Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat
Michoacán is one of the states with the most violence in the country due to the dispute between drug cartels in the Tierra Caliente region, which covers 17 municipalities in the state along with nine in Guerrero and five in the State of Mexico.
The fight from organized crime for the control of the plazas and the inability of the state government to maintain a state of peace caused the armed uprising of hundreds of civilians from the communities of La Ruana and Tepalcatepec to make up groups called autodefensas in February 2013.
The civil uprising, consisting mainly of merchants, farmers and ranchers immediately won the sympathy of michoacanos and a year later, more than 30 towns of 20 municipalities had their own autodefensas.
Shootouts, deaths, extortions, kidnappings, rapes, and the presence of the Caballeros Templarios and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels, products from local governments without any control, and the then PRI governor Fausto Vallejo Figueroa, put the entire country on alert and Michoacán became the first challenge of the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto.
On January 15 2014, the federal government appointed Alfredo Castillo Cervantes as the Commissioner for Security and the Integral Development of Michoacán. His objective was to restore public confidence in the institutions of law enforcement, in addition to legalizing and integrating the groups of autodefensas that emerged in the state into the Fuerza Rural.
Despite Peña Nieto’s attempts to maintain order in Michoacán, violence and terror didn’t leave the state and the figure of the commissioner failed. On January 22 of this year, Enrique Peña Nieto ordered the departure of Castillo and instead appointed General Felipe Gurrola Ramírez in his place.
The situation of anarchy that the state of Michoacán lived through and the scandals that stemmed from a series of videos where the son of the former governor of Michoacán, Rodrigo Vallejo Mora, appeared in alongside members of organized crime such as Servando Gómez Martínez, “La Tuta”, led to Fausto Vallejo’s resignation as the Governor of Michoacán.
Rodrigo Vallejo, known as “El Gerber”, is another case that remains pending in Michoacán. Rodrigo Vallejo has appeared in several videos and photographs with members of organized crime. From these incidents, he was held in Santiaguito prison located in the State of Mexico in August 2014; however, eight months later, he was released on bail after paying seven thousand pesos ($449 USD).
And violence continues in the state, now ruled by the academic Salvador Jara Guerrero.
On May 14, Enrique Hernández Salcedo, candidate for the mayor of Yurécuaro, through the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (MORENA) (National Regeneration Movement), was fired upon during a political rally and minutes later, died.
In another act of violence, on May 22 a shootout between federal forces and alleged members of organized crime occurred in Tanhuato, which left at least 43 dead, of which 11 showed signs of torture, according to family members of the victims to the US newspaper The Washington Times.
Shootouts in Tumbiscatío
A month later, on June 23, social network users reported another alleged shootout in Tumbiscatío, which left 12 dead; however, state authorities reported no conflict in the area.
Michoacán, amongst the states with the most cases of manslaughter
The violent events that have occurred in Michoacán in recent months have been recorded in statistics of various organizations such as México ¿Cómo Vamos? and the Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano (ONC) (National Citizen Observatory), which the latter presented a report this month about Incidences of High Impact Crimes in Mexico during 2014.
The document revealed that the State of Mexico, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Chiapas and Oaxaca surpassed one thousand investigations for manslaughter.
But the escalation of violence in Michoacán crossed the borders and is now the subject of a documentary that tells the story of two figures: the leader of the autodefensas in Michoacán, José Manuel Mireles, and the leader of the Arizona Border Recon (AZBR) in the United States, Tim Foley.
“Cartel Land” is the name of this controversial film that hits theaters in Mexico on July 2. The director, Matthew Heinerman, expressed through images of severed heads, hanging corpses from bridges, cries of torture that go through the walls of houses that have been turned into makeshift prisons, the reality that currently exists in Michoacán.
Source: Sin Embargo