HomeNewsBriefCaballeros Gang Accuses Mexican Govt Forces of Abuse
BRIEF

Caballeros Gang Accuses Mexican Govt Forces of Abuse

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 13 JAN 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

The Caballeros Templarios drug gang have hung banners throughout the state of Michoacan, criticizing Mexico's security forces for alleged human rights abuses, in their latest attempt to win grassroots support from the population.

The 25 "narco-banners", hung in the cities of Huiramba, Morelia and Lazaro Cardenas, were addressed to Javier Sicilla who heads the Movement for Peace. The banners criticized the government for acting "outside of any legal authority [to] raid ... rob, rape and murder innocent civilians."

The Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar) called on President Felipe Calderon to distinguish between criminals and innocent civilians, stating the government should not use women and children as scapegoats.

The messages finished by asking for Sicilla's support in helping to stop Calderon carrying out what they said was a series of reprisals against the state's inhabitants for not electing his sister as governor.

Read Borderland Beat's translation of the full text of the messages.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Caballeros emerged in March 2011 when the Familia Michoacana gang split after its leader was killed by the government. The announcement of their arrival on the scene, like this latest message, came in the form of large, publicly placed notices, designed to appeal to the sentiments of the Michoacan public.

Like their predecessors in the Familia, the Caballeros try to send out the message that they are concerned to help ordinary people, and opposed to violence against those not part of the drug conflict. They also follow the Familia in their claim to be protecting the population of Michoacan against the oppressive forces of the central goverment.

The Familia had a degree of success in this quest for grassroots support, with demonstrations on the streets of Michoacan after Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias "El Chayo," was killed in December 2011, although it is questionable how far these kind of public displays may have been orchestrated by threats and how far by genuine sentiment.

The latest banner sounds like an attempt to co-opt Sicilia's peace movement, which could give ammunition to its opponents.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

GULF CARTEL / 3 JUN 2011

Long hailed as one of Mexico's safest urban area, the city of Monterrey has erupted since 2010 in an outbreak…

KIDNAPPING / 19 SEP 2011

The bodies of congressman Moises Villanueva and his driver were found in a river in Guerrero, southern Mexico, almost two…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 1 JUN 2012

The Caballeros Templarios, a drug gang based in west Mexico, left a series of public messages apologizing for arson attacks…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.