A video has emerged that appears to show the mayor of a city in Guerrero state negotiating with members of the Familia Michoacana gang, illustrating the difficulties and dangers that Mexican officials face from organized criminal groups.
The five minute video, which appeared earlier this week on YouTube and has been distributed by Blog del Narco, shows Teloloapan Mayor Ignacio de Jesus Valladares speaking to two unseen men who identify themselves as members of the Familia Michoacana.
The men are heard pressuring Salgado to "make a pact" with the Familia and to appoint a director of public security who will stay out of the group's business and "keep peace in the town." The mayor, clearly frightened and trying to speak carefully, promises to choose someone neutral. Toward the end of the video, one of the men says that if the mayor does not keep the police from interfering with the group's interests, "Teloloapan will burn."
Salgado, a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) who was elected in July, has stated that the conversation took place against his will. In an interview with Radio Formula, he suggested that he may have to resign due to safety concerns. Other members of his party in Guerrero have expressed their support for the mayor, pending an investigation into the incident, reports Milenio.
InSight Crime Analysis
The video is an unusually clear example of the pressure that criminal groups put on Mexican officials. In their efforts to gain control over municipal security forces, criminal groups are especially interested in influencing mayors, who appoint police chiefs and the local directors of security, as seen in the video.
For mayors who refuse to cooperate or who get caught in disputes between rival groups, the consequences can be deadly. According to a recent report by El Informador, 28 mayors have been killed since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006.