Photo by Comunicación Ostula.

PBI-Mexico has posted:

“These latest aggressions on Thursday, June 13 in the Michoacán community of Santa María Ostula add to a context of high levels of insecurity caused by organized crime, in which the community member Antonio Regis Nicolás was murdered on Friday, May 17. In the context of our accompaniment of the Human Rights Solidarity Network [Red Solidaria DH], PBI expresses its concern and solidarity with the community and calls on the corresponding authorities, given this increase in violence and direct aggressions against the indigenous community, to ensure security conditions and to respect the jurisdiction of the communal government and the Communal Guard of Santa Maria Ostula.”

This statement from the Indigenous Nahua Community of Santa Maria Ostula further explains that a community member was attacked when he was herding his cattle on June 13 by approximately thirty armed men. The person was able to shelter in a checkpoint that had been installed by the Communal Guard earlier this year following another attack by the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG). The Communal Guard repelled the attack and saved the life of the community member.

The statement adds “the highest levels of the federal and state governments have full knowledge of the situation of violence that prevails throughout the region and the aggressions that our community has constantly suffered; however, they have refused to take effective measures to provide protection to the people of the region and particularly to the families of our community in the face of the increasing and more violent presence of the CJNG in the area.”

The demands of the community include the dismantling of the CJNG cartel, guarantees for the functioning of the Communal Guard, and self-determination and autonomy for the Indigenous community of Santa Maria Ostula.

Antonio Regis Nicolás Espacio OSC explains: “On May 17, 2024, Antonio Regis Nicolás, a community member of Santa María Ostula, in the municipality of Aquila, Michoacán, was murdered and intercepted by a heavily armed commando of organized crime, dressed in military uniforms. The place where the community member was murdered has been repeatedly pointed out to the Federal and State governments as an area controlled by criminal groups, so far all levels of government have ignored the request of the Ostula authorities to strengthen surveillance in these areas.”

Jalisco New Generation Cartel In a recent article, CBC reports: “The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (known by its Spanish initials CJNG) has existed for only 15 years, yet ranks one of Mexico’s largest and most powerful criminal organizations. It operates in at least 27 of the country’s 32 states, with affiliates across the globe. Its home base is Puerto Vallarta. Over its ultra-violent history, the group has expanded its activities from drug production and trafficking, to kidnapping and extortion, to less predictable turf like the avocado trade and, more recently, time-share scams.”

Communal Guard Avispa Midia notes: “The Nahua community of Santa María Ostula … has exercised self-government and maintained the operation of their Communal Guard since 2009. …Through an act of their community assembly, they reiterated their rejection of whatever external governmental forces from entering their territories beneath the pretext of providing security. … ‘Our Communal Guard is recognized by a community assembly which governs our laws and customs,’ explain members of the Community Council of Ostula. They emphasize that participation in the security system is an obligation of community members when they reach the appropriate age to provide free service in benefit of the population.”

The community statement also mentions the names of nine people along with Antonio Regis Nicolas:

Lorenzo Froylan de la Cruz Ríos: Red TDT explains this member of the Communal Guard was murdered on August 10, 2023.

Isaul Nemecio ZambranoMiguel Estrada Reyes and Rolando Mauno Zambrano: Serapaz notes these were members of the Communal Guard who were murdered by the CJNG on January 12, 2023, while carrying out surveillance tasks.

Eustaquio Alcala Diaz: Centro PRODH and Red Solidaria say that Eustaquio was an environmental defender fighting against a mining concession granted on their territory who was disappeared on April 1, 2023 and later found murdered.

Juan Medina: El Sol de Morelia reports he was a “communal councillor, in charge of order, community guard and member of the Communication Commission in Ostula” murdered on April 14, 2023.

The Guardian has reported: “Ricardo Arturo Lagunes Gasca, a renowned human rights lawyer, and Antonio Díaz Valencia, leader of the Aquila Indigenous community in the state of Michoacán, were last seen on Sunday [January 15, 2023] evening after attending an anti-mining community meeting.”

Animal Politico has reported: “Environmental activist José Gabriel Pelayo Zalgado allegedly received threats from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) prior to his disappearance on March 19 [2024] in Coalcomán, Michoacán, for his defense of forests and natural resources, according to federal security sources and residents of the area.”

We continue to follow this situation.

Photo of Comunal Guard from Red TDT.

Published by Brent Patterson on