Sunday night, members of the Federal Police defused an alleged plan by the 'Knights Templar' to assassinate Apatzingán bishop, Miguel Patino after receiving information via satellite that 'Knights Templar' planned an attempt on the bishop's life. This threat followed a public complaint by the bishop on Oct 16 in his Pastoral Letter saying that the valley of Tierra Caliente Apatzingán is under the control of organized crime. "there are increased kidnappings, abductions, killings, the collection of 'quota' is widespread and entire families have emigrated by fear and the insecurity we are living."
Bishop calls Apatzingán a failed state
According to information from Father Gregorio Lopez, of the Diocese of Apatzingán, the Bishop was taken to a military barracks. A few hours later, the Army stormed the Public Security Directorate of Lazaro Cardenas, where they disarmed and took control corporation security at the port.
Mexican Troops Take a Key Port
Later, Secretary of Government of Michoacán, Jaime Mares, denied that the Bishop of Apatzingán had been quartered in the 43rd Military Zone. State government authorities until last night indicated that the prelate had requested personal safety. Jaime Mares, government secretary, said that neither had the bishop requested any backup, "nor was the bishop was protected in Military Zone No. 43, I can say that factually, because I confirmed both with one and with the other, I refer particularly to the head of the military zone and to the bishop himself this situation.
Asked about the prevailing security situation in the municipalities of Tierra Caliente, Jaime Mares Camarena said there is still concern among the population of the area, the government secretary added that "naturally there are indications is a concern from citizens who can not deny, at this time and we can say that there is in the region and surrounding municipalities Apatzingán there's a tense calm".
The clergy of Apatzingán send register of deaths - 920- to the Vatican
So far this year in the diocese of Apatzingan has documented in its jurisdiction 920 deaths attributed to organized crime groups. These are the statistics it has sent to the Vatican.
At Sunday 11:00 am Mass at at the Cathedral of Apatzingán, Michoacán, Bishop Miguel Patino Velázquez pays homage to the victims killed by criminal violence.
From the front pews of the parish, the minister looks smaller than he actually is. During his sermon he urged parioners to lose their fear of writing the names of their dead relatives on paper and upon the white wooden cross placed on the altar for that purpose.
"Those are not the dead ones that have been a cause of violence," He gently chided, "Do not even dare put their grief there on paper. Dare to put the names of your dead there, to show the Lord to remember this November 2. "
the bishop won national visibility with his pastoral letter of October 15 that gave an x-ray assessment of organized crime in the region and also by gathering together five thousand souls in a procession for peace on 31 October.
However, it was with the spread of the letter that intimidation arrived.
The pastor of the cathedral, Salvador M. Gonzalez, said: "Organized crime did not like the letter. They sent me five threats and one of them was for the bishop. "
For a year, the diocese, which includes 27 parishes and 70 priests of the Sierra Madre del Sur and Tierra Caliente, sent a weekly record to the director of human rights, Cardinal Karl Josef Becker at the Vatican.
The cases that have been reported by their believers to diocese leaders through the telephone line, mail or verbal information. During 2013 are: 920 people have been killed, 280 abductions, 42 kidnappings, 238 missing, and there's been 3,000 displaced families, and 200 dispossessed of their lands.
Father Salvador M. Gonzalez expands upon the intimidation against bishop Patiño.
"Here was a man who directly waited and thank God the bishop was already gone.
"They sent people to us. There were people who took our very frightened towns people over there, where (criminals) rule and said that if the bishop kept up what he was talking about, that they would face the consequences, "he says.
In one of the cases "it was a good person, they took advantage of her, they sent the message, ,because she was crying," she tells the priest in tears. Is justified: "It is up to the people mourn, because we have nothing left to do but cry."
Father Gregorio Lopez on his own without details says: "Last week an armed group threatened the father."
However, the minister denies that he received these warnings: "For me so far, I have not received any threats. As you are saying that's how people live, I'm not afraid. I think if we did not talk, we would not be with our people. "
Father Lopez, in turn, told El Universal that Sunday night November 3 "a caravan of 40 federal units" took the bishop from the religious episcopal house and moved him to a safe place where it is not possible for the Templar Knights to attack him.
Javier Cortes, vicar general, scorned the warning: "No longer a rumor. The Bishop already left to go to a meeting of priests south of Michoacan. "
The priest Lopez explains that the registration of cases has been developed thanks to the three radio programs, each lasting half an hour, which is broadcast daily on three different stations.
They convened: "If you have a missing, abducted, or kidnapped report them by phone, send a fax or an email".
"The Vatican-he detailed requires names of people, very reliable, we keep them like a state secret".
As part of the information gathered, it was reported, for example, that the average number of young people admitted to the seminary in San Jose in San Juan de los Bananas, was drastically reduced from the real number.
Each year 105 students arrived, but this year only the number reached 25, of which only 11 stayed.
"The seminary is closed" he tells the interviewer, "they went there to shoot."
The clear gaze of bishop Miguel Patino rests in red rimmed eyes within deep purple circles. However, they soften with the permanent trace of his smile.
The 75 year old man is amazed by the national publicity granted to his letter entitled "Let's make Michoacan a state of rights" which has brought him so many various interviews.
"We never thought that the letter would leave the diocese because it is dedicated to the people of the diocese, of good will".
The document denounces violence in the region, the increasing cases of kidnappings, abductions, murders, extortion and displaced families.
He wrote: "The state of Michoacan has all the characteristics of a failed state. The criminal groups: Familia Michoacana, Los Zetas, New Generation, Knights Templar, mainly fight over the state like a booty or a prize."
The Coast: for entry of drugs and supplies of synthetic drugs, the Sierra Madre del Sur and avocado area: for the cultivation of marijuana and poppy, the establishment of laboratories for the production of synthetic drugs and shelter of the criminal groups. "
When asked about the power vacuum in Michoacán, the bishop responds simply about the daily harassment of the regional population suffering at the hands of organized crime.
"When there are problems, there are no buses and that is very serious, who is the one who orders to have blackouts? Who is mandating that there's no tortilla? And that there is no gasoline? In who's hands and who we are? And the authorities, very happy, " said the minister.
Father Gonzalez says that this letter is not the first against organized crime that the bishop has published. In the years 1985-2012, the was the written response to the five murder cases of priests of the diocese.
The last was for the father Victor Manuel Diosdado, of the parish of San Jose de Chila, whose pastoral labors provoked the rancor of the drug trafficking cartels that cost him his life.
"They were angry and wanted to show him and they went out and killed him," he says.
the diócesis of Apatzingán covers the territory where community police are acting in self-defense of four municipalities (Tepalcatepec Coalcomán, Buenavista and Aguililla), and recently emerged on October 26 in this municipal.
Patiño is reserved on having spoken about the topic. The emergence of the self-defense groups is explained by “the high quotas” that the crime organizations are demanding from the population. And he(she) wonders: "Who defends the community from the organized crime.
Commenting on self-defense groups : "What must be recognized is that they dared to deal with these people who were doing the exact opposite of what is common good." For the bishop, the victims are all human beings, "people die from crime, police and civilian community."
For this reason, he says his main weapon that he is promoting is what he calls the "Pastoral Comfort."
This consists of "praying for the people who died and their families, and one of the most important things is to hear their story, and listen to the story which is very sad, because they had so much fear, they do not want to tell it to anyone."
Although responsible for the three levels of the lack of authority, he thinks peace should be a shared achievement: "Peace is not in weapons, it isn't in this region as a bunker, peace is on the conscience of each person, and as we have no peace within, we seek out war."
Finally: "The long-awaited peace will cost a lot of work".
Sources: Diario, Vanguardia
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Authorities Thwart Assassination Attempt on Bishop of Apatzingán
I'm an artist who devotes as much spare time as possible to studying the complexities of the drug war facing Mexico and the USA. It is essential to spread the word about the plight of Mexico, so I frequently post on Borderland Beat. It's true that there are many others devoted to the cause. But more people should care because such suffering should never go unnoticed and ignored. Allowing that to happen is perhaps the biggest crime of all. Feel free to email me. Adios HavanaPura@Gmail.com