In a communique released on July 1st, 2014, the Mexican Party of Socialist Workers (POS) called for the formation of a “National Committee for the Liberation of Dr Mireles, Nestora Salgado, and all of the imprisoned members of community police forces and self-defence forces (Autodefensas)” in Mexico. It affirmed the following:
“The federal government lived up to its threats of arresting and imprisoning José Manuel Mireles and 80 of his Autodefensa colleagues. It did this just as they prepared to take the port of Lázaro Cárdenas – stronghold of the criminal cartel known as the Caballeros Templarios (CT) and a strategic point for the exportation of iron and other minerals (which organised criminal groups have stolen for years with total impunity)”. This robbery, the POS stressed, is the result of “dispossession of communities in Michoacán, Jalisco, and Colima”, and has given the CT earnings of “around $1,000,000,000 in [only] five years”.
The POS also emphasised that President Peña Nieto’s representative in Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo, made the move against Mireles and his colleagues “just as the Autodefensas were about to deal a killer blow to the economic empire” of the CT. The group insisted that this government scheme simply confirmed the “mutual aid society” which has been established between organised criminals and the Mexican bourgeoisie. The so-called ‘War on Drugs’, according to the POS, simply “clears the way for transnational mining companies” by “terrorising populations” and forcing them to “abandon the desired territories [which are] rich in minerals”. At the same time, this conflict allows the government to “justify the militarisation of the national territory” and convince citizens that “brutal repression against indigenous communities, the EZLN [Zapatistas], Mexican workers, CNTE teachers, and the poor” is necessary.
Another sign that there is collusion between the State and organised criminals, or at the very least that the government is incompetent, is that “insecurity and the dominance of criminals continue in vast regions of the country”. And for precisely this reason, communities continue to take up arms to defend themselves, with one recent example coming from Tlalnepantla, where a group of Autodefensas has recently formed “with the support of over 600 neighbours”. The government’s response, rather than dealing with organised crime, is to imprison those who fight against it, showing that its opposition to “independent actions of the People” is much stronger than its opposition to crime, death, and injustice.
The current government in particular, the POS affirmed, “loathes the Autodefensas and the community police forces of indigenous communities”. And, for that reason, Nestora Salgado and several of her colleagues from the community police force in Olinalá remain in prison, while independent Autodefensas in Michoacán like that of Dr Mireles are also being detained.
At the end of their communique, the members of the POS asserted that “it is the duty of all of us to defend these noble and rebellious Mexicans”, and called for a national mobilisation to demand the freedom of political prisoners, respect for indigenous communities, respect for Autodefensas and community police forces, and an end to government repression. In particular, the POS called into action groups such as: “revolutionary organisations”; “indigenous communities and the EZLN”; Autodefensas; community police forces; “independent trade unions”; workers; and students.
As long as there is a lack of unity between forces fighting for justice, freedom, and autonomy, the well-funded forces fighting for dispossession and authoritarian control over land and people will have the upper hand. The call made by the POS is yet another in a long line of calls for unity, and is one that, if heard, could be a significant step forward in the fight against injustice, death, and impunity.