Xx - Mexico is a very interesting place...........

Trip Start Dec 04, 2012
Trip End Dec 31, 2016

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Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mis Estimados Compadres,
Amigos y Compañeros.

Mexico is an interesting place, unlike boring Canada..... See article below on how self protection groups, called vigilantes, are fighting a war with organized crime cartels,
that the Mexican police and army are reluctant to fight...
Mexican Vigilantes Enter Key City in Michoacán StateVigilantes Aim to Take Control of City from Organized Crime GroupBy ANTHONY HARRUP and JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBAUpdated Feb. 8, 2014 9:01 p.m. ETVigilantes line up during a program to register their weapons and create a rural police in Paracuaro in Michoacan state, Mexico, last Monday. The government has proposed incorporating some vigilantes into a rural police force and giving them formal training. ReutersMEXICO CITY—Hundreds of vigilantes in the southwestern Mexican state of Michoacán, escorted by the military and federal police, on Saturday moved into the city of Apatzingán, the main bastion of the Knights Templar criminal organization.The vigilantes, working alongside federal forces, set up checkpoints on roads in and out of Apatzingán in search of members of the Knights Templar.Francisco Castellanos, a local journalist in Apatzingán, said that as of midafternoon Saturday, the operations had been carried out without reports of clashes or shots being fired.The heavily armed vigilantes, known locally as self-defense groups, had been expanding and taking control of a number of towns and municipalities in largely rural areas of Michoacán state to kick out the Knights Templar. Named after a medieval order of warrior monks, the Templars evolved from trafficking in marijuana and methamphetamines to extortion, kidnapping and murder.More on Violence in MexicoThe Templars' abuses and the government's inability to stop their reign of terror sparked a reaction, mostly by lime and avocado growers, cattlemen and shopkeepers, many of them former U.S. migrants, who organized vigilante organizations to take back control of the towns from the organized crime group.A year ago, the vigilantes ran the Templars out of two towns in the Tierra Caliente, a swath of rich agricultural land, gathering strength from their victories. The movement continued to spread. The growing danger of open armed conflict between the two organizations led the Mexican government to step up the presence of troops and federal police in the state. In January, federal forces took control of Apatzingán as the vigilante groups were planning to move in.A government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the federal government didn't see Saturday's moves as an "advance" of the self-defense groups or an "occupation" of Apatzingán. He said the cooperation between federal forces and the local communities, including self-defense members, is essential for the government to recover lost trust in the state.The international focus on the proliferation of self-defense groups and growing violence in Michoacan has embarrassed the Mexican government, which has emphasized its efforts to reform the country's economy, including opening up Mexico's energy industry to private investment.Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto last month appointed as special envoy a close political ally, Alfredo Castillo, who became Michoacan's de facto acting governor with special powers to implement economic and security measures. Mr. Castillo was ordered to dismantle the Templar organization and disarm the self-defense groups.Last week, the government announced an ambitious plan to spend $3.4 billion to boost the Michoacán economy, and improve the state's social services.The vigilante groups had said disarming would leave their communities open to revenge attacks by the Templars. But late last month, they reached agreement to form into rural and town police forces.Alejandro Hope, a security expert with the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, a think tank, questioned the wisdom of allowing the vigilantes to enter Apatzingán after the government had sought to contain their advance."If the federal forces were already there, why did they [the vigilantes] have to go in?" he said.
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