Guerrero’s Child Soldiers: A New Sign of The Decomposition of Violence in Mexico

Latin America World
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A group of minors, between 6 and 15 years old, armed march to repudiate the killing of ten people at the hands of drug trafficking
A minor carrying a rifle in Chilapa, Guerrero. On video, minors marching.
On Wednesday, 19 minors between the ages of six and fifteen headed a column of armed self-defense groups in Guerrero, a state in southwest Mexico.
The image could go unnoticed in a country submerged for several years in a violent conflict, but the photograph reproduced by local media is a new sign of the decomposition caused by insecurity.
The young men loaded old and rusty rifles to repudiate the murder of ten Nahua Indians in the region this weekend.

The children marched along with some 2,000 people with their faces covered by handkerchiefs and wearing the uniform of the community police, an armed body formed 25 years ago by residents of 16 municipalities in the southeast of Guerrero and members of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities and Peoples Founders (CRAC).
This body of alternative authority has faced drug cartels and criminal organizations operating in one of the poorest places in the country for several years. The old conflict lived a new chapter on Friday the 17th, when a dozen people from the municipality of Chilapa were executed and cremated.
The dead worked with the musical group Sensation, which had played in a neighboring town, when they were ambushed while traveling in two vehicles. The prosecutor of Guerrero has blamed the crime on Los Ardillos, one of the local criminal gangs, who would also be behind a rival CRAC community police.
Seeking an explanation for the killing and the march of child soldiers forces us to reduce the irreducible. Chilapa has been at war for years. A temperate war, anchored to different political and economic interests, lawful and illegal. Noisy at times, silent at other times.
Violence is caused by drug traffickers, but the problem becomes more complex due to political control disputes in the municipalities of the area, since these disputes represent access to public resources in a region where 69% live below the line of poverty.
This formula also includes struggles for the territory and trafficking of opium gum, an input produced by local farmers, who have seen their income reduced due to the rise of synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.
Since the massacre on Friday, members of the CRAC have kept the roads of Alcozacán, in Chilapa, blocked. They demand the capture of those responsible for the crime and request the presence of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the area, in addition to 27 other lawsuits.
To pressure local authorities, the CRAC showed armed muscle. One of his counselors has affirmed that the minors were trained for the use of weapons in an entity that has 54% of its population without the basic education completed.
Understanding the violence that has hit that area of ​​Guerrero for years is not easy. José Díaz-Navarro, a neighbor of Chilapa, knows them in the flesh. In November 2014, alleged members of Los Ardillos disappeared two of his brothers, who were later found  murdered.
He fled from there in May 2015. Since then he has been aware of the numerous events in the region from Mexico City. Friday’s killing did not surprise him. Díaz-Navarro believes that it is a “revenge”.
Since his exile, Díaz-Navarro has collected information. The mere mention of the murdered activates a memory. “A year ago, on January 10 or 12, Los Ardillos broke into El Paraíso Tepila [a town in Chilapa]. The community members waited with weapons and killed 10 or 12 Ardillos. What was now a revenge for that,” he explains. .
The name of Los Ardillos is closely linked to violence in the region of the Low Mountain of Guerrero, where the municipality of Chilapa is. And also to state policy.
The alleged leader of Los Ardillos, Celso Ortega, is the brother of a former PRD deputy, the party on the left, which is still strong in Guerrero, now ruled by the PRI.
In each electoral period, the murders of candidates and candidates for mayor, deputy or alderman in Chilapa and the surrounding villages is common. And every time this happens, Los Ardillos is pointed out. According to Díaz-Navarro, “this group wants to annihilate everyone.
They have already annihilated Los Rojos [once their main rival], they already have the municipal police in Tixtla, Quechultenango, the ministerial. They have wanted to dominate until Chilpancingo [the capital of Guerrero] … And now they are going for the CRAC “.
After the images of the child soldiers, the Government of Guerrero asked the CRAC to respect the human rights of minors. The local Administration, headed by PRI Hector Astudillo, has said that the killing of the ten people is one of the priorities for the Prosecutor’s Office and at the State Coordination Table for Peace building. In Guerrero, however, the probability of clarifying a crime is 0.2% according to a recent study on Mexican prosecutors.
Video translation is as follows:
Bernardino Sanchez (Community Police Coordinator): Long live Chilapa!
Children Shout In Unison: Long Live!
Bernardino Sanchez (Community Police Coordinator): Long live the original townspeople!
Children Shout In Unison: Long Live!
Bernardino Sanchez (Community Police Coordinator): Long live the Nahuas indigenous people!
Children Shout In Unison: Long Live!
19 minors, between the ages of 6 and 15 years old, were presented as members of the Chilapa community police in Mexico. The youth armed themselves with rifles to renounce the killing of the 10 Nahuas indigenous people in the region this weekend.
Reporter: Do you enjoy being a part of this?
Underage Soldier: Yes.
Reporter: Why?
Underage Soldier: Because I get to defend the town.
Reporter: Does your town need to be defended?
Underage Soldier: Yes.
Reporter: Why?
Children marched with their faces covered by bandannas.
Bernardino Sanchez (Community Police Coordinator): Those between the ages of 12 years to 15 years old are already guarding their communities. But they’re not yet part of the CRAC (Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities and Founding Peoples). They only support there in the community by being guards.
And those who are 12 years old and below are the ones we are preparing so that when they are 12 years old they can start to take care of their community, to take care of their family, to take care of themselves, and to take care of their little brothers.
Because many times they go out into the farm lands with their little brothers. If they’re not carrying any weapons the criminals come along and kidnap them. That’s why young people are no longer finishing elementary school and are already starting to go to work in the farm lands to take care of the crops.
Some go to work outside their community. They can no longer go to school to learn, because if they go to school they kidnap them. The kidnappers who are intimidating the townspeople are there.
We hereby present 17 children from the community of Ahauntempan and 2 children from the community of Xochitempa. The oldest are 15 years old. And the youngest are 6 years old. They are preparing to defend their people. They are preparing to defend their families. They are preparing to defend their little brothers. Because crime is too much in the state of Guerrero.
Sol Prendido Borderland Beat   Source

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