On 27 June 2014, the Mexican military arrested Dr. José Manuel Mireles Valverde and 45 of his followers for violating Mexico’s Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives. Dr. Mireles is the titular leader of Mexico’s home-grown autodefensas: armed citizen militias dedicated to defending the local populace against cartel-related extortion, rape, torture, death and dismemberment; and human rights abuses by the Mexican police and military. His recent message from prison was published by borderlandbeat.com . . .
“One of the people who sent me a letter strongly questioned me whether our struggle was worth it, because some of us are imprisoned while others are being assassinated along with their entire families. This is why I want to send a short message.
The national front of autodefensas was made official on May 5, 2014 and on May 28, 2014, it became known worldwide with 12 states of the republic, in the Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros.
By 6pm that day, there had already been 19 states that had registered. A day before my arrest, a 20th state registered. YES IT WAS WORTH IT.
To all of the autodefensas of Michoacán and of the Mexican Republic, I tell them to continue to organize, to take care of their life, their house, their towns, and their productivity, if we fight; we won’t die when the criminals want us to die.
If we fight, we will only die when God wills it. I tell you this from experience. After seven ambushes, and a plane crash, I kept fighting organized crime in Michoacán and my worthwhile witnesses have been the reporters of Denise Maerker. As well as those from the newspaper El País and the Washington Post and others who were with us in some of our battles.
This is why I tell you to organize and to take care of your communities, by neighborhood and by the entrances and exits of the towns.
While to the brave legitimate autodefensas of Michoacán I ask them—without neglecting a minute of their lives, of their families, their property, and their productivity— to stay in the background without letting your guard down, while the new government installs the rule of law, with the constitutional respect that you deserve, such as the Chamber of Deputies or the true representatives of the people.
For all these reasons I say that YES OUR STRUGGLE WAS WORTH IT, since our towns, thanks to our brave autodefensas, now with their Rural Police uniforms or some without uniforms, continue to patrol and take care of our towns and communities, procuring peace and dignity that they need for a happy and productive life. YES IT WAS WORTH IT.
Even though I’m imprisoned and 400 comrades are too, YES IT WAS WORTH IT because in Tepalcatepec, they gave us 24 hours to live and after those 24 hours, “not even the chickens” would be alive.
This threat was made on February 24, 2013, THE SICARIOS OF THE REGION and all of our autodefensa advice have survived to date, October 14, 2015. YES IT WAS WORTH IT, even though I’m imprisoned and others are in a cementary, IT WAS WORTH IT. That’s all.