Saturday, June 15, 2024

No difference between self-defense groups and crime gangs: priest

A priest from Michoacán has echoed the words of three state governors, declaring that there is no difference between self-defense groups and organized crime.

José Luis Segura Barragán, parish priest in El Rosario, a community in Apatzingán, said that by entering into dialogue with self-defense groups, all the government achieves is to formalize its partnership with criminals.

The priest’s comments came after the Interior Secretariat revealed this week that it had held talks with self-defense groups in Michoacán and Tamaulipas.

The governor of those two states and Guerrero quickly warned the government that it was in fact negotiating with criminals because self-defense groups are gangsters in disguise.

Segura, who witnessed the rise of self-defense groups in Michoacán’s Tierra Caliente region, said that in his experience, holding talks with armed gangs is not the solution to ending violence.

“. . . It has always been my position – and it’s not theoretical because I’ve been in complicated situations – that talking to criminal groups is pointless because these groups always have a criminal purpose . . .” he said.

“There are no self-defense forces anymore, those that were left became criminals . . .” Segura added.

The priest said he understood the position of Chilpancingo Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza, who has encouraged dialogue with criminal gangs, but charged that it is not the right one.

“Holding talks with criminal groups would be nothing more than to demonstrate what is already official: the partnership of organized crime with the government.”

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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