By: Claudia Guerrero and Claudia Salazar; Ana Fuentes|Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat
From the Senate of the Republic, representatives of civil organizations demanded the implementation of an amnesty law for 380 autodefensa members who are currently incarcerated, the liberation of José Manuel Mireles, and the resignation of Federal Commissioner for Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo.
During the meeting “Conference on Security and Justice Autodefensas: From Impulse to Persecution”, the activist Javier Sicilia acknowledged that the increase in violence, impunity, and the government’s complicity with crime have led citizens to rise up in arms and defend themselves against organized crime.
The meeting was brought together by senators Layda Sansores (PT), Manuel Bartlett (PT), Javier Corral (PAN), Alejandro Encinas (PRD) y Ernesto Ruffo (PAN). Those in attendance also included journalists and activists. The meeting was divided into five subjects which include:
- Statistics on Violent Mexico, which was presented by journalist Sanjuana Martínez, Father Alejandro Solalinde and journalist José Reveles.
- The Violation of Due Process, with the presentation of Dr. Jaime Cárdenas García, Dr. Salvador Molina Navarro, the activist and autodefensa Julián Le Barón, Dr. John Ackerman, and Senator Ernesto Ruffo.
- Amnesty Law, presented by author Luis Hernández Navarro, actor Daniel Giménez Cacho, activist and poet Javier Sicilia, and Senator Javier Corral.
- The National Guard: Proposed Solution to the Insecurity, in which General Francisco Gallardo, activist José Jacques and Senator Layda Sansores, proposed an action plan to curb organized crime.
- The Federal Pact and the Case of Michoacán, where Father Gregorio López, independent representative Selene Vázquez, and Senator Manuel Bartlett exposed the insecurity prevailing in Michoacán.
“We want to see Dr. Mireles liberated, but we also want to see his autodefensas liberated, as well as all of the political prisoners who have risen up in arms to defend themselves”, he said.
“We appeal so that the Amnesty Law can be applied to the autodefensas who are imprisoned and who are victims. We ask the State to disarm not the autodefensas, but the immediate disarmament of the narcos and those state apparatuses that are in collusion with them”.
In front of PAN and PT legislators, actor Daniel Jiménez Cacho, from the organization "El Grito más Fuerte" (The Strongest Cry), demanded the immediate resignation of Castillo.
“We are here to demand the release of Dr. José Manuel Mireles, the dismissal of Commissioner Alfredo Castillo, and the disarmament of criminal gangs”, he said.
“We condemn the arrest of Dr. Mireles; it was made up that he was exhibiting a head, it was said that he had bags of cocaine and marijuana, but it is one example among thousands where due process is not satisfied”.
General Francisco Gallardo, advisor to the Commission on Human Rights of the Senate, acknowledged Mireles and even put on his hat.
In his speech, he warned that there is weariness in the society, in the face of impunity.
“What follows is a civil war, it seems that the government is betting on that”, he said.
In front of Virginia Mireles, Mireles’s sister, PAN Senator Javier Corral offered to take the case to the Senate’s platform.
“The most brutal message of this story is that in Michoacán we apprehend all, even a former Secretary of the Governor or an Acting Governor, the autodefensas, but the only one that isn’t detained is ‘La Tuta’”, he said.
The PT Senator Layda Sansores noted that Mireles isn’t just a name but a struggle.
“San Martin once said that when a government turns away from justice, it becomes a government of criminals, and we are governed by a bunch of criminals”, she added.