What are state police doing in the Meseta P’urhépecha and why are they doing it?

On Wednesday 5 April, 2017, a large convoy a state police vehicles was dispatched to the indigenous community of Arantepacua, in the municipality of Nahuatzen in the central highlands of Michoacán, Mexico. Nahuatzen is a municipality in which more than 80% of the population live below the official poverty line. This part of the state … Continue reading What are state police doing in the Meseta P’urhépecha and why are they doing it?

Trump’s deportations begin

As The Intercept's Ryan Devereaux pointed out last Thursday, Trump's travel ban on people from a group of predominantly Muslim countries, selected on a somewhat questionable basis if the aim is to counter "terrorist threats", together with the high theatre of his border wall project, distracted attention from two January 29 executive orders that hardened … Continue reading Trump’s deportations begin

Relative calm ends on the Michoacán coast

As I explained in another post seven months ago, following the release from prison of Cemeí Verdía the regional self-defence forces led by the indigenous community of Ostula were able to offer greater protection to local people against the depredations of criminal groups. But remnant cells of the Caballeros Templarios cartel, led by people whose … Continue reading Relative calm ends on the Michoacán coast

Crazies and Craziers

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell is reputed, in a book written by the BBC's James Naughtie, to have called the key figures surrounding George W. Bush in the run-up to his invasion of Iraq "f***ing crazies". Mike Pence, Trump's Vice-President, certainly has a track record that places him squarely in the same camp … Continue reading Crazies and Craziers

Does the Mexican government really want to make Dr. Mireles a martyr?

Dr. José Manuel Mireles Valverde was one of the original leaders of the autodefensa movement in Michoacán that played a central role in confronting the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel (for the history, see my book The New War on the Poor). He was the leading Mexican protagonist in the award-winning US documentary Cartel Land. Mireles … Continue reading Does the Mexican government really want to make Dr. Mireles a martyr?

Visit to the ENAH and Ibero

I spent last week in Mexico City, at the invitation of Dr. Leif Korsbaek of the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH). Two of the lectures that I gave at the ENAH were focused on British Social Anthropology. The first lecture was on the British style of fieldwork, illustrated with some of my own … Continue reading Visit to the ENAH and Ibero

Michoacán: an update

It is now some time since I last reported on developments in the Mexican state of Michoacán, so here is a note on what remains, overall, a less than happy panorama. The new state government that entered office in October 2015, headed by Silvano Aureoles of the PRD, promised to get a firm grip on … Continue reading Michoacán: an update

Something rotten in the state…

In yesterday's La Jornada newspaper, journalist Blanche Petrich published an interview that the paper conducted with Nestora Salgado, former communal police commander of the community of Olinalá, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. On August 23, 2013, Nestora Salgado was arrested and charged with the kidnapping, on the orders of Ángel Aguirre, the state governor … Continue reading Something rotten in the state…

Cemeí Verdía looks to new governor for support

A judge has now determined that the indigenous autodefensa leader Cemeí Verdía has a case to answer on the murder charges brought against him by the state government prosecutor. He will therefore remain in the Mil Cumbres gaol. Cemeí and his lawyer have argued that the case is "political in nature", and the indigenous leader … Continue reading Cemeí Verdía looks to new governor for support