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“Priests deserve special respect," the speaker in the video said, before signing off as "Mencho Oseguera." “Priests deserve special respect," the speaker in the video said, before signing off as "Mencho Oseguera." Screenshot

Jalisco cartel to rivals: don’t interfere with Catholic priests

Several priests have been targets of recent violence

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) has instructed its rivals to leave priests, doctors, nurses and teachers alone.

“I’m communicating with all the cartels to invite you to make the war [just] between us and not interfere with those we shouldn’t interfere with,” a masked and armed man said in a video posted to social media.

Surrounded by a group of armed and masked cartel henchmen, the man told rival cartels they shouldn’t interfere with “any religion or their ministers or followers, especially the Catholics.”

“[We mustn’t] bother the priests, as has been seen recently,” the man said.

Jesuit priests Joaquín Mora, left, and Javier Campos were killed in Chihuahua last month.
Jesuit priests Joaquín Mora, left, and Javier Campos were killed in Chihuahua last month. Social media

Two Jesuit priests were murdered in Chihuahua last month, while an archbishop and a bishop were recently questioned at cartel checkpoints in northern Jalisco. In addition, a priest said he was attacked while getting into his car in the Michoacán municipality of Queréndaro earlier this month. The CJNG spokesman said that “priests deserve special respect.”

“They’re people who are solely dedicated to spreading the word of God and helping those who need help,” he said.

The man said that vehicles in which priests are traveling should be respected and that they shouldn’t be bothered or physically attacked if they are stopped.

“I invite you to not bother doctors, nurses and teachers who go to the villages and towns,” he added. “Let them do their work because [just as] my cartel doesn’t interfere with any religion, we don’t bother doctors or teachers. Yours sincerely Mencho Oseguera.”

“El Mencho” is Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, the leader of the CJNG and a wanted man in Mexico and the United States. There is some speculation that it was Oseguera who read the message, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

The appearance of the video comes a few weeks after footage of the CJNG announcing their arrival in a small town near Lake Chapala surfaced on social media. “We’ve arrived in Volantín and we’re not leaving,” some of the men shout.

With reports from Reforma 

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