Proceso (5-27-2014) By Sabina Berman
Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat
|Chong's war. Cartoon by Rocha.|
MEXICO, D.F. (Proceso).- In the remote year of 2014, the astute Secretary Chong announced: the State needs to recover the remote province of Michoacan for the Government, and he sent a Commissioner for Pacification to the territory.
What he did not announce, and what he kept to himself, was that the first phase of the so-called Pacification would be the War against the autodefensas, the citizens groups who had already liberated entire cities from crime and were attracting the enthusiasm and the hope of the nation.
Attack your allies, but don't stop calling them allies. Attack them while getting photos taken with them. Attack them by cutting off the heads of their armies. Attack them suddenly. Or gradually. That is, any way you can.
Immediately, the Commissioner for Pacification imprisoned one of the leaders of the autodefensas, Hipolito Mora, accusing him of murder, thanks to the testimony of a woman who witnessed the crime from a distance of five city blocks... at night.
Then, albeit more gradually, it discredited the second most visible leader, Dr. Mireles, accusing him of being charismatic, of being an articulate and plain spoken man, and of being good looking (and other offenses against the governing class), not to mention being a murderer and crazy.
What was Secretary Chong doing? Why was he attacking his allies? Weren't they supposed to be his allies and wasn't the War against crime?
Nobody could understand him, language had lost all its meaning, Good was now Bad, and Bad... who knows what that was, and a fog of ambiguity cast a pall over the Michoacan lanscape.
In this manner, the nation saw its enthusiasm transformed into a vague sorrow, a sensation that was identical to its usual self image.
The idea is to win the War against allies before the war against the enemy, for two tactical reasons. They are closer and more unaware (how the hell could they have imagined that their ally would attack them?).
Astute Secretary Chong's idea was to destroy the autodefensas before defeating the criminals. For the reason just given: it was easier.
In addition, as the Commissioner explained, the autodefensas could at some uncertain future date become paramilitary groups. Or they could become politicians. Or become something worse: citizens who would demand from the State the right to survival and peace.
In any case, the final objective is always for the State, not independent groups, to decide the life and death of its citizens and not to take orders from anybody.
To lose that exclusivity is to lose what it most cherishes: Power.
So, then, demoralized, without leadership, confused and terrified, the allies joined the State forces in the role of vassals.
Autodefensas were dressed up as police and were taught to say "Yes, sir!", "Yes, sir!", "Yes, sir!" They became lawful members of the same forces that previously and for 12 years were not able to attack criminals in Michoacan, in large measure because they were infiltrated by criminals.
It doesn't matter, they said, what was important was the State's hegemony, that is, making sure that if the State could not win its War against crime, neither could anybody else.
Once the allied armies were subdued, peace was made with the overthrown leaders and they, too, were graciously allowed to become servants of the State.
Hipolito Mora and Dr. Mireles were hired to be part of the police and had their pictures taken shaking hands with the Commissioner.
The astute Secretary Chong did his calculations.
In less than a year he had defeated his allies and returned a state to a condition called exactly that by the philosopher Confucius: confusion.
That is when the astute Secretary Chong undertook at last the War against the real enemy: crime. Or rather, he did not undertake it.
Feeling at last peaceful, free from demands, the astute Secertary Chong began to consider how he would go against the criminals. Or how he would not go against criminals. The decision lacked urgency.
Meanwhile, the leader of the criminals, "La Tuta", who had been observing the progress of the Pacification on TV from his home, scratched his head. Famously, a month earlier he had stated in an interview with Telemundo, "I know that the State will kill me some day"
Now, he was not so sure...