Yakiri is free, but now fears for the lives of herself and her family

Yakiri Libre By Anayeli Garcia Martínez
March 6, 2014

Smiling, nervous and discreet, Yakiri Rubí Rubio Aupart was released yesterday from the Women’s Rehabilitation Center in Tepepan, minutes before 10 pm, after spending almost three months in prison after being accused of killing Miguel Angel Ramirez Anaya, who raped and attempted to kill her on December 9th.

Along with her parents, Marina Beltrán and José Luis Rubio, and surrounded by a makeshift line of activists who tried to prevent the approaching cluster of cameras, the young woman gave her first statement to the press to thank people, who from the start, believed she was the victim of rape and fought back to save her life.

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Gunmen attack assembly in Álvaro Obregón

Fuera de la Barra Santa Teresa By Scott Campbell

For more than a year, the indigenous Binnizá community of Álvaro Obregón, in the Isthmus of Oaxaca, have defended their lands against the imposition of a wind park by the multinational Spanish firm Mareña Renovables. As part of that struggle, “the community became aware that the parties and political leaders have only used them for political and personal ends.” In August of 2013, the community held an assembly and decided to return to the traditional indigenous usos y costumbres form of governance, where community leaders are selected via general assembly, without the participation of political parties.

With 1,236 people participating, the general assembly to select the community’s leaders was held on December 8, 2013. Yet on February 8, 2014, Saúl Vicente Vázquez, the Municipal President of Juchitán, which includes Álvaro Obregón, announced that new elections, involving political parties, would be held in Álvaro Obregón on March 2, ignoring the popular and expressed will of the people. Ironically, Vicente Vázquez until recently served as an expert on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

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Tierra Caliente: The freedom we have now, we haven’t had in twelve years

x carolina

barricada1-los-reues2 In the first days of February I was able to get a close-up view of some aspects of the people’s uprising against organized crime in the state of Michoacán. In a visit that took me through parts of Tierra Caliente, the Meseta P’urhépecha and the Sierra Madre del Sur with other independent media journalists from SubVersiones, it became clear that people live better in the towns freed from the control of the Knights Templar organized crime cartel and that the Citizen Self-Defense Councils, better known as the community police or simply self-defense groups, are going right ahead with their move to take over one community, town or city after another. At the barricades and in the towns, people were also enthusiastic about following their own agenda, regardless of whatever plans the State might have, and going on to organize People’s Councils like the ones formed in Chinicuila and Coalcomán so that people can make decisions about how they want to live from now on and avoid possible traps frequently pointed out by observers: becoming part of a paramilitarization strategy of the State, becoming yet another cartel, or ending up under the control of the Army or the Federal Police.

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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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