Proceso: Editorial Board
Translated by Jane Brundage (Mexico Voices)
Mexico City - After seventeen months of imprisonment on charges of possession of a weapon for the exclusive use of the Army, eleven former self-defense members from La Ruana* in the municipality of Buenavista Tomatlán, Michoacán, were released after a judge federal determined that there is insufficient evidence against them.
The release of these eleven, which happened last Tuesday night, added to the other seventeen who were released last August, means that now none of the former self-defense members from La Ruana, in the municipality of Buenavista Tomatlán, who were detained in 2013 remain in prison.
According to government sources cited by the agency Quadratín, despite the fact that the judge ruled that there is insufficient evidence for them to go through judicial proceedings at the Apatzingán Corrections Center, they will have to go there to sign their respective judgments [i.e., judge's ruling (verdict) and release order].
On March 7, 2013, in an operation by Army forces, thirty-four community guards were arrested in the settlement of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, municipality of Buenavista Tomatlán; four days later, the federal forces arrested the other seventeen.
On May 22, four were arrested in the municipality of Chinicuila; on August 15 another forty-five were arrested in Aquila.
The fifty-one arrested in Buenavista and the four arrested in Chinicuila have been released. Of the forty-five arrested in Aquila, comunero leader Augustín Villanueva Ramírez and two of his brothers are the only remaining prisoners.
Still imprisoned are eighty self-defense members arrested this year in the municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas, including the founder and leader of the Tepalcatepec self-defense group, José Manuel Mireles.
MV Note: The La Ruana self-defense group led by Hipólito Mora, an agricultural engineer and lime farmer, was one of the first groups to take up arms in self-defense; dozens of its members were among the first imprisoned by federal forces. Simmering in the background was a feud between Hipólito Mora and another self-defense leader, Simón El Americano and his ally Comandante Cinco.
On March 9, 2014, the feud erupted full-blown into the open with the murder of two former Templars turned self-defense and members of Simón's group. The government's decision to side with Simón El Americano and charge Hipólito Mora with the murder shook the self-defense leadership, which felt not only betrayed by the government but concluded "next the government is coming after us remaining leaders."
On June 27, 2014, Hipólito Mora's ally, Dr. José Mireles from Tepalcatepec, was arrested; he remains imprisoned in Hermosillo, Sonora.