Mexican Indians Take Up Arms Against the Cartels
A besieged Indian community resorts to pistols, rifles and barricades.
As drug cartels continue to hold sway in cities, towns and regions across Mexico, one Mexican Indian community is fighting back. Santa Maria Urapicho, a Purepecha Indian town in western Mexico, has taken the drastic measure of arming residents with pistols and rifles to combat threats from suspected members of the Los Caballeros Templarios drug gang. They even reportedly killed the gang's boss, Mauricio Cuitlahuac Hernandez, last August. A Purepecha community leader, speaking anonymously, says that because the federal and state governments have failed to intervene, Los Caballeros Templarios is now trying to gain control of the town in retaliation. "Our people have never allowed such a situation and now we are on the defensive to be on guard and avoid having anyone in this town harmed," says the leader. "We are waiting for organizations in other places to take an interest in our problems, in our situation; they could give us a hand in whatever form possible." For the time being, residents are keeping weapons in their homes and also setting up barricades in an attempt to control access to the town. Many of the Purepechas who work in other communities have also quit their jobs to stay home and help strengthen their community's defenses.