4 Children Rescued From Mexico Shelter Allegedly Committed Suicide

August 18, 2014

08/16/14 Fox News Latino

Street childrenThe Mexican agency attending to children who were rescued last month from a squalid shelter in the western state of Michoacán called on prosecutors to investigate reports that four of the minors committed suicide in recent weeks.

Other victims of the “La Gran Familia” shelter, taken over by the government amid sexual and physical abuse allegations, “tell us that four children committed suicide,” Julio Hernández Barros, an attorney and member of the government’s Executive Commission on Victim Attention, or CEAV, told Efe.

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Mexico Detains Mayor For Extortion, Ordering A Murder On Behalf Of Drug Cartel

August 15, 2014

08/15/14 Fox News Latino

hands in handcuffsA mayor in the western state of Michoacán was detained for allegedly ordering the killing of a friend and extorting her employees and street vendors in her city on behalf of a drug cartel, authorities said Thursday.

Michoacán state prosecutors said in a statement that Huetamo Mayor Dalia Santana told her friend to meet her for breakfast at a Chinese restaurant, where a gunman shot him to death last year. The gunman was a member of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which is based in Michoacán.

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Mexico charges six over Michoacan children’s home abuse

July 25, 2014

07/25/14 BBC News

Street childrenA federal judge in Mexico has charged six employees of a children’s home raided by police last week.

More than 450 children and teenagers were rescued from the The Big Family Home, where they had been living in appalling conditions.

Prosecutors believe some of the children were subjected to beatings and sexual abuse.

The owner of the home, 79-year-old Rosa Verduzco, has been deemed too old and mentally unfit to stand trial.

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Woman in Mexico children’s home probe freed without charges

July 21, 2014

07/20/14 Reuters

justice - gavelA controversial woman at the center of an abuse scandal at a children’s home in western Mexico has been set free after a preliminary probe cleared her of wrongdoing, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office said on Sunday.

Mexican police raided the refuge known as “La Gran Familia” (The Big Family) in the state of Michoacan on Tuesday, finding around 450 kids in squalid rooms filled with trash and cockroaches.

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Controversy surrounds rescue of children from Mexico shelter

July 18, 2014

07/17/14 Los Angeles Times

Kids Photo Credit Kelly DonlanIn an odd and contradictory tale of abuse and protection, authorities say they rescued nearly 500 children from a shelter in the western state of Michoacan, where they were reportedly exposed to bug-infested food, rapes and filthy conditions.

Yet almost immediately after the announcement earlier this week, Mexico’s former president and several other prominent public figures rose to the defense of the elderly woman running the shelter, further muddying an already confusing picture.

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Mexican president says new state governor has his full backing

July 2, 2014

7/2/14 Fox News Latino

peña-nietoMexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he planned to work closely with the new governor of the western state of Michoacan, Salvador Jara, on security, economic and development issues.

The national government does not want to “create competition or establish another level of government” in Michoacan, where federal officials deployed the security forces in January to restore order in the Tierra Caliente, the president said.

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June Mexico Media Roundup: Another Month Of Vigilantes And Violence In Michoacan

June 30, 2014

06/30/14 Forbes

Army detentions MichoacanThe first half of 2014 has seen the “autodefensa” citizens’ militias in the southwestern state of Michoacan, Mexico take control of local security and checkpoints along roadways in one of the country’s most problematic regions. Michoacan has also seen attacks against a Pepsi subsidiary and the murder of an ArcelorMittal employee. New rules imposed by Mexico’s federal government in May were put in place to regularize the autodefensas into a uniformed police force called the Fuerza Rural and ban ordinary citizens from carrying machine guns. Throughtout the course of June, however, armed citizens continued to carry out operations in Michoacan.

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Mexico’s vigilante movement has a strong U.S. connection

June 2, 2014

pistolChicago Tribune, 06/02/14

Sporting a semiautomatic assault rifle and a “213” area code tattoo, Cuauhtemoc Espejo boarded the passenger bus and checked riders’ IDs. Espejo, who returned to Mexico’s Tierra Caliente from California’s Central Valley a few years ago, is a member of one of the vigilante bands that in recent months took over large parts of Michoacan state dominated for nearly a decade by drug and extortion cartels. “There is a lot of fear, uncertainty now,” Espejo said as he made sure nobody from the notorious Knights Templar gang was on the bus. Many of the vigilantes, like Espejo, are returnees from California, where they worked in farm fields and factories before being deported or coming back voluntarily to protect their long-suffering families here.

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Activistas y políticos lanzan video “Todos Somos Autodefensas”

May 14, 2014

hands - fistAnimal Politico, 5/13/14

El padre Solalinde; el defensor de Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, José Jacques Medina; José Manuel Mireles y cuatro ciudadanos más forman parte del video “Todos Somos Autodefensas”. En el video, de poco más de 2 minutos de duración, se ve a siete ciudadanos, defensores de derechos humanos y políticos dar sus motivos sobre por qué se consideran autodefensas.

La primera intervención es la del padre Solalinde: “Somos 500 defensores y defensoras de los derechos humanos de migrantes, los estamos protegiendo nosotros porque el estado no pudo hacerlo, en ese sentido, yo soy autodefensa“, dice Solalinde.

Después le sigue Jaime Rodríguez, “El bronco”, exalcalde de García, Nuevo León: “La paz para mi familia es lo más importante, yo soy autodefensa y lo seré por ellos“, dice. También aparece Mario Segura de Salvemos Tamaulipas: “La lucha no puede ser de los michoacanos solos, tenemos que estar con ellos solidarios“.

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New Rural Police Force Emerges After the Death of Mexico’s Autodefensas

May 13, 2014

federal police mexicoVICE News, 5/12/14

A year and three months after the surge in so-called autodefensas in the state of Michocan took up arms to destroy the Knights Templar Cartel — one of the most violent criminal groups in the country — a new rural police force has emerged after the militia agreed to register their weapons.

This past Saturday, in the town of Tepalcatepec — to the south of Michoacan, where the autodefensas first originated — about 450 members of the autodefensas who wished to continue in their towns with their security duties, received uniforms and weapons, so they can “continue the effort, legally,” Estanislao Beltrán, aka “Papá Pitufo (Papa Smurph)” — the current spokesperson for the Council of Autodefensas in Michoacan told VICE News.

President Enrique Peña Nieto had previously warned that after May 10, the possession of unregistered arms in any part of the state will not be permitted.

After the uniforms, boots, hats, pistols and AR-15 rifles were handed over to the new rural police force, “Papá Pitufo” delivered a message to the townsfolk who had collaborated by his side to meet the objective of destroying the Knights Templar Cartel, who have been targeting the residents, extorting, kidnapping and murdering them.

“Our goal is to create peace and tranquility within our communities — to bring peace to our families — with this movement we are heroes,” “Papa Pitufo” told VICE News.“As initiators of this movement, we have to set an example that the fight should have a specified duration and we don’t want it to get out of control, so that one day we can return to our normal jobs in tranquility,” he said.

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