Guerrero: poverty and violence

Criminal organizations have wreaked havoc in impoverished communities for years

Guerrero: poverty and violence
An armed member of a vigilante group patrols in Filo de Caballos, Guerrero state - Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP
English 08/07/2020 09:06 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:13

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In recent days, violence has soared in the north of Guerrero, where people have tried to adapt to the presence of criminal groups and poverty

Besides facing marginalization and backwardness, these communities also have to fight criminal organizations, which proves the government has abandoned some regions, and criminals have taken advantage of the situation and established their headquarters and controlled entire communities. 

Theft, extortion, and kidnapping are some of the crimes faced by these communities, who at the same time are struggling to make a living. The criminal organizations have pressured residents to the point that some of these communities are almost going through a civil war. Criminal groups engage in turf wars and communities resist criminals by arming themselves. The vigilante groups arm themselves and establish their work methods. 

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In communities where authorities reduce their presence, criminals settle down and sometimes try to reach an agreement with the community so that they conceal their activities, sometimes they offer residents benefits or spark violence and crime to intimidate and silence them. In more gruesome cases, organized crime recruits members against their will by kidnapping them and forcing them to join the ranks of the criminal organization under the threat of killing them or their families if they refuse to join or escape. 

Furthermore, vigilante groups are another risk since they could turn into criminal groups or side with the criminals they were supposed to fight. These organizations could bribe or infiltrate the vigilante groups to disintegrate them from the inside, which costs lives and families.  

It is time for federal and state authorities to pay attention to regions like northern Guerrero, where they must guarantee peace so that people can return to their everyday lives and stop criminals from controlling entire communities. 

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