This town is under siege. It is in war. In some of faces of the people one can see courage, but in others fear. Some people try to get on with their lives, while some others chose to carry weapons and do not trust anything or anyone that doesn't seem normal ...
In this town population of 10,000, the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, better known as La Ruana, and located in the Tierra Caliente of Michoacán, there has been no gas for almost two weeks. The tank trucks do not enter the area to supply the gas stations in this town near Apatzingán which is in the municipality of Buenavista Tomatlán.
The drivers of the trucks are threatened. If they chose to come anyways to bring the fuel, criminal groups set their trucks on fire or are executed. That is what they have been warned. Pemex stations are empty, with padlocks on pumps and with yellow tape that isolate them as if it was a crime scene.
There is no food or gas: 8 out of 10 shops are closed for business. The streets are half-empty. The grocers, market merchants cannot buy food in the center of the state.
Everyone that leaves here or arrives at the center of the capital Calentana has to present their credentials to IFE in check points at the entrances to the city. If they are found to have food for commercial sale, it is confiscated. Merchants opt to wait out in Colima and Jalisco, to avoid having their products confiscated.
But here gasoline, food and other basic cleaning materials are not the only commodities that are lacking; there is also a shortage of medicines. In fact, most of the doctors have fled the town; social programs such as "Oportunidades" have stopped operating for at least one month, according to the villagers.
Even the local priest took off.
At the sound of a blast from rockets to give a signal, the people come out to protest. Hundreds of people surround the cameraman, photographer and reporter for Milenio. One by one they want to talk, they want to stand in front of the camera, some with their faces covered while others are uncovered.
"We are fighting so they let us work but they will not let us work. We are starving. There are no doctors, no money, no gas, no work, and no food. There is nothing here. So how are we going to live? What we are doing is not war, we're just struggling to be free. I lost my husband and I have two children, and all they have is me. And I'm also going to die?" says a woman in anguish cloaked with a shirt.
"Now they have us threatened for Mother's Day, they say they have a gift for all the mothers on May 10, that that they are going to kill us like dogs. And the government, what is it doing? The government does nothing," says another woman.
"We are already tired of this government that does nothing and the television broadcasters come to do interview after interview but still nothing happens. We do not receive any help from anyone. The only help we receive is from God and the government, where? Nothing. Reporters after reporters but we still do not get any help. We are now very angry," says the first woman.
Dozens of other citizens and dozens of men, applaud.
An old man asks for the microphone of Milenio:
"Our children have done nothing, our women have done nothing, our elders have done nothing. What are the farmers going to do? What are we going to do without fuel? With food, we get by as best we can, but with no fuel and no work," he says.
"The doctors have just left, they also took the priest. They're leaving with all the people, with everything, with everything," complains a young woman that does not have her face covered.
First they formed a so-called community policing (policía comunitaria), but 34 of the members were arrested with long guns two months ago and are still prisoners. Then came the paramilitaries (autodefensas).
We'll see what happens next. Another confrontation, surely. What is happening in La Ruana? That, which is shown by these armed people and evidence of battles, burned cars, luxury SUV's with crosses, symbol of the Templars, shot up and burned by the side of a road, the sides riddled with bullet holes. The town is under siege. It is in war. That's what happens. There is a war between the vigilante groups and The Knights Templar.
When did this start? Many people in this town use to be busy harvesting lemons, cooking. That is, now we have the synthetic drugs in laboratories, until of course they started fighting among each other. The villagers say they are just farmers defending themselves, but the Templars are accusing them of receiving support from the Cartel New Generation Jalisco (cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación), which might have used that excuse to enter the area.
In any case, the result is visible: more than 20 killed in the last two weeks from executions and two clashes. The last one occurred last Sunday when an Army battalion prevented a real slaughter. So lies La Ruana: a besieged town, waiting ... for what happens. What happens in plain view of state and federal authorities that do what they do on this day; check points that see them go and come from the town...