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?
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
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?
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
The analysis of the relationships between criminal organisations, autodefensas and the three levels of government in the Mexican state of Michoacán offered in my book The New War on the Poor was completed before the Federal Special Commissioner for Security and Integral Development, Alfredo Castillo, was removed from this post in January 2015 (to be subsequently … Continue reading Cartel land, again
P'urhépecha intellectual Dra. Bertha Dimas Huacuz, from the community of Santa Fe de la Laguna in Michoacán, has recently published a critique of what she calls the "third generation indigenism"associated with current government policies. Despite new programs such as the "Crusade Against Hunger" and further evolution of Mexico's existing targeted cash transfer programs under the … Continue reading A critique of “third generation” indigenism
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
In an interview broadcast in full on YouTube, the commander of Ostula's communal police, Germán Ramírez, has described the indigenous community as "under siege". In addition to the military, a growing concentration of federal police agents has gathered in the surrounding area, suggesting that an operation to disarm the communal and municipal self-defence forces is … Continue reading Ostula under siege
In his final report to the state congress, outgoing interim governor, Salvador Jara Guerrero, insisted that he was leaving Michoacán in a more secure condition than he found it. "Hoy el estado es otro". Really? The state's public prosecutor has now brought the anticipated murder charges against coastal autodefensa leader Cemeí Verdía, former communal police … Continue reading Michoacán es otro?
The indigenous community of Ostula has now presented a series of public demands to the state and federal authorities. These go beyond the demand for the immediate release from prison of Cemeí Verdía, former commander of Ostula's communal police and the autodefensas of Aquila, Coahuayana and Chinicuila, and the dropping of charges against him, which … Continue reading Ostula demands