DRAFTED BY: Ashly Bloxon
MICHOACAN, Mx.– For several years an armed gang with links to the drug cartel in Michoacan has abducted and killed members of the indigenous Purépecha community of Cherán. As further injury has carried out incessant illegal logging on the community’s land.
These criminal gangs operate with the complicity with the local police and authorities.
On April 15th, members of the community of Cherán stopped trucks carrying illegally-logged timber and captured five loggers. The community then informed the local authorities what had happened.
The response: two hours later a police car and two pick-up trucks carrying at about 14 heavily armed men entered the smalll establishment and began shooting at residents. Eugenio Sánchez Tiandón a resident of the community was shot in the head and remains in a coma.
Since April 15th the community has decidely sealed itself off, closing down access to the town through the use of barricades.
On April 23rd, the community produced the five illegal loggers to representatives of the Federal Attorney General’s Office, Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), along with 140 complaints from residents of ongoing incidences.
On April 27th, community members once against stopped illegal loggers entering their lands, the armed loggers then attacked community members killing two men, Pedro Juárez Urbina and Armando Hernández Estrada in the altercation.
Prior to recent events, seven members of the community have been killed and five forcibly disappeared since 2009, purportedly by members of a criminal gang acting corroborating municipal police.
Community leaders, with the assistance of human rights lawyer, have started discussions with state and federal authorities about the security of Cherán .
Despite filing complaints with the state and federal authorities no action has been taken against those responsible for the violence, leaving the community of Cherán with neither protection or recourse to justice.