Mexico’s autodefensas are citizen militias, illegally armed to defend against drug gangs’ rape, torture, extortion. They are also armed against their own government, guilty of apathy and collusion with the criminals. While the American government arms dubious allies in the Middle East, they turn a blind eye to the Mexican government’s war on autodefensas. Here’s a report on the crackdown south of the border . . .
To anyone following the imprisonment of autodefensa leader Dr. Manuel Mireles, it is a no brainer, that because there is an election on June 7th, it means the Michoacán autodefensa spokesman will remain in prison until the elections are over.
The government has been meticulous in shutting down the “genuine” autodefensas movement in the coastal region of Michoacán. Popular and respected leaders have been imprisoned, or have been killed. As it stands there are about 500 autodefensas imprisoned.
Some autodefensas have taken to political tactics to create change, running for various offices.
Dr. Mireles good friend, Enrique Hernández Salcedo, former autodefensas leader of Yurécaro, was running for the municipal’s mayor, when he was assassinated last week. Like Dr Mireles, Hernández was outspoken about political corruption and narco crime. And like Dr Mireles, he was imprisoned on murder charges with absolutely no basis that he committed the crime, and the case was thrown out due to lack of evidence.
Hernández spoke of his time in prison, saying he was isolated and tortured. At the time of his murder he had a whopping 90% support of voters.
Thousands turned out for Hernández’ funeral, the mass was officiated by two priests including Padre Goyo of Apatzingán. Hernández’ widow spoke of of the torture he received in prison. His daughter spoke of his determination.
His eldest daughter Guadalupe spoke at his funeral, saying her father knew what the danger was when he decided his course. The entire family knew and supported him.
“I hold not hate for the perpetrators, and vengeance is not in my heart. That is left to a higher power.
“My father was a man of values, he was an honest man, living outside corruption, he would never take the temptation of receiving something for nothing.”
“There is something that each of us can do. If we begin with ourselves, living free of any corruption, temptation and with honesty, from there begins something completely different for us”.
She continued by saying that she and the family will continue to support the cause. Her mother is named as a possible replacement on the ballot.
Dr. Mireles may not even know his friend was killed. This week, in a rare letter, Mireles sent to Jorge Vazquez, he noted how difficult communication is for him. In the letter he speaks of the death of Hipolito Mora’s son, Manuel. And that was five months ago.
Mireles’ sister Vicky Mireles, had hoped that since the PGR was now able to release her brother due to his favorable court rulings, saying all that is needed is PGR to file to vacate the case. That was to be done on yesterday. She expressed concerns for his health, saying that his diabetes is not controlled and he is in jeopardy of losing his limbs.
However, Talia Vazquez Alatorre, the former defense attorney of Dr. Mireles gave an interview today saying the hope that Dr. Mireles’ sister has of his release, is a false hope. She attributes his non-release to the election, and not so much because of the legal process.
“I am the first to want him out of jail, since the first day, but that will not be possible in time campaigns “she said. She said the main reason has little to do with acts of justice but by the fear of Mireles’ impact on the electoral process,
“I do not think any party wants to see Mireles in the street two weeks before the elections, because he is a very loved and respected person, nationally. Many authorities govern one’s life and justice based on an electoral calendar, “she charged.
Ms Vazquez contends she remains a great advocate for Dr. Mireles, even though she resigned as his defense attorney, after a dispute with Padre Goyo’s apparent attempt at negotiating a deal for Dr. Mireles’ release. A deal was never reached, and most people conclude there must be a whole lot more to that story.
As it is now, many of the close women in his life are fighting each other, each saying they have the best interest of Dr. Mireles at heart. Pricila Abud of Grillonautas turned on Dr Mireles over the proposed deal, calling it “shameful”. His former wife Ana, referred to Dr Mireles as a devil, who had “nothing”, his daughter also conducted an interview saying as far as she was concerned her father was dead.
Yet, now when the man cannot speak and be heard, all these parties claim to be his advocate. His former wife, his daughter, his son, Pricila, Talia all are now waving the banner and claim to be speaking for him.
What is absolutely true is his closeness to his sister Vicky. As for relationships with the others, those who turned their back to him, I guess we have to wait for the conclusion of that story.
Enrique Hernández was a true Mireles advocate. Just days before his death he announced he was working with Morena political party attorneys in hopes of assisting in the release of Dr. Mireles.