Journalist Laura Castellanos has just produced a detailed report on the situation on the Michoacán Coast on the Aristegui Noticias website. It confirms things about the context and recent events that I have already written about in English in this blog and in my recent book The New War Against the Poor, but there is one paragraph in today’s story about what is happening right now that it is particularly worth translating into English for the benefit of anyone who can’t read the original Spanish.
Laura Castellanos reports that:
The Ostula community expected that Verdía would be released from prison this Monday 10th. In a communiqué it alerted us to the fact that, before his imminent release, persons connected to the Knights Templar cartel and the Michoacán Fuerza Ciudadana [a police force controlled by the state government that incorporated some people from local self-defence groups who in fact had past involvement with the cartel – JG] sent in a grupo of hired killers who passed themselves off as people from the [neighbouring] Nahua indigenous community of Pómaro, where there are three illegally exploited iron ore mines, and Coire [another neighbouring indigenous community], to confront the people of Ostula. These gunmen installed checkpoints on the coastal highway that that connects the two communities. The communiqué warns that the assassins “are being supported by the Marines stationed in the coastal settlement of Maruata, where they now have a roadblock with armed people and there is a lot of tension in the region”.
This is in fact history repeating itself, and most likely as further tragedy rather than farce. It is a complete scandal that this is so given the widespread publicity that the background to this particular local situation has received recently in easily accessible Mexican public media thanks to the work of journalists such as Laura Castellanos.
It is obviously no accident that no effort is being spared in Mexico today to silence the independent media in one way or another, including the ever more frequent murder of journalists.