Driving the Narcos out


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CHERAN, MEXICO (Report) — On the road leading into this hardscrabble town in Mexico’s southwest corner, there stands a checkpoint staffed by heavily-armed guards, clad ominously in balaclavas, or ski masks. This scene is not particularly unusual for this violence-plagued country, but Cheran is no ordinary place: seven years ago this month, the mostly indigenous townspeople here grew tired of watching the loggers illegally cut down their trees, and frustrated with the extortion rackets run by the organized-crime cartels, and angry at the politicians who did nothing to protect them or the forest that is central to the local timber economy.

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And so the denizens of this community tucked away in the state of Michoacán evicted the bootleg loggers and the mobsters who hired them; they kicked out the police department and the mayor and the city council and the prosecutors and the judges and they decided to do it all themselves.

The gendarmes patrolling the city’s borders are, in fact, civilians.

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Cheran is no utopia, but virtually everyone here says they feel happier and safer with the new autonomous arrangement that is reminiscent of the Paris Commune, the radical workers’ movement that governed the City of Lights for two months in the spring of 1871 before authorities and industrialists managed to regain control.

“Little by little, people have realized that this new system is the most suitable for us … now we take care of each other,” David Ramos Guerrero, a local resident, told MintPress News.

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Easy pickings for the cartels, until . . 

Surrounded by lush forests, Cheran is about 200 miles west of Mexico City. Its population of roughly 16,000 is predominantly from the indigenous Purepecha community, who squeeze out a meager living from agriculture — corn, oats, beans, wheat, potatoes, apples, apricots, pears and plums — and timber. The Mexican cartels typically associated with the illicit drug trade want a cut of any lucrative commercial enterprise, and for years the talamontes, or illegal loggers working on behalf of the ruthless La Familia mob, had toppled the trees — by one estimate, they had destroyed half of the 59,000 acres of forest — surrounding the community, hauling them off with impunity, and ultimately jeopardizing Cheran’s water supply.


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The townspeople’s complaints to their representatives at City Hall repeatedly fell on deaf ears until finally, the women hatched a plan. On the morning of April 15, 2011, dozens of women gathered at the Roman Catholic Chapel of the Calvary at the town’s edge and waited. As the trucks passed hauling their illegal bounty, the signal was given, and the women, armed only with fireworks and rocks and white-hot indignation, attacked, driving out the loggers armed with AK-47s.


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On Sunday, April 15, thousands turned out for a ceremony to celebrate the insurrection set in motion on that day in 2011. “That was the moment that the community, tired of the pilfering of our forest, tired of being manipulated by organized crime and the government, decided to rise up in struggle,” David Ramos Guerrero told MintPress News.

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We Call it Murder: The Empire’s War on the Border



About ten years ago, Homeland Security began creating a vast graveyard in a stretch of the Arizona desert’s most remote and rugged terrain. It did so by focusing so intensely on traditional migrant routes that people crossing from Mexico were forced further and further east. They had to cross where the routes were the roughest, where there are no water resources, no population centers to speak of, and where there are miles and miles to go before there is a ray of hope on the horizon.

Now, at least 7,000 human skeletons lie buried beneath those desert miles. And the U.S, government planned it that way.




What kind of lowlife scum does it take to so gleefully destroy and poison lifesaving water resources for desperate people traversing a desert?

  Claire Marie O'Brien  Claire Marie O’Brien

It takes a pool of Border Patrol applicants from small towns across the Southwest, in regions with skyrocketing unemployment, failed schools, loss of small farmers, a devastating methamphetamine epidemic, and infant mortality rates higher than those of most developing nations.

Keep pay low, stress high, racism rampant, and “investigations” of agent brutality a joke. Sit back and wait.

desert cross



Disappearances of Mexican Youth Increases by 200 Percent


According to new data released on Thursday by the Mexican Network for Children’s Rights or REDIM disappearances among adolescents increased by 191 percent between 2012 and 2014.

The new figures, which were obtained through the government’s National Registry of Missing Persons database, revealed the disturbing trend that girls between the ages of 15 and 17 are disproportionately affected by enforced disappearances.

According to REDIM, seven out of 10 of missing children are girls between the ages of 15 and 17.

“These are the highest numbers we have seen for this age group since 2006,” REDIM President Alicia Vargas stated.

In its report, REDIM attributed the rise in child disappearances to criminal organizations involved in human trafficking and the ongoing “war on drugs” waged between Mexican security forces and drug trafficking organizations.

RELATED: Mexico Military Spending Soars as Human Rights Situation Worsens

According to official figures, almost 50 percent of the 22,322 disappeared people in Mexico went missing between 2012 and 2014 under the current administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

During a press conference on Thursday, REDIM Executive Director Juan Martín Pérez also called on the Mexican government to adopt preventative measures to help curb killings among Mexican youth.

“We are still far from 2012, which was when violence in our country reached its peak, but we are still concerned that federal authorities are not taking preventative measures to address violent killings,” Perez stated.





____EXCLUSIVE  BY CLAIRE O’BRIEN___________________

First published on Latina Lista by Claire O’Brien at  

  At my school, the students created a gigantic number 43, each candle symbolizing a missing student, so that anybody from the sky — the UFOs, the airplanes, God, perhaps? —  could see and understand the sorrow that the Mexican students are dwelling with. Maybe now the people  will understand why it rains: even the sky is crying .”

Valerie Rodarte,  Mexican university student



A street of small adobe houses runs through a middle class neighborhood on the outskirts of a Mexican city. It looks peaceful enough at first glance.

But those who live there know better.

To residents who have gazed at the street over time, the signs of a neighborhood transformed by seven years of horrific violence are clear. A big iron gate blocks off the entrance, and curtains are drawn across every locked window. People walk directly from their front doors to their cars or to the bus stop. They don’t go out for strolls. They stand aside for certain of their neighbors and avert their eyes.

And there are no children in sight.




Inside one of the smallest houses, a girl who grew up playing tag on the street sits at a computer typing an email to an American journalist. Valerie Rodarte has just finished up another week of  a heavy college course load, but she won’t be joining her  classmates  for a night on the town – or a even a study group in the library.Neither will many other students at her university, especially girls.

In fact, until recently, Rodarte hadn’t been outdoors at night in six years
“Parents don’t let kids play outside anymore,” wrote Rodarte, “We were just about the last of those children,or maybe second to last. And even though I’m no longer a child, in general I try to follow my mother’s wishes as best I  can.She tends to get sick or unwell if we’re not all in a place she trusts, and that’s only home.”

Rodarte added that her mother has good reason for her fears:

“It’s dangerous,”she said.



At 22, Rodarte tends to view life before drug cartel violence as if through a telescope, from a great distance. There were no gates blocking the street ” back then “.  Until 2008, when former President Juan Calderon’s war on Mexico’s powerful drug cartels reached Valerie’s city, her street reflected her universe of childhood, family, and school.

Rodarte’s archaic description of childhood play as “merry” strikes an American ear as melancholy, as she recalls long games of hide and seek, tag, and just kicking a soccer ball around.

“It was safe and fun to play outside in those days.We played a tag variation called Police and Thieves, where we had our “prison” and sent all the bad guys in there,” Rodarte recalled. “If that seems ironic, I’ve heard that children today play that they are drug traffickers.”

She added that the neighborhood children had also been free to walk to the nearby little shops for treats,





“Almost everywhere in my street area there is a little shop or food stand run by families who need more income, as jobs are scarce nowadays in Mexico,” Rodarte said,” I remember how much we loved to buy candy, but potato chips were actually the most popular thing. They came with prizes and toys and that’s what made potato chips incredibly loved by children.”


V A L E R I E   W R I T E S:   A B O UT   8   Y E A R S  O L D

I can’t recall my exact age but I was still a child. It was Christmas. I  received new N64 games—Hey You, Pikachu!, is a vital mention—and I felt cozy at my home, surrounded by good smells, speaking English for the first time of my life, feeling protected, as in a cave in where pleasures abound and where I can finally feel fully protected. My mother’s not in this memory scene I am describing right now, but I know she’s near—that everybody’s near. I know that my family is near, that no one’s far, that I just need to raise my voice to be heard and stop being alone.




A G E   T W E N T Y – T W O

Violence made me see the worst part of humanity and turned me into a rather distrustful and insecure person; I no longer trust  people much, and I feel bad about a future where I can get shot if I raise my voice higher than I’m supposed to.

I still wonder if the world even cares about us. I mean, Mexico’s not a white country, and we’re not a First World country, so obviously our problems won’t be treated with media coverage like the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. And because our tragedies aren’t  good excuses for war (yet), we won’t be heard as much as we need to be. Thus, our politicians will keep mistreating us from the shadows – because of this impunity.

Most Mexicans think real life lies outside and what we produce is purely crap. People still gush and get excited when they discover that somebody else had a trip to somewhere outside Mexico or to the U.S. For me, it is sadder when Mexicans leave to any American city and forget their own culture.



When a Nightmare Moves In 

 The city knew what to expect when it became a battleground.

People were terrified before the terror began.

For two years a wave of brutal executions had swept the nation, as Mexico’s powerful drug cartels fought both one another and the corrupt government with which many had long-term relationships.The United States had helpfully trained the bloodiest of these as Special Forces, armed them to the teeth, and returned them to Mexico, where they promptly deserted.

After re-emerging as the notorious Zetas, the cartel cut a swath of blinding terror across the country, skinning people alive, beheading them with chainsaws, and hanging their headless bodies from overpasses.




” The violence didn’t hit us until 2008, but when it did, it hit hard and quickly.First came massacres of our police force,” reported Rodarte,”and next the doctors fled the city after narcos made public threats against them.”
With relatives escaped to America, and her father gone since childhood, Rodarte’s already small family became even smaller.They hunkered down together – Valerie, her mother and older sister – in the little house the two girls had always known.

Valerie was fifteen years old.


Rodarte described schools that shut themselves in and “turned their walls into literal prison walls, with the spiky wires on their tops to protect children from any unwanted intruder.”

“I saw my first dead body not long after that.It was lying in the front of the gate in my schoolyard. Since then, I’ve seen so much.” she reported. “My mother no longer wanted us outside, unless it was for an important thing. And if we ever want to hang out with friends, we must be back at a certain hour. So you could say we build a routine that feels like a kind of prison”.

 Shootout Drill

The violence slammed into Rodarte’s family with the first robbery of the bank that employs her mother:

“She tends to be the target of most robbers who assault her bank.  Trust me, it’s terrible when your mother returns, all soaked in tears after surviving yet another robbery – and to know that this will repeat sometime again later. So I tend to live the worst of the city through my mother.”

Rodarte believes that her life has shown her the dark side of human nature:

“All this violence made me discover who were drug traffickers, who weren’t and who were actual people of trust. So you could say I met the dark side of people,” she relected.” I saw how low and cruel can somebody can become, and it made me realize how sometimes civilization tends to be an erroneous concept. I wasted what was supposed to be the prime of my youth because of this imprisoning routine I became used to.”



Over the past year and a half, Valerie has slowly been adding carefully planned activities to her life – nighttime as well as daily. She doesn’t remain out after dark often, nor stay out late, and she’s intensely aware of friends’ reports of being robbed on the street.

But Valerie wants to live.

“In the end, I don’t think you can keep kids away from each other,”she writes in a tone that sounds almost, well, merry.

Rodarte also had to expand her sphere of daytime activities in order to accomodate the academic requirements of her degree program. She’s breathing bigger these days. Not big. Bigger.

The danger is no less for Valerie and her generation than it was before.

They are just standing into the wind.


They know that most of Mexico’s people don’t live in adobe houses – however small – with running water and heat, food, clothing, and school.

They live in houses like this one.

But Valerie Rodarte hasn’t forgotten her people. She comes from a generation that can’t forget



V A L E R I E   W R I T E S

I turned on the laptop, the name Ferguson — FERGUSON, in caps — popped onto the screen. And this time I knew the world was burning, slowly and painfully. This time I saw that the world is truly flying away, burning, losing itself into the universe, prepared to crash itself into a bigger wall of nightmares. I read the news. I read the anger. I read the poison that was boiling so much for the people of the north. And even though the fabulous world of the Internet offered me a video to understand the judicial side of the Ferguson incident, I declined. I didn’t want to know the hypocritical side, for I knew the social side, which is, frankly, far more important and powerful than the former.

Only then I felt so much smaller, as I used to blame the United States for all of our problems, and then I realized that we’re all just victims from the same monster. Then I saw that we’re not small, but rather little water drops, as those hidden inside of popcorn, slowly heating ourselves in order to explode and, finally, occupy the space we deserved from the beginning and without the lies from the Big Ones.

 I realized that a new culture came, and it was the pop culture, not to be confused with the “popular culture” term, but rather with the new mindset that the world’s getting now that we’re finally meeting the real cause of our problems. A culture that has said “Enough!” and it’s ready to burst and destroy all the injustices of which we’re all victims with just one loud “Pop!” explosion…

I just now wonder how much heat we need so we can finally go “POP!”

When will the pop come…


NOTE: None of the photos used in this article are specifically associated with Valerie Rodarte. They do not  identify her location in any way, but have been approved by her as representative of her experience. The photos all come from Google Images and are unrestricted.

When the people stole back the books

New threats challenge Mexico’s Teotihuacán



LatinaLista — Mexico’s pyramid Teotihuacán is not just a popular tourist destination and iconic symbol of Mexico’s significance in the annals of ancient history but it’s also an archeological treasure living on borrowed time.

Located 25 miles northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacán is a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican city renown for its long-standing structures and well-preserverd murals. However, restorers from the country’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) reveal a sad reality: “Forty percent of the murals have disappeared or have been damaged in the past decade.”

Speaking to the Mexican newspaper Excelsior, the restorers attribute the loss of the murals to three things: the use of inadequate techniques in the past, budget constraints and urbanization. ”

As an example of the decline, the restorers cite an area in Teotihuacán known as Atetelco, “where a decade ago there were at least 100 murals, of which 78 have already been lost.” On top of that, anonymous sources tell the newspaper that of the 80 murals removed from the site in the 1960s and placed at the Teotihuacán mural museum, the majority of them are not in a perfect state of conservation.

Though existing murals are disappearing, the good news is that new ones are being discovered. A new mural was found last November in the southwestern corner of the Palace of Quetzalpapálotl, painted between 250 and 300 AD. The new mural is exciting researchers because it shows a procession of several warriors with unique characteristics, namely a distinct bundle carried on the bodies of the warriors and which archeologists have found in the Mayan area.

However, though the discovery of new murals may be able to replace the disappearance of others, there’s nothing that can replace the pyramids of Teotihuacán when they disappear. In March, New Scientist reported reported that Mexican scientists found that the largest of the complex’s pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun, was in danger of collapsing like a “sand castle.”

The pyramid is covered with three million tons of volcanic rock built around an interior of nothing more than a “mound of earth.” On a quest to find interior chambers, the scientists didn’t find any in the Pyramid of the Sun but did discover that “the density of the earth in the pyramid is at least 20 percent lower on one side than the other.”

The consequence is that unless something is done the pyramid is in danger of collapsing in the future — and taking with it a window into humankind’s history

Go to 

EZLN Letter To Doña Emilia Aurora Sosa Marín

 Zapatista Youth and Women Among those Gathered in La Realidad _______________________________________

    ” The struggle is not a conjunctural lightning bolt that illuminates everything and then disappears in an instance. It is a light that, although tiny, is nourished every day at all hours. It does not presume to be unique or omnipotent.

Its objective is to join with others, not to light up a monument, but to illuminate the path so we don’t get lost.”


From a recent letter from the Zapatistas to the compañera of Honorary Major Insurgent Félix Serdán Nájera. 


Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

 From the Northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings. 


We are the original peoples of these   lands, and we have rights that they cannot just come and take away with their police  and   paramilitarys


We demand the freedom of our compañeros political prisoners. We demand respect for the people and communities in resistance against the projects of death through which they want to take away the water, earth, air, life, and culture of our people.


We greet the struggle of our compañeros and compañeras of Xochicuautla, Coyotepec, San Pedro Tlanixco, Atenco, ejido Tila, Alvaro Obregon, El Barrio in New York and all the peoples and communities in resistance in Mexico and the world.



Never again a Mexico without us

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!



Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!



Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!




Antropoesia: from the outside in


Tu Libro Familia,

Tu Libro Familia,
This Saturday, 18 October (11 AM at Cafe Mayapan), we will kick off our AntroPoesia Community Workshops!!!  All Ages ~ All Genders ~ FREE
AntroPoesia ~ Working from the Outside, In…
These community-based, community oriented workshops will provide us with the opportunity to reflect on ourselves, our community, our shared history.  By walking through our Bario community, studying murals, visiting Museo Urbano, our Mexica Sunstone, etc. we will write our own stories, perform our own teatro, tell our own stories.
View the AntroPoesia video by Professor Tim Z. Hernandez, the Museo Urbano video by Professor Yolanda Leyva and more —>>  www.TuLibro915.com
See you this Saturday!!!
         In Lak’ech Ala K’in
   Georgina Cecilia Perez
EmpowerLove. Educate.