With all the recent talk in Mexico about Michoacán’s self-defence groups (Autodefensas), it would be easy to forget that citizen self-defence forces have existed for a while now. For example, the Community Police (PC) in Guerrero came into being around 1995 and, by 2011, had 750 members and three ‘Houses of Justice’ attending to 62 communities in 11 municipalities. The Law of Public Security, passed in 2007, and Law 701, from 2011, recognise this organisation as an additional, legal police authority.
The PC was formed to ensure the security of citizens in one of Mexico’s poorest, most volatile, and most militarised states, where several indigenous leaders have been murdered, women have been raped, people have disappeared, and several members of the PC of Olinalá have been arrested. Nestora Salgado is one of those who have been arrested.
After a turbulent youth, Nestora left for the US, where she…
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