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Guerrero, law of the jungle?

The appearance of “self-defense” groups is a consequence of the inability of our Institutions to protect the people
Members of a self-defense group - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
15/10/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Most of them are farmers, fishermen, and bricklayers, although there are also ex-cops and former military. They were born – they claim – brandishing their weapons against drug trafficking gangs, yet over the past five years, they have become – according to the inhabitants of their own communities – part of the problem rather than the solution, contributing to the insecurity, crime, and violence they claim they fight against in the state of Guerrero, and which never seems to end not only in this state but in other regions of Mexico.

They are the self-defense groups of Guerrero – Community Police, Citizen's Police, Rural Police, or Rural Watchmen – whose members are mostly young men in their thirties who claim to protect 64% of the inhabitants of this coastal state of the Republic since the first movement was organized in 2012 and until the latest one, which took place in May, 2017.

An outrageous fact for certain, which reflects the collapse or blatant neglect of the security institutions at all Government levels in most parts of Guerrero, a region historically stricken by poverty, violence, and discrimination.

The current status of Guerrero is critical considering almost half of the population is under the control of armed forces, and if nothing is done, we risk a major humanitarian and security crisis.

Because what we see in Guerrero today is, in its sum, a total lack of rule of law, and, therefore, a defenseless population. Sadly, this is just another evidence of the institutional and social breakdown Mexico is experiencing.

Cases like this are not new for the Mexican people. A few years ago, the state of Michoacán underwent a similar crisis, and to control the situation, the Federation had to intervene, take over, and keep a constant presence in the state for months.

The appearance of “self-defense” groups is just a consequence of one thing: the inability of our Institutions to protect the people. Should nothing change, the law of the strongest will continue to prevail.

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