Michoacán self-defense groups, serving as protection from organized crime, were dismissed Thursday.
BY ALEX VIVANCO THE NEWS Michoacán Gov. Silvano Aureoles Conejo managed to give closure to the issue of the selfdefense groups and presided over a ceremony where medals were delivered in acknowledgment of those who “took up arms to defend themselves from organized crime.” The dismissal of the self-defense groups in Michoacán became official Thursday, so that the state government will now have full control of security throughout the territory. “This opens a new stage in the history of the state, which is gradually leaving behind the time of senseless violence in order to make a way for a climate of peace and opportunities for all of the state population, so they can build a future of justice and honesty,” said Aureoles Conejo. During an event headed by National Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, Aureoles Conejo acknowledged that, although the intervention of civilians in the fight against criminals and organized crime was needed at the time, now the state government will enforce the law in Michoacán. There will be zero tolerance for corruption and impunity in the state. From now on, there will be no more armed civilians doing the work that is the responsibility of the government, and those who want to contribute must do it within the framework of law and institutions, said Aureoles Conejo. Later, the governor awarded medals to the former members of self defense groups which participated in the Introduction to the Development of Police Abilities training course. During the event, the state government delivered a medal to Cienfuegos Zepeda, in recognition for his work as the head of the Armed Forces of Mexico. All persons who have a desire to serve the state are invited to undergo the appropriate control and confidence tests and enrole in the state police, he added. The governor expressed his gratitude to the Interior Secretariat (Segob) and the Treasury and Public Finance Secretariat (SHCP) for their commitment and financial support for the compensation of former self-defense group members. Altogether, 1,600 people from various communities were trained in police work and weapon usage during several stages. In the final one, which ended Thursday, 792 people from 19 municipalities of the state successfully completed the course.