lunes, 28 de octubre de 2013

Who's running things in Michoacan?

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, armed groups bombed and attacked 18 installations of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), including 8 substations, and set 6 gasoline stations and a convenience store on fire in Michoacan. Twelve of the state's 113 municipalities lost electricity.

Were the attacks, which appear to have been coordinated, the work of narcos fighting for control of territory? Of terrorists with an ideological agenda opposed to the government? Is the presence of the self-defense groups that started to pop up earlier this year related in any way? Are the attacks related to the three grenades thrown at marchers in Saturday's demonstration by self-defense groups in Apatzingan?

Serious health issues forced Michoacan's elected governor, Fausto Vallejo, to take a six-month medical leave of absence. Politicians in Mexico City believe that the tenure of the interim governor, Jesus Reyna, was a disaster. Mr. Vallejo announced last Wednesday that he was returning to office. Are the attacks related to his return?

Ten days after donning the sash of office in 2006, President Felipe Calderon sent 6,500 soldiers into Michoacan. The controversial decision to send the army into the state marked a watershed in the war against drugs, signaling that the challenge was too much for some state governments to handle on their own. Since then, violence ebbs and flows but never stops.

The weekend's molotov cocktails and the rise of the self-defense groups, some of which seem to be affiliated with different narcos, leave no doubt that the government has not yet been able to regain control of some areas of the state even with the intervention of the army. Let's hope that changes quickly.

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