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Auto-defensas as rural police

30 January 2014

I don’t often do this, but I have found it difficult to get my own thoughts together about the government offer to fold Michocán’s auto-defensas into the mortibund Cuerpo de Defensa Rural.  I see this in the historical context of both the peasant militias of Emiliano Zapata and Obregón’s canonizado:  “No general can withstand a barrage of gold pesos”.  But just haven’t had the time or energy to write about this in any coherent way.

In the meantime,  Bob Broughton (Guanajuato) translated an article from La Jornada about this latest development, posted yesterday at Daily Kos.

Good news from the Mexican State of Michoacán: Mexico’s Federal Government, the Government of the State of Michoacán, and local citizens’ self-defense groups, known as autodefensas or vigilantes, have signed an agreement which legitimizes the autodefensas and incorporates them into the institutional security forces.

After the signing of the integration agreement. Fausto Vallejo and Alfredo Castillo Cervantes.

The agreement establishes the objective of “rebuilding peace and order using a holistic approach encompassing social, economic and cultural aspects, using all legal tools and mechanisms to achieve a lasting and stable environment”, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry.The autodefensas will be integrated into the Rural Defense Corps (Cuerpos de Defensa Rurales). The leaders of the various autodefensa groups must submit lists of their members, which are turned over to the local police.

“This agreement is the first decisive step to complete the strategy for security and development, to restore normality to Michoacán,” said Alfredo Castillo Cervantes, Commissioner for Security and Integral Development of Michoacán.

The signers were Castillo Cervantes, Commissioner of Federal Police, Enrique Galindo Ceballos,  Fausto Vallejo Figueroa, Governor of the State of Michoacán, Maria Elena Morera de Galindo, President of Citizens for Common Cause (Ciudadanos por una Causa en Común), and representatives of the communities of Churumuco de Morelos, Nueva Italia de Ruiz, La Huacana, Parácuaro, Tancítaro, Cualcomán de Vázquez Pallares, Aquila and Coahuayana de Hidalgo.

The provisions of the agreement:

  1. The Rural Defense Corps will be under the control of the Ministry of National Defense, and the autodefensas are to be temporary.
  2. The autodefensas may be part of municipal police provided that they meet legal requirements and have the endorsement of the local city council.
  3. The autodefensas must register their weapons. The National Public Security System or the Department of National Defence is obligated to provide them with the necessary tools for communication, transportation and operation.
  4. Municipalities involved in the conflict with the narco-terrorists must conduct an audit of the use of public resources.
  5. The full weight of the law will be applied to municipal and state public servants who have criminal or administrative liability.

This article was translated from an article in La Jornada by NOTIMEX and Ciro Perez: Gobierno y autodefensas firman acuerdo contra crimen organizado

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