Friday, January 17, 2014

Mexican Citizens Take Up Arms Against Cartels, Army Counter-Attacks

[I'm still struggling with Blogspot problems – no photos or videos, for example – but I will post as I am able, which is becoming increasingly difficult.]

Mexican citizens have banded together in the small city of Antúnez to fight back against the drug cartels, but now have to fight off the Mexican Army as well.

The town of about 8000 in the province of Michoacán, about 75 miles north of the port of Ciudad Lázaro Cárdenas on the Pacific coast and about 300 miles due west of Mexico City, has been beset by a drug gang, associated with the Knights Templar drug cartel (not to be confused with the actual Knights Templar of Masonry), that extorted money, stole property, and threatened to kill citizens. The citizenry's response has been to gather what weapons they could and form a vigilante group, which swept into town and drove out the gang.

The army responded by sending a patrol to Antúnez to disarm the vigilantes.  A roadblock of the citizens sought to prevent the soldiers from leaving, demanding a return of the weapons that were confiscated.  Tempers flared over arguments with the troops, rocks were thrown, and the soldiers opened fire, killing at least two as admitted by government spokesmen (other estimates cite four, another ten).

The first question revolves around why the government responded to the citizens as opposed to the drug cartel.  After all, this sounds very much like a Latin version of the Battles of Concord and Lexington, in an area that is a particular hot spot in the drug war.  One unofficial source put forth the theory that the arms that the citizens used were supplied by the Jalisco cartel seeking to move into the territory.

Mexico has rather draconian firearms laws that prevent citizens from owning rifles and particularly pistols, and like so much in Mexico it depends to a great extent on connections.  I expect that I do not need to belabor the point about the American Second Amendment.

The drug cartel war in Mexico is bloody and will likely become bloodier still, particularly if the citizens are pushed to the extent of taking up arms not only against the crime syndicates but the government that has been so ineffective and corrupt.

The area of Michoacán has always been a separate element in Mexican culture.  Even in times before Cortés, the brutal Aztecs were defeated when they tried to conquer the related Nahuatl natives.  The Aztecs declared that since the people of Michoacán were "cousins", there was no need for conquest and moved their attention to the south instead.

Government officials would do well to remember the uprising of  La Cristiada or the Cristero War of the late 1920s, when the government of Plutarco Elías Calles sought to forcibly suppress the church.  The uprising was fought in the same area, and memories run deep.


  1. Interesting. I had not heard of the Mexican army suppressing these folks, but keeping the citizens in line is what the Mexican military is for---they have no real foreign enemies to fight. Possibly they came in at the request of some large land owner who, indeed, feared a Lexington or Concord. I wonder if gun rights as we know them actually hinder rebellion. I can imagine being disarmed in the face of such as the drug cartels might force you to consider and finally commit rebellion. Whereas being armed allows you to believe that you have choices, whether you make them or not.

    1. I expect that gun rights can hinder rebellion in that the government knows that there would be a viable push back to attempts to suppress rights in other areas, thus eliminating to a great extent a reason to rebel.

      Being armed, nevertheless, gives the people an ability to resist and overthrow an oppressive government - an actual choice.

  2. I'm not sure if you saw today, that the Mexican government has incorporated the citizen militia into a quasi-official force....after realizing that they were powerless to disarm a body of citizens intent on protecting their rights, homes and families.

    1. Thanks for being alert to the update. I'm sure that we haven't heard the last of the war between the Mexican government and the drug cartels.


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