Photo: Vice


Mexico is extremely violent these days, from the torching of vehicles to the killing of journalists. So is anyone surprised that local groups have armed themselves to protect their farms and families? 

As noted in the Pulse News Mexico article written by Jessica Guerrero on the so-called Pueblos Unidos, which loosely translate to the United Communities, these militias are the natural consequence of lawlessness when people cannot count on their government to protect them.

“During the last two weeks, the country has faced a serious security crisis, after several violent incidents took place across cities located in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua and Guanajuato, where different organized crime groups directly attacked civilians and set fires to dozens of businesses and private vehicles,” Guerrero wrote on Aug. 23.

“The aforementioned resulted, in the first instance, in million-peso losses for the owners of the affected businesses and vehicle owners, but more importantly, at least 14 fatalities were recorded, including a child.”

Guerrero went on to note that on Aug. 13, “agents of the Mexican Army, the National Guard and the Civil Guard deployed an operation that included armored vehicles to achieve the arrest of 167 armed men on the Siglo XXI highway that connects the state capital, Morelia, with the narco-infested region of Tierra Caliente and the port of Lázaro Cárdenas.”

“According to the authorities, after an exhaustive intelligence operation of their forces, they were able to arrest these armed men after they were seen traveling in 28 vehicles near the municipality of Uruapan,” she wrote.

“The people in those vehicles carried badges and stickers that identified them as members of the Pueblos Unidos criminal group.”

Guerrero explained that the Pueblos Unidos is a vigilante organization that emerged in 2021, “allegedly composed of farmers and community members from the avocado-producing region in central Michoacán.”

“According to its founders, its main objective was to defend the local farmers against the continuous extortions and threats of the cartels,” she continued.

“However, the organization has been accused of collaborating with the Carteles Unidos criminal group, becoming a major concern to the authorities by presumably threatening the state’s security situation.”

The group has a Facebook page, with the latest news and videos of its activities. It’s a sign of the times, I guess, for everyone to go on social media these days.

Pueblos Unidos is heavily armed and has run into problems with the authorities.

The locals responded to the arrest of some of Pueblos Unidos’ members by blocking highways.

The organization claims that its members were wrongly arrested and have blamed the government directly.

Eventually, the roads were reopened, but the locals made their point.

What I see from up here in the United States is a perfect storm brewing.

I am not defending everything that the Pueblos Unidos group is doing, or denying allegations that the group may be working with criminal elements.

If the Pueblos Unidos does have a relationship with a drug cartel, that may explain why its members pose with those high-powered rifles.

Nevertheless, I understand why groups like these are created and supported by the local communities. People are scared and do not trust their government to protect them.

So what is the solution?

The administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) must admit that violence is out of control and use all means necessary to eradicate the problem, from taking the fight directly to the cartels to persuading the locals that the government will protect them from this surging wave of violence.

And it might help if López Obrador would use one of his daily morning press conferences to outline how U.S. President Joe Biden’s chaos on the border is making all this violence more likely in Mexico.

SILVIO CANTO, JR. is a Cuban-born U.S. citizen who teaches English at a north Texas college. He is the author of the book “Cubanos in Wisconsin” and has a daily online radio program and blog dealing with U.S. and Latin American politics, as well as sports and historic events, and is a regular contributor to American Thinker.

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