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Mirales arrest…

6 July 2014

I haven’t written anything about the arrest of Dr. Mirales, the rural physician and best-known leader of the “autodefencas” (militias or self-created police forces… depending on one’s point of view) that sprang up in Michoacán in response to so-called narco violence.  I’ve somewhat avoided writing about it because it seems too simplistic to lay the blame for violence solely on narcotics dealers … agricultural interests (especially cattle raisers) as well as timber and mining groups sometimes claim to be victims of the narcos, but are also said to be cooperating with them out of their own interests.  As it is, the “Knights Templars” did have local quasi-official support when they were the “Familia Michaocána” and — although exporting meth to the United States — were enforcing “traditonal values” locally.

Daily Kos photo

Daily Kos photo

And, I’ve always wondered if these self-created militias might not operate as covers for death squads, eliminating not just “narcos” but dissidents or social disrupters (by which I mean petty criminals or simply those who don’t “fit in” and cause problems) within their own communities… something all too common when the law is in the hands of self-proclaimed protectors.

Mirales has, however, become an international hero for fighting back against the narcos and he makes a good case for the need for these militias.  His arrest, on 27 June,  did indeed appear to be “convenient” for the government and the charges do appear bogus (supposedly, after being given weapons by the military that were taken from gangsters, he was arrested for carrying illegal weapons)… and there’s never been any suggestion that Mirales was involved in marijuana smuggling, though he was also charged with possession outside the legal limit.

While it’s not a site I normally look at, Daily Kos has a good overview  with links here.

 

(Sombrero tip Robert Broughton)

 

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