[ View the story "Mexico's militia movement" on Storify] Mexico's militia movement Are Mexico's growing self-defence militias protecting the people or harming rule of law?
The Stream· Wed, Oct 02 2013 11:59:28
Drug cartel violence has claimed
more than 60,000 lives
in Mexico since 2006. Recent arrests of drug kingpins like Miguel Angel Treviño Morales are considered major successes for the Mexican government; however, many citizens say the violence continues.
The video below summarises the impact of drug wars on communities in Mexico and the US role in providing weapons to the drug cartels.
The Violence of Mexican Drug Cartelsvisually
citizen self-defence groups
in at least 9 of the 31 states in Mexico, according to the International Crisis Group. They are most heavily concentrated in Guerrero and Michoacán states, according to this graphic published by
Alive in Mexico: The Community Police of Indigenous Guerreroobnoxioushandle
In recent months, Michoacán has seen increased tension between the local self-defence militia and the army. Community police
the army was sent to target them, but Mexico's Deputy Interior Minister
told the Washington Post
the army had no orders to pursue the Knights Templar, Mexico's third largest drug cartel.
In Guerrero, where there is a high concentration of local self-defence groups, leaders like
of CRAC have emerged. In her speech below, Salgado calls on citizens to defend their community:
Palabras de Nestora en Buenavistaarmagedonmaya
some citizen police groups overstep legal boundaries and undermine the rule of law. Salgado was recently
and jailed on charges of kidnapping. Her case highlights the tension between the government and local self-defence groups. Salgado's family and community have started a
for her release.
Nestora Salgado has been wrongfully incarcerated in high security detention center of El Rincon, Nayarit, for crimes she did not commit. She is an activist of Human Rights Indigenous people and she organized Community police to defend themself the organized crime. She denounced robbery of evidence that ended in two assassinations and new evidence has surfaced that shows public officials linked with Drugs Trafficking. Nestora Salgado is innocent and the Government of United States and Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, should take action to release her from prison immediately.change.org
This image shows Salgado's family in the United States protesting against her incarceration. Via Truthout:
This graphic shared on Facebook calls for Salgado's immediate release.
, a political scientist, argues that public opinion does not favour these self-defence militias.
In Mexico there is no Second Amendment, and public opinion stands against armed opposition and organized self-defense. So when military personnel arrested more than 40 members of one self-defense group last week in Guerrero, there was not much of a public commotion.panampost.com
have also alleged that some self-defence groups are contributing to drug violence. In this video, Knights Templar leader Servando Gómez ("La Tuta") accuses various militias of being commanded by their rivals, the Jalisco New Generation cartel.
"La Tuta" líder de Los Caballeros Templarios envía mensaje en redes socialesgrillonautas2
Still, many of these groups have established a strong presence in their communities and
that they were formed to dispense justice, based on consensus from their people.
The Stream asked its online community:
Are Mexico's growing self-defence militias protecting the people or harming rule of law?
What rule of law? The government is corrupt. The police are corrupt. As a last resort people are doing what they can to protect their families and their way of life. These people are at war with an enemy that gets stronger every day.Walter Shoemacher
Aminu Dantani Muhammad wrote:
Enough is enough please, Mexicans have suffered alot in their country where even the government cannot protect them thereby giving the dangerous drug cartels the freedom and license to kill its peoples in a most brutal and barbaric way.facebook.com
Mexico needs to organize. Maybe take some lessons from the Zapatistas and give their oppressors the boot, be it the government, cartels, or multi-national corporations. It's their right as human beings and citizens of the world to not live in fear.Aaron Kunkler
But not everyone thought the self-defence groups would help the situation.
such groups turn to be rebels of their own country just becoz they have liberty to own gunsManake Constance
If I was mexico's government I would encourage militias and even offer training. Otherwise there going to just have another issue on there hand when the cartels get defeated and then they want the militias to disbanned.Matthew Perkins