Mexico: Anti-cartel Militias Reluctant to Lay Down Arms

EspañolThe Mexican government will face a crucial test in the coming days as it tries to demobilize government-wary village militias in the mountains of the southwest state of Michoacán. Avocado farmers and lime pickers have taken up arms there against the ruthless Knights Templar cartel henchmen.

President Enrique Peña Nieto plans to replace the militiamen with a recently created force, the Rural Police, whose ranks would be drawn from the local vigilantes themselves.

Despite lining up to register their assault rifles with the federal government, these self-defense groups show no signs of disbanding. Eriberto Sanchez, a 30-year-old vigilante, said, “everyone is afraid that the government will make a deal and the cartel will come back.” He added that if the Mexican police and soldiers try to forcibly disarm the militiamen, “a lot of blood will be spilled.”

Michoacán’s militia movement or self-defense groups began last spring in Tepalcatepec, where residents fed up with rampant abuse and extortion by the Knights Templar banded together and fought back. José Manuel Mireles, a doctor who had lived for years in Sacramento, emerged as the leader and began raising funds for the cause through networks of Mexican immigrants in California.

Source: Washington Post.

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