Sierra-Costa of Michoacán
February 7, 2017
To the people of Mexico and the world
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the free media
To the national and international media
The Indigenous community of Santa María Ostula strongly opposes the illegal detention of five members of the community police of San Pedro Naranjestil and Tizupan—both pertaining to the Indigenous community of Pómaro. The detention was carried out be elements of the Secretary of the Marines (SEMAR), after which the kidnapped were directly handed over to a criminal group, something that has been insistently denounced in the past.
The acts occurred around 3:00 am on the morning of February 5th, when some trucks of SEMAR arrived at the security checkpoint that the community police had maintained in the point known as Tizupan. From the received testimonies, we can certify that the marines did not detain the community police members by chance, but that they were clearly pinpointed and were the objective of this action.
During the morning of February 5th, the commander Germán Ramírez, director of public security of the municipality of Aquila, received information regarding the demands of the criminal group: 21 high-caliber rifles in possession of the community police and two people to establish negotiation. Through the communication, it was possible to certify the well being of the kidnapped community police members. Their names are Abigail Farías Fernán, Crispín Francisco de Aquino, Saúl Fabián Meraz Martínez, Eleno Valencia Zambrano and Francisco Carreón Valencia.
The Nahua Indigenous community reiterates that on multiple occasions they have denounced the criminal actions of various people belonging to the remnant cells of the caballeros templarios—a criminal group that had to abandon the territory of the Sierra-Costa of Michoacán from February 2014 due to the presence of self-defense groups, community police, and communal guards.
Jesús Cruz Virrueta (aka El Chuy Playas), Fernando Cruz Mendoza (aka El Tena) and José María Cruz (aka El Tunco) are the names of the criminals that are responsible for the kidnapping of the five community police members. However it is necessary to point out that there were elements of the Marines who carried out the capture. This was the same as what happened on July 19th, 2015, when together with elements of the defense secretary of Mexico, they carried out an operation against the population who were protesting against the illegal detention of Cemeí Verdía. On that occasion, elements of the military shot at the civilian population, killing Hidelberto Reyes García and injuring at least ten other people. The national commission of human rights (CNDH) confirmed these details in the recommendation 65/2016 this past December.
Thus far, and after a strong coordinated operation between the Michoacán police of the municipalities of Coalcomán, Chinicuila, Coahuayana, Aquila, Lázaro Cárdenas, community police and self-defense groups of the Sierra-Costa, as well as the communal guard of Santa María Ostula commanded by Cemeí Verdía, it has not been possible to free the kidnapped community police members. However, through a new telephone call made February 6th around 4:00 pm, we confirmed that the community police members kidnapped are still alive and are well enough to say that: “we are good, we hope that they release us soon.”
In a general assembly, the community of Santa María Ostula decided to reinforce the security checkpoints, both in Xayacalan as well as in the point of Tizupan. Furthermore, they have agreed blockade the federal highway 200 in the point known as Triques to stop the transportation of mining and transnational businesses, as well as elements of the marines and army.
From now on, we warn that our actions will be escalated if a satisfactory response is not given to our demands of justice. For that, we call on the towns, organizations, and honest people of Michoacán, of Mexico and of the world to support our cause of peace and justice summed up in the following demands:
Immediate freedom to the five community police members kidnapped by the marines and organized crime
Cancellation of the arrest orders that exist against members of our communal guard and of the other groups of community police in the Sierra-Costa region.
De-militarization of the Sierra-Costa region of Michoacán. Punishment to the command and members of the military and police that assassinated the boy Hidelberto Reyes García, injuring and beating diverse community members and destroying the possessions of the community of Ostula. Also, reparations for the damages caused to the possessions of the community of Ostula and the return of the following articles: four communication radios, the stamps and identifications of the security counsel, a registered pistol, and four sets of keys.
Apprehension of the bosses of the templario cartel in the region, Federico Gonzalez Medina (aka Lico), and Mario Alvarez López (aka El chacal), and the true disarticulation of the cartel and its political and economic structure.
Respect and guarantees of freedom to the members and the functioning of the community police in the municipalities of Aquila, Coahuayana, Chiniquila and Coalcomán
Presentation with life of the six community members disappeared and punishment to the masterminds and others guilty of the assassination of the 34 community members belonging to the community of Ostula in the past four years.
End to the misinformation and the creation of violent groups in the Nahua community.
Indigenous Community of Santa María Ostula
“We Struggle for Life and Peace, We Don’t Struggle For Power and Less So for Death”
“Never More A Mexico Without Us”