sábado, 21 de diciembre de 2013

Report lists proliferation of armed militias around Mexico

Mexico's semi-official National Human Rights Commission recently listed an increasing number of self-defence groups or militias formed by rural communities around Mexico to defend themselves against crime, Milenio reported on 19 December. Mexican authorities insist these groups are illegal in spite of intermittent episodes of collaboration with or tolerance for such groups, particularly in western states where crime is rampant and the public, furious. The Commission observed that the self-defence groups were present in 11 states, and enjoyed the support of local government in certain states such as Guerrero on the Pacific coast. The states with most militias were Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca in south-central Mexico and Estado de México in central Mexico, with 44 such groups in Michoacán alone, a state media have at times described as showing symptoms of a "failed state." Neighbouring Guerrero was said to have militias in 46 districts or localities, Milenio reported. The most influential militias there were named as the Union of Organised Peoples of the State of Guerrero (UPOEG) - present in 21 localities in Guerrero - followed by the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities (CRAC, Coordinadora Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias). The daily cited the Prosecutor-General of the Republic Jesús Murillo Karam as "assuring" the nation on 21 November that self-defence groups would not expand any further. The review Proceso reported on 20 December that militias in Michoacán recently declared they would back "all municipalities that want to rise up" against criminal gangs and join the self-defence movement in that state. A spokesman named as José Manuel Mireles said a militia recently emerged in the district of La Huacana after criminal killings, and a similar movement was apparently to be formed in Nueva Italia, before the year's end, Proceso reported. It observed that "community police" forces controlled 19 districts or localities in Michoacán, in spite of increased army presence in the state.

Over 45 killed in gunfights, executions around Mexico

At least 46 were shot or found dead around Mexico in gun fights, executions and a car crash involving criminals around Mexico on 16-20 December, the review Proceso and media reported. The review counted no less than 31 deaths in the days 18-20 December, including of 10 suspected criminals killed in shootouts with the Army on 18 and 19 December in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas, and seven bodies found on 19 December on a beach in Alvarado in the east-coast state of Veracruz. The 31 included five suspected drug dealers shot and left on a road in the district of Coacalco in Estado de México outside the capital, Proceso reported. Separately, criminals shot dead a metal dealer in his workshop in the town of Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz on 18 December, Tabasco Hoy reported. In Morelia in the western state of Michoacán, drive-by gunmen shot dead the owner of a taco stand, his daughter and her husband late on 16 December, Proceso reported. In the north-western state of Sonora on 18 December, Police and Marines shot dead six criminals in the resort of Puerto Peñasco, including one identified as the local head of the Sinaloa or Pacific Cartel headed by Joaquín Guzmán Loera, El Informador reported on 20 December. State forces shot four while two died as their car crashed into a wall, the judiciary later said. The body of the slain cartel chief - a man dubbed El Macho Prieto - was later reported as stolen. In northern Mexico, five secondary schoolchildren were killed on 18 December as a car pursued by the Army crashed into them when they were waiting for the school bus, Proceso reported. Two were aged 15, one 14 and another 13; they were killed outside their school between Reynosa and San  Fernando. The car, described as carrying gunmen, then injured a mother and her five-year-old child as it crashed into two parked cars, before escaping.