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Self-Defense Leader from U.S. Tells Why He Joined the Fight

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January 23, 2014

El Americano also known as Comandante Simón, Self-Defense Group
DD.  Yesterday I posted an article from La Jornada, about some Caballero Templars alleged turncoats who had joined the self defense groups.  Today La Jornada published an article showing another glimpse of the composition of the self-defense groups – a used car dealer from the US, known as “el Americano”,  joining the fight against the Templars.
El Americano carries his life on his chest: a large crucifix and a fanny pack where, one assumes, he keeps grenades. He was born in Los Angeles. His children and ex-wife live in Texas, which is nothing unusual for a state whose governors used to boast: ”We have three million Michoacanos in the United States,” as if it were a great feat.
But El Americano is also Comandante Simón in the self-defense group. Before, he only used to come to the community fiestas. He arrived driving vehicles from his used-car business in California and so he says, ”they thought that I was working in another way.
The suspicion cost him three levantones [“seizures”; kidnappings].
”The first time it was for clarification [of who I was]. The second was because they weren’t satisfied, so they took 300,000 pesos [USD $22,580]. The third time it was 2 million pesos [USD $150,535]. In order to be able to pay it, I had to sell property.”
The third time, in October of 2012, was the charm because it coincided with the news that La Ruana and Tepalcatepec were preparing to rise up against The Knights Templar.
El Americano and a trusted friend went to join the conspirators. Something that didn’t go unnoticed by the eyes and ears of the cartel. Nothing remains of the friend. A witness to the crime says
“Who knows how many clips they emptied, but they left everything in shreds.”
We Rise Up and Then Celebrate
The next step was to contact Dr. José Manuel Mireles in order to learn the date ”of the uprising,” which was February 24, 2013.
“Let’s see what gets done, but there will be celebration.”
El Americano, a resident of the municipality of Buenavista, Michoacán, walks around the roads accompanied by his bodyguards. They are several tough guys full of jokes, and they have one motto: ”We are not afraid.” The oldest is 21. La Jornada: You could be in the United States living a secure life [as a U.S. citizen]. Why are you here?
“Because if you don’t join, what is your family going to think? That when they needed you the most you were not there by their side? They have spent a lifetime living here in Michoacán. Although I might have been born in the United States, at heart I’m Michoacano. My family is here, my brothers.”
La Jornada: How do you see the way President Enrique Peña Nieto has faced this problem, compared with Felipe Calderón?
“Calderón is the only president who has done something against organized crime. Now it’s pure corruption. It isn’t seen that they’re arresting anyone.
“We have been fighting for ten months asking him to give us one of the main narco bosses, and [in return] we offer to hand over our weapons. What they didn’t do in ten years, we are doing in ten months.”
La Jornada: Why did the government prevent you from reaching Apatzingán?
“It was very weird. The government reinforced Apatzingán so we couldn’t enter. Could it be an economic arrangement, or what was it? We don’t know.
“Since they didn’t want us to enter, the government is now responsible for everything that happens in Apatzingán, where they [Templars] continue to burn things right in front of them.
“Why? Because they don’t know who they are (members of The Knights Templar). But the people talk to us. Then there’s what’s-his-name and also the Federal Police and the military, and they don’t do anything.”
La Jornada: In many places, above all outside the Tierra Caliente, it is said that The Templars still have the support of the people.
“Where they [Templars] still are, the people continue supporting them because they are afraid. They are afraid because they are right next to them, so they can’t say anything. Then when we [self-defense group] arrive, we realize how they were, how they lived and the pleasure it gives them that they [The Knights Templar] are gone.”
La Jornada: Do you definitely have the support of the people?
“If the people accept you, forget that they’ll disarm you. And we tell them that we don’t want them to go out with nothing more than a club, with a broom, to defend us from the military. They are the ones who always want protect us. So we are able to advance calmly.”
La Jornada: The government says that with the forces it has now deployed in the region, it has control.
“According to them, they did what they had to do. They already took possession of everything, and now they say everything is peaceful. It is a vicious lie. Take a good look at what the government says, because honestly …, the same people will be responsible for running them off, no matter how many there are.
“There can be many feds, but with a few people from the town we could run them off if we wanted to. Right now we are giving them space to take the headquarters, to patrol around the town halls in their vehicles, but we will not continue to do it if they begin to want to arrest us for things that they say but that are not [the case].”
La Jornada: What would be the conditions for handing over your weapons?
“If they arrest the four main narco bosses: Kike Plancarte, El Chayo, La Tuta and El Tío.
La Jornada: Do you believe that the problem would really end with these arrests?
“Yes, because they are not going to have the one who pays them.”
La Jornada: What do you do here?
“I’m in agriculture, milking and sale of cheese. Let’s see how it goes to keep scrambling for gasoline, because this war is very expensive.”
#l Americano displaying pistol he says was confiscated from Templars
  La Jornada: That’s what many people ask themselves: where do the self-defense groups get their resources?
“From the ejidatarios, people who don’t have the courage to grab a weapon, but they definitely have the courage to support us financially, with gasoline and from time to time with a cow.”
La Jornada: What are you asking from Peña Nieto?
“That they stop the corruption, that they do their jobs well so we can retire and continue working peacefully, as we are now, because we have our own security.”
La Jornada: Had you handled weapons?
“In the hunting of deer and rabbit, 308 mm shotguns. And hunting mourning doves, because that’s how to develop a good aim.”
La Jornada: Cartel members were your neighbors, you’ve probably known them since childhood. Is that so?
“I know most of them. So they go around wanting to find me and my family, in order to hurt me, because we know the gullies, where they run, where they hide, and that is their anger, so one of them goes and tells the government.”
Senior Officers Support Us
La Jornada: Some think that a rival cartel is financing you.
“It’s okay to ask that question. They say the Jalisco cartel supports us, and it is a vile lie. A colonel in the Army started to support me. I can’t say the name but senior officers are supporting us.
“I said to him,’That you might not be in doubt, when you go to the neighboring areas of Jalisco, and you look at those people. If you ask for our support, we are going to give it.
“If, in the future, the New Generation [Jalisco cartel] wants to enter and begins to hurt us, we are going to fight them, and if it is possible we are going to get into it there. We already showed them when we made it into one part of Jalisco (Las Lomas)’.”
La Jornada: In many places The Templars fled without giving battle. It is believed that their strength might be intact.
“They have not shown what they are, because they know that we are not going to stop, and wherever they might want [to go,] we will advance. [For example, say:] There is a family of them and there is us, who know who is hurting us. We’re going to run this family out. What is he going to do? Where is he going to take them? Take them there to the hills?”

About Doc

Spreading the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.

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