Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

The war in Michoacan: A brief chronology

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 |

Proceso (1-14-2014) By Jenaro Villamil 

Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat

I thought this article would be useful in understanding of the Michoacán situation. Although the government (or 'governments', state and federal) refuse to use the term 'war' to refer to the conflict in Michoacán, there is really no other word that is as appropriate to a situation that involves military forces, armed groups and police forces shooting it out for control of territory. It sure looks like a war to this Mexican. -- un vato. 

MEXICO. D.F..-- The deterioration of Michoacan is not something that has developed over the past few months,  not even over the past six years, with the obvious failure of the "war" undertaken by Felipe Calderon, which began in his native state in 2007.

Here are some key dates for understanding the situation in Michoacán.

1990 - 2001.-  Valencia Cartel. Armando Valencia Cornelio and Luis Valencia Valencia: Cousins born in Uruapan, Michoacán, between 1959 and 1955, they controlled, from the latter part of the 1980's and throughout the 1990's, the production of marijuana, which they would export through Amado Carrillo Fuentes, leader of the Juarez Cartel, better known as "El Senor de los Cielos" (the "Lord of the Skies"). 

They also got into the cocaine trafficking business through their Colombian contact, Alejandro Bernal Madrigal, aka "Juvenal". (See: Maria Idalia Gomez and Dario Fritz, "Con la Muerte en el Bolsillo" ("With Death in his Pocket")).

2001 .- The arrival of "Los Zetas".  The dispute over cocaine trafficking worsened between the cartels. "Los Zetas", then the armed branch of the Gulf Cartel, came to Michoacán to take over the plaza with blood and gunfire. The Valencias allied themselves with "El Chapo" Guzman. From 2002 to 2004, there were more than 100 people killed in the confrontations between Zetas and Valencias.

The Zetas dominated the plaza and they started a new and lucrative business: laboratories in the Tierra Caliente region for the production of synthetic drugs. Their epicenter was Apatzingan, the most important city in the Tierra Caliente region.

2006  -.  Enter "La Familia Michoacana". On September 6, 2006, before the start of the Felipe Calderon term, in the midst of the post-electoral fight, a new group broke into a night club in Uruapan and threw six decapitated heads on the dance floor. (The heads belonged) to members of "Los Zetas". They left the following note: "La Familia does not kill for money, it does not murder women or innocent people; it only executes those that deserve to die. Everybody should know this ... this is divine justice".

The three principal leaders of "La Familia", as identified by the government, were Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, aka "El Chayo" or "El Mas Loco",  Jesus Mendez Vargas, aka "El Chango" and Servando Gomez Martinez, aka "La Tuta".

"El Chayo" even published a book/manual titled "Los Pensamientos de La Familia" ("La Familia's Thoughts"), required reading for members of that cartel.

"La Tuta", former schoolteacher who took part in radical leftist movements in Michoacan and Guerrero, contributed the element of strategies for social penetration to "La Familia", in the manner of the EPR  ["Ejercito Popular Revolucionario", a Mexican insurgency group. un vato].

2007 - 2009.--  Expansion and Fragmentation of "La Familia".  During the September 15, 2008, celebration [of the Mexican Revolution.-- un vato], grenades were thrown against the civilian population in the Morelia, Michoacan, central plaza. The PRD governor, Leonel Godoy, escaped unharmed, but there were several deaths and dozens wounded.

This was "La Familia's" maximum demonstration of terror. The group had expanded in the Tierra Caliente region. It seized control of Apatzingán from "Los Zetas" and extended its power in the States of Mexico -- where Enrique Pena Nieto was governor --, Guerrero, Jalisco  and Guanajuato.

Everything points to the conclusion that "La Familia" entered into a pact with the Sinaloa Cartel, led by "Chapo" Guzman, to share the territory and the strategic port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan. (See: Guillermo Valdes, "Historia del Narcotrafico en Mexico" ("History of Drug Trafficking in Mexico") 2013)).

From that point, they also reached urban zones in the Federal District, the great center for consumption and power. In particular, they began to penetrate the Mexico municipality of Nezahualcoyotl.

"La Familia" took over entire city councils. It bought mayors, congressional candidates, and organized the direct extortion of hundreds of businessmen.

Evidence of the failure of Felipe Calderon to confront "La Familia's" expansive and cellular power -- in the style of Al Qaeda -- was the judicial operation known as "El Michoacanazo" ("The Strike at Michoacán") intended to imprison (Michoacán) mayors involved with ("La Familia").

2010 -2012.-  Enter "Los Templarios".  As had happened with the Gulf (Cartel) and "Los Zetas", with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltran Leyva Cartel, the "La Familia" Cartel fragmented and triggered a struggle for leadership and control of the business after the heads of the organization were taken down.  A new group emerged, a copy of "La Familia's" tactics and strategies for social and political infiltration: "Los Caballeros Templarios" ("The Knights Templar").

The 2011 local elections, in which the PRI recovered control of the state after two PRD administrations, and defeated Calderon's sister, Luisa Maria Calderon Hinojosa (PAN candidate), marked the rise of the "Templarios" and their alleged (political) alliances, according to charges made by PRD and PAN partisans.

February 2013.-  Emergence of the "Autodefensas" (Self Defense Forces).-- After the start of the Pena Nieto six-year term, in the heart of the Tierra Caliente, Michoacán, a new armed group arises, organized by businessmen, avocado and lime growers and professionals in the area, to "regain control" from the "Templarios".  On February 24, (2013), in the town of La Ruana, Buenavista municipality, and in Tepalcatepec, the first civilian groups are formed. 

Unlike "La Familia" when it came onto the local stage,  they did not dump heads nor have they practiced terror; instead, they have (implemented) a strategy of expulsion of the "Templarios". Currently, they are grouped under the United Command of Michoacán Self Defense (Forces) (Comando Unido de Autodefensas de Michoacán).  They claim to have 10,000 men armed with rifles, their most visible spokesman is Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles Valverde, and they have advanced into ten municipalities, surrounding Apatzingán, the heart of the dispute.

January 13, 2014.-- Pena Nieto's Michoacán Operation.  A new operation has begun with a military, police and political deployment by the federal government in Michoacán. The self defense forces are refusing to disarm themselves and to surrender the occupied municipalities until "Los Templarios" are captured.  Governor Fausto Vallejo has lost all capacity to govern.
click on images to enlarge

http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=362364

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39 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Chivis u hear about vicente zambada theres a dea agent that would meet up with him at meetings saying that was true about the us supporting them just google vicente zambada. Atte el californiano

Anonymous said...

Actually in 2011, the small town of Cheran was the first to take justice into their own hands and kicked out the local municipal mayor as well as all of the tmplarios and establish the first community police that we see now today. Please give credit where it is due, no disrespect to the other auto defensa groups and it is certainly not any kind of comment to spark a debate. I just think that the people who first took matters into their own hands would appreciate the acknowledgement. I lived in a small town about 5 mins away in Nahuatzen during this time and witnessed this happen. This started because of the fact that people were other small towns were cutting down trees in the middle of the night, illegally from land owners and from land/mountain that belonged to Cheran and were paying templarios a cuota to be able to do this without problems (protection from the people of Cheran) The mountain soon had little to no trees left and the people of Cheran had enough and rid the people of other towns and the Templarios as well and took back the land that is rightfully theirs and since then have protected it. I live in the U.S. now and I always have but I lived in Michoacan for 2 years and that is why I was able to witness this. The community police there are not bad people, they are just very cautious of who they let in but once inside there are many great places to eat in Cheran and I always went to their plaza on saturday mornings to buy cd's at the tianguis haha.

Anonymous said...

2014. -- Los Zetas return, and bring with them peace every Mexican man, woman, and child crave.

Anonymous said...

GREAT READ BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO CHERAN???

Anonymous said...

Off topic a bit but there is a nice article in LA Jornada today about why the ADs are popping up. Madero is the one talking about the phenom.

Anonymous said...

The English language battle cry against evil in Mexico. God help Mexico. Please restore hope and peace to what was a country of beautiful people.

I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn't let my dear saviour in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I'm so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I'm so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I was a fool to wander and a-stray
Straight is the gate and narrow the way
Now I have traded the wrong for the right
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I'm so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light

Courtesy Hank Williams I

Roughrider 1898

Anonymous said...

Idk bout zetas

Anonymous said...

Los valencias were known as cartel del milenio , there was another group in michoacan known as la empresa lead by a guy that in in jail now known as el tisico this tisocos group gointed cartel del golfo because los valencia or el milenio cartel its rivel were with cds and well cartel del golfo send at the time its arm wing known as los zetas to michoacan to help fight the milenio cds friends in michoacan to take over the plaza speccially the lazaro cardenas sea port . Eventually zetas broke up with cdg , la empresa remained with los zetas for a while but then they dicided to brake with them and form its own independent group la familia michoacana tjis was after el tisico its leader got in prison after that we all know what happened.

Anonymous said...

Arrival Cheran!!!

Anonymous said...

P.R.I. face it, you are done next elections. Your coruption has been exposed!

Anonymous said...

@3:45
Ahhhhh yea. Thats been know. I even believe it was reported on borderland. Old news Sherlock. Oh by the way happy new year...haha.

Anonymous said...

Wait...but didn't zetas train LFM at some point before the war? I remember z-7 mentioning the betrayal of allies & everyone assume he meant LFM. Good read, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Valencia Cartel/Milenio Cartel=CJNG
Vamos por lo nuestro.
Puro CJNG

Anonymous said...

Chivis the mexican gov just made a pact with the autodefensa to stap them from keep on spreading

Anonymous said...

You will pay in HELL when its all over you coward soldier, shooting at unarmed civilians what a fucking loser your are. Look at the poor families you caused pain to look at the pictures of the mother over her dead sons coffin that could be anybodies mother including your own!

Chivis said...

who are these so called liders of Templarios the government produced as sacrificial lambs? anyone ever hear of them? they are n no CT chart I have.

smells good tastes funny

Anonymous said...

If you ask me, the deployment of more federal forces to Michoacan by EPN is a ploy to prevent the ADs from taking, liberate, Apatzingan -- or any more cities in Michoacan; in fact, I'm starting to believe they might attempt to divide the plaza of Michoacan with some other cartel, possibly a BLO or CDS aligned CJNG, getting control of Tierra Caliente. Maybe what some of the readers of BB are correct in saying that some of ADs have CJNG connections. Considering that CJNG leader el Mencho has Michoacan roots the idea is not farfetched. Somebody wants control of the meth production in Tierra Caliente, and control of the ternium mines. El Mencho at one point was the plaza head of Chapo in Tierra Caliente. Nueva Italia might be the last town the ADs will be allowed to liberate by EPN from the CT basterds.

The CTs weren't a new cartel created out of nowhere when they emerged in 2011. The CTs emerged from the factions that seperated from LFM after the death of el Chayo. Some theories abound that the reason for the rupture came after el Chayo was killed at the hands of el Chango Mendez, and not
at the hands of the federal forces in Dec. 2010. Tuta, Kike, and Tio Plancarte were upset about his death and seperated their factions from LFM and renamed themselves CTGM.

Anonymous said...

"When there is War, there is opportunity"-El Miklo Velka
...Its funny how there's all the over-dignified, over-glorified, U.S. Marine/SEAL movies about The U.S. going on blunt-suicide missions to go help some people over sea'S,,, all over the Middle East. But not ONE heroic movie about the US stopping the capitalist-corruption, that has been ruining not only Latin America but the Western Hemisphere and beyond.

If only we could live in a sensible world, with out Greed.

Anonymous said...

No one knows them according to valor por michoacan sdr there is mo way they are leaders , from the region they were captured by mexican gov i think its a just for show so people say well the gov is doing their job look they just got some leaders from the cts , but people that knows dont know wjo they are at all

Anonymous said...

Yo chivis what happen with la letra and 42 after 40 capture they been really quiet. Did da capture affected dem dat much

Anonymous said...

Idk if hank Williams was such a good example of a way to live he was a heavy drinker and drug user and I doubt he was "saved"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the maps !
They are helpful to understand the subject.

Anonymous said...

Chivis please regulate unnecessary ridiculous comments such as these. The autos have a huge battle against cartel, police, and army my prayers go out to them. Viva Auto Defencias!

Anonymous said...

BTW, that woman in the dress in the top photo is crazy. Does she want to see a human rights violation close-up?? That's one possible way to get there :-) P, CA

Anonymous said...

Grow up and quit glorifying the killers, rapists, drug dealers, and cartels!!!

tu sancho said...

I love the photo of the (slightly hot) woman confronting los guachos. What finger is she using? jajaja I admire these people. All of the computer jockeys here don't amount to the cajones any one of these people's militia members have. The false hope always referred to by the PRI is the continuing revolution... yeah, sure. The revolution is going to be televised and it won't be led by EPN. He will run.

Anonymous said...

MeXiCaN ReVoLuTiOn By MiDdLe Of 2014!!!

Anonymous said...

PRI needs to be outlawd, nothing good has happened when PRI was is in charge. The people are not her to serve the PRI, It's the PRI that should serve the people n they always fail miserably

Anonymous said...

thats one hot mama! passionate too!~

Anonymous said...

"I love the photo of the (slightly hot) woman "

HAHAHAHA!!! I tip my glass to your inexperience, my young amigo. Obviously you have not yet come face to face with "La Bruja". You have not yet seen the anger of a mad Latina?! Hahaha! Continue on your present path, and sooner or later you will. Keep a tube of superglue close by, so when she tears off your face - you will have something to quickly put it back on. Hahahaha!! P, CA

Anonymous said...

U cant talk about history in michoacan without mentioning carlos alberto rosales who had his own organization and became allied with the golf cartel during oziel cardenas reign.what role did he n the organization he left behind after being captured, played in all of this mess happeining in michoacan?

Anonymous said...

Is there a Cartel del Centro? I understand run by big business?

Anonymous said...

Luis Donaldo colosio was going to stop all of this that's why he was killed

Anonymous said...

Me my wife and my daughters went to pichataro and passed by cheran in 2012 and 2013, in 2013 when leaving from there the bus left us for being late, the next bus refused to take us because the bus before was taken by armed people and the couldn't pass by cheran until the next day with a taxi.

Anonymous said...

They got their ass handed to them by everybody,traitors don't last long...

Anonymous said...

La Tuta is still on the Mexican Teachers Union payroll. This clown hasnt taught a class is years!

What you are witnessing in Michochan is an Insurgency of common people rising up against a Indtitutionalized Narco State.

Anonymous said...

alfredo mendez was a big timer in michoacan he was from turicato he was aligned with the arellanos since the 90's they say the zetas threq him in a pot while meth was cooking or that he faked his death

Anonymous said...

Please do not let comments pitting political parties prevail. Organized government will always be corrupt as long as fraternal orders navigate amongst them. Study the trivium and crack the illogical code of manipulation. We must all govern ourselfs not just in michoacan but worldwide.

ixtlil ocelotl said...

in several of his interviews dr. mireles mentions the uprising of 6 purepecha towns from the meseta purepecha which rose up before tepalcatepec. he says they took their courage from the example of the purepecha. but i havent found any other information on that, does anyone know anything more about that?

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