The Violence(s) of Ethnocide in Post-Coup Brazil

This week the Brazilian congress is debating the final report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) set up to "investigate" the federal agencies responsible for assessing the land rights of indigenous, afro-descendent and other groups that have claims to "traditional" occupation of territories under Brazil's 1988 Constitution, the National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI) and National … Continue reading The Violence(s) of Ethnocide in Post-Coup Brazil

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

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?

Brazil’s prison crisis

This first week of January has seen two massacres of inmates in Brazilian prisons. The first took place in Manaus. Fifty-six inmates died, the highest number to be killed since the Carandiru prison complex massacre in São Paulo in 1992. But in that latter case it was the police who did the killing. In Manaus … Continue reading Brazil’s prison crisis

Persecution of Ostula leader continues. Why?

Despite a federal judge's ruling that there was no case to answer on the charges originally brought against him, Semeí Verdía will now remain in prison. He was immediately rearrested him as he left the federal prison in which he was incarcerated in Nayarit, after the prosecutor's office of the state government of Michoacán issued … Continue reading Persecution of Ostula leader continues. Why?

Federal judge frees Semeí Verdía

A federal judge has now ordered the release, on grounds of lack of evidence against him, of Semeí Verdía, communal police commander from the indigenous community of Ostula and coordinator of the autodefensas (self-defence forces) of the municipalities of Aquila, Coahuayana and Chinicuila on the Pacific coast of Michoacán. Although this is good news, it … Continue reading Federal judge frees Semeí Verdía

Michoacán is pacified? An update

It seems that a lot is currently happening in the Mexican state of Michoacán that mainstream media responsive to the federal and state governments are not reporting. Recent violent incidents reflect struggles to control drug trafficking in what is now a more fragmented scenario of competing groups. But the patterns of violence and the specific … Continue reading Michoacán is pacified? An update

The pacification of Michoacán?

My book The New War on the Poor went to press before the Federal Special Commissioner for Security and Development in Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo Cervantes, was transferred to other duties as Director of the National Commission for Physical Culture and Sports, a move justified officially by the need to avoid controversy during the forthcoming state elections. A … Continue reading The pacification of Michoacán?