Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat
Almost two years after his arrest, José Manuel Mireles argues that the autodefensas didn’t have any other choice but to take up arms to fight against organized crime in Michoacán.
“Those responsible for the violence in Michoacán are the organized crime cartels. Who dictated our way of fighting, was them; we didn’t have any other choice but to respond in the same way, fire with fire,” he said in a message recorded from prison.
“We couldn’t go up against a horde of well-armed murderers, and us with clean hands.”
The former spokesman of the General Council of Autodefensas in Michoacán noted that for over 12 years, the government’s fight against crime didn’t give results.
He believed that when the law contravenes with justice, justice must prevail no matter if it comes from the people.
“That is why the autodefensas face off against crime and that is why some of us are prisoners, but we have no doubt that at the end of our judgements, truth and justice will prevail, because fixing this kind of slavery is the highest aspiration of all social fighters,” he said.
For the activist, imprisoned since June 27, 2014, the struggle of armed civilians prevented another generation of children and youths from finish their days enslaved to organized crime or in prison.
The message was released during a rally that was held on Friday in downtown Morelia to demand the release of the fellow surgeon who took up arms in 2013.
Mireles was arrested after entering the community of La Mira, in the municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas, with his men, in order to take control of security against the criminal siege of Los Caballeros Templarios.
The activist was charged with crimes against health and the Federal Law on Firearms and Explosives, being held in the maximum security prison in Hermosillo, Sonora.
Last March, the federal government rejected a defense request to relocate the doctor to the state prison Mil Cumbres, arguing that the detainee is listed as a high risk prisoner.
“The Autodefensas are an endangered race. We are a generation of people who believe that there are higher values in life that are higher than life itself, such as the homeland, family, and freedom.”
“The work of all social fighters is to be with the people, among the people, not behind bars,” Mireles said in a recorded message from prison.
Source: El Mañana