Written by Workers’ Voice – San Jose
Monday, 06 October 2014 20:01
This past February we were celebrating a year since the birth of the self-defense organizations in Michoacán and some other states of the country.
Given the occasion, we highlighted the support and strength that these armed groups received from the populations from which they had emerged. We said that the mobilization of the community and the actions of the self-defense forces against organized crime had managed to put the criminals on the retreat and bring peace and tranquility to their municipalities. We also highlighted how the mobilized villagers were able to reverse the government attempts to unarm them. But, looking forward, we warned of two dangers: First, that the federal and state governments were accomplices of the organized crime and could not be trusted. Second, that the majority of the leaders of theself-defense forces represented the interests of landowners, mining, and large-scale farmers in the region, and for this reason they may betray the struggle by agreeing with the government.
The 8 points of Agreement
We were not wrong. The federal Government, concerned by the growth of the self-defense forces, launched the trap of negotiations and called on the self-defense leaders to sign an agreement to institutionalize an 8 points of agreement  and put them under the control of the army. At the same time, it announced a sum of $45 billion pesos to implement a development plan for the region of Tierra Caliente and all of Michoacán.
This meeting was attended by several leaders, including Estanislao Beltrán, of the self-defense committees who, without consulting the people, signed the famous 8 points of agreement with which the government launched an offensive to remove the self-defense committees. This created confusion and division inside of the committees and from this point there was a split among the leaders who began to collaborate with the Government and turned their backs on the self-defense committees. The signatories of the agreement justified their position by stating that the government of Peña Nieto was committed to confronting drug trafficking and that they would collaborate with the government under the command of the army. Dr. Mireles did not sign the points of agreements and warned that if the government did not follow through with the commitment to capture or expel the seven most important ringleaders of the Knights Templar, he, as founding leader of the self-defense committees, would commit to the fight against organized crime, and if necessary, would also confront the government if it did not meet its word.
From there, the government and the federal army undertook some actions against the criminals: they expelled some of the leaders of the Knights Templar and put others in jail. The governor in charge was removed and the federal government imposed Castillo as the Safety Commissioner of Michoacán. The attitude of the government confused many of the leaders of the self-defenses and thus began an integration of the self-defenses into the rural guards. This was the case of Hippolytus Mora, whom the government accused of murder and imprisoned him. But Hippolytus negotiated with the government to integrate himself with the rural guards, and turned his back to Mireles and the self-defenses. Also, they felt confidence with the “repentant criminal” leaders who named themselves “leaders of the self-defenses”. From there, the “H3” and the “American” appeared. These new figures have revived the fears of terror for criminals and have created much unrest within population.
In the past few months, as the process of the institutionalization of the self-defense committees into rural guards advanced, Dr. Mireles refused to join them; instead, he was sensitive to the wishes of the villagers who wanted to continue the fight against organized crime. He understood that the number one enemy for the working population was the government of Peña Nieto that brings down the army against the population and the self-defense committees who combat the drug traffickers. Thus, Mireles denounced the government by indicating that it was the same government that had broken the agreements. That furthermore, organized crime continues its activities without the government doing anything and this is what forced other populations of Michoacán to organize self-defense forces to deal with them in the first place. That is what happened in Mira and Acalpican, in the municipality of Lazaro Cardenas. There, the community requested the collaboration of Dr. Mireles to organize their own defense. Dr. Mireles and a group of his followers, in a courageous and consistent way, took the lead in mobilizing the population. They became present in these populations and organized an assembly of the Community Council in which a democratic vote was taken to constitute the self-defense committee.
These populations are strategic for the port of Lazaro Cardenas. It is well-known that this port is under the control of the Knights Templar, and from there all their movements for the processing of coca in exchange for mining products takes place, as well as other exchanges with regions around the world. As far as it is possible to understand, the advance of the self-defenses in Lázaro Cárdenas’ region implicated a frontal attack on the activities of the drug trafficking in Michoacán. This created a fury from the government, and this is why Peña Nietoordered the immediate capture of Dr. Mireles on June 27. That same day Dr. Mireles was sent to a high security jail in the state of Morelia, where he was accused of rebellion and possession of weapons that are exclusive for use by the army.
But the commitment of Dr. Mireles to the struggle of the poorest people who are affected by the atrocities and the outrages committed by the government and the rich in Michoacán has earned him a great deal of sympathy, not only within Michoacán, but in all of Mexico. The condemnation of his arrest and imprisonment was expressed through the organization of blockades and demonstrations and was shown by the solidarity in Michoacán, Mexico and internationally. The cry of liberty for Mireles is the cry of struggle of the indigenous peoples, the poor peasants, and the workers who see in Mireles a fighter who committed to the defense of their interests. Workers’ Voice joins the cry of Liberty for Mireles and all the self-defense fighters that are in the prisons of the government because they were daring to confront the organized crime that the government is an allied with. We call on this popular struggle to unite with the struggles of the workers throughout Mexico in order to confront the exploiting Peña Nieto Government- who wants to mortgage Mexico to the United States.
Down with the Exploitative and Corrupt government of Peña Nieto!
Freedom for Dr. Mireles and the self-defense members that are in the government’s prisons!
For Peace, Land and Jobs for the Poor in Michoacán and all of Mexico!