Pacifying Michoacán – Mexico’s third most violent state in 2021 with over 2,700 homicides – might take six years, according to Governor Alfredo Ramírez Bedolla.
“This is not a 15-minute issue, [violence] isn’t resolved in a month or six months,” he told Milenio Televisión.
“We’ve had this situation [of insecurity] in the country, in Michoacán, for at least 20 years,” said the Morena party governor, who took office last October.
“We need time, patience and citizens’ participation as well. … It will take us time [to reduce violence], it might take the six years [I’m in office] but … the government of Michoacán will do all it can to have peace in the state,” he said.
Despite that prediction, Ramírez noted that some areas of Michoacán have recently been seized from organized crime thanks to the deployment of additional federal forces.
“The Tepalcatepec-Coalcomán highway has now been liberated. When I became governor on October 1, the highway was closed at more than 17 points but we now have peaceful and constant passage between Apatzingán and Tepalcatepec and Tepalcatepec and Coalcomán,” he said.
“I am very grateful to the Mexican army and the federal forces that managed to reestablish movement … on the highway,” Ramírez said.
The governor also said that avocado farmers are not facing any production delays due to the presence of organized crime, but conceded that lime supply problems have been caused in part by conflicts between criminal groups in Tepalcatepec, one of several Tierra Caliente municipalities where the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Cárteles Unidos are engaged in a turf war.
Ramírez claimed that the murder in Zitácuaro on Monday of Roberto Toledo – the fourth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year – was related to his employment at a legal practice rather than his reporting for the news website Monitor Michoacán.
“… Everything points to … it having more to do with his … [position] as an assistant at a law firm,” he said.
The governor asserted that teachers who attacked security forces on Tuesday have no reason to be protesting because his government has paid them all wages and benefits they were owed and assigned positions to graduates of teacher training colleges.
“Our government has been paying fortnightly salaries and bonuses punctually. We gave positions to the normalistas [teaching students] in December,” Ramírez said.
With reports from Milenio