A new self-proclaimed guerrilla army in the state of Guerrero in Mexico has called for the creation of more citizens self-defense groups and the release of jailed group members, the first time attempts have been publically made to link the self-defense movement to radical politics.
A group calling itself the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the People's Liberation (FAR-LP) announced its formation earlier this week with a statement inviting Mexicans to "construct and organize the self defense of the towns," reported El Informador.
It called for the release of all "political prisoners," including the members of the Community Police Regional Police Coordinator, which oversees self-defense groups in the Montaña and Costa Chica regions of Guerrero, reported La Cronica.
The government of Enrique Peña Nieto was waging a "war against the people," the group said, repressing those that fought for human rights as well as student leaders, journalists and environmentalists, reported Europa Press.
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Popular resistance has a long history in Guerrero -- CRAC-PC was founded in 1995, for example -- and according to Mexican columnist Carlos Loret de Mola, intelligence indicates the FAR-LP is a breakaway faction of the long-standing Mexican guerrilla movement the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), that had been charged with confronting drug trafficking groups within the organization.
SEE ALSO: EPR Profile
Loret added the FAR-LP's criticism of education reforms connects it to the dissident teacher movement, which is also believed to have ties to the EPR.
It is no coincidence that the self-defense groups, which have the stated aim of protecting local populations from violence in the absence of adequate government security forces, have emerged most powerfully in both Guerrero and Michoacan, which also has a history of social uprisings. But the vigilante movement has not previously been linked to Mexican guerrillas, indeed quite the opposite with them being described as the precursor to Colombian-style paramilitary outfits or accused of being on the payroll of cartels.
However, the question of whether a political movement would try to harness these groups' growing power and influence has remained, and the attempts by the new guerrilla movement to associate themselves with the self-defense movement seems to be the first outward attempt to do so.