domination by organized crime, with all the names we have had here in Tepalcatepec… First the “Zetas”, then “La Familia”, then the “Templarios”. The only vehicles that were allowed to travel freely around here were theirs, the criminals’.
–Hipolito Mora Chavez: Before the Movement, we didn’t have the freedom, or rather, the confidence, to go out on the streets, to go to our jobs. At night, as soon as it got dark, the streets were empty, the people were gone, inside their homes. Parents would not allow their children to go out on the streets. The streets were full of Caballeros Templarios, armed, just as you would see a federal policeman walk around, for instance. They would charge a “cuota” (extortion) for everything.
–Agustin Villalobos: member of Tepalcatepec S.D. force: With rice, we were paying more than 200 pesos per ton. Last year they took more than 20,000 pesos ($1,540) from me just for that. Those little toy trains they have for children? They would charge 150 pesos per month for that. Tortillas went from 12 pesos ($1.00) to 16 pesos ($1.23). The increase was for them. They had total control of everything, everything.
They allowed lime packing/processing plants to open for only 2 or 3 days a week, supposedly to keep the prices up. For those of us who produced small quantities of limes, they would not accept them. The people from whom they would accept 1,000 or 2,000 boxes of limes, they were all friends of theirs, friends of the Templario leaders.
 
Or, the limes would come from orchards that belonged to the Templarios. So there would not be much production, they would accept limes from their own farms, and that’s all, they would brush us aside. That’s where they began to interfere with the citizenry. they were hurting everybody, from the poorest to the richest.
(05:15) (Screen script)
The production of limes represents 80% of the economy of the Valley of Apatzingán. — Sergio Ramirez, President of Siprolimex.
–Agustin Villalobos (05:25), Tepalcatepec S.D.: I joined because we could no longer tolerate these people, the attacks, the robberies, the fraud they were subjecting us to, these people, the so-called Templarios. Theft of cattle, home robberies, everything; of families, kidnappings… We could not go out of our own homes to go out on the streets at 10:00 or 11:00 at night because their pickups would speed by and, if you were not careful, they would run you over, those people.
They took possession of the roads end even the houses. They would come and tell you to get out, get your things, and if not, they would kill you.
–Dr. Mireles (06:10): We know that after the last 12 years, that they were killing our families, tying them up by their hands and fees. We knew that we were going to die. Fortunately, we chose the way that we wanted to live. But they “disappeared” more than 250 families from the city, they “disappeared” them completely, without giving them a choice, and they were all executed, they died with their hands and feet tied, cut into pieces.
We knew we were going to die anyway, so we chose the way we would die, and that is, fighting. All of us who live here, all of the people in Tepalcatepec, La Ruana, Buenavista, Coalcomán, Aguililla, Chimicuila, Aquila, all of the people who are today being murdered in Apatzingán, all the people decided, “If they are going to kill us with our hands and feet tied, it’s better for them to kill us while we are defending ourselves”.
And that’s what we are doing. And we have lasted longer than we thought we would, because we have already lasted more than eight months.
There were threats every day on the radio, that they were going to come with 500 vehicles loaded with armed men, that they were going to kill even the chickens in Tepalcatepec. They have not killed even a chicken, much less one of us.
–Martin Ochoa, Tepalcatepec S.D (07:35).:  For example, rapes: of young girls, married women, any woman they liked they would carry away. If you were walking down the street they would insult you. they felt they owned the streets. They were measuring the streets so they could charge a percentage. Because they said they were going to build a “Magical Tepalcaepec”. Nope, not “magical”; but stupid! We didn’t like what we saw, that’s why I’m here.
–Samuel Gomez, La Ruana S.D (8:10).: Here, nobody could get together to chat, 2, 3 persons, or take out your cell phone to make a call and they would get all over you. It was difficult. I didn’t lose any of my sons, but those boys, those men they killed, were our fellow workers, honest, upright people whose only crime was that they were poor. Seeing how they would pick up our friends, how they would murder them and dump their heads here and there… We lived through a time of savagery, but thank God it’s over.
–The Organization (08:50) (Screen script)
–Dr. Mireles (08:50): I belong to a group of people descended from the founders of the city who get together once a week. We had been planning for two years what we wanted to do but we never found the courage. Never. So this situation had been going on for several years. My grandfather, in his day, was one of the people who started a large Movement, too.
At one of our suppers, two years ago, one of my friends said, “If this town has more than 25,000 inhabitants, and there are only 90 criminals, why don’t we arm ourselves and drive them out?”
(09:40) and I told him, “We don’t need all 25,000 of them. I have seen you hit a running goat at 400 meters right on the head and knock it down.”
“Well, it’s not the same as shooting a Christian (a human being)”.
I said, “No, it’s easier. The human being is larger and moves more slowly”.
“Well, I wouldn’t be able to do it…”
“Well, I’m just saying…”
And so it went like that for two years, until one friend said, “Let’s do what the Arabs are doing, let’s enjoy our dinner and whatever happens, we won’t talk about it “.
This was during the time that they were bombing (Middle Eastern cities), and we saw that people would duck when there was an explosion, but then continue to drink their coffee.
“Let’s do the same thing.”
So we were just going to accept the situation. But one day, I told them, “They came to my neighbor’s house and took their 15-year old daughter. They told her mother, ‘That 11 year old girl you have there, give her a bath and change her clothes while I bring this one back. She’s next.’  continues next page
And I began to talk about it, and they all began to , “They did he same thing at my house’, one by one, they said, ‘They did this to me.” So what are we going to do?
One of them said he sent his wife and daughter to the United States. His wife was very pretty, and his daughter too,.
(11:30) And these guys were beginning to break into their homes, so 8 days later we rose up.
–Hipolito Mora Chavez (11:35): First, the self-defense groups were created. After that, a citizen’s council was formed in each city. We have one here. So that the council would take part in the problems that we were facing. Whenever it needed, it would call the town meeting, put the questions before them, and try to find a solution.
They called a meeting of the whole town, and there, during that meeting, they would point at certain people and say, “We want him for this, and him for that. The town itself chose the council members.
–Dr. Mireles (12:25), General Counsel for the Tepalcatepec Self Defense Council: (It was) something that had never been seen, a city that was 100% united. In this social movement there is no room for political and religious ideologies because we have people with different beliefs.  Some have commented to me that they don’t share my religious beliefs but they’re in the Movement because of what it stands for. There’s people from all the parties, fighting for the same goal.
(13:00)
On Saturday, October 20, I once more verified the city’s unity, because, because while we took 3,000 men to fight, to open the doors at Apatzingan, when we returned at 10:00 p.m. that night to here to Tepalcatepec, more than 5,000 people were waiting for us. Just in case they were needed. Sure, that includes our women, our elders, some minors, but it means that the people are still united, that they are ready to fight. Not just the groups that have been organized as self-defense groups, but the whole town is ready to defend itself.
–Hipolito Mora Chavez (13:55): We were the first group to organize here in La Ruana, and I’m proud to say that we have a group of community police women. They are patrolling in the afternoons, a little at night, and I’m proud that they are supporting us.
–Samuel Gomez (14:17): That’s why I did it, that’s why, when it was put up on the Internet that my commander had led the uprising, I was very happy and I cam and presented myself and told him, “Commander, her I am, one more soldier, as a member of the community, to fight for my city.” And I don’t think it was just me. I think that many of them have come back, there are many who came back.
(14:53)
Now, they took everything that I owned, looted my houses, because it was what they did. But, like they say, the good thing is that we’re alive, and, thanks to my commander and the community (police), I recovered my homes, for each of my sons, and the ranch. And I feel at ease, I feel content. I’m proud to be a soldier, a community police member, with my commander Hipolito Mora Chavez.
Samuel Gomez (15:20), La Ruana S.D.: We don’t get paid even one peso. My commander has no money, nobody gets paid. We all get to work. But any time there’s a problem, that we have to fight, we call each other by radio, by phone, and we’re here in a moment, all  the community police members, ready to fight. And we fight out of pride, for our towns, our families, not because they pay us. That’s the most important thing.
–Hipolito M. Chavez (16:14): They don’t charge one penny. Sometimes the boys go around all worried because their electric bill is due, somebody got sick, or something. With great hardship, and when we are able to, we help them, from the lime orchards. ‘Here’s 100, 200 pesos, 500 (pesos), a very few times, i,000 (pesos) as much as we are able to help. We all contribute.
–Dr. Mireles (16:44): We are all very angry for the things that they have already done to us. In fact, sometimes I think that all the courage we have is born out of anger. There’s nobody taking part in the Movement out of personal revenge, because there are a lot of people who attacked us for many years without mercy.  It may look as if we are dehumanized, but we have never gone out looking for someone to kill. That’s in our favor. We simply guard our defenses and repel attackers.
We don’t neglect any defense. Those of us who go to other cities to help them are the ones who have the day off. That’s what these people don’t take into account.
I’m asked, “How many people do you have?”
I tell them, “I have 3,000 armed men guarding our region 24 hours a day, just in this place. But those are not the same 3,000 people who will go on guard duty today, nor the 3,000 that will go on duty tomorrow.” Like right now, I just got here from my (shift) on guard duty, I got here at 5:30.  I come to work here at 7:00 a.m. Not one of the community self-defense men has been absent from his job. We have fishermen, Sheetrock installers, ranchers, milkers, cheese makers, none of them have left their jobs.
A question they insist on asking is, “Who is financing you since you have been doing this for more than eight months?”
But the answer is very logical: If before we could support ourselves, and also support the criminals, now that the criminals are gone, we have more than enough money to support ourselves. Before, with great limitations, because we had to pay even for breathing, we could live even like that, we ate. Sure, there was no money for a baptism, a “quinceanera” [girl’s coming of age party], nothing like that because we had to ask permission even for that.
I witnessed the abduction of a fifteen year old girl, very pretty. She came out of church and they picked her up just as if she was an animal, threw her in the back of a pickup and took her away. Those situations were common for 12 years. Now there’s nothing like that.
–Jose Santiago Valencia (19:38), Tepalcatepec S.D.: We’re here because the people went to see us in Tepalcatepec to ask if we could help them run of some people who were harassing them.
–Interviewer: People from around here?
–Jose S. Valencia: Yes, people from around here, people from Apatzingán are asking us to come into town, they can’t stand them anymore. They’re killing people all over the place, all of Michoacán wants to rise up because they cannot tolerate them. I don’t know what kind of people they are.
–Interviewer How many control posts do you have?
–Valencia: Well, I’m not going to lie to you, but I’m going to tell you, more or less, to give you some idea. It’s from Aquila, Aguililla, El Aguaje, Naranjo de Chila, Las Colonias, la 19 de Moreno, San Juan de los Platanos, El Atravezano; the Movement runs from the coast all the way here, and it looks like it’s going to be here a long time.  When the people ask us for help, with God’s help, we’re going to help them, without self interest, simply to get them out of this modern slavery.
–Dr. Mireles (20:50): The Council of Michoacan Self Defense Forces has but one single objective: to clean up Michoacan of organized crime, in any of its forms and at any level.
–La Batalla (The Battle) (21:20) (Screen script)
Through the Internet, Rompeviento TV was able to corroborate confrontations (that took place) in wild regions and areas, deaths with no reports of dead, wounded without reports of wounded, rage without consolation, consolation in rage, love in dignified rage.
–Dr. Mireles (21:30): We had our first casualty in the Movement at a point where we border with Coalcoman, when Coalcoman still belonged to the Templarios. We had a casualty there, the man died in combat there.
I call the ones who get killed “casualties”. We have a great number of wounded. Right now, we have five in the hospital from that last attack in San Juan de los Platanos and two from the attack against us in Apatzingán, that’s all.
–Interviewer: In the hospitals around here?
–Mireles: No. We have to send them to hospitals in other states.
Another casualty was in Aguililla, another casualty in Naranjo de Chila. There were four casualties on the same day in an attack on La Ruana, and there have been another six casualties, sporadically, in Buenavista. We estimate that our combat deaths are no more than 40.
Deaths of non-combatants, that organized crime shot, mainly, especially on the 10th of April, when there were more than 40, where there were women, children, elderly people, including a seven month old child…
That was a very regrettable incident with those people because they had gone on a march to the roundabout at Cuatro Caminos in Nueva Italia to see the governor to ask him for help. Because each of these persons works two or three days a week, picking limes, and they still had to pay the Templarios to be allowed to pick limes.
When they were on the way back, in the vicinity of Buenavista, La Ruana and Tepalcatepec, they were riddled with gunfire in a place called Infonavit Los Girasoles.
As always, local newspapers reported 14 deaths, but we made 40 body bags.
–Hipolito Mora Chavez (23:45): Thirteen (deaths) in a single day, twelve Templarios and one of ours. And there have been gunfights at night around here, I don’t have an exact number, there have been deaths. Just yesterday, there was one (death), or maybe two deaths, something like that. I don’t have exact numbers because the little towns are remote, isolated, and we are all very busy.
I don’t have a list of those who have died, but there’s a boy with us who likes to use his computer. On October 28, we had a fight that up to now has been the toughest during the past eight months, here in La Ruana. A confrontation that lasted almost two hours… two hours, it looked like we were at war. You could hear the sound of gunshots of every single caliber. We lost four boys that day, and the Templarios lost many more than we did.
We lost four of ours. Of the Templarios, I really cannot give you an exact number because, frankly, I didn’t count them. But I did see many, many of them. Also, the Army is very reserved about these things, they took part in the gunfight, same for the Federal Police, they also fought. Now we can say that we fought shoulder to shoulder.
–Jose Santiago Valencia (25:37): Well, I imagine there was an analysis done, two years with the Caballeros Templarios (versus) two years without the Caballeros Templarios, and it looked like a comparison between a paradise and a desert. So then, logically, I don’t know where you would have gone…
Screen script (25:53)
The situation in Tierra Caliente is so unreal that it verges on surrealism. The majority of the inhabitants of the cities freed from the yoke of Los Caballeros Templarios cannot go to nor cross through Apatzingán. The reason? Apatzingán is controlled by the Caballeros Templarios who have a road block at the exit from that city.
Any resident from the municipalities of Buenavista, Aguililla, Coalcoman and Tepalcatepec who ties to cross Apatzingán to go to Uruapan, Patzcuaro or Morelia, or other cities, would be signing his own death warrant. As inconceivable as it sounds, a few yards from the Templarios “civilian” road block are located the headquarters of the 43rd Military Zone, a division of the XII Military Region.
–Dr. Mireles (27:00): Yesterday they murdered another one of our members, for the simple reason that he was from Tepalcatepec. They murdered him in Uruapan. Like him, I could give you examples of a thousand executions of our people, who live elsewhere but who carry voter’s registration cards from Tepalcatepec.
–Martin Ochoa (27:16): Here, for the simple reason that we are from Tepalcatepec we cannot say we’re from Apatzingán. But I’m glad they’re afraid of us, because that’s what that is.
–Dr. Mireles (27:26): They ask, “Why 16 year old boys?”
So I ask, “Where do you live?”
“Distrito Federal (Mexico City)”.
Oh, no. Over there, they are boys. Here, they are men. And not because they are fighting. They’re men because of their lives in the country. They had already killed  this boy’s brothers. He was the only one left to defend his parents. And the attack was right there on his ranch. He was not one of those we went to help. In all the trenches, the people manning the defenses are the people who live there. They’re the only ones who know the criminals because they have lived with them for many years.
Like a military person once told me, “If a Templario were to walk by me here, I’m going to greet him. I don’t know any of them!”
And that’s true. But us, we have them completely identified. We are the ones on guard duty for 24 hours and they don’t fool us. Our casualties cause us great pain, fills us with sorrow. Generally, we never know how many from the other side died. Until afterwards, we come across their bodies in the hills and canyons, where we also have to patrol.
We do this the day after, or a couple of days after, an attack.  We see, sadly, that they are young men. In the case of these last bodies from San Juan de los Platanos, we saw that they were young men between 18 and 25 years old.
Interviewer When was the fight?
–Mireles: Precisely on the 26th of October, until the morning of the 27th, Sunday the 27th (of October). We saw that the young men carried small packs. We thought they would carry a sandwich or something to drink, but no, all they had were cartridges and drugs.
Interviewer: what drugs?
–Mireles: Crystal. As if their bosses pay them with that so they’ll be encouraged to fight, or they drug them and send them out.
We have seen, many times we’ve had the opportunity to see our attackers. We get the impression that almost none of them come to fight of their own free will. Because of the way they fight..
(30:04) Here, Dr. Mireles raises his arms above his head to show how the attackers fire their weapons with their heads down….
They poke their weapons out from wherever they’re hiding or from their cars and fire until they empty the magazines, then they throw them down and take of running. They leave behind pickup trucks, radios, weapons, ammunition, and take off. We have also noticed that they never leave their wounded behind because we have never captured any of their wounded.
Again, of the bodies we have found, when the press goes out, when the public ministry (prosecutor’s office) goes out the next day to pick up the bodies, they only pick up those that are in plain view, where the attack took place. But some of them go away wounded and don’t get very far, but nobody goes to look for them. That’s why we have different numbers, very different from what the press reports.
It’s sad for us. We haven’t stopped being human. What makes us sad is for them to send drugged people, paid people, people who think it’s easy. Because all their lives they have killed people who had their hands and feet tied, and were blindfolded. It’s sad, because now that they are facing an armed man, a single man can make them run or finish them off. We’re all civilians; not one of us is a professional with weapons, not one.
(31:30)
I’m a surgeon, the others are cattlemen, others are construction workers, fishermen, other men sell water on the street out of jugs to make a living. But them, they have already raped their sisters, impregnated a daughter, killed a brother..
We have very strong reasons that we tried to report to authorities, but there was no response. Kidnappings were committed, the murders of our families. We have many family members of whom we could not get back even a fingernail from them, even when we offered ransoms, not millionaire ransoms, because none of us is a millionaire… With one of my wife’s family members, I offered 50,000 pesos ($3,800.00) just so they would tell us where they had dumped the bags, because they had already told us they had dismembered the body.
Freedom (32:24) (Screen script)
–Mireles: After February 24 of this year, at the beginning, there was less life, less activity, we were all fighting. Now, the fortifications that we fought out of in the beginning have been moved forward. Our towns enjoy sacred peace, they show life. On June 22, for the first time in over 12 years, there was an open air popular theater (function), there were folk dances, poetry. There was participation by the city, there was a big fair, a festival.
On June 22, we celebrated the 136th anniversary of our independence, of the establishment of Tepalcatepec as a sovereign, free municipality. The day was observed. What had for the previous 12 years been a symbolic ceremony, that day there was a festival in all of the city.
–Samuel Gomez (33:43): To our friends who rose up in Tabasco,I send you greetings. To the comrades who rose up in Oaxaca, too. Those from Guerrero, from Cherán, and those comrades that I know rose up in Sinaloa, greetings, too. Not one step back; always forward, because freedom for the people is the most important thing in the world.
–Agustin Villalobos (34:13): Well, we have cleaned up many places in Michoacán, it’s all cleaned up, with only good, honest people, hardworking, who take care of each other, we have trust.
–Hipolito Mora Chavez (34:26): The self-defense groups appeared and the Templarios left and left some belongings that they had stolen from somebody else, like this one, for example. We have notified the family members that they can come and pick it up.
There have been other people who have come to take possession of their houses, their fields, their tractors…things the Templarios had taken from them.
–Samuel Gomez (34:00): It makes one happy to be in your own town, with your friends and families from childhood, and we can stop anywhere to chat, drink a glass of water, that’s beautiful. We’re in a free city. Look at what it says on the pickup: “For a free La Ruana”.
–Hipolito Mora Chavez (35:25): They don’t have a presence here in La Ruana, nor in Tepalcatepec, nor Buenavista, Aguililla, Coalcomán, El Aguaje, Tinzandaro, Catalina, Las Colonias, Santa Ana, all those towns are free, thank God.
–Actors and Stages (35:40) (Screen script)
–Martin Ochoa: They had the same things we did. Sometimes more, because Apatzingán is bigger, there’s more money moving around there than there is in Tepalcatepec.
–Dr. Mireles (36:00): …With the State, we have none. We were waiting until Mr. Vallejo returned, until he settled in. We have a meeting planned with him, we don’t know when we’ll have it, I hope it happens. We need it.
We also know they are not going to let him govern. We know that perfectly well, it’s very clear to us. In any case, if they won’t let him govern, we ourselves will ask for state powers to be suspended [by the federal government]. There’s no alternative; the power of the State does not exist in Michoacán. It exists in the government offices, in the secretariats, there, it does exist, but not in the state. We have been fighting for eight months without support from the state. And without a governor, for some time.
–Agustin Villalobos (37:00): He’s the one who has caused all those problems for us here. Nobody other than them. First they came and disarmed us, then they allowed those people to grow, and now we have that problem. And we’re going to stay her so long as God gives us the strength. We’re going to go on with the fight. either they clean it up or we do, God and the Holy Virgin willing, we’ll stay here. Going forward.
–Martin Ochoa (37:38): Make the Movement grow larger for the rest of our comrades in the state to participate, because the way we see it, I think they’re going through the same things.
–Dr. Mireles (37:44): We already did what we judged was the prudent thing to do, and it went well for us. We didn’t have many casualties; we had some, but not too many. Our cities are in holy peace. We opened the doors in Apatzingán, not only to allow people to visit and conduct business, or for health reasons, as it was done in the past, but also to allow criminals who are not comfortable without presence to leave.
Unfortunately, not all of them left. The few that stayed are still committing murders; they’re killing people in Apatzingán every day. Despite a great effort by the Army and the Federal Police to patrol 24 hours a day, to control points  of ingress and egress, these men put up their own control posts at the exits and entrances to Apatzingán.
We use different methods. I told a military general that if he gave me 72 hours to clean up Apatzingán, I would clean it up in 72 hours, with the help of the community self-defense forces, who are now legally constituted. He said he also wanted 72 hours so he could do the job. The 72 hours are up.
We have a lot to be grateful for on the part of the international public opinion, which is the only one who paid us any attention, who believed in us. Because while the interim (governor) was governing, nothing was done here.
While we were burying our dead every day.
So when the State of Michoacán is against you, the narco-politicians in the state of Michoacán, nothing will ever happen. It’s not in their best interest. If they had only admitted that there was a crisis of authority, a failure of the rule of law in the State of Michoacán, they would have been run off, all of them.  They are parasites in the system. They have never worked at anything else their whole lives.
(40:08) Not once in their whole life, none of them, check it out. They have done nothing else their whole lives. So then, for them, the people are not important. That’s definitely the case.
It’s sad to see everything that was going on. We are all witnesses because we been in all these attacks, and for that man to say, “No, there’s nothing going on here”. So, I don’t know on what grounds the international media are saying that there’s a crisis in Michoacán, because there’s nothing going on here.
To make fun of him, they came out with a photograph on him that had a yellow car full of bullet holes that said, “I’m from Michoacán, but nothing is happening over there.”
Now, the common media in Michoacán, we believe they’re part of organized crime because they distort everything. They discredit our movement, which is a social movement. That’s what’s so sad, that those who are supposed to disseminate he truth are the ones who distort it.
We are in the same place. There is no rule of law, no justice. We’re in the same place, we don’t have anything.
(41:00) The only thing I ask of them is to get the truth out. All of those who call and say, “I want an interview,” I tell them, I’d rather not. I’d rather you came here and live it. Live one day with us and tell the world what you saw, not what Dr. Mireles is telling you. Dr. Mireles can say many things, but it’s not like that.
The Call (41:50) (Screen script)
–Samuel Gomez: I’m telling all Mexicans to lift their faces and to fight for what is ours, our families. To all Mexicans, I repeat, fight for what’s yours, just like we fought.
–Agustin Villalobos (42:07): To my friends, let’s unite and get on with this business we are working on. Above all, let’s unite peacefully, and organize ourselves to attack these people.
–Dr. Mireles (42:20): First, (I want) to say we are grateful for the moral support you have given us, all of you, our friends in Mexico and our friends outside of Mexico. And the most important thing is for you not to abandon us, to leave us by ourselves. We need a lot of help with food, medications, with surgical implements, an ambulance. It’s a difficult situation. If somebody out there can lend a hand, you can do it directly.
(43:00) (Screen script)
Michoacán is emblematic of a case of civil, not peaceful, resistance and defense. An important sector of the population of Tierra Caliente reached a situational limit. Fear had crossed the line of what was permissible and imaginary. Reality collided not only against the rural and city faces, but also against the Mexican authorities.
The failed state was no longer a myth; the loss of political, social, economic and judicial control became undeniable. Citizens and rural people from all social strata organized, armed themselves and decided to confront, using the only means within their reach, the rule of organized crime. Forced by their tragedy, they chose to break the rules to decide their lives and recover their freedom. Every people has a limit.

End of video translation

Chivis:Recently there was an article“Mexico self-defense groups backing off from confronting cartel in its farm city stronghold”, published by Associated Press in American media outlets.  It reported:

“Two leaders of the main vigilante groups in western Michoacán state said Tuesday that they are pulling back from confronting the Knights Templar drug cartel because the Mexican government has promised to oust traffickers from the area.”
This was news to me, so I wrote Dr. Mireles today and asked him directly about the article.

In part his reply said the following:
“In the villages where there is no autodefenzas the Army and the Federal are taking possession as a result of an agreement with us.

We have not abandoned our trenches.   We are only giving the Federal Government those villages (with lessor problems), while we asked to take the cities with more problems.”…Dr. Manuel Mireles

They were not pulling back; they were not in those villages to begin with. It would be ideal if the government would in fact conduct their duty, but autodefenzas leaders make it clear it is a “trial basis”, in a limited timeframe.
The article also uses the term“vigilantes”.  This is a term that is not applicable, Michoacán autodefenzas are exercising their constitutional right to self-govern and self-police.  I hope to write an article that gives greater understanding of their constitutional rights.

About Doc

Spreading the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.

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