El Universal (email@example.com) 11-20-2013 By Dalia Martinez and Ricardo Gomez, Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat
MORELIA, Michoacan.-- Two members of the Federal Senate confirmed for El Universal that a group of individuals plainly identified and known as party leaders, but also known to be working with the "Caballeros Templarios", went to the State Senate to talk about public safety with Michoacan legislators.
That meeting was held on October 17, without prior notice, and, among the senators called to the meeting was PRI senator Rocio Hernandez Gochi, general secretary of the Morelia city council from 2007 to 2011, and senators Omar Fayad, Raul Moron, and Luisa Maria Calderon (at left), among others.
It was precisely Senator Calderon who, in an interview granted to several local and national mass communications media, last Tuesday stated, "I don't know who allowed a group of Templarios into the Senate who asked to speak with Michoacan legislators about public safety in Michoacan.
Prior to the meeting with the senators, that day a group of 400 persons went to the senate chambers asking to meet with the senators to come to an agreement on public safety matters in the Tierra Caliente area.
A committee of 10 persons went into the Senate to meet with the legislators, and representing the group were: Juan Olmos Mantilla, president of the Association of Ejidos of Apatzingan; Tito Emigdio Fernandez Torres, Luis Padron Ramirez, Emma Gomez Vargas, Juan Avilez Ruiz, Ricardo Sanchez, Jose Filiberto Vejar, Armando Aleman Maciel and Rigoberto Pelaez, president of the Canacintra in Apatzingan, who introduced themselves as business and social leaders in Apatzingan.
They all lead an association called Asociacion Michoacanos, Paz y Dignidad (Michoacan Association, Peace and Dignity), which was organized in Apatzingan and is led by Tito Fernandez, who himself has been identified in military and Federal Police files as the political, business and pressure operative for the Templarios.
According to a military report, in social networks Tito Fernandez is linked with Nazario Moreno, "El Chayo" (above), who put him in charge of developing a criminal registry and of awarding the public works projects of all the city councils in the Tierra Caliente area to construction companies designated or controlled by Los Caballeros Templarios.
Military intelligence agencies state that this person has undertaken a media campaign against the Federal Police and the Mexican Army, trying to accuse them of alleged human rights violations.
"When we realized who they were, many of us senators opted to leave that so-called meeting, but from the start I want to tell you that those men got help from someone who let them come in without any restrictions into our offices," pointed out the PAN senator (Luisa Maria Calderon), who also criticized the fact that somebody had attempted to get them to sit down and negotiate (with the Templarios).
Another Michoacan legislator who was at the meeting and who asked that his name be withheld for personal safety reasons, confirmed that the individuals are known people "who are everywhere, and we know they are the political operatives for Los Templarios. They go everywhere with total freedom."
A local state representative also commented on the matter: "It's true. They are party leaders". And he added: "All political parties have their narcos, we have known that for some time."
Luisa Maria Calderon several weeks ago accused one of the sons of Governor Fausto Vallejo (left) of being a member of the Caballeros Templarios, which resulted in the governor threatening to sue her for slander.
Barbosa calls for an investigation
The Coordinator of PRD party in the Senate, Miguel Barbosa, stated that he will ask the High Chamber's authorities for a detailed report, to determine whether, in fact, members of the Los Caballeros Templarios cartel met with legislators in the Senate.
The president of the Public Safety Commission in the Senate, Omar Fayad (PRI), confirmed that on October 17, on instructions from the governing board, they met with a group protesting public safety issues. He said he did not know whether members of that criminal organization were in the group.