The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) has forced more than 400 people out of their homes in two communities in Jalisco and Michoacán.
According to a report by the newspaper El Universal, members of about 80 families in El Maguey, a town in the Jalisco municipality of Quitupan, and El Lobo in Cotija, Michoacán, were ordered out of their homes at gunpoint by presumed CJNG criminals during the past two weeks.
Rafael, one of those who was forced to leave, told El Universal that he and his family went from having a calm and productive life at home to being unable to afford to eat.
“We were displaced by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel without knowing the reason or the motives,” he said, adding that some 150 residents of El Maguey were forced out of their homes on a single night.
Rafael, whose family worked in agriculture, said that a group of armed men broke into his home and those of others in the community and pointed their weapons at residents, including children, women and seniors, as they ordered them to abandon their dwellings.
He said the cartel members threatened to kill them if they didn’t obey their orders. Rafael also said that the residents of El Maguey are good people who don’t owe the CJNG anything.
“It’s an incredible thing that we can’t yet get over. We lived really comfortably, very calmly, but they changed our lives overnight without any reason,” he said.
Rafael, whose 20-year-old nephew was killed by suspected CJNG gunmen, and many other El Maguey residents are currently taking refuge in the municipality of Los Reyes, but some are considering seeking asylum in the United States.
Rafael’s brother told El Universal that he is now in a precarious situation, explaining that although he is safe, he has had to start his life from scratch and struggles to pay for everyday expenses.
“I want it to be known that since the Jalisco New Generation Cartel people came [to the community], we started living through a true hell,” he said.
He said that his father died of grief because he had to leave the life he had built over decades in El Maguey. He also said that he could be tempted to take up the fight against the CJNG himself, if he could afford to buy weapons.
Luis, another displaced resident, said that federal authorities have done nothing to stop the illicit activities of the CJNG even though there is a National Guard base in Cotija, which borders Quitupan.
“They [the guardsmen] don’t do anything. … They even protect the Jalisco cartel,” he said, adding that members of the two organizations have been seen together.
“… What hope do we have to live in peace, what hope do we have that this forced displacement won’t happen in other places?”
The CJNG, usually considered Mexico’s most powerful and violent criminal organization, has recently expanded its influence in parts of Michoacán, including Aguililla, the birthplace of the cartel’s leader, Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes.
The cartel has reportedly seized that municipality by driving out other criminal groups such as the Cárteles Unidos. At least eight members of that organization were executed by the CJNG in a massacre late last month.
Source: El Universal (sp)