By: Sanjuana Martínez
The president of the Council of Autodefensas of Tepalcatepec, one of the first towns that took up arms, on February 24 of last year, is not willing to sit around waiting, after the government decided to start disarming the groups of civilians.
“War has not yet begun in Michoacán. It will start now that the so-called commissioner Alfredo Castillo Cervantes leaves. And the war will be hard, because not only do we have to fight against the declared Templarios, but also against those who were ‘forgiven’ and those who ‘repented’, and as well as the false autodefensas”, he says in an interview with La Jornada.
The betrayal of the arachnid is not the only thing he is worried about. For the past three weeks, he knew that his companions, who were allegedly allied with Commissioner Castillo, were preparing to ambush him. That is why he decided to come forward, to go to the City of Mexico, to meet with human rights defenders and record a video addressed to Enrique Peña Nieto, calling him for a direct dialogue, a request that has finally been answered, as interpreted by the threat of sending him to jail for the murder of five people; a crime, he says, he did not commit and whose testimonies were fabricated.
Mireles defends himself and counters: “There are five deaths because the people of Castillo go out and block us from entering the coast so that we don’t lead the movement forward to Lázaro Cárdenas. Why? There are many millions for Castillo in Lázaro Cárdenas, for Smurf, for Los Viagras, and for El Cinco?...And I’m the crazy one, right? We are working for the good of Michoacán. They are not. If Castillo is also attacking us it’s because that bastard is also a Templario. If they don’t let us enter Morelia, Zamora, Lázaro Cárdenas, it’s because it also belongs to the criminals and because they have an agreement with the organized crime.”
The allegations of collusion between organized crime and government authorities that Mireles has made in the past have been compelling, as in the case of former Governor Jesús Reyna and several now imprisoned Michoacán mayors. “We will fight criminals, the Templarios, wherever they may be, even if they have the shirts of the autodefensas on. Those, Los Viagras, El Cinco and Papa Smurf are the bastards who are with Castillo. At one time Papa Smurf and Los Viagras were part of La Familia; at another time, with La Tuta, all of them, I also have reports that José Alvarado, El Burro, the chief hidden among them all, was one who would take money from La Tuta to give it to ‘Chucho’ Reyna. They are all from Buenavista”.
Outraged, Mireles fixes his gaze, he moves his long fingers and points at the infinite. He says he would’ve never thought that Peña Nieto would be so bothered about asking for direct dialogue. He is president of the Republic, he can easily solve the problem in Michoacán; primarily by not bringing in bastards who ally themselves with the criminals. We are worse than before.
He notes that he will continue his fight because he ensures that he has control over 70% of those in Michoacán who have taken up arms, an area which increases because every day, more and more people are united with him. “The people know that this group of Smurf, Los Viagras, El Cinco, and El Burro Alvarado are from the new cartel H3, they are pure ex Templarios, ex La Familia, and some ex Cartel de Jalisco. They forgave them and now they are the general coordinators of the whole movement. No way!
The Five Dead
Mireles, a surgeon, walked down the street and people expressed their affection, they offered him support. Every morning, neighbors come to him from different municipalities of Michoacán to tell him their problems. They are people who continue to suffer from the violence of the Templarios, in very different ways: kidnappings, extortions, murders, robberies.
More than 300 complete families disappeared in Tepalcatepec; from some, they only left us pieces of body parts. The last complete family that was disintegrated recently was of some cheese makers whose quota rose to 50,000 pesos and they couldn’t pay anymore.
An ambulance tried to enter the town last night, shielded by autodefensas: “They brought a psychiatrist because they were going to take me tied up and all. When I arrived, they had just left because the people said: “don’t come here to fuck things up, if you return, we will welcome you with bullets.”
—Do you think they will kill you?
—Yes. I no longer have family in this house, that is alone, as you can see. I no longer have a wife, I no longer have my daughters. I have 14 months with a threat. When I rose up in arms they gave me 24 hours to live. They told me: In 24 hours we are going to kill everyone from your house, even the chickens. But I keep on fighting and I even fell out of a plane.
—Are you afraid?
—I’m not afraid anymore. That’s the bad part. That’s why I spearhead the attacks, I’m at the point, forward. I know that God has protected me a lot. And my friends as well. And that is why I can prove that the five murders that I am accused of are a lie, they are the same people who killed them in Caleta, an attack that they say I ordered. It’s a lie, I don’t order advancements, I am always in the front.
—But there is a picture of you where you pick up the head of a dead person…
—When I arrived, the forensics told me: Doctor, up there is a corpse, why don’t you help us bring it down? I said: Sure. I still can’t walk properly, but I had my guards and we went to the top of the hill. Upon arrival I took pictures with him. I asked them: And this one, how was he killed? They told me: This was the one that greeted us with bullets. And all of those who were there with guns started shooting at each other. And they arrested 18; seven Templarios and 11 for running.
Mireles says that the fight where five men were killed was not ordered by him, and he only went to the scene because he received a distress call: “Smurf, Los Viagras, and El Cinco put up Templario roadblocks in Chuquiapan. They themselves financed them, they gave them food and shirts. While interrogating the 18 detained three Sundays ago, they told me. Smurf caused that war, he caused these deaths, and now he doesn’t know how to clean his hands”.
He says that the following Monday after the events he called Castillo and arranged to meet with him in Coalcomán: “He asked me: ‘Did you talk with the detainees?’ I responded: ‘Yes sir, they are all Templarios. I investigated them.’ ‘What about the dead?’, he asked me. ‘They are also Templarios’, and I asked him for roadblocks in Playa Azul and La Mira. He authorized it. But he asked me for a favor; that I would hand over the detainees to the attorney of Uruapan and Apatzingán. In front of me, he called them. I said goodbye to him, and before reaching the door, Smurf was talking to me. He complained to me. He told me that who the hell was I to go send people to put up roadblocks. I told him: ‘Look, asshole, don’t yell at me or command me, remember that I can command you, but you can’t. Remember that I put you as spokesperson while I was recuperating; I’m here throwing blows’. He lied to me, he told me that he had already spoken to everyone, the same lie, and they asked me to stay. I went back and I told Castillo: ‘Do you fully trust your people?’, and he responded: ‘100% in all’. I said: ‘Then the traitor here is you’. He didn’t say anything.”
Upon raising the complaint with the Public Ministry, Mireles says that the testimonies say that the time of the attack in which five men were killed was at four and he had arrived at 6:30pm. “Smurf sent for all of the survivors of the case. I saw them and none of them that met with Smurf were there. They were people of Chuquiapan, some eight or 10, paid. Castillo arrived and a witness said: ‘I saw that Dr. Mireles came here shooting bullets, along with El Plátano.’ And I told them: ‘Ah, how excellent. Tell me what truck did I have’. He said: ‘ A red one.’ I said: ‘you fucked up, friend; I was in a black one.’ I saw Evangelina, a woman who was at the barricades, and I asked her: ‘Did you see me arrive shooting?’ ‘No doctor, the shooting was at four and you arrived at 6:30.’ Another witness confirmed it. Another witness stated that the commander Valencia ordered them to advance and not El Plátano, and he said that at no time did they ask me for my permission.”
—Do you think that Castillo will try to imprison you for retaliation?
—Yes, with that version that I’m not well ever since I fell off the plane. The day I got sick, I appointed Papa Smurf as spokesperson because he was my guard. And he helped me. He was the one who was responsible for getting money for paying the hospitals. I couldn’t distrust Papa Smurf. We were friends. His betrayal hurts me a lot. It feels horrible.
—Why did you choose a repented guard?
—He was faithful and loyal to us. I didn’t know that he had been a part of La Familia. I barely found out.
—Is Castillo capable of doing something against you?
—He was the one who handed out the documents that El Cinco and Smurf signed. If anything happens o me, you know who it was.
From Hand to Mouth
Mireles gets excited, he cries. He remembers how he was first kidnapped, taking him out of his office, and how they kidnapped his two sisters, something that cost the life of his mother. When he finally decided to denounce the army generals corrupted by the money of the Templarios, they placed three of his neighbor’s heads outside of his home.
They killed them for having a votor registration card of Tepalcatepec. And I didn’t shut up. They were my neighbors, I saw them grow up. That is why I’ll keep on fighting. That is how we started shooting. The first time we made the mistake of handing over 27 detainees to the army of Tepalcatepec, with guns and all. The army handed them over to the Public Ministry and the next day they were free with their guns. Who were we going to trust in? What other authority could we have talked to? I personally called the governor and he didn’t want to talk. What authority? Why do you think I went (to the city of) Mexico? I wanted them to know about what his going on now. The commissioner is already allied the criminals and soon there will be more evidence.
Mireles lives from hand to mouth. He never knows where he will eat or where he will sleep. The only thing he is sure of is that battles are approaching. His people are waiting for his orders.
Before leaving in his new armored truck, which his dad, 81, bought on credit, he gives him his blessing. His bodyguards follow him. My dream is to be at peace here. Money, politics, or fame don’t interest me. I want what’s good for Michoacán. The government has never respected the agreements. We just need to remember what they did with Emiliano Zapata, Francisco I. Madero, Francisco Villa. History is telling us. I’ve been in the way for a long time.
—Do you think your death will be good for something?
—No. Mexicans are absent-minded. Maybe in a month no one will remember me.
Source: La Jornada