By: Ángel Galeana | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat
The mayors of San Miguel Totolapan and Copalillo warned that the residents of their municipalities have begun to organize themselves in order to create autodefensa and community police groups with the intent to tackle organized crime, and the federal police.
Interviewed separately on the premises of Casa Guerrero, they reported that the residents of their municipalities are creating civilian police forces, as has happened in other municipalities in the state, although for different purposes.
The PRD mayor of San Miguel Totolapan, Juan Mendoza Acosta, said that residents of the municipal capital have begun meetings to create autodefensa groups “against the federal police” because the people are outraged by their actions, and he said that he will participate, bearing a weapon.
—“Is there a possibility of creating an autodefensa group in your municipality?”-He was asked.
—“Of course there is, look, the people are outraged, they’re outraged with the federal police, which is in charge of the Department of Public Safety in the municipality, the truth is, they’re not doing their role as they should, the people are outraged with them, and they are the first ones who are going to arm themselves against them,” he said.
He also added that federal police detain people with arrest warrants, but then they free them “and the people are against that, and they have a reason to, I am supporting the citizens, the truth is, I agree that this needs to be eliminated.”
—Are you going to arm yourself?
—Of course, I will support the citizens, we are tired of it…I won’t lead them, but I am with them.
Mendoza Acosta called on authorities to “make sense” of San Miguel Totolapan, because it’s a “red flag” not only in the state, but in the country.
He acknowledged that there are soldiers and federal and state police permanently but their actions are “ineffective because of the halcón network that exists in the municipality.”
“Criminals have their halcónes, and the truth is, they mock the law…we need to eradicate the halconeo in order to move forward on the issue of crime,” he said.
He noted that those who are engaged in the activity of sending information about the operations of security forces to criminal groups are “running on full power”, and for them, the security strategies implemented by the three levels of government are a “joke”.
Questioned about the two teachers from the primary school Vicente Guerrero, in the community of Valle Luz who were kidnapped on April 11th, he said that he doesn’t know the motives or the kidnappers. “San Miguel Totolapan is the border of two criminal gangs, which I don’t know the names of and they are in dispute of lands, and the truth is I don’t know who they were.”
He acknowledged that in his municipality, teaching has been affected by these criminal groups, and dozens of schools, especially those that are located along the mountainous area, have had to suspend their classes. “They have it teaching hard, I think it is the economic issue, these criminals work for money, and they are only happy that way.”
Moreover, the mayor of Copalillo, Getulio Ramírez Chino, who on March 22nd suffered an attack where two municipal police officers in charge of his security died, said that around 80 residents of the 22 communities of his municipality are organizing themselves to create community police groups, but without weapons.
He said that the communities have always been guarded by their own police force, but this time, they are starting to make it in a formal way. He detailed who they have already been given uniforms and boots, but no weapons, which he considers a danger since they won’t have the possibility of defending themselves from an organized crime group.
He exemplified that in the community of Tlalcozotitlán, residents have set up a security checkpoint that serves to prevent crime in the area.
He said that after the attack that he suffered on March 22, he no longer feels safe in Copalillo, because it borders with four municipalities “and we don’t know where the blow will come from.”
He said that one of the most dangerous roads is the one that connects Copalillo with Puebla, for which he has asked the authorities to install a security module, but have not heeded his call.
“I think that bad people circulate through there, because the road is alone, if you go in the night, you won’t see a single car, I have always insisted that a security module be place in the limits of Guerrero with Puebla, but nothing was put,” he reproached.
Source: Bajo Palabra