Thursday, May 1, 2014

“We Obey the People, Not the Government” Nahua Communities of Michoacán Warn

Photo by: Alejandra Guillén
By: Alejandra Guillén
Aquila, Michoacán— Facing the demobilization of the autodefensas in the state, the coastal community of Santa María Ostula, located in the municipality of Aquila, found that members of its community police won’t be registering as rural police.

“Who we obey are the people, not the federal government”, they warned.

The commander of the community guard, Semeí Verdía, will present to the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) the agreement from the meeting held on April 27 on Thursday in which they paid protest to the commanders and police of each of the 23 “managements”.

In total, 150 villagers total those who occupy this position voluntarily during the year.

The list includes the names of the people who make up the community security and the weapons that each will carry.

“The commissioner Alfredo Castillo agreed to respect our traditional forms of organization.  He said that with indigenous peoples the process will be different”, Semeí Verdía said during an interview.

Only he and a few others are going to register as rural police in order to be able to move around armed and to ensure that when they enter into a “unified command”, they themselves will be the ones who will be entering the community as a security authority.

What we don’t want is for them to send people from outside.

Semeí, a 33 year old Nahua youth, escaped from his community in 2010, after someone tried to assassinate him in a soccer field located in the beach resort of Ticla.

Earlier this year, he observed the activity of the autodefensas and approached them for help.  A month later, on February 7, Semeí and another “exiled” comrade led the advancement of the autodefensas who sprang out in Santa María Ostula.

Thereafter, the security strategy in the community has been different than the rest of the people who ‘rose up in arms’ against organized crime since 2013.

It’s because while the autodefensas are recovering the control from the coastal region and the Templarios have been fleeing in boats-including Federico González, El Lico, capo who controlled from Cerro de Ortega, in Colima, to El Faro, in Michoacán-, in car trunks or hiding in the Sierra Madre del Sur, the Nahua community took a break in order to revive their struggle and reconfigure their community police.

That is, the first group was the “necessary foundation” laid in order to stop the violence raging in the region, so that the indigenous Nahua people could speak, defend, and rebel without retaliation, in contrast to the 31 villagers killed and five missing persons in previous years from 2009 to 2013.

The support of the autodefensas from the municipalities of Chinicuila, Coalcomán and Coahuayana, on the coast of Aquila, remained until Sunday the 27th, and on that same day the community guard of Ostula was left in charge.

Semeí and those involved with the autodefensas of other municipalities passed their weapons directly to the police team in charge of where they live.

“This is a historic moment”, repeated some of the 880 attendees at the meeting last Sunday.  First, because it was a symbolic act of triumph over the criminal cartel of the Caballeros Templarios.

Second, because this community guard functions similarly to the one they previously had during the 1980’s, which was disintegrated with the arrival of the municipal police.

Also, because although they had first attempted to reconfigure their community police and community guard for the recovery of 700 hectares of the coastal region now known as Xayakalan in June 2009, its members did not give in to protest against the meeting-“they gave weapons to all those who participated in the mobilization”- Trinidad, another resident, recalls- and a year they were disarmed.

“From now on we will look after each other.  We take care of the residents and the residents take care of us…and watch out!  To those of you who try to disorganize us like in 2009.  After all the sufferings we’ve been through, we have to be very careful, we don’t forgive anyone who has ties to organized crime.  We need to look very well”, Semeí concluded before the assembly, in which he also reported on the economic contributions of each person in charge of gasoline and food.

In this part of the state, the autodefensas have operated with three trucks in which they seized from organized crime, and only a few have been able to get weapons.

However, the community still fears that organized crime can return with “more couarage”, but meanwhile they will take advantage of this break in order to return to “rise up in arms”.

Illegal Logging

With the arrival of the autodefensas in Santa María Ostula, some residents who had previously worked for organized crime in the illegal logging of sangualica, an endangered species, in order to sell it to China through the ports of Manzanillo and Lázaro Cárdenas, also fled.  They have gradually returned but have to apologize in an assembly meeting.

Some of them recognize that in order to enter some of the areas in the sierra, machinery from the municipality of Aquila was needed in order to open roads and haul the wood clandestinely.

On Wednesday the 2nd, during a visit from José Manuel Mireles, Semeí Verdí  questioned at a public meeting, the PRI mayor Juan Hernández for the theft of wood and iron that the Templarios did in the region:

“I have spent days asking for a dump truck and an excavator in order to bring down some sticks that the criminals left me out there, the sticks are of the famous sangualica.  They say that (those who opened the roads) were not employees of the municipality, but they were.  You want it removed, but I wonder who is in charge of the local government?  No way I bring a guy and I don’t know what that bastard does”.

The sangualica or granadillo began being cut down since 2012 across the coastal mountains of Michoacán.  In the port of Manzanillo, just over 100 kilometers from Santa María Ostula, timber is sold at about $2,500 per cubic meter, according to buy-sell ads circulating on the Internet.

An official from the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) of Jalisco, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals, confirmed that a container of 22 to 25 cubic meters sold to Chinese businessmen is sold at about $600,000, that is, $24,000 per cubic meter.

There are no permits in Mexico to export that timber, so they put it in containers mixed with other species that can be marketed.

This type of trafficking was reported since 2012 by the delegate José Manuel Galindo of Jalisco, from the Federal Attorney of Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), which was more complex to detect illegal trafficking of precious woods than iron.

Mayor Juan Hernández admitted that the Templarios hired people from the communities who were familiar with the mountain and knew where there was sangualica.  They were paid by the day, around 200 or 300 pesos per day.

The representative of Communal Lands of Santa María Ostula, Santos Leyva, said that many villagers accepted this situation because they were threatened by criminals.

Verdía has traveled the Sierra Madre del Sur and what they have found is “the destruction that the criminals did to us, not only in my community, because in Pómaro we found destroyed and looted mines.  We took the machinery; we decommissioned it and took it to the municipal seat”.

The lands where the minerals were stolen were from Las Playas, El Nuevo and Puerto de Toros, close to the beach Pichilinguillo.  According to the young farmer, the mafia who coordinated the dispossession was headed by El Teno, El Pimiento and El Turco, who reported directly to Servando Gómez, La Tuta.

“So I told the president, you are a resident of Pómaro, how do you not know of the damage that they are doing in the mines?” Commander Verdía questions.

In this regard, the mayor confirmed that the area was most affected by illegal mining was seen in the sierra of la Barranca de López and the company Ternium is pressuring the state government to change the Ecological Management of the Sierra-Costa region, because it doesn’t permit the mining, which prevents the firm to expand to 140 hactares under concession in this municipality.

Aquila is a paradise for natural resources, because here minerals are extracted or timber is trafficked.

Also, it is a strategic area for the transfer of drugs into the United States, and the geography of its sierra has been ideal for the planting of poppy and marijuana, and in recent years for the installation of drug labs.

Source: Proceso


  1. This exactly is the problem corruption. How do you fix corruption??? New goverment. Revolution anyone??

    1. Well here in tamaulipas arent autodefensa our boss lear from usa any indio apestoso que se t quiera revelar se le guacha accidentes pasan imigo indios desgraciados uno que estudio es mejor

  2. The same thing happened in Mexico that happened in the U.S. with respect to indigenous people. The better, more fertile and arable lands were seized from them with the help of the government and given to politically connected landowners. The indigenous communities were given lands that were thought to be worthless-- mountainous, scarce arable land, inaccessible.

    Now, however, these lands which for generations were protected by indigenous communities that depended on them for survival, are suddenly very attractive because they contain virgin stands of old growth timber, minerals and, of all things, clean water, that the government wants to exploit. There is a concerted effort by the EPN to open these lands to commercial exploitation, especially the mineral resources. Typically, a Mexican enterprise gets permission to loot and forms a joint enterprise with a multinational company to take the loot out of the country.

    EPN has gone so far as to create "local" organizations that the government then accepts as representatives of the local community for purposes of satisfying legal requirements that the local community must be consulted. Not surprisingly, by the time the real local community learns of the deals, the fake organizations have already given permission for the looting to begin.

    The drug cartels, especially the Templarios, very quickly realized that these communities could be exploited and simply got in ahead of the government. But they followed the same pattern, partnering with Chinese enterprises to take the loot out of the country. They chose the Chinese because they generally don't care whether the source of the resources they buy is legal or not.

    Using constitutional provisions, the Indigenous communities have created self defense ("comunitarios") police forces in the past. Some still exist, but others have been obliterated by the Mexican Army. Fascinating history.

    1. Wow. Thx for the history. Very interesting. Greedy bastards

    2. Unlike 90% of the comments this was a great read

  3. The communities of the Nahua, of Michoacan in general, are fighting the powers that be. They are starting to realize that they've been hoodwinked by organized and the corrupt politicians who collude with them. The CTs/LFM have looted their natural resources inorder to sell them at bargain prices to transnational Indian and Chinese corporations while they stuff their bank accounts with the profits. These resources that the CTs loots are helping turn India and China into superpowers without the people of Michoacan truly benefiting financially. None of the wealth generated is going to where Michoacan truly needs it: education, health services, reasonably paying jobs. The Nahua and the people of Mexico need to retake their country back from the domestic and international vultures who are looting/destroying their nation.

    1. Good for the locals!

  4. this is getting worse and worser, BB is getting full of smartypants that are NOT suppossed to know any of these secrets of state and who are threatening the corrupt mexican government and their corruptors, who pay a pretty penny to be allowed to rape the mexicans and the poor all over the world in the ass, including the american people, we need to start building the guillotines to process the blueberry pie stealing assholes.
    @1:42 and @3:48, THANKS FOR BEING HERE!!! and keep up the good work...

  5. That's right this has been going on for years to the mexican natives in all states of mexico but especially indigenous people. Mexico needs a new government. Ever since the Spaniards conquered mexico now all the political gov. Just want to exploit and take all the riches they can before they leave office. All the politicians from smallest to biggest just take all the money that is given to help communities, cities and state and country. I give michoacan props for trying to fix the problem because it won't go away it will continue to worsen if they ignore the problem. Puro michoacan vale!

  6. Hello Chivis. Don't mean to bother because I know you're a hard worker but I read on twitter that CJNG entered Jiquilpan, Michoacan in about 15 suvs to fight with the CT. There were confrontations. Do the AD control Jiquilpan? I'm sure you'll report on this later because it's late as I post thus but im just throwing it out there just in case. Thank you and again my apologies for bothering.

  7. Corruption is so engrained and institutionalized throughout Mexican society that it will take something like a revolution to transform and change the current situation . Unfortunately , the government holds the upper hand through its powerful military and security apparatus . I forsee a government crackdown on the autodefense groups by the military because they pose a real threat to the of powerful elitists who will do anything to keep the status quo in tack . As a Mexican , I cannot help but be cynical and suspicious of the government's attempts to keep the autodefensas in " check " by pretending to work with them while at the same time trying to keep their influence from spreading to other states , particularly those in the north .

  8. Chivis good news la marina is chasing down the ADs from caleta c acabo ese grupo les ban a kitar las armas ayer en la noche ubo enfrentamientos entre marina y ADs los an desconocido el CAM, por tantas kejas y asecinatos.papa pitufo dise k son un gropo delictivo la mayoria son ex CTs y algunos son d jalisco, thank God those fake ADs are going down for killing those inocent kids on sunday in chukiapan, you should look up...diario abc d lazaro cardenas...Valor por Apatzingan...lo de hoy en el puerto

  9. Not to excuse the greedy cartel bastards who sell out their own for a buck, but the friggin Chinese and their demands for endangered species across the globe are creating demands for rhinoceros horns, tigers, and now trees from Michoacan. those godless culeros are bankrolling the earths destruction

  10. 7:31AM
    I posted on the original post that Smurf came out and implied they were a group of AD with an agenda to become an organized crime group.

    As for the marina...that is great, but where is the link. that helps

  11. There has been a surprising spike in violence in Gro, I thought it would be quieter as CJNG moves to the borders of Mich to fight with CT for territorial control. Blaceras in places like Huetamo and jiquilpan de juarez are a bold statement from CJNG.

    whatever is happening in Gro, must derive from a new group or groups. But kidnappings are out of control, the worse ever, now identified 2 dozen active kidnapping gangs.

    sorry, I have kept an eye on the situation, mainly because Ann Devert, Harry Deverts mother has been there for 3 weeks. I was very concerned for her. He is the American kidnapped in Mich. I have been advising her. She is a wonderful lady.

    I am sorry I don't have more time to research and my resources in Gro are just about nothing. honestly I had expected CT to move into Gro and fight for territory there. that still may happen.

    the big news today is the results of the meeting of Dr M in DF yesterday. Supposedly next week rural police uniforms will be delivered next week and they can keep cleaning and liberating cities and keep their weapons. feds are giving them vehicles and training.

    But I sent a list of questions to Dr M. I need to verify before posting.

    1. Ct are present.. this isn't over.. they're spread throughout the entire region... guerrero, guanajuato, jalisco, colima, df, even in border towns...

  12. the big news today is the results of the meeting of Dr M, castillo and the feds in DF yesterday. Supposedly next week rural police uniforms will be delivered and they can keep cleaning and liberating cities and keep their weapons. feds are giving them vehicles and training.

    But I sent a list of questions to Dr M. I need to verify before posting.

  13. Michoacan needs to suceede from Mex after the primos clean up the state.

  14. 1:22AM
    Yes, it was liberated apx one month ago. I am not sure what is going on. But AD and fed police entered the city and AD took control after a confrontation with CT. CT has tried to regain control once before. I can't find any news about the confrontation of this week. But I am wondering if it really was AD against CJNG, like in Huetamo?

    I think it is a Pueblo Mágico,

  15. Found this on twitter.. there's problems between El Platano & Papa Pitufo. Not sure what to think but personally I mistrust Estanislao Beltran. Like when he appointed himself as leader & had the agreement with the government. It's in Spanish though and I'm a terrible translator. But i mostly want to get your thoughts on this dear Chivis. Thank you. Take care. xx

  16. Me and Valor have been talking about the situation, and both you and Valor sent me the article. Something from the beginning just did not sit well with me. I have to agree with you about mistrust of Smurf. Remember what he did to Dr M when he was recuperating, he fired his ass and appointed himself sole spokesman, I think he never dreamed Dr M would return, and return so quickly and strong.

    I think both sides of the story must be offered to readers. I think Valor is translating it and the document. I will also ask Dr M to comment on it.

    Honestly, I think the truth lies somewhere between the two stories from each side, but I don't trust smurf.

    dr. M happened to be near by for a meeting, so he went to the scene when the ADs from caleta called for help. But I know they did not go in with Federal police. that part is untrue. But the feds may have been told of the advance and were supposed to tell the CAM leaders.

    Dr M said they were not given permission, nor did they ask for it.

    The shootout scene looked bad to me.

  17. Greatly appreciate your response Chivis! Thank you. Much love to you and Valor. Smurf could just be a gloryhound but i think there's more than meets the eye. Anyway I just want stuff to be clear with Smurf because that guy could betray Dr. Mireles in a terrible way. Along with the ADs.

  18. Someones gotta tell those guys in that picture that they're throwing the Nazi salute.

  19. This area was one of the last areas to be opened by the pacific coast highway. It is Indian ejido land. The town of Last Placita, just around the next headland to the the north of Rio Ostulla, is comprised of mainly non indian folk who stole that land and continue to encroach on more land. Several years ago the Indians said enough and started fighting back. Shout out to Amalia and her folk in La Ticla.

  20. 6:35 uno que estudio, lo hacen mas pendejo, mas pronto, los americanos.
    one that studied, is made a bigger fool, sooner, by the americans
    the americans discovered the mechanics of political power in mexico a while ago, and have promoted the cult to the presidents all over the latin americas, with the obvious results, in spite of our politicians having studied at harvard, yale, mit, stanford or any other big university, all they learned was to kiss ass and bend over backwards for the americans, now for the chinese, hindu, arabs and europeans from bankrupt economies, some people should never have "studied".

  21. 4:40
    It is confusing and sad, if only personalities and greed could be set aside and they all will take a page from Cherán, keeping the eye on the goal, the movement is not for a few people, but for the security of all.

  22. chivis, while this is too far from the mexico/US border, just to show what is in store for an area in dispute, wanted by the bankrupt European Union economies and the US, RT is showing what is going on in the Ukrainia, the thirst for gas and oil from the USSR's RUSSIA is driving the neo-nazi US/EU libertarian vulture capitalistas crazy, now they want to steal a good big chunk of the former soviet empire, and get the US involved in another unwinnable war, and, unbelievable! Obama is falling into the trap of proving he is a "man", and getting into it, dirty dick cheney, don rumsfeld and all their cohorts must have a lot of contracts worth billions prepared. americans, get your children ready to go and die on foreign countries for spurious reasons, so the chickenhawks get a few more billions for their privileged and precious children, who don't have to go and fight their own wars anywhere. unbelievably, secretary of state John Kerry is sinking his own swiftboat after getting swiftboated by the republicans, and getting an election stolen from him and the US. RT reporting the news like nobody in the US, without a hint of communism, absolutism, censure or fascism.
    witness the progress of the takeover of Russia that has been dreamed since before Napoleon, who froze his ass and aspirations there, like hitler's armies, and whoever is next; cooperation is never good enough, it all must be neo-liberal vulture capitalist owned, including the slaves, entiende?

  23. @9:51 chivaaa! thanks for posting, or whoever allowed it, we have earned a trip to hell on the train mounted gas chambers, buggs and BB thanks too!
    i'm much obliged and grateful, not that i'm payin' the favor...


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