Mexico on the Edge

A Summary and Expansion: The leaking Ship of State.

May 12, the newspaper La Jornada; John Ackerman:

If there is not a radical change in the authoritarian structure of the State, polarization of citizens against the State may have reached the point of no return. Because of the self-defense groups and the discussions among citizens that have arisen, the State—rather than restore the Rule of Law—strikes at the self-defense groups and their leader in order to confuse the discussion, distract and stop the discussion itself.

The bribe: The State, represented by Federal Commissioner for Michoacán, delivered a few arms to a dubious self-defense group in that state and pronounced that, henceforth, responsibility for citizen safety was in their hands—pretty much all cynical theater relying on old authoritarian strategies like “silver or lead, the bribe or the bullet,” to which “theater” should be added, all of it bathed in baffling cynicism and criminal failure by the federal government to enforce the Rule of Law of its own accord.

The bullet: the former spokesperson for all the self-defense groups, Dr. José Mireles, a voice I find convincing, becomes the recipient of the Government’s bullet, i.e. efforts to undermine his authority by accepting denunciations of him by groups that have taken favors from the Government, like the group mentioned above and who may be betraying the self-defense movement. In an old tactic, to divide and conquer, federal authorities are accusing Mireles of murder simply on the say-so of men with questionable ties. Because of the lingering effects of Napoleonic Law, the accusation leaves Mireles obliged to prove his innocence, hence leaving him judicially tainted, neutralizing him and exposing him at the same time.

As in the telecommunication and energy “reforms,” the federal government refuses to hold public discussion with the citizenry. PRI pragmatism includes dangerous trickery, calumny, betrayal of citizens’ safety (Mireles), and generally simply not responding to citizens’ cries for help and justice.

John Ackerman, U.S. born, is a researcher in the Institute of Judicial Review at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Editorial Director of the Mexican Law Review. He writes for La Jornada and Proceso.

May 13, 2014, the newspaper La Jornada, Pedro Miguel:

Dr. Mireles separated himself from the dubious federal commissioner Castillo of Michoacán; and the Mexican Government has betrayed him. This has brought sympathy from the whole country. In order to undermine this sympathy, the State attacks Mireles and his sympathizers, calling the latter naïve, easy followers of another “caudillo,” strong man or boss—a man, the say, who may be mentally ill. Mireles was quoted as saying, “I didn’t know that Alfredo Castillo or Smurf—Estanislao Beltrán (the new government-recognized leader of the self-defense forces)—are specialists in psychiatry.”

The result has been that Dr. Mireles appears as a straight talker, the government as compulsively mendacious and manipulative, hence manifesting questionable mental health. All of which make Mireles more respected and admired for his stance against corruption at all levels, including the federal.

May 13, 2014, Aristequi Noticias (News); Carmen Aristegui:

This is the contradiction that gives off an odor: The government that goes after Mireles has not been able to arrest and prosecute countless murderers among the Templars and other criminal groups. They have gone after him because he symbolized—and surely still does—the independence of the self-defense idea.

May 13, 2014, the newspaper La Jornada, Luis Hernández Navarro

Shadow Theater, “to give the impression of movement.” Or to make it appear that the government has legitimized the self-defense groups, by exchanging the latter’s symbolic AK-47’s (guerrilla movement) for AR-15’s (the citizen’s assault rifle), lighter pickups for the heavier more independent ones and limited ammunition.

The new self-defense spokesperson Smurf, known as Papa Smurf, the government’s chosen self-defense leader, exclaims, “With this, we now have a commitment. We are the government.”

One can see Dr. Mireles raising his eyebrows in wonder at this language.

At the shadow theater presentation, Commissioner Castillo proclaimed, “The unheard of phenomenon of this armed social movement is that the people have not risen against the State, rather to ask for the State’s presence. And today those who represent the State are you!”

The inept, and probably complicit, State was understandably worried about the “against” part. Now, it hopes to have co-opted the self-defense movement by taking away their indepence.

Of all the shadow plays possible, the one offering any real security has not been staged.

May 13, 2014, Aristegui Noticias (News), Carmen Aristequi:

The language of co-option sounds like this. Commissioner Castillo, talking as if Commander Smurf’s group represented the entire case of citizens bearing arms: “The self-defense groups simply felt not taken into account in the doctor’s statement and ceased to feel represented. They made a decision (to dismiss him) and we respect them…they choose their spokespersons and we talk to them.”—translated by Reed Brundage, Mexico Voices.

May 13, 2014, MVS News, Carmen Aristegui

The government has succeeded in co-opting the self-defense groups in Michoacán. One should probably add that it was “one part” of the groups, and that that group was “turned.”

The government cannot tolerate independent, let alone armed movements.

It is a political decision to accuse someone. Anyone can be the target. Its ultimate purpose is to get rid of the self-defense groups.

It is an old practice, especially of the PRI (the party that exercised near dictatorial control over Mexico for 71 years). All energy goes into divide, co-opt and control, rather than into solving a problem.

The indifference of the State permitted the existence of The Templars; the State is deeply complicit in a complex web of connections.

Denise Dresser: Co-opting the self-defense forces is not going to solve the underlying problem in regard to public security. The State prosecutes Mireles but is incapable of investigating other deaths, let alone the huge mafia that has breathed in rhythm with state, municipal and federal authorities. Her repeated question: “Where is the State?” Why has it not been meeting its responsibilities? Why can it not enforce the rule of law?

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