A day with the comunitarios of Peribán

Comunitarios de Peribán By Tejemedios

Led by a volunteer who goes by the name of “Uncle Sam,” this community defense team was responsible for freeing the town of Peribán from the control of the Knights Templar cartel over a week ago. Tejemedios journalists accompanied them on one of their constant inspection details in the surrounding villages in search of hidden Knights Templar members.

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Self-defense groups and their critics

Photo: Juan José Estrada Serafín

Photo: Juan José Estrada Serafín

By Scott Campbell

Since mid-January, when armed self-defense groups launched an offensive against the Knights Templar cartel in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán, Mexico, much ink has been spilled evaluating the pros and cons of the self-defense movement. Critiques and speculations have been leveled from the left and right, yet what has largely been absent is an appreciation for the events in situ.

From the right (including the government and mass media), the self-defense groups have been labelled as vigilantes, taking the law into their own hands, armed by an opposing cartel, and threatening to turn into paramilitary death squads a la the AUC in Colombia. Such meritless talking points are not of concern here.

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Crossing Borders in Templar Territory

comunitario By Simón Sedillo
Photos: Juan José Estrada Serafín

We left a municipality in Michoacan, which is often confused in the mainstream media as part of the Tierra Caliente region, but is actually Sierra. We hear that there is going to be a negotiation with the state and federal government and autonomous self-defense groups in order to accord the legalization of the self-defense groups. We head to Tepacaltepec where the meeting is to be held. The scene is surreal to say the least, but so is everything else in Michoacan these days, so it is no surprise to us any longer. In what looks like an old farmhouse, seats and tables with white tablecloths are arranged in a large rectangle.

Translations: Spanish | German

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I was a Knights Templar for Two Hours

Pedro Preciado By Rafael Camacho

Pedro Preciado is a large man, his 120 kilo body weight and one meter ninety centimeter height leave no doubt to that fact; his speech however is soft and slow, he has the kind of calming voice which transmits peace. Pedro is a Christian pastor with the Free Methodist Church and he gives services in Tepalcatepec, and part of Coalcomán, both municipalities are in the state of Michoacán.

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Social activist wounded on December 1 inauguration of Peña dies

kuykendall-hospital By Fernando Camacho Servín
La Jornada
January 25, 2014
Translated by Scott Campbell

The activist and theater director Juan Francisco Kuykendall, who suffered a fractured skull during the December 1, 2012 protests against Enrique Peña Nieto’s inauguration, died early Saturday morning after suffering a cardiac arrest.

“Kuy died at 5:05am. They have still not given me the death certificate and we don’t know what they are going to say the clinical cause was, but since 2:30 in the morning he was in cardiac arrest,” said Eva Palma, the victim’s partner.

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41 Kilometers Crossing the Templar Stronghold

Michoacán self-defense groups in late 2013

Michoacán self-defense groups in late 2013

Published on January 23, 2014 at Subversiones

Translated by patizapatita 1/24/14

Stones lined up on the asphalt reduce the road to a single lane. On one side, dozens of sacks filled with sand are piled asymmetrically, forming a barricade, all indicating that it is part of a checkpoint. It is the intersection of Cuatro Caminos, 1 km away from Nueva Italia, until now the largest city in the state of Michoacán that has been freed from the control of the Knights Templar cartel (liberada del control de los Caballeros Templarios) by the self-defense groups.

We stop the car a few meters before the barricade and notice that there are no members of the self-defense group in sight. The businesses around the checkpoint are all open and offer various meals and services. On first impression, life unfolds normally and it even seems that the barricade to the side is an integral part of the scene. The landscape of a conflict zone.

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