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Founder of Self-Defense Groups Says Mexico Has Become “10 Times Worse” Since His Arrest

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - May 26, 2017, 3:36 pm
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Mireles has since been released, confronting a country he considered far worse than it was when he first entered prison three years prior.

EspañolMexican activist José Manuel Mireles says his country is only getting worse.

He mobilized 25,000 farmers and residents tired of the extortion, kidnapping and torture sweeping their country. At the time, he said his supporters “chose not to live on their knees” — but the movement was ultimately dissolved, as many of its leaders, including Mireles, were imprisoned.

Now he’s been released, confronting a country that he said is far worse than it was when he first entered prison three years prior.

Throughout his prison sentence, Mireles said he was in constant contact with left-wing presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and blamed President Enrique Peña Nieto for his imprisonment.

According to Mireles, his mistake in leading the self-defense groups was trusting in the federal government.

“It’s the same thing that happened in Mexican history with Zapata, Pancho Villa, Benito Juárez,” he said. “They were betrayed by the government. I was warned a thousand times: do not trust them because they are going to ruin you, but when you’re tired of war, you don’t pay attention to anyone. ”

He said the whole nation is worse off than when he was imprisoned.

“I told Peña Nieto that if my sacrifice would bring about social peace, I would congratulate myself, but it has been a futile three years and the country is ten times worse. The main three things that remain unfulfilled: efficient public security, justice and the rule of law.”

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Mireles is a professional physician and considered himself a political prisoner. His capture, he claimed, was the result of two very sensitive issues: organized crime and the federal government — and that includes President Peña Nieto.

In regards to the murder of journalists, Mireles said:

“They are murdering and killing the voice of Mexico and of many people. I am as angry as when they killed us. The government can not allow it because if they keep shutting people’s mouths, I will take up arms, and we know the consequences.”

Though he has received offers from López Obrador, the leader of the Autodefensas, he said he is not interested in entering politics. He said that if he wanted to do that, he would have done so before being imprisoned.

Source: El País

Elena Toledo Elena Toledo

Educator by trade, social-media apprentice, activist for a democratic Honduras, and free thinker. Follow her on Twitter @NenaToledo.