Jun 30, 2014

Mireles: Partisan Justice

La Jornada: The arrest of José Manuel Mireles, ex member of the Council
of Autodefensas of Michoacan, occurred yesterday at the hands of federal forces, constitutes a clear example of the partisan application of justice and distortion of the state of law that state has endured in recent months and that has sharpened beginning with the federal government's intervention in the Michoacan scenario and the virtual annulment of state sovereignty.

It's noteworthy, in the first place, the lack of consequence of a federal
government that announces zero tolerance to armed civilian groups just
weeks after it used them to pursue and abate the alleged ringleaders of
criminal organizations. With respect to that, it's appropriate to remember
the participation of self-defense groups - according to what Mireles himself
related - in the operation that led to the death of Nazario Moreno, El
Chayo, supposed founder of the Knights Templar (Los caballeros

It is significant that, a little before his capture, Mireles and his men
had advanced and taken control of La Mira, located in Lazaro Cardenas

To start, it is certainly undesirable that the State permits the
uncontrolled presence of armed groups of citizens, even less in such an
explosive and violent atmosphere as Michoacan. But in this case the
official discourse ignores - because it thus appears to suit its interests -
that the presence of those groups is a consequence, not the cause, of an
annulment of the legality originally provoked by the tolerance and
passivity of the very same authority faced with the behavior of the
criminal organizations that operate in the referenced state, which obliged
diverse sectors of the Michoacan population to take up arms to defender
themselves. That omission was aggravated by a governmental strategy that,
far from restoring the peace and the state of law, it multiplied the
factors for tension and rancor in the territories in conflict, first by
permitting the proliferation of self-defense groups and later undertaking a
campaign of criminalization and persecution against some of them, which
began with the unjust incarceration of Hipólito Mora and now continues with
the capture of Mireles Valverde.

In that sense, the accusations against the leader of Tepalcatepec
- violations of the Federal Firearms and Explosives Law- appear as a
masquerade of justice to give formal support to the capture of a personage
whose true "fault", according to what one can see, has been to maintain a
posture less complacent towards the government than the other self-defense
leaders, and to systematically reject the Enrique Peña Nieto
administration's actions of registering and disarming of civilian guards
implanted in Michoacan.

For the rest, the continuation of the violence and deepening of the
institutional and political crisis in the state, and the fact that the
criminal organizations that operate there have not been dismantled or their
businesses substantially affected, end up making right those who, like
Mireles, have criticized the uselessness governmental actions and have
pointed them out as a way of demobilizing the sectors of society that
decided to rise up against organized crime.

In sum, the capture of the founder of the Michoacan autodefensas is one
more exhibition of the erratic conduct, slanted and murky of the federal
government in Michoacan, and could also result in a counterproductive
maneuver for the government: if the federal authorities do not quickly
begin a police or military operation - similar or larger than it launched
against Mireles - to dismantle the criminal organizations that operate in
Michoacan territory, society will have ample reason for questioning the
alleged legalistic zeal of Peña in that state.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

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