Bishop Rangel Mendoza: dialogue with crime gangs. Bishop Rangel Mendoza: dialogue with crime gangs.

Crime gangs part of Guerrero’s social fabric

After speaking with gang leaders, bishop says they're more farmers than narcos

Crime gangs are part of the social fabric of the remote Guerrero communities that cultivate drugs and their presence is accepted and welcomed by inhabitants, says the bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa.


Salvador Rangel Mendoza, bishop of the diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, told the newspaper Reforma that he first approached criminal gangs after the lives of priests were threatened and has since held conversations with leaders of those groups, interceding on behalf of peace and tranquility.

They have responded by insisting they’re drug traffickers, not sicarios, or hired assassins, the bishop said. And citizens want to have them around.

“In other words, the people feel more protected by them than the authorities,” said Rangel Mendoza.

“What I’ve been saying is that authorities at different levels have left a power vacuum, a social action vacuum that has begun to be filled by groups of criminals, so to speak.”

Rangel said the gangs say what they want is the well-being of the people and security for all. “What I can say is that these groups complain about the state of neglect the people are left in. For this reason they have a degree of resentment towards authority.”

The bishop explained that the places where the gangs operate are characterized by their low levels of social development. In many villages in the sierra, he said, there are neither doctors nor roads.


“These are not the narcos from northern or central Mexico, I just call them farmers.”

The bishop says the various security operations that have been carried out in the different regions of Guerrero have not worked, and proof is in the fact that violence prevails.

Rangel also repeated a proposal he made a year ago that authorities engage in dialogue with criminals as a means to bring peace to Guerrero. He believes it hasn’t happened because the authorities do not want to shake up the status quo and lose the financial benefits it provides.

When the drug shipments go by, the bishop charged, the authorities close one eye and then the other. “I do not believe the government is so innocent . . . .”

Without naming names, Rangel stated that he has spoken with people from “three, four groups.” It is only in the region of Chilapa where the Catholic prelate has failed to establish ongoing communication with criminal groups and their leadership.

The bishop was asked if a security detail accompanies him to his meetings. The only people who go with him are nuns, he replied.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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  • K. Chris C.

    The gangs blend capital, know-how and local labor to produce and ship a desired product. Government blends violence, theft and lies to produce only poverty, misery, and death.

    An American citizen, not US subject.

  • Colibri

    The Bishop may be right that the authorities do not protect the people, quite the opposite, they seem to exist to protect an establishment of corruption. However he is mistaking indigenous law versus crime gangs, which often overlap in small communities. What lies behind indigenous law is one of the keys to solving this dilemma: the political need to distinguish between the indigenous leaders as the ones to have dialogue with, not criminal gangs. Sometimes one and the same perhaps, but not always. Yet it is a diplomatic solution along the same lines as America’s “One China” policy.

    Where the Bishop is very wrong is in accepting the implication that this is “OK” when explained away as part of the social fabric. So was slavery part of the social fabric in its day, that didn’t make slavery right nor generally accepted by most. Sometimes that social fabric exists because it is all you are familiar with and recognize how it works. It does not mean it cannot be changed. It was hard to end slavery but for the most part it was done. All that remains are the remnants of racism as witnessed by the current state of affairs in the USA. That too will pass and perhaps this time in history will have us all question what are acceptable parts of our social fabric versus what must be re-evaluated and changed.

  • kallen

    When religion says “go this way”, I’ll go the other way. When religion says, “do this”, I’ll do the opposite.

  • John Francis

    My wife’s ex is bipolar. Ii am not a shrink. A few years after seperation (we don’t live together now) he started’ breaking bad’. My wife went to visit the investigadores who had promised help if ever need. They knew he’s a bad guy and that we had been married.
    The invetigadories (I want to be very clear), State police in plain clothes who investigate for the Minesterio Publico (prosecutor), take evidneces and torture confessions from most of their clients. They didn’t visit the guy as they told us years ago (i thought maybe for a “physical chat. The investogadores didn’t even go gut of the office, They sent “Jefe de la Zocola’ (local street level crime boss) who straightned it all out. At least we have little petty crime, little bloood on the streets and the law, well the $till carry on with the odd drug bu$ and civil matters, of course. I was orrered a deal last week for 10K (number that keeps popping up¡

    The law packed up and tried to make themselves small 2 or dour years ago. Gringos complain on a local forum about too many thefts and the fences/dealers get shot. A prostitute had a huge X carved across he chest and was held so she could get no stitches in time to help. If you are a victim of crime in this coastal no wher’se place, and you know the criminal, no problem. $10000 will get you an arrest, confession and conviction. In court. Legal? Do I need ask?
    However, they also tell the cops who to bust, take care of serious stuff but, it is the prosecuotr who orchetrates everything, from him, all emploees at the judges office mostly pulling the vendors out at very tactically appropriate times.

    • WestCoastHwy

      Sounds like a Quentin Tarantino movie!

  • Henry Wilson

    Typical nonsense from the Mexican Catholic Church which has served as the bag man and enforcer for the criminal gangs running the mafioso govt. of Mexico since the first terrorist Cortez stepped ashore 500 years ago with his Franciscan priests at his side.

  • WestCoastHwy

    Demographics are an important subject matter in this article. These remote areas are inhabited by criminals, controlled by criminals, and anyone that associated with any aspect of these areas are criminals. Therefore, Salvador
    Rangel Mendoza, bishop of the diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa is a criminal.

    Mexicans don’t seem to not understand the Golden Rule of Catholic parochial teachings, your guilty by association. I was raised by Jesuits and nuns and others in my association went on to Catholic parochial University. Therefore if you have relationships with an undesirable, you don’t go preaching about it, you hide it like any other good Catholic.

    I can see that padre Salvador
    Rangel Mendoza isn’t the smartest of padres and imagine that he is on his way out after his publicized associations with criminal gangs I would believe. But what do I care, All Catholics are Idiots to believe what the padres have or will say to them anyway; that’s my Golden Rule! How can you believe in a Religion based on a Jew?

  • WestCoastHwy

    “Crime gangs are part of the social fabric of the remote Guerrero communities
    that cultivate drugs and their presence is accepted and welcomed by
    inhabitants, says the bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa,” thanks be to god.

    Have another glass of wine padre! Your alter boys are kneeling, waiting for you to PREY!