Alert! Santa María Ostula Under Attack Again from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel

Cover image from the archive of Cuartoscuro

The community of La Cofradía, one of the 23 population centers that make up the Indigenous town of Santa María Ostula, in Michoacán, was under siege this Wednesday, July 3, from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). Everything was calm in the community before they were attacked by drones and high caliber weaponry.  

Since July 1, the criminal group has carried out a series of coordinated attacks on strategic points, specifically where the communal guard is located. The Indigenous people, in a communique, notified that “Today, July 3, since the morning, drone explosions have been heard, as well as shots from high caliber weaponry, in the hills surrounding the Cofradía community.”

Photo taken by the community on July 3

As evening fell, residents were informed that members of the CJNG were approaching the population areas. “Immediately the attacks began on houses and schools. From then on, there were drone explosions every 40 minutes. This time the CJNG attacked the population, sending groups of around 50 criminals each to surround the unarmed population,” denounced community members.

The authorities of the community released an alert directed at the three levels of government, yet they point out that, the government has “ignored the call to dismantle the criminal group.”

The demand of the community is clear: the immediate dismantling of the CJNG and the capture of its leaders and accomplices, including known figures like Cemeí Verdía Zepeda and Leonardo Bravo, among others. They also demand “an end to the protection of the cartel provided by corrupt state officials and military commanders,” they state in their communique.

This past July 1, the daughter of Verdía Zepeda was assassinated, for which members of the community have been falsely blamed. It was then when the criminal group began the harassment.

In response to the violence, the communal guard of Santa María Ostula, together with self-defense groups of Aquila and Coahuayana, announced the strengthening of their actions to eradicate the criminal presence in the region. They demand from all three levels of government the punishment of those responsible for the assassinations of more than 40 community leaders and the alive presentation of the disappeared.

Faced with omission from the authorities, the Indigenous community reaffirmed their right to self-determination and autonomy, demanding the guarantees necessary for the functioning of its communal guard and the security of its residents.

As the conflict escalates, the community persists in their call for national and international solidarity, seeking to put an end to the impunity and to ensure a future of peace and freedom for generations to come.

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