HomeNewsBriefFarm Workers Massacred in Mexico’s Guerrero State
BRIEF

Farm Workers Massacred in Mexico’s Guerrero State

MEXICO / 5 MAR 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Ten workers have been murdered at a farm in Guerrero state, southwest Mexico, in a manifestation of the criminal violence that has sparked the formation of citizen self-defense forces.

The bodies were found in a melon farm in the municipality of Ajuchitlan del Progreso on March 3. The victims included the man in charge of the farm, eight men aged between 15 and 40, and a woman of 54, according to Excelsior.

The state Attorney General’s Office initially attributed the deaths to a shootout between rival criminal organizations, but later retracted this statement, reported Jornada. The newspaper quoted government sources as saying that an armed group, bearing AK-47s, had killed the victims one by one.

Following the attack, an army unit was sent to the scene. Local campesino organizations condemned the killing, and blamed the government for its failure to provide security in the region, saying that this justified the rise of self-defense groups.

InSight Crime Analysis

Guerrero state has been plagued by drug-related violence in recent months, and last September it overtook Chihuahua as the state that experienced the highest numer of organized crime-related murders in one month — the first time in four years that Chihuahua had not topped the list. The rise of smaller splinter organizations, formed after cartel leaders are captured or killed, is one of the factors driving up killings in the state.

As violence has spiraled, the population has increasingly decided to take matters into their own hands. Citizens’ self-defense groups are now reportedly operating in 68 Mexican municipalities, in 13 states, and Guerrero is one of the focal points of the phenomenon. Bruno Placido, Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (UPOEG), told EFE last month, “The movement [has arisen] to prevent crime and avoid deaths … to reestablish the right the citizens have to recoup their lost dignity.”

Crimes such as this farm massacre lend weight to the vigilantes’ argument that the self-defense groups are a necessary response to the Mexican authorities’ inability to guarantee their security.

However, concerns have begun to arise over the increasing sophistication of these groups, which have been connected to crimes themselves. Colombian paramilitary organisations sprung from purported citizens’ self-defense movements in the 1980s, and the head of Mexico’s Human Rights Commission, Raul Plascencia, has warned Mexico’s groups could go down a similar road.

The authorities’ initial response to the killing, classifying it as a shootout between criminal groups, is an example of the Mexican government’s tendency to accuse victims of having been involved in organized crime, often without basis.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

MEXICO / 13 APR 2018

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation just added one of Mexico's most legendary gangsters, Rafael Caro Quintero, to its list…

HEROIN / 9 DEC 2016

Top executives of a US pharmaceutical company have been arrested for allegedly scheming to overprescribe the highly addictive opiate fentanyl,…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 14 MAR 2011

Alongside the publication Sunday of an Op-Ed by President Barack Obama in the Arizona Daily Star, calling to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…