Turmoil in Michoacan

A Mexican bishop has rebuked the federal government for sending soldiers to seize the weapons of self-defense groups formed to fight off violent drug cartels and criminal gangs in the western state of Michoacán. Bishop Miguel Patino Velázquez of Apatzingán said the strategy was wrong and targeted the people trying to protect themselves. Bishop Patino issued a pastoral letter on Jan. 15, shortly after an attempt by soldiers to disarm a self-defense group near the town of Antúnez went awry, leaving at least three villagers dead. “Instead of searching for the criminals harming the community, the Mexican military, acting on the orders of superiors, went to disarm the self-defense groups,” Bishop Patino said. “The situation got out of control and [the soldiers], seeing themselves surrounded by the population, started to shoot, first in the air and later at persons.” The incident demonstrated the deep distrust many in this rugged region of Michoacán have in their institutions, which have been unable or unwilling to dismantle a drug cartel known as Knights Templar and its predecessor, La Familia Michoacana, over the past seven years.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Xavier High School students fill West 16th Street during the National School Walkout Day. (Credit: Shawna Gallagher Vega/Xavier High School)
Our student body generated dialogue around a topic that we did not all agree on.
Devin OnMarch 23, 2018
Protesters gather near the Manchester Central Fire Station in Manchester, N.H., Monday, March 19, 2018, where President Donald Trump madee an unscheduled visit. Trump is in New Hampshire to unveil more of his plan to combat the nation's opioid crisis. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
To suggest the use of the death penalty as a way to address the opioid epidemic ignores what we know already to be true: The death penalty is a flawed and broken tool in the practical pursuit of justice.
Karen CliftonMarch 23, 2018
(Images: Wikimedia Commons, iStock/Composite: America)
An angel whispered in my ear: “Fred, ‘Be not afraid.’”
Fred DaleyMarch 23, 2018
(photo: Music Box Films)
“Back to Burgundy” is about family tensions boiled up by both the financial and artistic challenges of the wine business.