Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dr. Mireles: Nobody is going to disarm-The Accord is "Theater"

El País (2-4-2014) By Paula Chouza Candeira

"I dreamed once that I had all three in front of me: La Tuta, Enrique Plancarte and "El Chayo". In that dream I scolded each of them. "...Dr Mireles

Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat (video of the interview is at end of post)

Jose Manuel Mireles, moral leader of the groups of armed civilians fighting against drug traffickers in the Mexican state of Michoacan, characterizes the accord to legalize the self defense forces as "theater".
Forty-eight bolts in his head, half of his face paralyzed, a punctured lung and an entire armed movement focused on his health. Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles (Tepalcatepec, 1958), spokesman for the self defense forces of Michoacan, in the west of Mexico, is recovering since January 4 from an airplane accident that almost took his life.

Wearing a grey jacket and a dark T-shirt, this surgeon who decided to revolt eleven months ago against the abuses of organized crime asks that his X-ray pictures be brought out to show his wounds. The location of the moral leader of the self defense forces is secret, his public statements, scarce.

 "What I want right now, is to recover", he repeats this several times during the interview that takes place Sunday morning. Although he states that he is currently cut off from the movement, he considers the accord between the governments and the community guards to legalize them to be a "theater", he appears skeptical regarding the arrests announced by the Executive (administration) and criticizes the media propaganda that the authorities are staging over the conflict in Michoacán.

The doctor is recovering his mobility, his spirit, his appetite. His ideas are intact.  Faced with the escalation of violence, this past January 13 the Pena Nieto government and the State Executive signed an agreement to use security forces to intervene in the violent Tierra Caliente (Hot Country) region.

Question:  The Army has been deployed in the area for several months, but you have always accused them of doing nothing. Do you think there has been a change in strategy?

Answer:  At least there is the intention, from the moment that the Federal government and the State announced that they will take charge of the situation, which is what we  had been looking for since the time that we took up arms in February. But during that time, the State Executive, instead of helping us, was the entity that threw more rocks at us, they attacked us the most. In fact, they attacked us more than did the Templarios.

Now, what we are looking forward to is for them to do their job. They already started, they announced two arrests, but we still have not physically seen the arrest of "El Toro",  the first one arrested(no proof). He was the plaza boss in Tepalcatepec, the principal rapist. He would rape four or five women from the same household and nobody would stop him.

Q: So you don't really trust that they have arrested him?

A:  Exactly.  We've had very bad experiences under previous (government) administrations.  We're from over there, we know the criminals and the traffickers and we would see how the previous government would grab any drunk pissing in his garden and would show him off as the "king of meth." 

"We arrested the King of Marijuana, we arrested the King of Cocaine". They may be able to fool the people who don't live there. Maybe they made all those announcements for people who love the circus, but not for those of us who are suffering the problems in person.

That does not convince us. If they tell us that they have arrested "El Toro", we say: "Okay, show him to me, I want to see him, I know him very well". They came to show him to me in photographs. But we're asking them to prove it, including with the use of DNA (testing), because they come back to life.

And every time that they come back to life, it's the Government showing its scorn for the public, because, how is it possible for the Army to announce that they killed "Tio Nicho" -- the third ranking Templario -- in a road block because he wouldn't stop, and six months later he comes back to life and challenges Hipolito Mora -- leader of the La Ruana self defense forces  -- to a duel?

Two years ago, the Federals supposedly killed Nazario Moreno, "El Chayo" [Leader of the cartel. The official version says he's dead, but the self defense forces assert that he is still alive and operating in the area].

Q:   Do you know where [El Chayo] is?

A:   We've always known and we've always told them where he is.

Q:   And today, they still haven't gone for him?

A:   At this moment, I am out of touch with all of the movement. But I still have three weeks of intermediate therapy that I would like to complete, because we are not going to stop until they fall.  We can't be at peace anywhere until they fall. Because we have already confronted them, and while they are still alive, even under arrest, there are prisons where they will live better than they do at home and they can order people killed.

Q:   What do you think about the attack on the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel?

A:   Maybe the state of Jalisco is also doing its job. All the states in the Republic (of Mexico) have this problem. I don't know of a single state that doesn't have (this problem). I've been contacted from three (states) to ask me what it is that they need. The only answer I give them is: rage. I feel that if I run out of rage, I will run out of courage. But it's a rage that I've carried for several years.

Q:   How would you describe that feeling, where does it come from?

A:   From seeing what was happening every day and also from family matters. We had problems with my youngest sister, there were kidnappings in her family, which hit my mother very hard, then she died. From seeing the boys who were born in the house across the street and seeing how they just delivered their heads.

I saw a young boy being kidnapped in Colomotitan; I saw them kidnap a fifteen year old girl as she got out of church...I saw many things and we had to look away because if you stayed to watch, they would kill you, too. We kept our heads down for twelve years.

They killed all members of the Valdovinos family when they no longer wanted to keep on paying the 50,000 pesos ($2,770.00) every month.

Q:   They say that you are advising self defense forces from other states.

A:   They have called us to ask for advice, that's true. They called me from Zacatecas, Oaxaca and Veracruz. I'm in contact with people from Guerrero, the situation is difficult there, also from Jalisco, but I would first like to see how our own state is cleaned up before I get involved in other states. Our war is not against the Mexican State, not even against the State of Michoacán. The only thing we're looking for is for the rule of law to be reestablished so we can have a peaceful life.

Q:   After such a long period of accusing the state government of not doing anything, how do you deal with this new stage under a pact, do you really trust them?

A:   No, we do not trust them. Myself least of all. Also, that pact was one we [self defense forces] already had with the Federal government. Yes, we were going to do it, but only after they had arrested the last of the Templarios. So the events overtook us. I learned that they had lobbied every one of the coordinators they took to the meeting, but there was nobody there from the front lines.  It's part of an agreement that we had, but it was not yet time because we're not finished yet.

Q:   So it's a media agreement?

A:   It's political. It has nothing to do with reality. The proof of this is that the following day my companions took over the municipalities of Reyes and Periban, and they will keep going forward.
continues on next page.....

Q:   What do you think about (the fact) that there are people who are not going to give up their weapons yet?

A:   Nobody is going to give up their weapons.  In fact, the agreement is for those who want to continue having weapons to continue to do so under the "defensas rurales" (rural defense forces) organizations.  Because the agreement that we had was that they were going to eliminate all the municipal police in all of Michoacán and they were going to call themselves "state police", and that the state police would be made up of all the "autodefensas" and "comunitarios" (communitarian  police) who wished to belong to those police agencies.

The state police would be paid a salary. The "defensas rurales" are not paid, it's only to allow them to carry weapons on their ranches and care for their cattle and their property. 

That has existed for many, many years, it's nothing new. Personally, I don't like for the Federal government in Michoacán to make use of the social movement in the media. The state needs all of the government's attention to resolve the situation,  but not through these little dramas.

In Michoacán, we do not need theater to regain peace, we need real action, like the intervention in the Lazaro Cardenas port. We were astonished, because the Federal government showed that it has the capability to resolve the problem [In November, the Army took control of the docks, the main entry point for merchandise from the Pacific  (Ocean)].

Q:   Is the solution the institutionalization of the "autodefensas"?  

A:   That can only happen after the state has been cleaned up. It will do no good before that.

Q:  You, for example, would you like to become "legalized" or would you rather return to (practicing) medicine?

A:   No, I'm going back to my job. I have my work, and of all of us who have our occupations, none of us will be registering "autodefensas" weapons. None of us. In fact, it's a scam on the government by my companions when they go register a little pistol that is not used by the "autodefensas". 

Both sides are making fun of each other.. There's nothing really formal, it's all theater. Imagine, I have all my weapons registered, but they are hunting weapons, sporting.

Q:   You're saying that you will surrender your weapons as soon as they capture the seven leaders of the Templarios. What happens after that?

A:   The seven leaders I presented are from my region. "El Chayo", "La Tuta", Plancarte and "El Tio" are the Templario leaders for all of the state, but each region has its own plaza bosses. Each [coordinator] in turn presented the leaders that have to be detained, they are a bunch. Each [coordinator] needs to figure out how any of those who screwed up their town will fall.

Q:   And what happens next? Do you surrender your weapons, will there be elections?

A:   All of the state is contaminated by organized crime. All of the election was carried out at gunpoint: president, congressional representatives. I am not in favor of suspending government authority in the state of Michoacán  because then you would have a social revolution, but we are in favor of the Federal government doing everything needed to clean up all of the state, from the governor's mansion to the municipalities.

Elections are coming, and we will be the main people making sure that nobody will vote with a rifle pointed at his head. I will guarantee you this right now.

Q:   And who will guarantee that it won't be you all who will point guns at the people when they go vote?

A:   We're not in that business. I am not part of the political movement in my city.

Q:   So then you don't see yourselves as political actors?

A:   No, none of us do.

Q:   You don't see yourself as a political leader?

A:   No, and I'm not interested. We believe strongly in our institutions. We will step aside in favor of those who are politicians, those who are truly interested in the betterment of the people. But we will be will also be making sure that they will not begin to steal because the people will no longer stand for it.

Q:   Then, you're not a politician?

A:   Not any more. I was a candidate for senator, for federal congressman, for mayor, but I got into the political party trickery and saw all of it. I'm not interested. [Dr. Mireles admits he was a PRI member for 25 years, and he was Secretary general of the PRD in the U.S. when he lived in California.]  

Q:   Would you be a good governor for Michoacán?

A:   (He sighs.) Remember that the governor of a state is not everything, he needs a good work team. And if a single person in his team doesn't do what he needs to do for the development of the state, he spoils the job for you and for everybody else. Right now I'm not interested.

Q:   Right now, I suppose, you're interested in your recovery. 

A:   Right now all I'm interested in is for them to begin to take out the screws that are bothering me. There are 48, but, to begin with, they're taking out five, and they're going to leave the rest in there. I'm doing intermediate therapy, controlling my vital signs every day, I'm trying to gain weight, I lost more than 44 pounds, my movement.

I don't know how long it will take to recover feeling in my face; I need it to be able to open my eyes. My right side is affected and I can see you with my left eye. I still need three weeks of intermediate therapy and I don't know how long it will take for rehabilitation in my mouth. Half of my teeth are pushed in.

Q:   When you return to Tepalcatepec,  do you intend to get involved again directly with the movement?

A:   We can't go back. It's obligatory, even if I can no longer be in the fighting, as I always liked to be.

Q:   Do you want to return to your medical clinic?

A:   Yes, I've got four years until retirement.

Q:   Aren't you afraid to return and that they will try to kill you?

A:   I'm not afraid, but I have to be careful. I'm more afraid of a lone gunman than a group of armed people. A group of armed people is noticeable, a lone stalker is not. I'm afraid of somebody approaching me from whatever side on a motorcycle. Those I'm afraid of, and there are a lot of them, but so long as we are within our zone, we are somewhat safe because the neighbors are guarding the exits and entrances to the town and they don't allow strangers through.

Q:   What would you say to all those people who are saying that you are doing the work for the Templarios' rivals?

A:   It could be. When we drove the Templarios out of Tepalcatepec, they were in a fight to the death with a cartel from Jalisco that was in Tecalitlan. When we began the movement, our relatives notified us that there was a "manta" (banner with a message) at the entrance to Tecalitlan that read, "Welcome, residents of Tepalcatepec".

I asked a young man, "Why?" "That's because you ran off our town's enemies", he told me. Because one December, the Tepalcatepec Templarios went there and shot 60 persons from Tecalitlan as they were leaving mass. So the town hated the Templarios.

A couple of months ago, I asked him how they felt today: "To tell you the truth, we are bored because we no longer have anybody to fight with", he answered.

We're not playing any cartel's game. Tepalcatepec and the state of Michoacán  learned their lesson. At first, the town asked "La Familia Michoacana" for help to run off the "Zetas" cartel, then "La Familia" takes over everything, they fight among themselves and the Templarios show up. A lot of people fought the "Zetas", then "La Familia". The inhabitants don't want anything to do with any cartel.

Q:   Where do you get your weapons?

A:   In every battle that we win, the Templarios leave us their weapons.

Q:   And aren't there any infiltrators in the "autodefensas"?

A:   We have several groups now. Every municipal occupancy has its own. The only infiltrators they may have are people who may have belonged to a cartel many years before, because we don't allow people identified with criminals to come in. We have that risk and that fear. We get proposals, but we have always said no.

Q:   What would you say to La Tuta if you had him in front of you?

A:   I dreamed once that I had all three in front of me: La Tuta, Enrique Plancarte and "El Chayo". In that dream I scolded each of them. You, Chayo, you own all of the Sierra Madre Occidental (western mountain range), how many armed men do you have with you? So you don't have any fighting among them, give each of the 100 hectares (240 acres) and give each of your chiefs $10 million and let them put their men to work their ranch. The point men, the lookouts, so they won't steal. You already have money and can go to another country.

They have huge mansions in other places. Leave the people of Michoacán  in peace.  I told La Tuta: keep the El Faraon mine, which produces $600,000 a week. Just for yourself. Distribute the other mines among your generals and let them put their people to work. There's no need for them to steal, rape or kidnap. I told Plancarte the same thing. One day, I told my friends about (my dream) and we were all laughing.

Q:   What truth is there in the stories published in the Mexican press about your sentence for drug trafficking?  

A:   I was involved with drugs because of a job I had as a federal government official. I was the one who wrote the medical report on drug samples and they took advantage of that fact to come out with that. There was a time when Tepalcatepec was full of drug traffickers. The main ones were the Federal (police) and the military. There was a problem with a family member, I wouldn't do a favor for him and he wrote about me in the newspaper, but I have nothing to do with drug traffickers.

Q:   So it's not true that you were in jail?

A:   I've been in jail many times. The first time when I was 12 years old. Secondary school students were not allowed to go to a pool hall. The last time was because I had been putting "Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles" on my business cards, which is a business-related violation in California because you have to be licensed by the state and be admitted by a medical board. I spent 90 days in jail.

After more than an hour of conversation, I ask Dr. Mireles if there is something more he wants to add.  "I have a lot to say, but right now I can't say much. I want to get well. To all my companions, I say that they should continue with the project that we began, and that we will surrender our weapons when the government of Michoacán is cleaned up and when the government has established the rule of law.

 To all the States of the Republic who are rising up in arms against organized crime, I wish you the same success as our own, may you have the support of your governors and of the Federal Executive so you can finish your job soon. And to those of you who are still asleep, Wake up! Open your eyes! It is possible to clean our land of people who are taking over our lives. Find a way to get the Federal and state governments to participate. If you're not able to do that, make your own decisions and go for it".   


  1. This is a great interview. Obviously none of us can be 100% sure of his credibility etc, but I have a few comments:

    1) It's interesting that in his dream of what he would say to the CT leaders, he expressed the fact that he would be fine with their being free if that's what it took to keep them away from crime.

    2) What strikes me most is that he didn't avoid answering a single question. He didn't dodge or use rhetoric (much). This is literally the first interview I've heard with a high profile person from Mexico in which they answered every question in the terms in which it was asked, and that says a lot to me.

    3) He emphasized that the Ct members should be killed rather than arrested. I think that an important point, whether their intention is to simply defend themselves, to turn criminals into authorities, or actively seek out and kill the criminals. I think this is as important as "are they defending themselves or seeking government reform?"

    4) Can anyone verify what he said about the CT shooting 60 people as they were leaving mass? Even if this is true (and I'm skeptical), this is one example in which I think he's being a bit manipulative, because he made it sound as though these were 100% innocent people, and pointed out that they were church-goers. The story may not be that simple, and this may be an example of how stories about cartels can be exaggerated to prove a point (see everything Rosalio Reta has said about Z40).


    1. It was a hit on CJNG by CT. They had intel on a plaza boss named zopilote at an outdoor mass. 13 people died but most were goons. Some people did get shot but not 60. Dont believe the hype.

    2. "OH, OK" Then that makes it ok!!! "Hey everybody just start shooting at Narcos, who cares if innocent bystanders are in the crossfire!!!" Bulshit!!!!!!!! I am sick of all you Narco fucks and chearleader! I hope you all go to hell and soon. All of you asshole pussies act as if your so fucking important. You and the fucking government on the take is the reason why so many poopr Mexicans suffer. Why don't you dedicate all the fucking energy you spend stealing from your own people into being somebody productive for society. Every Peso or Dollar earned will at least be something you can be proud of! Have some ethics! This Zeta model has been and still is being copied all over Mexico. This is just plain sad. Rhis is going to hurt Mexican tourism plain and simple!

  2. Courageous Saint Dr. Mireles. Please heal and live a long healthy + happy life.

    As for you la Tutu, you are an ugly disgusting filthy excuse of a human. You make me sick with the cowardly crimes you lead against your own people. Grow a pair and leave hard working, innocent and decent people alone.
    _Canadian girl

  3. I LOVE THIS GUY....HE IS THE REAL DEAL..Let him heal and get better.

  4. GET WELL SOON Dr Jose Manuel Mireles .
    I didn't know he was hurt this much,,,a lot of people are wishing you well Senore

  5. I am sad to see him this weak,,leave him alone with his dearest to get well

  6. I am sadden to think he will not come back to his former form.

  7. He will be michoacan gobernor thats for sure

  8. I like everything except the CROCS!!! ditch those friggin' crocs... jotisimo!

    1. Crocs are medical shoes. He is a Doctor. Your comment is inappropriate.

    2. I wouldn't wear Crocs, but then again I've never been in a life altering situarion like he has in a plain crash. I don't judge people by the way they dress. I judge them by their character and Dr Mirales has bigger balls than you ever will. Maybe that is the reason he wears them, some he can support all of the weight of his big ass balls!

    3. Crocs are incredibly comfortable.maby the good doctor wants some foot comfort to combat the bad pain he is enduring you fashion idiots.

  9. Hey Feynman, I think he is talking about the time that time people had gone out to protest against the mayor because of the crime being out of control in their community and commandos open fire on the multitude of protesters. Someone correct me if i'm wrong.

  10. this is what mexico needs this man is doing what any man trying to protect his family would do and he has the balls to do it god bless his souland I wish him a speedy recovery and much luck in praise from the people of California

  11. Chivis,,,now i understand why you hold him in such high regard.
    From this interview it tells us much about this gentlemen and his morals.
    Take your time senore,,heal and come back as strong and determined as ever.

  12. "Forty-eight bolts in his head, half of his face paralyzed, a punctured lung"
    Breaks your fuckin heart that this man has to go through all this shit.A doctor who treated poor people in his home town in his little office and forced by his own morality to rebel against these motherfuckers CT.I cant help the language,it makes you so angry that good people are forced to do this.
    So sad to see him in these pictures,hurt,weak,,get well Jose Manuel Mireles.
    If for nothing else than your own loved ones

  13. This humanizes the man and the movement. Incredible really, heroes without a doubt
    thank you for this vato.

  14. Seeing this, I am filled with great admiration, but also sadness

  15. Dios lo guardo, por un proposito,"

  16. Mireles, get well! You are a hero, as well as all the autodefensas. The amount of courage you have is unbelievable, but now you have showed us, it is possible

  17. I hope Dr Mirales gets better and gets his strength back Mexico needs you in so many ways. Your fate is still unknown. But one thing is certain. You Dr Mirales along with your fellow Auto Defensa warriors will go down in Mexican History. Who would have thought a couple of years ago some brave common people from small towns in Mexico would all get together and take back their humble towns from cartels and expose the corruption at every level of government all the way up to the president of Mexico, including the police and military. Who would have thought your movement started on such humble beginnings would make to headlines worldwide, not just once but continuously this whole month. Your movement will be a case study for sociologists and historians all over thw world. Mexico does not need a civil war. Nobody would benefit, but movements like yours may be the best way to clean up corruption from within. One small town at a time!!! Keep your head up and don't let the naysayers and pessimists get in your head. The people of Mexico love you. Mostly the humble ones living in fear who live their daily lives scared to speak up. Those same people just needed a leader or somebody like you to inspire them to use their own untapped leadership skills to take back their own towns all across Mexico!!!

    1. God has your Destiny already written! You have more for Mexico than all of Government officials put together!!!

    sorry, I just posted the interview of Dr Mireles' interview- it is at the end of post...Spanish

  19. What a inspiration Dr Mireles is. Prayers and support from the United States is needed. He survived that plane crash for a reason. ...Destiny and history will be fulfilled.

  20. Balls, man. Honor, dignity, and balls. Those who doubt, those who question have no idea what it is to have loved ones murdered in cold blood, raped and kidnapped. What balls!

  21. A modern Day Hero. The man has guts. I wish I could join his movement.
    I know there are great Mexican leaders, I hope rise, and become leaders. The Mexican people are the best in the world. God's Speed, you are in my prays

  22. The strength of Dr. Mireles and of the movement is not only from physical strength. There is a great deal of power in fighting for a just cause with moral strength and steadfast conviction. The townspeople have seen the light of self determination. If anything were to happen to the current leaders, 10 more would replace each.

  23. you can feel the desperation in this interview. almost like drowning, and instead of the feds saving you, the throw you a rock to sink you further... wake the hell up people!!

  24. Of course they should not give up their weapons, nor pact or reach any sort of agreement with the mexican state whatsoever that involves the autodefensas retreat or give up their weapons, the mexican state is a criminal one and CAN NOT, SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED, these movements shouls remain autonomous free from state interference, kinda like the zapatistas did at the beginning, the state wanted them to disarm so that the could just send the army right after and massacre all the zapatistas. hopefully the autodefensa movement not only keeps advancing at a state level in michoacan but it spreads to other states like chihuahua and so on.

    1. Lets not forget the people who run the Federal Government of Mexico work for the people! Yes thats an obvious statement but if the Auto Defensas want to clean up and run their own security and are cleaning up corruption at the local level they should be aplauded by the Federal Government. What does the Government have to hide? They do work for the citizens of Mexico right? The Auto Defensas have clearly stated they don't want a revolution and just want the Government to do its job. And it's become clear the Government at all levels of Mexican government has not complied of its obligations to the people. The people qant an honest and just government. We should all be in disbelief that it finally took some of the poorest people in Mexico too finally stand up for justice and defend themselves against all odds. The Government in Mexico has beem exposed. They are either complicit, incompetent or both.

  25. I have been praying for some divine force to start a change in Mexico for some time now. This man is above and beyond what I ever imagined. The fact that he has a well paying job and chooses to risk his life every day for his country, speaks volumes of his character. He is only fighting for what should already be free to him and his people. That demands respect and I will be praying for him always. Please, please, let's all hope that he stays safe and also recovers completely from his undeserved wounds.

  26. the accord is theater.
    we can see mose's despair when he came back from the mountain with god's commandments to find his people once again adoring the golden bull.
    moses didn't give up until h croaked at the sight of the promised land, and Dr Mireles shouldn't either.
    we are witnessing the trashing the catholic church is receiving, deservedly for sure, but i think it is only to punish it for peddling the theology of liberation that has been exposing the murderous tactics behind the re-colonization of the banana republics that is being carried out in the name of the devil that wants to own everything in the world trough its evil neo-liberal disciples that have even been carrying its evil designs from inside the church itself. while we should not condemn freedom or capitalism, economic libertinism is not for anybody's good and we should know the differences by now as we see the process and its consequences.

  27. at 7:39 AM
    "The Mexican people are the best in the world"
    Err calmarse,i wouldn't go that far,,no what i mean ?
    There are no best people in the world,estúpido

  28. MOSES, MOISEIS in spanish,and the tablas de moiseis = the agenda

  29. Support for autodefensas, not towards those pinche Templarios.


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