Militias down Mexico way
Mexico is rather violent these days, from torching vehicles to killing journalists. So is anyone surprised that local groups would arm to protect their farms and families?
Let's check this story from Jessica Guerrero and "Pueblos Unidos," loosely translated to "United Communities." It is the natural consequence of lawlessness when people cannot count on their government to protect them.
This is the story:
During the last two weeks, the country has faced a serious security crisis, after several violent incidents took place across cities located in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua and Guanajuato, where different organized crime groups directly attacked civilians and set fires to dozens of businesses and private vehicles.
The aforementioned resulted, in the first instance, in million-peso losses for the owners of the affected businesses and vehicle owners, but more importantly, at least 14 fatalities were recorded, including a child. ...
[O]n Saturday, Aug. 13, agents of the Mexican Army, the National Guard and the Civil Guard deployed an operation that included armored vehicles to achieve the arrest of 167 armed men on the Siglo XXI highway that connects the state capital, Morelia, with the narco-infested region of Tierra Caliente and the port of Lázaro Cárdenas.
According to the authorities, after an exhaustive intelligence operation of their forces, they were able to arrest these armed men after they were seen traveling in 28 vehicles near the municipality of Uruapan. The people in those vehicles carried badges and stickers that identified them as members of the Pueblos Unidos criminal group.
Pueblos Unidos is a vigilante organization that emerged in 2021, allegedly composed of farmers and community members from the avocado-producing region in central Michoacán.
According to its founders, its main objective was to defend the local farmers against the continuous extortions and threats of the cartels. However, the organization has been accused of collaborating with the Carteles Unidos criminal group, becoming a major concern to the authorities by presumably threatening the state's security situation.
The group has a Facebook page, with the latest news and videos. It's a sign of the times, I guess, for everyone to go on social media these days. "Pueblos Unidos" is heavily armed and has run into problems with the authorities. The locals responded to the arrest of some of Pueblos Unidos's members by blocking highways. They believe that their members were wrongly arrested and blamed the government directly. Eventually, the roads were reopened, but the locals had made their point.
What I see from up here is a perfect storm. I am not defending everything that Pueblos Unidos is doing or allegations that the group may be working with criminal elements. The relationship with another cartel may explain why they pose with those high-powered rifles. Nevertheless, I understand why groups like these are created and supported by the local "pueblos." People are scared and do not trust their government to protect them.
What is the solution? The López-Obrador government must admit that violence is out of control and that it will use all means necessary to eradicate the problem, from taking the fight directly to the cartels to persuading the locals that it will protect them from this wave of violence. It would help if President López-Obrador would use one of his morning press conferences to outline how President Biden's chaos on the border is making all this violence more likely in Mexico.
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Image: Public Domain.