Guerrero: Humanitarian crisis caused by tropical storm Manuel continues in the Mountain

October 5, 2013

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Llano de Tepehuaje, Metlatónoc municipality. Photo @Tlachinollan

In the region of the Mountain, thousands of indigenous persons have abandoned at least 48 communities due to hazards and the loss of 80% of the crops that were devastated by the severe rainsfalls brought by tropical storm Manuel, noted Javier Guerrero, subsecretary for Social Development.  During a meeting carried out in the Catholic House, which has become a shelter of sorts in Tlapa de Comonfort for more than 160 displaced indigenous persons, Guerrero reported that the federal highways Tlapa-Marquelia and Tlapa-Metlatónoc, the two principal routes that connect the poorest municipalities of the country, have been destroyed.  The residents of different communities such as Tilapa and Santa Cruz del Rincón report that the highway has simply disappeared.

A 30 September communique from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights mentions that “in accordance with the Secretary for Social Development (SEDESOL), there are 48 communities that continue to lack access by aerial and terrestrial routes, though this statistic could increase considering that in the municipalities of Acatepec, Metlatónoc, and Cochoapa it is practically impossible to maintain constant communication.  Attention by means of air is insufficient and the criteria for the definition of routes for helicopters lack transparency.”  Of the 700 indigenous communities located in the Mountain region of Guerrero, to date there has been had contact with only about 100, claims Tlachinollan.  The official statistics speak of 33 dead, according to the report released on 26 September by Civil Protection, but the testimonies collected by Tlachinollan mention at least 42 dead, without taking into account the disappeared.

On 23 September, indigenous peoples of the Mountain formed the Council of Authorities Affected by the Storm, which will be the voice of the people.  Abel Barrera, director of Tlachinollan, indicates that the members of the Council will insist that they not be excluded from decision-making processes.  In his view, what usually happens is that the mayors meet behind closed doors with the Army and State authorities and make decisions behind the backs of the displaced, with the result that aid and resources are mobilized without consulting local residents.

For more information (in Spanish):

En la Montaña, miles de desplazados y 80% de cultivos arrasados: Sedesol (Proceso, 29 de septiembre de 2013)

Crece el aislamiento en comunidades de la Montaña (La Jornada, 29 de septiembre de 2013)

Después del diluvio (La Jornada, 30 de septiembre de 2013)

Continúa crisis humanitaria en La Montaña (Tlachinollan, 30 de septiembre de 2013)

Fotogalería de Tlachinollan

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: The situation continues to be dramatic for storm victims in Guerrero (4 October 2013)

Guerrero: Deaths and victims of tropical storm Manuel (4 October 2013)


Guerrero: Thirteenth Anniversay of the Community Police

October 20, 2008

On October 14 and 15, the community police of the Costa Chica and the Montaña regions of Guerrero celebrated its thirteenth anniversary in the community of Tilapa, municipality of Malinaltepec. The community police began in 1995 in 8 communities in 2 different municipalities. Today they maintain a presence in 72 communities in 10 municipalities.

According to Martín Candia Galindo, one of the founders of the community police, “In territories under the influence of the community police there are no drug traffickers or any drug cartels present; our youth are free of that terrible [presence].” The Regional Council of Community Authorities (CRAC Consejo Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias) has achieved this success despite the fact that they do not have access to many resources, their members do not receive a salary and according to the denunciations they have made on more than one occasion, the government continues to harass the community police in an attempt to disqualify their work.

In addition to being an autonomous movement in implementing justice, the CRAC insists that their social project is one that encompasses many facets of daily life in the Costa Chica and Montaña regions of Guerrero. Among other things they have started plans for a community radio station and as of last year they have initiated the University of the Peoples of the South (Universidad de los Pueblos del Sur), a project that continues to grow.

During the anniversary, the CRAC put forward several themes for discussion including: the increasing insecurity of the nation, the militarization of the country, the lack of legitimacy on the part of official policing systems, the campaign of fear driven by mass media and the criminalization of social movements. Mario Campos, parish priest from the municipality of Xalpatláhuac, in the Montaña Alta added at the opening of the celebrations, “There are alternatives in solving the problems of insecurity related to drug trafficking and assaults. To serve is not a crime; it is for this reason that we ask the officials of the region to support the CRAC.”

More information:

The Community Police in the State of Guerrero (SIPAZ, 15/09/05)

More information in Spanish:

Página Web de la Policía Comunitaria

Trece años. La policía comunitaria de Guerrero no deja de crecer (Ojarasca, 20/10/08)

Policías comunitarias de Guerrero dicen haber acabado con el narco (La Jornada, 17/10/08)